Sidney A. McPhee, the tenth president of Middle Tennessee State University, has presided over one of the most remarkable periods of growth and progress in the institution’s century of service.
During McPhee’s presidency, which began in 2001, MTSU has become the largest undergraduate university in Tennessee. MTSU is also the top destination for transfer students in Tennessee, the No. 1 choice among the state’s veterans and boasts the state’s largest summer session enrollment.
McPhee’s presidency also coincided with more than $400 million in improvements in academic, athletic and campus facilities – either proposed, under construction or competed – including the 250,000-square-foot, $147-million Science Building set to open in January 2015.
Since his arrival, MTSU has been successful in raising admission standards, which resulted in an increase in enrollment of high-ability students. McPhee has overseen the addition of almost 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, two colleges (Behavioral and Health Sciences and University College) and 12 institutes and centers.
In 2011, the University regained elevated status as a Comprehensive/Doctoral institution by the Carnegie Corporation, one of the nation’s oldest and most influential foundations. Also, in 2011 and 2012, Carnegie recognized the University for its community service and engagement.
McPhee has also worked to strengthen MTSU’s international initiatives on the Murfreesboro campus and abroad. In recent years, the University has increased its international undergraduate and graduate student enrollment, expanded its study-abroad and cultural opportunities and developed research collaboration with international partners.
Prior to his arrival at MTSU, McPhee was executive vice chancellor for the Tennessee Board of Regents system (TBR) in Nashville. In addition, he served as the TBR’s chief academic officer and interim chancellor.
Before his appointment at TBR, McPhee served in various senior-level administrative capacities at several major universities, including Oklahoma State University, University of Louisville and University of Memphis.
McPhee is married to Elizabeth McPhee, and they have two adult children, Seneca and Sidney-Anthony.
Academics and Scholarship
McPhee earned his bachelor’s degree (with highest honors, summa cum laude) from Prairie View A&M University in Texas; a master’s degree from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla.; and a doctorate in applied behavioral studies in education from Oklahoma State University.
He is also a graduate of the Harvard University Management Development Program and completed professional development programs at St. Mary’s University of San Antonio, Texas, and Colorado College in Colorado Springs.
As an academician, McPhee’s scholarly publications and presentations are extensive. His work has appeared in numerous local, national and international professional journals. His scholarly pursuits include international lectures and presentations in numerous countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Belgium, Canada, England, Brazil, Ethiopia and the Bahamas.
China Agricultural University in Beijing, one of the country’s top universities, awarded McPhee its highest academic award (Honorary Professor) in May 2007. He was appointed in October 2010 as senior advisor to the Chief Executive of Hanban-Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing.
A book of his photographic essays, China: Through the Eyes of An University President, published in July 2012, was sponsored by the Hanban-Confucius Institute and released internationally. In addition, he is the senior author of a book, Understanding the Campus Culture: An Introduction to College, and has co-authored a chapter for a major college textbook on academic advising.
Community Service and Recognition
McPhee served a four-year term on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors from 2003 to 2007 and a three-year term on the NCAA Executive Committee. He was appointed to the NCAA Presidential Commission on the Future of Intercollegiate Athletics in May 2005. In 2010, he was re-appointed to the NCAA board in 2010 and its executive committee.
He served two terms as president of the Sun Belt Conference athletic league and was chairman of its CEO Executive Committee.
McPhee co-chaired the Tennessee Legislative Retreat Task Force on Higher Education and was recently reelected to a second three-year term as a commission member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
He is a member of the Murfreesboro Noon Rotary Club and the SunTrust Bank Board of Directors (Nashville) and SunTrust Regional Bank Advisory Board (Murfreesboro). He previously served on the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and chaired its membership council.
He also served on the Nashville Adventure Science Center Board; the Middle Tennessee Medical Center Board; and the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America’s Middle Tennessee Council.
McPhee was named Outstanding American University President of 2002 by the American Football Foundation. In 2003, he was listed by Nashville Post business magazine as one of Tennessee’s 100 Most Powerful Individuals and, in 2004, he was ranked by Business Tennessee magazine as one of the state’s Top 50 Most Powerful African Americans.
Updated: July 2012