Agreement to Build Partnership, Pipeline of Students to TSU
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will soon make it easier for West Tennessee community college students to attend the University and transfer all credits when TSU and Southwest Tennessee Community College sign an agreement to provide greater educational opportunities and services for students transferring between institutions.
The two institutions will sign a Student Transfer Partnership Agreement Thursday, Sept. 11 that guarantees all the courses Southwest students complete on the Tennessee Transfer Pathways (TTP) will be accepted at TSU and count toward a baccalaureate degree. The agreement also awards 10 two-year full TSU scholarships in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
The signing ceremony will take place on Southwest’s Macon Cove Campus in the Bornblum Library as part of TSU’s community outreach during the Annual Southern Heritage Classic celebration.
According to TSU President Glenda Glover, TSU has always had a strong presence in the West Tennessee area. The University, she said, wants to continue to build on the strong partnerships established in West Tennessee, and will now build stronger ties with SWTCC. The agreement strengthens the pipeline of students from the region to the University.
“We are excited to expand our educational opportunities for residents in the western part of the state and beyond,” said Dr. Glover. “They will have additional choices for aligning associate degrees with bachelor degrees through Tennessee State University. The relationship we are establishing is about the two institutions empowering our students to be successful.”
The terms of the agreement include the awarding of 10 two-year full TSU scholarships in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The scholarships begin fall 2015 and include tuition, room and board. The partnership also contains a dual admissions component that builds on the Tennessee Transfer Pathways, which was designed to help community college students plan for transferring to a Tennessee public university, such as TSU, to complete their baccalaureate degree.
According to University officials, TSU is now creating more partnerships and programs with community colleges, such as SWTCC around the state to help students transfer seamlessly to the University to complete a four-year degree. Under the Community College Initiative, students have more options to move them along through their educational career.
Dr. Sharon Peters, director of the Community College Initiative Program, said the new initiative “just makes sense and is truly one of those win-win situations for everyone involved.”
“More and more students are choosing to pursue community college, as opposed to a university, right out of high school or as a nontraditional student because community colleges tuition costs are 50 percent less than four-year institutions,” said Peters. “Once they get their associate degree they will enter TSU as a junior and spend two years here, providing them with an opportunity to get their four-year degree from TSU.”
According to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics, as of fall 2012, 40 percent of all college undergraduates were enrolled in community colleges. TSU, added Peters, is committed to partnering with the Tennessee community colleges to create programs and initiatives focused on increasing the number of students prepared for transfer to the University.
“These programs and initiatives raise student achievement levels, close achievement gaps and successfully prepare a diverse population of students for academic and professional success,” said Peters. “Transfer preparation programs provide services such as regular and sustained advising, mentoring and early identification to improve student outcomes.”
According to Peters, the University is reaching out to all 13 community colleges around the state to develop long-lasting partnerships and relationships. Currently there are agreements with Volunteer State, Nashville State, Columbia State, Motlow State Community Colleges, and soon Southwest Tennessee Community College. There are hopes to sign agreements with four additional institutions within the next year.
These new relationships and initiatives, Peters added, are programs that specifically focus on the Community Colleges and their needs, but also the needs of the larger community. And with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” education initiative, TSU is prime to help lead the way for not only higher education, but for workforce and economic development.
“Of course we want to see growth in the number of transfer students that choose TSU, and a growth in the number of partnerships. More importantly we want to see partnerships between community college faculty and university faculty whereby they engage in joint research and curriculum design,” Peters said. “These types of partnerships benefit the students, the community and the state in our effort to insure that the majority of our citizens have a college degree.”
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With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.