The president of Nashville State Community College is retiring effective Dec. 31, the middle of the school year. His announcement Wednesday follows a lengthy tenure that was marked by impressive growth as well as flare-ups with some faculty.
George Van Allen's announcement makes the third community college president departure this year: The president of Northeast State retired shortly after faculty passed a no-confidence vote; the president of Motlow State resigned after an audit criticized his leadership.
By some metrics, Nashville State has been a highlight of the Tennessee Board of Regents system in the two and a half decades since George Van Allen took the helm. He expanded the school by adding six branch campuses around Middle Tennessee, including one underway in Madison. Enrollment is up by a third compared to a decade ago.
But a report obtained by the Tennessean earlier this year also shed light on conflict within the school. Faculty accused Van Allen of creating a hostile working environment with low trust in his leadership. He defended his work and said any critics were in the minority.
In an interview with WPLN this summer, Van Allen's boss — Board of Regents chancellor Flora Tydings — declined to comment on specific personnel issues but said she planned to start evaluating college presidents more thoroughly.
The Board of Regents is holding its quarterly meeting this week and has amended its agenda to include a discussion about the Nashville State search process.