Roane State Community College headed the consortium which included 12 other community colleges in addition to Tennessee technology centers.
The federal grant money is intended to open the opportunity for health sciences education to more people. It is unclear at this time how the money will be distributed among the schools.
“This award is representative of the strong, quality programs our institutions provide,” said John Morgan, TBR chancellor, in a recent press release.
“It is an excellent example of how our TBR institutions collaborate to meet the needs of our students and our state, and I appreciate President Goff [Roane] for his leadership on this project.”
Morgan said it is important to continually increase the number of Tennesseans with quality credentials. He believes this will continue to strengthen Tennessee’s economy.
“Employers seem to be pleased with the products we produce [students], they just want us to produce more of them,” Morgan said in his update to the board. “This is consistent to where we have been over the past two years … I think we will see forward movement by building on the work we have already been doing.”
Dr. Warren Nichols spoke to the board on behalf of the American Association of Community Colleges and its involvement in providing quality educations. Nichols read a paragraph from an AACC report that said, “…Community colleges need to be redesigned for new times. What we fine today are student success rates that are unacceptably low, employment preparation that is inadequately connected to job market needs, and disconnects in transitions between high schools, community colleges, and baccalaureate institutions…”
According to Nichols, a critical analysis has been taken of community colleges in Tennessee. The AACC in a report from the 21st-Century Commission on the future of community colleges, said colleges should consider, “redesigning students’ educational experiences, reinventing institutional roles, and resetting the system to create incentives for student and institutional success.”
Nichols reported much was being done in light of the analysis. The following are some changes being implemented in community colleges across Tennessee:
n Credentials can be gained for 30-plus hours in some institutions.
n Colleges are identifying and addressing labor market needs.
n Connections and channels between higher education and students K-12 are being improved.
Wendy Thompson updated the board on the Access2Success Initiative. The initiative is focused on eliminating access gaps in the education system to increase the overall number of college graduates. Studies have been implemented to target two groups: underrepresented minorities and low-income students.
“Looking at projected population growth through 2015, we see our URM is likely to increase and due to economic forces, [the number of] our low-income students will, as well,” Thompson said.
Reports by A2S showed an increased gap between the success of URM and low-income students and others. Morgan said the studies have given schools a target and plans will be developed to close the gaps.
The board passed an approval of the Resolution of Appreciation for President Gary Goff. Goff has been the president at Roane State Community College 2005. He has decided to resign from his post.
The board meeting was the last official function by TBR during its visit to Cleveland State Community College. Dr. Carl Hite, CSCC president, said he thought the visit was a success. He said the regents seemed to enjoy being able to meet and converse with some of the students Thursday morning.
Regent Gregory Duckett agreed the visit was a success.
“It has been excellent. Dr. Hite and his team opened the doors and made us feel at home. I could not have asked for a better host,” said Duckett.
“They gave us an opportunity to see some of the programs that are being implemented in conjunction with the number of community partners, as well. I cannot compliment enough how things have gone for this September quarterly meeting.”