FAQs

General

What is the Governor’s Management Fellowship Program?

The prestigious Tennessee Governor’s Management Fellowship is awarded to exceptional applicants who wish to serve and learn with the state of Tennessee’s top executive leaders. The nonpartisan program offers a competitive salary and is open to recent college graduates demonstrating outstanding academic achievement, a genuine passion for serving their community, remarkable character, and leadership abilities.

These talented and highly-motivated individuals are awarded the unique opportunity to spend two years working full-time for senior and top-ranking government officials.  Fellows will be oriented in state government by spending the first six months of the fellowship working with the office of Customer Focused Government. The enterprise-wide initiatives that fellows will support are focused exclusively on identifying and producing measurable improvements in the state’s operations. 

After the six month period, through a mutual selection process, fellows will coordinate with agencies to identify opportunities to work on impactful projects in a department, based on personal interests and skills. For the remaining 18 months, fellows will work closely with commissioners and executive level leadership to affect systemic change in enterprise or departmental operations, as well as understand policy issues and support specific program areas.  At the same time, fellows will participate in an accelerated leadership development program, learning with other executive branch leaders, and have opportunities to attend events with the state’s top private and public sector leaders.

What is the mission of the program?

The fellowship program’s mission is to recruit exceptional leaders into the executive branch of state government in order to provide aspiring professionals with significant responsibilities and the opportunity to serve and learn with the state’s top executive leaders. The fellowship will infuse state government with enthusiastic and talented recent graduates, committed to making Tennessee a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

What determines eligibility?

Eligibility is merit-based, will have demonstrated excellence in academics, proven leadership ability, involvement in extracurricular activities, and a commitment to public service.

Applicants must have graduated from an undergraduate institution or graduate program between December 2015 and August 2018, and are chosen without regard to race, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, or political affiliation.

Applicants may also be considered if they have completed military service or long-term public service work.  Examples of long-term public service organizations include AmeriCorps, Teach for America, and the Peace Corps. Additional exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Individual questions on eligibility can be directed to tn.fellows@tn.gov.

What is the Fellows Executive Committee?

The Executive Committee is responsible for interviewing finalists and recommending the individuals it deems most qualified for appointment to the fellowship. The Fellows Executive Committee is a bipartisan commission composed of Tennessee’s most prominent public and private-sector leaders, representing a broad range of backgrounds and professions.

How long is the fellowship program?

The fellowship program is two years and begins in August 2018. 

What is the selection and program timeline?

Selection

August 4th - October 2 at 6PM EST: Application Period – Application becomes available on August 4 and will remain open until October 2, at 6 PM EDT.  All components (including letters of recommendation) of the application must be submitted by this time in order for applications to be considered.

Mid-October 2017: Phone interview offers extended.

Late October 2017: Initial phone interviews conducted, finalists announced.

Mid-November 2017: Final interviews conducted by the Fellows Executive Committee.

Early December 2017: Final offers are extended to a maximum of 5 individuals. 

August 2018: Fellowship begins.

*Schedule is subject to change. 

How many applicants will be selected for the fellowship?

A maximum of five candidates will be awarded fellowships.

Are fellows provided with compensation and benefits?

Yes. Fellows are considered full-time state employees and will be offered a salary and benefits.

Does the fellowship provide housing?

No. Fellows are responsible for their own housing arrangements. 


Applying

Are there age restrictions?

No. However, to be eligible for the fellowship, candidates must have graduated from an undergraduate institution or graduate program between December 2015 and August 2018.

Applicants may also be considered if they have completed military service or long-term public service work.  Examples of long-term public service organizations include AmeriCorps, Teach for America, and the Peace Corps. Additional exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Individual questions on eligibility can be directed to tn.fellows@tn.gov.

Do I need to be of the same political party as the current administration?

No. Fellowships are awarded on a nonpartisan basis. The Fellows Executive Committee is bipartisan and will reward the best and brightest candidates, regardless of their political affiliation

How do I apply?

Applications will be made available beginning August 4 and can be accessed online by selecting “Apply Now” on the fellowship’s home page. The online application requires a resume, cover letter, unofficial transcript(s), and two letters of recommendation scanned and uploaded as PDF files. Official transcripts may be requested at a later date.

I’m an undergraduate student, which transcripts do I need to submit?

Dual enrollment transcripts from high school are not necessary. Transcripts that reflect courses that were taken at a community college or alternative school are not required unless the coursework is not reflected on your final undergraduate transcript. Additional questions can be referred to tn.fellows@tn.gov.

I’m a graduate student. What transcripts do I need to provide?

Applicants who have recently completed graduate programs must upload a final, unofficial undergraduate transcript in addition to their final, unofficial graduate school transcript. 

How are  letters of recommendation submitted?

Letters must be submitted by selecting “For Recommenders” on the fellowship’s homepage. Applicants will not be able to read the letters, but will receive an e-mail once their application is complete and both letters of recommendation are received.  Additional guidelines for what content should be included in your letter of recommendation can be found on the “For Recommenders” page.  Authenticity of your recommendation letters may be verified later. 

Please note: You are responsible for communicating these instructions to both of your recommenders and ensuring that letters are submitted by the application deadline, October 2 at 6 PM EST. If both of your letters of recommendation are not received by this time, your application will be deemed incomplete, and you will not be considered for the fellowship.

What is expected of my recommendation letters?

Recommendation letters should reveal information about you that is not necessarily included in your application. It is best to have recommendations from people who know you well; a recommendation from a prominent individual is not helpful if he or she does not personally know you.

It is suggested that one recommendation be from someone who can speak to your academic or professional competence and another be from someone with knowledge of your extracurricular, community, and/or civic activities.

Additional guidelines for what content should be included in your letter of recommendation can be found on the “For Recommenders” page.

Letters should not exceed one single-spaced page.

If I am selected for the final round of interviews in Nashville, will my travel expenses be covered?

All travel expenses will be covered for applicants who are accepted to the final round of interviews.  More specific details will be communicated to those who are accepted for final interviews.


After Acceptance

What is the orientation process like?

Fellows are oriented to state government during the first few months of the fellowship  Orientation includes a "crash course" in government management, an overview of the governor’s priorities and those of each department, a team-building retreat, an introduction to the governor, his staff, and all cabinet members, an exposure to both statewide and department-specific initiatives, and individual projects.

What is involved in the leadership development program?

The leadership development program is one year and will consist of periodic summits with rising leaders in state government from each of the 23 departments.  During these summits you will master competencies that are key for leadership development. 

How will fellows be placed?

Fellows are placed in one of Tennessee’s 23 cabinet level departments based on both the preferences of the fellow and the needs of each department.   Once placed in the department, fellows will work closely with the commissioner and his/her executive leadership team on department initiatives of importance to the commissioner.

What is expected of a Governor’s Fellow during the program?

Being a Governor’s Fellow is a prestigious honor and a full-time commitment. As part of a distinguished group of future leaders, fellows are expected to work hard, fully engage in their work placement, and take advantage of the opportunities available to them as they serve at the top level of state government.

Is there any opportunity for career placement following the program?

Yes. However, a job offer is not guaranteed at the end of the two-year fellowship.


More questions? Please e-mail us at tn.fellows@tn.gov.