Tennessee’s Community And Technical Colleges Awarded 22,998 Degrees, Diplomas During 2019-20 School Year

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Tennessee’s Community Colleges awarded a record number of 15,874 degrees and technical certificates during the 2019-20 academic year – a 44 percent increase from a decade ago. The previous high was 15,240 two years ago.

In addition, the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology awarded 7,124 diplomas and technical certificates – for a total of 22,998 credentials awarded across the system – according to preliminary data reported Wednesday at the Tennessee Board of Regents quarterly meeting. The board governs the 13 community colleges and 27 TCATs comprising the College System of Tennessee.
The 44 percent increase in community college awards from 2010-2011 to the 2019-20 academic year comes despite a 19 percent decrease in community college enrollment from the same year. The award numbers do not include the thousands of students who successfully transfer to four-year colleges and universities without obtaining a two-year credential.

“We are awarding more degrees, in a declining enrollment environment,” Chancellor Flora W. Tydings said. “We still have considerable work to do in closing the achievement gaps that exist among some of our underrepresented minority students – and that’s a major focus across our system.

“But overall, we are on track to meet our Drive to 55 awards goals, which were raised even higher for our system a couple of years ago because we were easily exceeding the original goals set for us in 2013,” Dr. Tydings said.  

The board also received the system’s enrollment report for the current fall term. Enrollment at the community colleges totals 78,753 – an 11.5 percent decline from fall 2019. The declines reflect a national trend at community colleges in this pandemic year.

At the TCATs, however, preliminary data shows 10,772 students have registered this fall, a 3 percent increase from the same time last fall. (The technical colleges start their fall terms later than the community colleges; their enrollment and awards data are still preliminary.)

Officials said, "The enrollment decline at the community colleges is virtually across the board: enrollment of first-time, full-time freshmen dropped 19 percent (but enrollment of Tennessee Promise students dropped only 6 percent), adults (25 and older) declined 13 percent, and high school students dual-enrolled in college courses declined 9 percent. 

"Dual enrollment numbers had been expected to decline even more than they actually did due to many high schools across the state opening their school year with mostly online classes. Despite that, the number of dual enrollment students increased at some community colleges.

"Further research is expected to reveal more reasons for the overall decline, but one possibility for a larger decline in adult enrollment is that many remain at home with children engaged in online learning as a result of the pandemic. According to the 2019 Community College Survey of Student Engagement at TBR colleges, 77 percent of students work while enrolled and 52 percent of students are responsible for the care of dependents. And 28 percent of students said that caring for dependents would make them more likely to withdraw from college."

The board also received an update on apprenticeship programs during a meeting of its Workforce Development Committee on Tuesday. Registered apprenticeship programs, which operate under U.S Department of Labor guidelines, are partnerships with businesses and industries that provide paid employment and workforce training for student employees at the same time. They are a rising component of the system’s workforce training mission.

Currently, eight community colleges and eight technical colleges in the system have registered apprenticeship programs, in partnership with 32 employers, with 265 of their employees attending classes and working as active apprentices. Construction is currently the primary sector for apprenticeships; other major ones include information technology, advanced manufacturing, health care, and tourism.

The Board of Regents also approved six new or revised programs at the TCATs, to be more responsive to the needs of students, business and industry. They include:

A new evening Cosmetology program by TCAT Morristown, to be offered at its Jefferson County Instructional Service Center

New hybrid (partly online, partly in-person training) programs in Dental Assisting, Industrial Electrical Maintenance, and Surgical Technology at TCAT Murfreesboro.

A new hybrid Practical Nursing program at TCAT Paris.

Relocation of the TCAT McMinnville’s Cosmetology program from Coffee County High School to the college’s main campus.

The board’s standing committees met Tuesday and the full Board of Regents meeting was Wednesday, all by teleconference due to the pandemic. All the meetings were streamed and are archived on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/board/september-2020-quarterly-meeting.  Complete, detailed committee and board agendas, meeting material and reports are also posted at that link.


The Erlanger Institute Of Healthcare And Innovation At Howard Adds Sterile Processing Certification To Institute Offerings

Tennessee-Chattanooga’s IGTLab Named Winner Of 2 Awards

Baylor Holds Second Blazer Ceremony For Seniors


The Erlanger Institute of Healthcare and Innovation at Howard added a Sterile Processing pathway as an option for students as the program entered its third year. STERIS Instrumentation Processing ... (click for more)

The UTC Interdisciplinary Geospacial Technology Lab won two awards at the Tennessee Geographic Information Council Summit. The IGTLab was named winner of the Best Map Overall and the Best Static ... (click for more)

A second senior blazer ceremony was celebrated during assembly on Friday for 22 for Baylor seniors who were not able to be on campus due to travel restrictions, quarantine protocols, or other ... (click for more)



Student Scene

The Erlanger Institute Of Healthcare And Innovation At Howard Adds Sterile Processing Certification To Institute Offerings

The Erlanger Institute of Healthcare and Innovation at Howard added a Sterile Processing pathway as an option for students as the program entered its third year. STERIS Instrumentation Processing Solutions supported the development of the career path at Howard. Michelle Powell, an Erlanger employee, teaches the students in this program that features an intensive curriculum to prepare ... (click for more)

Tennessee-Chattanooga’s IGTLab Named Winner Of 2 Awards

The UTC Interdisciplinary Geospacial Technology Lab won two awards at the Tennessee Geographic Information Council Summit. The IGTLab was named winner of the Best Map Overall and the Best Static Map Categories. The map that won both awards displays a map of the Greater Chattanooga region, highlighting critical areas of conservation focus. By identifying key locations, the map ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Flash Flood Watch Goes In Effect As Heavy Rains Continue; Hamilton County, Cleveland Schools On 2-Hour Delay' Georgia NW To Close Campuses

A flash flood watch goes into effect beginning at 8 p.m. tonight (Wednesday) and continuing through Thursday afternoon as heavy downpours continue. Hamilton County Schools will be on a two-hour delay Thursday due to Tropical Storm Zeta forecasted to be in the area until 8 a.m. School officials said, "The high winds and heavy rains associated with the storm system could impact ... (click for more)

Health Administrator Says County Residents "Letting Their Guard Down" As COVID-19 Cases Spike Again; Seniors Advised To Have "Virtual Thanksgiving"

Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes on Tuesday said a new spike in COVID-19 cases is caused by county residents "letting their guard down." She said the “curve” had been flattened momentarily, but now the county is starting to see a rise in cases. For instance, on Sept. 12, Hamilton County was averaging 59 cases a day. On the week ending on Oct. 24, this rate has risen ... (click for more)

Opinion

Voting Lines Are Too Long - And Response

I’ve tried three times this week to vote at the Collegedale early voting place. Each time I’ve been there, the line was not only around the building, but it stretched at least another block (or two) into the adjacent parking lot. I realize that it is easy for someone like me to criticize the ones running the election, but I feel criticism is deserved in this case. If they cared ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Bunch Of Hogwash

There are those who fault Donald Trump for the unkind divisiveness that is “the second plague” roiling the United States right now. But did you notice that when the brilliant Amy Coney Barrett was approved by the Senate to become our newest Supreme Court Justice, the entirety of “those” Democrat Senators voted against her? I tend to believe many who voted ‘no’ would actually support ... (click for more)