Stories @ TCAT

(Nashville, TN) – In a special called meeting today (February 28, 2024), the Tennessee Board of Regents appointed Christopher (Chris) W. Ayers as the next president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT)-Harriman. Ayers has served TCAT-Harriman for the last twelve years as Vice President. He will be succeeding Danice Turpin who retires this month after 35 years of service for the Tennessee Board of Regents, sixteen of those as TCAT Harriman President.

Ayers earned a Graduate Certificate in Community College Leadership in 2021 from East Tennessee State University. He also earned a Master of Arts in Instructional Leadership in 2004 and a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1999, both from Tennessee Technological University.  Ayers is a current doctorate student at East Tennessee State University in Educational Leadership.

Ayers joined the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology in 1999 working in Student Services.  Ayers has a vast TCAT knowledge, holding many positions during his 24-year tenure. He has served on three different TCAT campuses including Livingston, Murfreesboro, and Harriman.

Ayers attributes his knowledge of technical education to his early years and his strong relationship with family who were stewards of the technical workforce through technical training, technical job titles, and ownership of companies requiring technical job skills.  Ayers was quoted to say “My passion for technical education creates a desire for me to spread the importance and the need for technical education to others. I strongly believe in the power of partnerships. Those partnerships begin with strong relationships. Strong relationships were important for my technical skills foundation and will be a primary platform for TCAT-Harriman as we strive to improve technical training for our service area and the State of Tennessee. Strong relationships in the community, , with business and industry, and K-12 partnerships are vital to the growth and support of technical education.”

Ayers was one of three finalists selected by a presidential search advisory committee and who participated in public forums and interviews on the Harriman campus on January 31. After reviewing feedback and comment from the forums and conducting final interviews, TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings recommended Ayers’ appointment to the Board of Regents. 

TCAT-Harriman began October 1, 1970. It is accredited through the Council on Occupational Education. The College currently offers 19 postsecondary certificate and diploma programs at its main campus, ThreeStar Extension campus, and the Loudon County Instructional Service Center. In addition, TCAT-Harriman also provides dual enrollment opportunities at 14 high school locations in Anderson, Loudon, Morgan, Roane, and Rhea counties.