Cleveland State Welcomes Dr. Bill Seymour As New President

Saturday, February 8, 2014
Dr. Bill Seymour
Dr. Bill Seymour

Dr. Bill Seymour was hired as the new president of Cleveland State Community College. Prior to accepting the position at CSCC, Dr. Seymour served as vice president for institutional advancement at Jackson State Community College in Jackson, Tn. 

Dr. Seymour said, “I really enjoyed my experience at Jackson State, and that was my first experience working for a community college and just fell in love with it. I’ve been at large universities and small, private colleges, and I really believe there is a reason why there are thousands of colleges and universities in the country because there is a right place for everybody.”

During his interview on CSCC’s campus, Dr. Seymour said he instantly felt comfortable at Cleveland State—with the faculty, staff and students and could see himself as a part of the college.  

During his first address to the whole college, Dr. Seymour challenged CSCC faculty and staff to engage every student, identify their needs and help them achieve their goals. He also introduced them to his guiding principles—something he has labeled “The R Factor,”   which includes recruitment, retention, reputation, revenue and reinforcing the schools’ mission.

He said, “I think it is always important to look at that R factor and assess our programs because to me, that helps to identify our priorities. We need to put our time and resources in those areas where essentially we have the largest R factor.”

Dr. Seymour said he is looking forward to becoming a part of the Cleveland community, as well. While living in Jackson, Dr. Seymour was very involved in his community, serving on the Symphony Board, the Cultural Arts Board, president of the Choral Society Board and sang in his church, as well as the community choir.

“I have always been very community oriented. No matter where I’ve lived, I’ve gotten involved in volunteer and leadership groups as a way of getting familiar with the area. That way, it makes no matter where I live feel like home.”

Dr. Seymour is a strong proponent of community colleges and truly believes in their mission. “I think community colleges are fulfilling a need that is essential to our society and economy. I like the idea that we provide an opportunity for everybody. Being an open door college is both a challenge and a blessing that is exciting. We can give every student an opportunity for an education and a future. Not all schools can say that.”

Cleveland State’s SACS reaccreditation is an immediate issue Seymour will be managing. “We are trying to finalize that process, which is a huge endeavor in the life of any college, and I appreciate all of the work everyone has done leading up to this. That is something we always have to be aware of and have good planning and assessment in place, so that we are always doing the best job possible to fulfill our mission.”

According to Dr. Seymour, strategic planning is not just a “buzz-word; it is a way of life.” He feels that it is important to establish the proper infrastructure before a quality planning process can be implemented. “To me, having the right infrastructure is not just about your people, offices or how you organize those things. It also has to do with how well you engrain the whole concept of planning into your organization. That flows from your mission to your strategic plan to your annual report, so it is important to develop an ethic of planning in your organization.”

The topic of strategic planning reminded Dr. Seymour of two quotes, one by Will Rogers who said, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” 

“Another quote is by the best mentor I have ever had, Dr. Gerald Gibson, the former president of Maryville College. He coined a phrase that said, ‘Routine is the enemy of progress.’ I have seen schools that just coast along and do the ‘same ol’ same ol’ as opposed to having a real focus on how to advance. The Complete College Agenda has really energized and motivated higher education in the state and particularly community colleges to rethink how we do things and really put the focus on retention and completion. You can’t move in that direction by continuing to do the same old thing.”

He also expressed a desire to get to know the educational needs throughout CSCC’s five-county service area and is looking forward to connecting with elected officials, school administrators, chambers and community organizations.

Dr. Seymour said even though he will miss Jackson, especially his friends and church, he is happy to be back in east Tennessee. “It was nice to drive over a ridge and see the mountains….I’ve always loved small cities. That has always been our preference—to be in a small city that is closer to a larger city. That way, you get the best of both worlds.”

Dr. Seymour, and his wife, Catherine, have two daughters and three grandchildren. Their daughter Jessica, and her husband, Dan, live in Maryville and have a four-month-old daughter named Gwendolyn. Their daughter, Blair, and her husband, David, have a two-year-old daughter named Magnolia, and a four-month-old son named Henry.

“So far, my impression of Cleveland State is great people and a beautiful campus. Everyone has been very warm and receptive, always there willing to help and lend support. They give a positive outlook for the future.”




Local Young Artist Will Attend Interlochen Arts Camp

Hannah Eitzen, 16, of Hixson, has been accepted and will attend Interlochen Arts Camp, a summer arts program for aspiring artists grades 3 through 12.  Ms. Eitzen, the daughter of Juanita Eitzen, will study music at the Camp and perform with the World Youth Wind Symphony.  Ms. Eitzen is a junior with a 4.0 GPA at Soddy Daisy High School. She is an active member ... (click for more)

UTC's Dr. Richard Brown Inducted Into Tennessee 9-1-1 Hall Of Honor

Dr. Richard Brown served as the first president of the 9-1-1 Tennessee Emergency Number Association, established in 1985 after the passage of the Emergency Communications Act.  The not-for-profit corporation fostered the “technological advancement, availability and implementation of a universal 9-1-1 emergency telephone system by promoting research, planning, training and ... (click for more)

State Attorney General Says Case Was Argued Well To Let States Decide On Same-Sex Marriage

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III said the state's position on same-sex marriage was argued well before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. He said, “Associate Solicitor General Counsel Joe Whalen did an excellent job arguing the case. He represented well the State of Tennessee, poised and articulate as he was when he successfully argued the case before the Sixth ... (click for more)

DA Tells Dalton Jury Cell Phone Of Skyy Mims Was Found At Murder Scene

District Attorney Bert Poston told a jury in Dalton on Monday that the cell phone of Skyy Mims was found at the scene of the murder of convenience store clerk DK Chaudhari. He said Ms. Mims carried out the robbery in order to get Lotto tickets that she hoped would bring her money to finance her budding musical career. He said she took 80 "$500 A Week For Life" tickets. The ... (click for more)

The Heart Of A Teacher Makes A Difference - And Response (2)

In less than four weeks, I expect to be one of 216 graduating seniors from East Hamilton School. One could say all possible variables help a student rise to the highest levels in school; but a student is more than his environment or genetic code. He is a mixture of his own propensity and dedication to academics, coupled with a systemic team of mentors who give their all as a student’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Who Is This Barbarian?

The Tennessee Supreme Court upheld a curious decision on what defines a “whistleblower” last month, saying you can’t blow the whistle on your employer if he’s the only one who hears the whistle. No, you’ve got to go to someone other than the perpetrator which not only makes sense, but appears to heighten one’s chance of success. What is much more curious is why somebody didn’t ... (click for more)