TICUA Staff Members


Dr. Claude O. Pressnell, Jr. - President x201

Dr. Claude Pressnell, Jr., a native of Kansas, has spent over 25 years in higher education administration.  He began his career at Southwest Baptist University in Missouri as an admission recruiter; within a year advanced to the position of Senior Director of Admissions and Student Development.

He holds a doctorate in higher education administration/educational leadership from Vanderbilt University.  While attending Vanderbilt he served as the Director of Financial Assistance and Assistant Professor of Religion at Belmont University.  In 1995 he served as the Founding Executive Director of the Institute for Family Studies in Colorado.  Pressnell soon returned to Tennessee to become the Executive Director of the Tennessee Foundation for Independent Colleges and since 2000 has served as President of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association.

In 2003 the United States Senate appointed Pressnell to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance where he served as Vice Chair from 2007 until his second and final term expired in 2008. In 2007, he testified before Congress on higher education policy issues.  The Committee serves as an independent source of advice and counsel to the United States Congress and the Secretary of Education on student aid issues and higher education policy.  

In June of 2011, Pressnell was selected for as Fulbright Senior Specialist to develop the student financing policy for the Government of the Maldives. 

Pressnell serves on numerous international, national, and state level boards.  He also serves as an international advisor on higher education reform in the Middle East, the Balkan region of Europe and South America.  He is currently advising the Iraqi government on institutional accreditation and quality. 
 

Dr. Diane Berty - Vice President x203

Joining the TICUA staff in August 2010, Dr. Berty has more than 30 years of experience in student affairs work. She served at Austin Peay State University (TN) and most recently at East Central University (OK) as the Vice President for Student Development.  Berty holds a doctorate in education and also completed post-doctoral work in higher education administration from Tennessee State University.  She is a member of various national professional associations/organizations and currently serves as the co-chair of The Network Addressing Collegiate Alcohol and Other Drug Issues.  Berty is married to Greg Berty and they have one son.
Ms. Laura Cornick - Director of Member Services x202

Ms. Cornick, a 2010 Aquinas College Graduate, is responsible for managing the daily operations at the TICUA office as well as the logistics for the professional development meetings held throughout the year.

Cornick served as a legislative intern to Senate Education Committee Chair Gresham during the 2010 legislative session. She also has had experience in a variety of settings including corporate, retail, and state government.
Mr. Gregg Conroy - Executive Director, TICUA Benefit Consortium x206

Mr. Conroy has more than 30 years experience in employee benefits, compensation and human resources. He started his career as a group life and health underwriter. Since then he has worked for corporations, consulting and record keeping firms in a variety of roles and responsibilities. He has been responsible for strategic planning, program design, implementation and administration for all areas of human resources including compensation, benefits, employment, employee relations and compliance.  Since 2002 he has served as Executive Director of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association Benefits Consortium.
 

Conroy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and later earned the designations of Certified Employee Benefit Specialist and Senior Professional in Human Resources. He is a Fellow of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists and a member of other national and regional benefits and human resources professional associations. He is also a CEBS and CFP college course instructor, a published author and speaker on compensation and benefits topics.

Ms. Amy Heckman - Director of Technology and Data Systems x208

Ms. Heckman joined the TICUA staff in January 2008.  Prior to working at TICUA, she worked at Union University as a Staff Assistant in the Office of Student Financial Planning.  Heckman is also a graduate of Union University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science in 2003.  Heckman is married to Kent Heckman and they have one son.
Dr. Patrick L. Meldrim – Vice President  x204

Dr. Meldrim joined the TICUA staff in September 2007 after eighteen years of student affairs work at various institutions including Wittenberg University (OH), University of Rochester (NY), Vanderbilt University (TN), and Austin Peay State University (TN). Meldrim holds a doctorate in higher education leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University and both a Bachelor of Arts degree (biology/psychology) and Master of Science degree (higher education counseling) from the University of Rochester.
Mr. Jason Powell- Director, Coalition for Healthy and Safe Campus Communities (CHASCo) x205
 

Mr. Powell, a native Nashvillian, joined the TICUA staff in July 2009.  Prior to becoming the Director of CHASCo, Powell worked extensively on political campaigns for local, state, and national offices.  He is a graduate of the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history and of Tennessee State University with a Master of Public Administration degree.  Powell is married to Heather Corum Powell.

Ms. Darlene Thornton - Administrative Coordinator, TICUA Benefit Consortium x207
 

Ms. Thornton has more than 10 years experience in employee benefits. Since starting her career in payroll and benefits administration for a Nashville-based financial institution she has since worked for healthcare and automotive related companies. In these roles she has been responsible for customer service to employees nationwide as well as having key responsibilities in their "back office" operations.

Thornton is a native of Tennessee and graduated from East High School in Nashville.