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MTSU launches True Blue Tour of area community colleges

Middle Tennessee State University announced Wednesday (March 4) it will send teams of counselors and representatives to seven Tennessee Board of Regents community colleges in March and April to aid students who have their sights set on the four-year institution.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee announced the “Paint the Colleges True Blue” tour during a summit held on the Murfreesboro campus, where college and university leaders reaffirmed their commitment to bolster the success of transfer students.

“MTSU is the No. 1 choice of our state’s transfer students,” McPhee said. “We are proud that so many Tennesseans have chosen our university as the next step in their academic pursuits.

“But there’s more that we could and should do to ensure their success.”

McPhee said MTSU administrators, academic counselors and admissions team members will be on hand at eight different TBR locations over the six weeks to counsel students seeking guidance about the university’s programs and services:

  • March 17: Motlow State Community College’s Smyrna campus
  • March 19: Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin
  • March 24: Motlow’s main campus in Tullahoma
  • March 26: Chattanooga State Community College
  • March 31: Columbia State Community College
  • April 2: Nashville State Community College
  • April 7: Jackson State Community College
  • April 16: Pellissippi State Community College in KnoxvilleWorkshops will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time, except for Chattanooga State and Jackson State, which will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. They will be free and, while geared to community college students, will be open to the public.

McPhee said the counselors and representatives will assist students who wish to transition to MTSU and provide them with information about the Murfreesboro campus, the transfer process and the university’s advising and student success services.

The workshops will also help students who wish to declare Dual Admissions status, McPhee said, which allows them “to take advantage of many of the rights and privileges of an MTSU student while enrolled at these TBR colleges.”

Agreements signed between MTSU and TBR colleges in recent years allow two-year students to enroll as MTSU students while still pursuing an associate degree. If the students transfer before getting an associate degree, the pacts allow the “reverse transfer” of MTSU credits back to the colleges to earn a two-year credential.

While stressing the need to do more, McPhee noted that the Tennessee Transfer Pathways initiative has “already taken big steps to bridge these gaps.”

“Simply put, the Pathways guide students in making the right course choices by showing how they can transfer seamlessly to a four-year institution,” he said.

Wednesday’s summit at MTSU allowed university and college academic leaders an opportunity to discuss new potential partnerships. MTSU Provost Brad Bartel, along with the university’s deans, shared information about new degree programs and services.

Bartel and Rick Sluder, vice provost for student success, also shared details about MTSU’s “Quest for Student Success” reforms launched in 2013 to boost graduation and retention rates through changes such as course redesigns, enhanced advising and new student data tracking software.

The provost noted that MTSU hired almost 50 additional academic advisers last fall, who have helped raise the university’s retention metrics for enrolled students. MTSU also recently switched its Transfer Academic Scholarships from being competitively based to guaranteed for students from TBR’s 14 community colleges.

— Andrew Oppmann (andrew.oppmann@mtsu.edu)