Southwest Tennessee Community College named national Finalist for 2024 Bellwether Award

For more information, contact Diana Fedinec, Southwest Tennessee Community College Director of Public Relations and Media at 901- 333-4247 or

BellwetherThe Bellwether College Consortium has selected Southwest Tennessee Community College as a national Finalist to compete in the category of Planning, Governance and Finance category for the prestigious 2024 Bellwether Award.

Thirty colleges were vetted as finalists, ten in each of three categories that included Instructional Programs and Services, Workforce Development, and Planning, Governance and Finance. 

This is the second time Southwest competed among 9 other colleges for this category. The College won the award in 2021 for its submission,  Redesign, Reinvent, and Reset: Organizing for Large Scale Systemic Change, which garnered recognition for its trend-setting programming to transform the student experience from strategies, successes and lessons learned through its Achieving the Dream (ATD) work. 

“The ingenuity and innovation demonstrated by these community colleges make them shining examples of the solutions-focused culture prevalent in these organizations,” said Rose Martinez, Ph.D., director for the Bellwether College Consortium. “The consortium looks forward to hosting 30 award-winning finalists at the Community College Futures Assembly.” 

The Bellwether Award identifies and honors outstanding and innovative community college programs. The finalists are colleges with a program that scores highest in the first round of competition and are invited to compete in the final round of the award competition to be held February 25 - 27, in San Antonio, Texas, where award recipients will be announced.   

The College’s submission this year advances its ATD work with an eye toward bridging workforce and academics through increased career exploration, career advising, early workforce certification and the creation of seamless pathways between credit and non-credit courses. To support its ongoing redesign work, Southwest was one of four Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) colleges to receive a $550,000 Reimagining the Community College Experience (RCC) grant and a $250,000 Tennessee Higher Education Commission allocation. Southwest also reallocated funds, investing an additional $500,000 in the RCC work. 

The Bellwether College Consortium issued a call for nominations in the summer of 2023. Finalists representing 18 states and 29 community colleges were selected to compete from a large pool of submissions. College teams will conduct presentations to a jury of anonymous  judges and fellow community college practitioners and CEOs and share how they significantly addressed a critical issue affecting community colleges. 

Congratulations to the Project Leads from the Southwest Workforce Solutions Center, Grants Development and Management Leadership, Academic Affairs Leadership, Student Affairs Leadership, and Economics Faculty, and students, staff, and additional faculty from the College’s divisions and disciplines, who contributed to the success of this national recognition. 

2024 List of Bellwether Awards Finalists: 

Finalists in the Planning, Governance, and Finance category, which recognizes programs or  activities that improve college efficiency and effectiveness are:  

  • Bellingham Technical College (WA) 
  • Lone Star College (TX) 
  • Western Dakota Technical College (SD) 
  • Fletcher Technical Community College (LA) 
  • Stanly Community College (NC) 
  • Northeast Texas Community College (TX) 
  • Hudson County Community Colleges (NJ) 
  • Norco College (CA) 
  • Southwest Tennessee Community College (TN)
  • Lakeshore Technical College (WI)

Finalists in the Workforce Development category, which identifies strategic alliances that promote community and economic development are:  

  • Cleveland Community College (NC) 
  • Central Community College (NE) 
  • Gaston College (NC) 
  • Southside Virginia Community College (VA) 
  • St. Louis Community College (MO) 
  • Del Mar College (TX) 
  • San Antonio College (TX) 
  • Yavapai College (AZ) 
  • Nashua Community College (NH) 
  • Grand Rapids Community College (MI)

Finalists in the Instructional Programs and Services category, which recognizes programs and  services that foster or support teaching and learning are:  

  • Reading Area Community College (PA) 
  • Hudson County Community College (NJ) 
  • Ventura College (CA) 
  • Columbia Basin College (WA) 
  • Leeward Community College (HI) 
  • Cerritos College (CA) 
  • North Florida College (FL) 
  • Allan Hancock Joint Community College District (CA) 
  • Northwest Mississippi Community College (MS) 
  • Pima Community College (AZ)

For more information, visit Bellwether Award.