The University of Memphis' governing body, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), is responsible for the operation of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee as provided by the laws of the State of Tennessee. The TBR is responsible for the government, management, and control of the system, including the UofM. The duties of the Board include the establishment of curricula and degree requirements; budgets; and policies regarding fiscal affairs, personnel matters, and campus life. 
The president of each institution within the TBR system is the executive head of that institution and of all its departments, and exercises supervision and direction necessary to promote the efficient operation of the institution. The institution’s president recommends annually to the TBR, through the chancellor, the creation or continuance of faculty and other employee positions. The president has the authority to recommend or make appointments of personnel and, within budgetary limitations, to fix their salaries, and recommends or approves promotions, transfers, leaves of absence, and removal of personnel. The authority is in accordance with policies and procedures established by TBR and subject to prior approval or confirmation by TBR or the chancellor as required. 
To illustrate how this works in practice, in December 2001 the TBR approved a recommendation to reduce the number of hours required for graduation to 120 credit hours for baccalaureate degrees.  To implement this policy at the institution-level, each department at the UofM developed revisions to its undergraduate degree program. After approval at the department and college level, these program revisions were approved by the University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.  New programs and program revisions are instituted at the departmental level and go through several levels of university approval before being sent to TBR for its approval. The Board exercises similar policy oversight in financial matters, and annually approves all student fees and the system’s operating budget.