The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) is composed of eighteen members: twelve lay citizens appointed for six-year terms by the governor (subject to confirmation by the state senate) from each of the nine congressional districts and three grand divisions of the state (West, Central, East); one faculty member and one student, each appointed for a one-year term by the governor from among the system institutions; and four ex officio members—the governor, the commissioner of education, the commissioner of agriculture, and the executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
A primary responsibility of the Tennessee Board of Regents is to preserve the unique qualities, integrity, and regional and community relationships of each of the institutions.  To minimize the influence that any political, religious, or other external body can place on the members, the Board must include:
- One public member appointed from each of the nine congressional districts in which he or she is domiciled;
- Three at-large members appointed from different geographical areas of the state;
- Each of the two leading political parties represented by at least three appointed members;
- At least four appointed members who are alumni of the institutions governed by the Board, but not more than two members to be alumni of the same institution;
- At least one member under 30 years of age;
- At least one member 60 years of age or older; and
- At least one member of a racial minority.
In addition, all Board members are required to provide full financial disclosure.  All Board meetings are open and public notice is furnished to the news media.  Minutes are published of all committee and sub-committee meetings.  Board policies include a Code of Ethics to ensure public trust. 
The Board’s academic freedom and responsibility policy is applicable to all universities and community colleges within the TBR system.  The UofM policy on academic freedom provides further support to these important principles.