Tristan Denley


Dr. Tristan Denley currently serves as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the Tennessee Board of Regents. Before moving to the system office in August 2013 he was Provost 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, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and President Obama and won a platinum IMS Global Learning Impact Award in 2014. He is presently involved in implementing a wide variety of initiatives surrounding college completion, stretching from education redesign in a variety of disciplines and institutional transformation, to the role of behavioral economics, predictive analytics, and data mining in higher education.

EDUCAUSE Publications

  • Degree Compass: A Course Recommendation System
    • Article
    • Author

    To successfully match students with courses suited to both their talents and academic goals, Degree Compass combines data on a student's past grades with transcript information from thousands of other students.

  • Degree Compass Course Recommendation System
    • Briefs, Case Studies, Papers, Reports
    • Author

    As a regional institution at which over 40% of students are non-traditional learners and over 50% are Pell grant recipients, Austin Peay State University (APSU), in Clarksville, Tennessee, enrolls many students who are unfamiliar with the subtleties of navigating their way through a degree program.

EDUCAUSE Presentations