We speak of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the governing body for our state’s public higher education system of which CSCC is a proud member. Totaled, this seventh largest system in the nation includes six universities, 13 community colleges and 27 technology centers across Tennessee.
Truly, it is an honor for Cleveland State to host the prestigious board, and to welcome a familiar face who chairs the Board of Regents. He is none other than Gov. Bill Haslam who will be in Cleveland to participate in board functions and also to help cut the ribbon on the beautiful campus’ newest pride and joy — the modern 4,000-square-foot technology center which is nearing its construction completion.
This impressive source of state-of-the-art industrial training has been made possible thanks to a $2 million grant from the Board of Regents, as well as a generous gift from Wacker Chemical on behalf of its massive Wacker Polysilicon North America plant whose construction near Charleston is well under way. Other sources also played significant roles in funding this magnificent package.
It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the role of a community college that the center’s ribbon cutting will be a highlight of the Board of Regents visit. That’s because of the type of education, and the training, that will be offered in the modern facility.
CSCC President Dr. Carl Hite is understandably excited about the board’s two-day visit today and Friday, especially the official opening of the center. Its powerful impact on the future education of community college students and its interaction with area employers will be unprecedented.
The new facility will provide space for companies to train employees on equipment in a classroom and lab setting. This is the type of equipment that workers will use in their workplaces.
According to the longtime Cleveland State president, “Manufacturing is still a very big part of this community.” Obviously, this is an understatement as local economic development leaders continue a bold quest to bring a third spacious industrial park to Bradley County. And in the last couple of years, such newcomers as Amazon and Wacker, as well as the new 1-million-square-plant built by Whirlpool Corp., have graced our employment landscape.
Board members will have plenty more to do during their Cleveland stay. The college also will highlight its high-tech, high-touch approach to math education, a relevant curriculum that has earned national attention and a word of praise by President Barack Obama. Board members will get the same realistic perspective as students as they receive classroom training using modern devices like the iPad and iPod.
The board also will visit existing classes for a couple of reasons. One, members will get the chance to interact with students. And two, they will visit classrooms that are involved in exemplary curriculum and instructional techniques.
The Board of Regents meets quarterly. Twice each year, its gatherings are held in Nashville. The other two are held on member campuses. This week is Cleveland State’s chance to shine in the rotation.
Alongside Haslam, other distinguished guests will be Regents Chancellor John Morgan, a slew of board members, college presidents from across the state and technology center directors.
For decades, Cleveland State has served as a beacon of opportunity in education, vocational training and technical direction. The highly respected school has earned this moment to share the spotlight with those who wield considerable influence in postsecondary education.
We welcome Gov. Haslam, Chancellor Morgan, Board of Regents members, and educational leaders who are gracing our community from sister colleges and centers.
We trust you will enjoy your stay.
We know you will leave impressed!