Alumni News

Paula Myrick Short (M.Ed. ’70, Ph.D. ’83) receives international educational leadership award

Photo of Gary Filan and Paula Myrick Short

Chair Academy President Dr. Gary Filan with Paul A. Elsner Award recipient Dr. Paula Myrick Short.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Paula Myrick Short has received an international award─the Paul A. Elsner International Excellence in Leadership Award─that recognizes individuals in the field of education who demonstrate those qualities.

The award is presented annually by the Chair Academy, an international leadership organization for post-secondary institutions. The mission of the Academy, according to its Web site, is “to design and promote world-class training programs and services to advance academic and administrative leadership for post-secondary institutions world-wide in an era of change.”

Short is the vice chancellor for academic affairs of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), the sixth-largest system of higher education in the United States. The TBR serves more than 180,000 students through its six universities, 13 community colleges and 26 technology centers.

Since joining TBR in 2001, Short has led multiple academic initiatives that have boosted the TBR’s scope and quality. Her dedication to academic improvement is visible through her leadership in the Academic Audit initiative.

“Paula combines great vision with strong leadership and management skills. She was an early adopter of academic audit at the University of Missouri System and carried that vision to the Tennessee Board of Regents. She was first in the world to apply the process to a 19-campus institution spanning the range from research university to community college and, just as impressively, to sustain and improve it through multiple cycles,” says Dr. William F. Massy, professor emeritus at Stanford University and president of the Jackson Hole Higher Education Group.

In 2006, Short established the Tennessee Teaching Quality Task Force which brought together a group that could better assess the Teacher Quality Initiative (TQI) in Tennessee. Short’s task force has helped the TQI identify and focus on key areas of teacher quality issues throughout the state.

Short also established the Regents Academic Leadership Institute (RALI), providing a mechanism for bringing together faculty and administrators from the TBR campuses to focus on leadership styles, problem solving, leadership skills and mentoring support. Through RALI, the Board of Regents is able to cover all the costs of participants and programs.

“As a result of the initiatives led by Dr. Short, I have witnessed more positive change in higher education in Tennessee over the past seven years than in my 26 years of experience with Tennessee’s higher education systems. Dr. Short is focused and committed to providing access to quality education for Tennesseans, and recognizes the importance of preparing leaders to sustain continuous improvement,” says Dr. Treva Berryman, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and director of RALI.

Other areas of Short’s work at the TBR include expanding access through online educational options, re-designing courses in developmental education and conducting original research in diversity. TBR Chancellor Charles Manning underscores Short’s impact through her ability to lead.  

“One of Dr. Short’s greatest leadership strengths has been her ability to gain agreement across multiple institutions for collaborative undertakings,” says Manning.