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Leadership Bio

Tristan Denley

Dr. Tristan Denley currently serves as Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at the University System of Georgia. Before moving to Georgia in May 2017 he served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the Tennessee Board of Regents from August 2013 until May 2017, and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Austin Peay State University from January 2009. Originally from Penzance, England, Dr. Denley earned his PhD in Mathematics from Trinity College Cambridge, and held positions in Sweden, Canada, and the University of Mississippi before coming to Tennessee. At Ole Miss he served as Chair of Mathematics, and Senior Fellow of the Residential College program.

Throughout his career, he has taken a hands-on approach in a variety of initiatives impacting student success. In 2007, he was chosen as a Redesign Scholar by the National Center for Academic Transformation for his work in rethinking the teaching of freshmen mathematics classes.

At Austin Peay he created Degree Compass, a course recommendation system that successfully pairs current students with the courses that best fit their talents and program of study for upcoming semesters. This system, which combines hundreds of thousands of past students’ grades with each particular student’s transcript, to make individualized recommendations for current students has received recognition from Educause, Complete College America, Lumina Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and President Obama and won a platinum IMS Global Learning Impact Award in 2014.

In 2016 he was selected as one of the Washington Monthly’s sixteen most innovative people in Higher Education, one of the Center for Digital Education’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers and was invited to the White House to address recipients of President Obama’s First in the World grants as a model of what could be achieved by a higher education system. He was the recipient of the 2016 Newel Perry Award from the National Federation of the Blind for his leadership of a systemic approach to the accessibility of educational content. He began 2017 by being named as one of five higher education leaders to watch in 2017 (and beyond) by Education Dive.

His most recent work has been to transform developmental education and advising at a system scale. His work continues in using a data informed approach to implement a wide variety of system scale initiatives surrounding college completion, stretching from education redesign in a variety of disciplines, to the role of predictive analytics and data mining, cognitive psychology and behavioral economics in higher education.

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