Summons completes term as TBR regent
President Dr. Tracy D. Hall presented Associate Professor of Mathematics William “Bill” Summons with a framed certificate signed by Governor Bill Lee for his service as a faculty regent on the Tennessee Board of Regents. Former Governor Bill Haslam appointed Summons as one of only two faculty regents across the state. Summons, who has taught math at Southwest for 42 years, completed his two-year term in July.
Scoop sat down with Professor Summons about his time at TBR.
What prompted you to serve on the Tennessee Board of Regents?
I was on the search advisory committee to find a new president for Southwest. That’s how I initially met some of the TBR board members. When TBR was looking for a new chancellor, I was appointed to serve on that search committee. The governor was the chair of those committee meetings—that’s how I got to know Governor Haslam. I believe my interest in serving on those committees led the governor to appoint me to serve on TBR.
What are some of the highlights of your time on TBR?
During my second year, I was on the finance committee and participated in decisions about how much to raise tuition and fees. That was the most important thing I was involved in because it greatly impacted students. It was really interesting to see how the process worked.
I also was on the academic and policies and programs committee. We received proposals for a new program at a technical college or another community college to review before the board voted on them.
What are you most proud of during your service to TBR?
I think bringing awareness of college life from a student and faculty perspective is one of my proudest endeavors. Most of the people serving on the board are community and business leaders. For example, Greg Duckett from Memphis is the head lawyer for Baptist Memorial Hospital. Leigh Shockey is head of Drexel Chemical Co. I was able to bring a different perspective to our conversations, which the board appreciated.
How did your service on TBR benefit Southwest?
I was able to provide insight on the progress our institution is making under the leadership of Dr. Hall. For example, when graduation rates were discussed, I could explain how we arrived at our outcomes and achievements. I also provided insight into the challenges we face as an urban college in Memphis.
It was a great pleasure and an honor to serve on the board of regents. I care about all Tennessee students. It was a lot of work, but fun. The regents are very dedicated individuals who want our students to succeed. They are just really good people.