Brian Noland is expected to be the next president of East Tennessee State University, provided the Tennessee Board of Regents approves him in a vote scheduled for Monday.
If the Board approves him in a 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) telephone meeting Monday, Noland will succeed Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr. as the ninth president of the school.
Stanton will retire Jan. 14. Noland would succeed him Jan. 15.
Noland was one of three finalists for the presidency who interviewed on the ETSU campus in late October. Currently chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commision, Noland said he was thrilled to be offered the chance to return to Tennessee, where he worked at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. His wife, Donna, is also from Greeneville. His son, Jackson, is six years old.
“My family and I are extremely humbled and overjoyed at the opportunity to be back in East Tennessee and at ETSU,” Noland said in a phone interview Thursday evening.
The other two candidates being considered for the presidency were Robert Frank, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Kent State University in Ohio, and Sandra Patterson-Randles, chancellor of Indiana University Southeast.
TBR Chancellor John Morgan was tasked with selecting one of the candidates for recommendation to the Board. In making his recommendation, Morgan said he considered that Noland seemed genuinely interested about being in East Tennessee and ETSU in particular.
“And that’s important,” Morgan said. “He’s connected to the region and wants to be there. And I think that’s a good thing for ETSU right now. I think it’s also a good thing for the system. And I am very much confident this is the right choice at this time for ETSU.”
Morgan said his decision was difficult to make because each of the three finalists were good candidates. That is why it took so long to reach a point where he felt comfortable making a recommendation.
“The truth is ETSU has a strong faculty. It has a strong administrative team. And I think Dr. Noland can come in and in short order establish himself as a leader,” Mogan said.
Another reason Morgan is recommending Noland has to do with student input.
“The students were quite impressed with him and felt comfortable almost immediately,” Morgan said.
Noland said he would spend a great deal of time with faculty, staff, students and the community to get a good grasp of how the challenges the school faces should be addressed should the Board approve him as the next president Monday.
Two issues brought up repeatedly throughout the presidential search process in the past few months were football at ETSU and low pay for faculty and staff at ETSU. Other challenges facing ETSU, and every other state school, include a mandate from Nashville to graduate more students with less resources.
“I know many of the issues we’ve heard are things we’ll focus on right out of the gate,” Noland said.
Stanton, who became president in 1997, said when he announced his retirement earlier this year he wanted to keep working for ETSU in a limited capacity. Morgan said he plans to present a resolution to the Board at its quarterly meeting Dec. 8 making Stanton president emeritus.
Noland is pleased Stanton will remain available.
“He is just an outstanding gentleman, a fantastic person,” Noland said. “And I look forward to working with him in the months and years to come.”
Asked how long he wanted to stay at ETSU, Noland said a “very long time.”
“This is in many respects a drean, and a dream come true,” Noland said. “This is hopefully the beginning of a very long road together.”
According to the TBR, Noland has spent the past five years at West Virginia's Higher Education Policy Commission, which serves in both a governing and coordinating capacity over the local boards of 11 public colleges and universities.
Before returning to West Virginia, Noland worked at the Tennessee Higher Education
Commission from 1998 through 2006. Noland rose from assistant director of Academic Programs to director of Academic Affairs and was ultimately named associate executive director for THEC. In that role his responsibilities included the development and implementation of the state's lottery
Noland has taught as an adjunct faculty member at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University and Nashville State Community College. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and both an M.A. degree in public policy studies and a bachelor's degree in political science from West Virginia University. Noland's resume is available at http://tinyurl.com/cnexj5n.