Helping leaders solve real-world problems has been the core tenet of the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service (IPS) since its creation in the early 1970s.

Through its extensive outreach statewide, IPS works to increase Tennessee’s prosperity and competitiveness. In doing so, it is a critical component of fulfilling the University’s outreach mission and it brings to reality the vision of the late Ed Boling and former UT president who created the institute. Boling called it “unique” and saw it as moving the University beyond teaching and research by expanding its service to leaders in business, government and law enforcement.

IPS is comprised of agencies including the Center for Industrial Services, County Technical Assistance Service, the Law Enforcement Innovation Center, Municipal Technical Advisory Service and the Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership.

And 2015 proved to be a busy year for IPS. Some highlights include:

  • The Center for Industrial Services’ Procurement Technical Assistance Center team coached Tennessee businesses through bidding for government contracts and those businesses amassed more than $525 million in contracts.

  • The Law Enforcement Innovation Center trained 381 law enforcement professionals, and 299 were from Tennessee and participated as part of the center’s statewide training initiative.

  • An analysis of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service’s Certified Municipal Finance Officer (CMFO) program shows that the types of adverse findings and the number of adverse findings in municipal financial audits are fewer after CMFO training than prior to it. In 2007, the Tennessee legislature required most cities to have a chief financial officer who is certified in that function


  • The Municipal Technical Advisory Service also trained 8,501 Tennessee town and city officials in 2015 compared to 4,436 in 2014, a 91 percent annual increase.

  • The County Technical Assistance Service, in partnership with the state Comptroller’s Office, is providing internal controls training for county officials and their staffs. State law requires county government offices to have up-to-date internal controls by the end of fiscal year 2016. To date, CTAS has trained more than 540 county officials and their deputies.