TCAT Skills Building named in honor of Herman Robinson of Elizabethton

Published 8:22 am Tuesday, September 24, 2019

GREENEVILLE — Students at Tennessee’s community colleges earned 14,963 Associate degrees and technical certificates during the 2018-19 academic year — a 79 percent increase over the past 10 years despite a slight decrease in student enrollment over the same period.

Preliminary enrollment at the 13 community colleges this fall totaled 87,687 students, down 0.5% from the same 14th-day of class enrollment figures from fall 2018, according to enrollment data reviewed by the Tennessee Board of Regents during its quarterly meeting at Walters State Community College’s new Niswonger Campus in Greeneville. The board governs the state’s public community colleges and colleges of applied technology. Individual college enrollment numbers are listed below.

Enrollment numbers at the 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) are not yet available because they open their fall trimesters later than the community colleges.

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In other action, the Board of Regents:

• Approved a new Associate degree program in entrepreneurship at Motlow State Community College, expected to launch in the next semester. Although available to any student, it is designed to encourage TCAT graduates who want to establish their own businesses to pursue the skills they need to do so. The course will be delivered online and in traditional classrooms at Motlow’s Fayetteville, McMinnville, Moore County and Smyrna campuses.

• Approved a policy revision that encourages the use of digital materials, including e-textbooks, to reduce costs for students. The policy is based on a state statute requiring governing boards minimize the cost of textbooks and course materials at public colleges and universities while maintaining quality of education and academic freedom. It is informed by research from the TBR system’s Digital Engagement Initiative pilot during the last school year, that saved participating students money. The policy provides that students be allowed to opt-out of any model that includes direct billing for digital course materials to their student accounts and declares that campus policies should not restrict the options for students to rent or buy textbooks from the vendor of their choice.

• Approved potential requests for state funding for projects not covered by the state’s higher education funding formula, although the final decision on what requests will be submitted to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) will be made after continued discussions with stakeholders. The potential requests for the 2020-21 fiscal year total $16.2 million in one-time funding and $11.1 million in recurring annual funding for ongoing initiatives. They include additional funding for student advising personnel, increasing competencybased education opportunities, enhancing campus safety and security, start-up costs for new TCAT training programs in response to business and industry needs, and equipment for a new TCAT Morristown Advanced Manufacturing Center. All funding is eventually determined by the state legislature when it approves the overall state budget, which won’t occur until next spring.

• Appointed Dr. Allana R. Hamilton as the board’s next vice chancellor for academic affairs, succeeding Dr. Randy Schulte, who retired last month. Hamilton is president of Jackson State Community College. (See separate release)

• Approved the naming of the Skills Building on the main campus of TCAT Elizabethton the Herman Robinson Skills Building in honor of the late state Senator Herman Robinson, who in 1963 sponsored the legislation that established the state system of State Area Vocational Technical Schools, which are now the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. TCAT Elizabethton President Dean Blevins said that Robinson was a visionary, recognizing the need for career and technical skills training. Sen. Robinson died in 1971.

Preliminary 14th-day of class fall semester enrollment numbers at Tennessee’s community colleges, compared to the same numbers in fall 2018:

Chattanooga State, 8,050, -2.3%

Cleveland State, 3,371, +3.3%

Columbia State, 6,314, +1.0%

Dyersburg State, 2,846, -4.6%

Jackson State, 4,893, +0.8%

Motlow State, 6,991, +1.5%

Nashville State, 7,889, -4.8%

Northeast State 6,082, -0.9%

Pellissippi State, 10,694, -1.8%

Roane State, 5,867, +2.0%

Southwest Tennessee, 9,263, -0.6%

Volunteer State, 9,146, -0.1%

Walters State, 6,281, +2.2%