Southwest: In the News

In the News

Links to Southwest news and other reports on community college trends, Tennessee Board of Regents coverage and more:


Columbia State Awarded SERS Grant For Radiologic Technology (Williamson Source) 

Columbia State Community College was awarded a $48,000 Student Engagement, Retention and Success Grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents to fund a Short-Term Study Abroad Program for Radiologic Technology and Emergency Medical Services students.

Are Colleges Really Falling Short on Racial Justice? (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Black scholars debate that question and consider what it will take to actually diversify faculties.

Has remote learning made colleges more cyber-vulnerable? (CC Daily)

The shift from in-person learning at colleges to remote classes due to the coronavirus pandemic has led to a spike in cybersecurity needs, although not necessarily greater success on the part of hackers.


The fall opening of colleges: Upheaval, pandemic weirdness and a fragile stability (Washington Post) 

The public university in Arizona confronted the steep challenge of squelching ... For higher education leaders, these are extraordinarily difficult calls. ... At the University of Tennessee, which has about 29,000 students, there were 600 ...

‘Help me, so I can help you.’ Tennessee college students call for greater empathy during the pandemic (TN Chalkbeat) 

William Collins remembers exactly where he was last semester when his college, Fisk University, announced it was stopping in-person classes due to the coronavirus.


tnAchieves helps 100K students into college (Williamson Herald) 

tnAchieves, the model for and a partnering organization to the TN Promise scholarship in 90 Tennessee counties, directly supported its 100,000th student into college this fall.  


After years-long climb, Tennessee’s graduation rates dip slightly during COVID-19 pandemic (Tennessean)

Tennessee’s graduation rates nearly decade-long climb lost ground during the 2019-20 school year amid a turbulent school year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. About 89.6% of public high school seniors earned their diplomas at the end of the 2019-20 school year, a slight dip from the 89.7% rate set during the 2018-19 school year. 


Tennessee launches program for adults to earn high school equivalency diplomas online (WTVF)

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has launched a campaign to bring accessible adult education to Tennesseans. Adults who did not graduate high school can participate in online course programs that will lead them to a high school equivalency diploma.

MTSU named a top 100 college for social mobility by U.S. News & World Report (News Journal) 

Middle Tennessee State University reported the largest year-over-year gains in enrollment this fall among the state’s locally governed higher education institutions, the school’s Board of Trustees learned Tuesday.

Colleges scrap spring break to limit coronavirus spread (Education Dive)

While school officials can't so easily influence students' behavior, they can control the academic calendar, one higher ed professor said.

Google just changed the higher education game. Colleges and universities should be paying attention. (Business Insider) 

Google recently announced its Google Career Certificates program, and it's making waves in the pond of higher education. Among its other ambitious undertakings, Google is starting to act like a university, offering short, profession-specific credentials that can be completed in as little as six months.


Guided pathways gain traction, but some practices aren't widespread: report (Education Dive)

Community colleges are making progress in academic advising but could step up efforts to help students set career goals, new research suggests.

Nashville State Community College Clarksville Campus offers Free Industrial Readiness Training Opportunities (Clarksville Online) 

There are free Industrial Readiness Training program opportunities available for those looking for a career. Manufacturers in the Clarksville are hiring now and this training will prepare you. The training program is being held at Nashville State Community College’s Clarksville campus.  


Southwest Tennessee Community College Launches $1M U.S. Department of Labor IT Apprenticeship Program (Post-Gazette) 

Southwest Tennessee Community College launched its new apprenticeship program this fall that will provide 800 apprentices with a pathway to Information Technology (IT) careers over the course of four years. The College received funding for the program through a U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap grant worth $998,405.

Here’s how Tennessee schools ranked in this year’s U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings (Tennessean) 

Several Tennessee colleges and universities received high marks in this year’s U.S. News & World Report best colleges rankings, including Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. 


With fall off to a sputtering start, colleges look ahead to spring (Education Dive)

Several schools have announced their academic plans for the upcoming term, with a focus on online and hybrid classes.


Study shows Tennessee Promise impacts college enrollment, success (Lebanon Democrat) 

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has completed an extensive evaluation of the Tennessee Promise Scholarship Program, which was created by the General Assembly in 2014 to give more high-school graduates an opportunity to earn an associate degree or technical diploma.


The COVID crisis in community colleges — what does the data say? (CC Daily) 

The novel coronavirus has affected all aspects of society and the economy.  But what do the data say about the impact of the pandemic on community colleges? Getting timely and reliable data on two-year colleges is challenging. Many of the key metrics are not systematically collected nor reported nationally. 


Meharry Medical College Celebrates Record-Setting $34M Donation Intended To Graduate More Black Doctors (WPLN)

Meharry Medical College in Nashville announced its largest-ever financial gift Thursday: $34 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The money intends to increase the number of Black doctors in the country and to reduce their debt burden by boosting scholarships.

Tennessee Department of Education to start reporting the number of COVID-19 cases in schools weekly (Tennessean)

After flip-flopping for more than a month on whether releasing such data violates federal privacy laws, Gov. Bill Lee and the state of Tennessee are finally publicly reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to schools.


Why Higher Education Needs To Think Customer Service To Ensure Student Success (Forbes) 

With some colleges opening their doors to students, others opting for virtual learning, and some embracing a hybrid model, students are left under a cloud of uncertainty about their college experience. Now more than ever, as guidelines and decisions continue to change, excellent communication from colleges is essential to ensuring student success.


Indigo Ag plants seeds for high-tech farming course statewide (Daily Memphian) 

Indigo Ag has teamed up with State of Tennessee agencies to start a new digital agriculture technology training program this fall at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Covington. The new curriculum will emphasize technological applications and digital tools in agronomy, with courses including precision agriculture, data integrity and geospatial information.

Moody's: Coronavirus is accelerating shift to online education (Education Dive)

The pandemic will hasten a transformation of higher education business models, according to a new Moody's Investors Service report. The crisis will accelerate many colleges' plans to grow their online footprints, though not all schools have the resources to invest in digital infrastructure, the report notes.


University of Tennessee ranks as second most LGBTQ-unfriendly university in the U.S. (WBIR)

For years, the University of Tennessee hasn’t had a great reputation with the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s not particularly the most ideal situation for an LGBT student like myself,” said UT senior Darius Edwards. That’s one reaction to the news that UT is ranked as one of the most unfriendly colleges to LGBTQ+ students.

Alternative Credentials on the Rise (Inside Higher Ed)

Interest is growing in short-term, online credentials amid the pandemic. Will they become viable alternative pathways to well-paying jobs?

10 Ways the Coronavirus Has Shaped Higher Ed and Its World (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Covid-19 has tested colleges, strained students and the work force, and spilled into surrounding communities, sometimes in unexpected ways.


Tennessee’s Community Colleges launch Fall Semester with a focus on Health, Safety (Clarksville Online) 

Tennessee’s community colleges are welcoming students back for fall semester, in a variety of class modalities and with a focus on keeping them healthy and safe as they continue their studies.


Nashville hotel industry among hardest hit in nation, some facing potential foreclosure (WZTV-TV Nashville)

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is calling on Congress to take action after a new report details the hotel industry is facing a “historic wave” of potential foreclosures … Last week, Gov. Bill Lee announced expanded financial relief programs for small businesses, agriculture, and the tourism industry. $25 million of funds under the program would go to the tourism industry with $15 million going to destination marketing organizations in each of the state’s 95 counties.


Metro Schools team with Nashville State to increase college retention rates (WSMV) 

Nashville Metro Public Schools, Nashville State Community College and Vanderbilt University are all benefiting from one program called Better Together. The program was created by the Nashville State’s President Shanna Jackson and Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle to keep Metro Schools students from dropping out of the community college.

COVID-19 will hit colleges when students arrive for fall semester. So why open at all? Money is a factor. (USA Today) 

Colleges that are reopening campuses this fall know they’re bringing a higher risk of coronavirus to their community. The questions aren’t really about if or when, but about how bad outbreaks could be — and whether having an in-person experience for students is worth the cost. With so much at stake, some students, parents and faculty are asking: Why take the risk at all? 

Higher Ed's Moment of Truth (Inside Higher Ed)

Colleges confront what it means to bring students back to campuses as their fall plans become realities. Will many institutions make it through the fall without outbreaks?


Study: Tennessee, Virginia rank in ‘Top 20 States with Best Community College Systems’ (WJHL) 

Both the Commonwealth and the Volunteer State were placed in the top 20 of a study that determined which states had the best community college systems in the country.

A Tough Year for Community Colleges (Inside Higher Ed)

Despite earlier predictions that this might be their year, many are expecting enrollment declines -- some of them devastating. Impact is greatest on minority and low-income students.

Tennessee ranks among best states for economic competitiveness (Times Free Press)

Tennessee’s relatively low tax rate helped the state outperform the country in its economic growth over the past decade, according to a new conservative study that ranks Tennessee as one of the top states for its economic outlook.


Covid-19 Has Upended Enrollment Goals. This 2-Year College Sees an Opportunity. (Chronicle for Higher Ed)

Zane State College, in Ohio, saw a surge in summer enrollment. It seeks to attract students who don’t want a more-expensive online experience at a four-year institution.

How 5 Colleges Are Tackling Virtual Orientation (Chronicle for Higher Ed)

A strong orientation can be pivotal in building affinity for campus and, ultimately, persuading students to return next semester. But with Covid-19 prompting colleges to move operations online, typical bonding activities are out of the question.

Keep Campus Closed - What Higher Ed is Too Afraid to Say (Inside Higher Ed) 

What's in this post? Great question. For starters, it includes some absolutely heartbreaking quotes from people in higher ed. They cannot share their actual thoughts with their school leaders for fear of losing their jobs.


Delaying college one year could cost students $90K of lifetime earnings (Manchester Times) 

Due to the uncertainty of the on-campus college experience this fall, some high school graduates may be considering sitting out this year and waiting on fall 2021 to begin their higher education enrollment. Class of 2024 students who do make that decision could lose $90,000 throughout their lifetime.


Tech, communication skills more important than ever (CC Daily) 

Employers participating in the virtual High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) agreed that COVID-19 has sharpened their need for technicians — whether they are among the small group of employees working on-site during the pandemic or among the masses working from home — with multiple high-tech skills and strong communication capabilities.

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