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About Chris Whaley
About Chris Whaley
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J.D., University of Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville, TN

B.S., Political Science, Middle Tennessee State University, Mufreesboro, TN

A.A., Social Science, Roane State Community College, Harriman, TN


Dr. Chris Whaley has a personal understanding of the college’s value to its communities. Dr. Whaley’s father, Lowell, worked at Roane State from the college’s early days, and Dr. Whaley began his college education at Roane State. He earned Roane State’s highest student award, continued his education at Middle Tennessee State University and earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee.

After three years in private practice as an attorney, Dr. Whaley returned to the college in 1997 as program director of the A.A.S. Paralegal Studies program, a position he held until 2010. Since then he has served in positions of successively greater administrative responsibility at the college. He was named dean of social science, business and education in 2002, and in 2010 was promoted to vice president of student learning/chief academic officer. Dr. Whaley became Roane State’s fifth president on November 1, 2012.

Dr. Whaley’s experience as a Roane State student, program director, faculty member, dean and administrator gives him a unique perspective on the college’s role. He understands that the community college is a place where students — many of them first-generation college students — gain access to world-class higher education and the outstanding opportunities it provides. Dr. Whaley also understands that Roane State is a place that drives economic development by working closely with employers to offer relevant programs that meet employers’ workforce needs.

Higher education milestones

  • Developed original curriculum for Roane State’s A.A.S. degree in paralegal studies
  • Developed articulation agreements in legal studies to Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Implemented delivery of legal studies courses through distance education technology
  • Chaired Roane State Academic and Curriculum Council
  • Served on various committees including General Education Committee, QEP Committee and Completion Overview Committee
  • Established New Faculty Academy to orient new faculty members to college
  • Worked with faculty on initiatives such as SAILS (Students Achieving Improved Learning Strategies), the Symposium on Powerful Teaching, and a variety of new courses, programs and service learning opportunities
  • Formed the college’s first Student Learning and Diversity Committee
  • Collaborated with key individuals to equip the Scott County Campus Law Library
  • Assisted in development of numerous grant proposals
  • Convened and provided leadership for various committees implementing initiatives related to the Complete College Tennessee Act
  • Promoted growth of dual studies program, awareness of Tennessee Transfer Pathways, articulation agreements with private institutions, development of 2+2 programs and new programs in advanced manufacturing
  • Named Roane State Outstanding Alumnus


  • Member, East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC)
  • Member, Michael Dunn Center Foundation Board
  • District Chair, Catoosa District, Boy Scouts of America
  • Member, Anderson County Chamber of Commerce Board
  • Member, Harriman Utilities Board
  • Vice Chair, Roane County Chamber of Commerce Board
  • Member, Roane County Leadership Alumni
  • Member, Scott County Leadership Alumni
  • Member, Leadership Oak Ridge Alumni
  • Member, Tennessee Valley Corridor Board, Tennessee Board of Regents Liaison
  • Member, Lenoir City Committee of 100
  • Mentor, tnAchieves scholarship program
  • Member, Mid East Community Action Agency Board 


  • Emphasis on Ethics (Quarterly Article), In Brief, Tennessee Paralegal Association
  • Biography of Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Great American Judges, ABC-CLIO Publishing
  • Contemporary Legal Issues: Domestic Relations, Paralegal Studies Videos, West Legal Studies & CNN
  • Biography of Elihu Root, Great American Lawyers, ABC-CLIO Publishing
  • Advanced Probate Issues for Paralegals, Institute for Paralegal Education


  • Embedded Video & The Inverted Classroom, American Association for Paralegal Education Annual Conference
  • Building a Successful 2+2 Partnership: Universities and Community Colleges, American Association for Teacher Education
  • Integrating Child Support Law Into Paralegal Studies, American Association for Paralegal Education
  • Advanced Issues in Probate Law, Institute for Paralegal Education Continuing Education Seminar


  • Harvard Institute for Education Management
  • Access to Success (A2S) Annual Conference
  • Southern Association for Colleges and Schools Annual Meeting
  • American Association for Paralegal Education Annual Conference
  • American Association of Community Colleges Future Leaders Institute
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