Tennessee State University has named Dr. Portia Shields, former president of Albany State University, as interim president, she starts work on Jan. 2, 2011.
TSU’s current president, Melvin Johnson, announced in July his plans to retire on Jan. 1.
Shields who was chosen from a pool of candidates listed with the Registry for College and University Presidents, a national search service that assists universities and colleges around the country as they seek exceptional leadership during transition periods has been signed to an 18 month contract with an option for it to be extended or shortened. She also can not become a candidate for permanent president.
Most recently Shields served as chief executive officer and chief academic officer of Concordia College in Selma, Ala., from November 2007 to December 2009. While there she improved academic programs and institutional effectiveness, raised campus academic standards, and enhanced the college’s financial operations.
She helped Concordia address accreditation concerns. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges initially placed Concordia on probation for issues concerning 17 different requirements and standards. In its most recent report, SACSCOC cited only two issues remaining for the college to address.
Sheilds becomes the first female leader in TSU's 98-year history.