Volunteer State Community College is a public, comprehensive community college offering quality, innovative educational programs, support, and services. Vol State is committed to building partnerships, strengthening internal and external community engagement, and promoting diversity, cultural awareness, and economic development to prepare students for successful careers, university transfer, and meaningful civic participation in a global society.
Dr. Russ Deaton is the Tennessee Board of Regents’ Executive Vice Chancellor for Policy and Strategy, directly leading the Office of Policy and Strategy and providing leadership support for the Offices of Academic Affairs, Organizational Effectiveness, and Student Success. He joined the TBR system in July 2017 after a 17-year career at the Tennessee Higher Education, culminating his service there as Interim Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director, and leader of the Policy and Data Division.
Dr. Deaton joined THEC in 2000 as a Policy Research Analyst, and later served as Director of Facilities Planning, Director of Fiscal Policy Analysis, and Associate Executive Director for Fiscal Policy and Administration. He designed several higher education finance policy tools for state government, including a tuition model and Tennessee’s innovative higher education outcomes-based funding formula, the first of its kind in the nation.
At TBR, Dr. Deaton is the system’s chief data and policy strategist and developed the system’s funding, enrollment, and student success data dashboards, which are both tools for research and public transparency. He has led several of the system’s strategic and student success initiatives, including the innovative Reimagining the Community College Experience project to help students earn career-oriented credentials early in their college careers.
He earned his Ph.D in higher education administration from Vanderbilt University, where he studied the public policy process in state government. Since 2007, he has served as an adjunct faculty member and lecturer at Vanderbilt, teaching courses in higher education finance, public policy, and policy economics. He was honored with the Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Member Award by Vanderbilt’s Peabody College for the 2014-2015 academic year. He earned a Bachelor of Engineering in civil engineering from Vanderbilt, a Master of Science in human performance and sports studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a Master of Science in college student personnel at UTK. He has authored and co-authored numerous research publications and presentations.
The establishment of a state community college in Gallatin involved the cooperative work of many civic leaders and citizens of Sumner County as well as State officials. A unified proposal for a college was presented to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in Nashville on September 11, 1967. Upon the recommendation of State Education Commissioner J. H. Warf, Governor Buford Ellington presented the college legislation to the 1969 General Assembly, and it was adopted. Following this action, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission on June 2, 1969, authorized the State Board of Education to establish a community college in Sumner County.
A 100-acre tract of land on Nashville Pike was chosen for the new campus. The property was deeded to the State on December 4, 1969.
The new college was named Volunteer State Community College, and this was approved by the board on July 2, 1970. Ground-breaking ceremonies for the first four buildings were held on November 5, 1970. Pending completion and occupancy of the initial campus facilities in early 1972, temporary operations were located in the Cordell Hull Hotel building in Gallatin. Utilizing the hotel and the educational facilities of several Gallatin churches, the College began instruction in the fall of 1971 with 581 students. In 1972, the General Assembly established the Tennessee Board of Regents as the governing board for the State University and Community College System, at which time the central control of the College transferred from the State Board of Education to the Regents System.
Volunteer State has experienced phenomenal growth in enrollment, curricula, staff, program, public service, facilities, and quality throughout its operation. The main campus of Volunteer State now comprises eighteen buildings, and the Volunteer State campus at Livingston continues to grow in every aspect as well. Numerous off-campus operations extend the College's instruction and public service roles throughout its multi-county area. Since the college's inception in 1971, more than 192,750 students have taken classes at Vol State (as of the end of the Spring 2023 semester).
Volunteer State Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the Associate Degrees and certificates. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, call 404-679-4500, or visit http://www.sacscoc.org for questions about the accreditation of Volunteer State Community College.