Vol State, Nashville State Community Colleges modify service areas; Vol State assumes lead at CHEC

Cookeville Higher Education Campus Photo

Volunteer State Community College will expand its offerings at the Cookeville Higher Education Campus this fall, providing all the general education courses at the campus.

The move comes as Vol State and Nashville State Community College agreed to modify their service area boundaries, trading sections of Davidson and Putnam counties. Nashville State or another community college may still provide academic programs not available through Vol State in the Cookeville campus as needed, but most courses will be provided by Vol State beginning next fall.

“Vol State is committed to Putnam County and providing the post-secondary services the community and local businesses and industries need,” said Jerry Faulkner, president of Volunteer State. “And, as always, we are committed to serving the students of this region and helping them reach their education goals.”

“Students currently enrolled in courses at the CHEC will continue taking their classes as they have been,” said Faulkner. “What may change is the name of the college offering the class at that location, but any credits earned will be transferable to their home college, so they can stay on track toward their degree.” 

Vol State will become the primary community college service provider in the Cookeville area, while ceding sections of northern and eastern Davidson County to Nashville State. The move includes the CHEC, which opened earlier this year and where both community colleges currently offer programs.

Officials said the majority of changes most likely would be administrative between the two colleges and would not affect the availability of courses or the progress of students enrolled at the CHEC. The changes also will not affect the status of any Tennessee Promise students attending classes at the campus.

Leaders at both colleges and the Tennessee Board of Regents said they believe the change would allow the colleges to better serve students in those communities.

“Our primary concern is doing our best to help our students succeed in their studies,” said Warren Nichols, Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges with the TBR. “Making this change will allow the community college system to deliver classes more efficiently and effectively.”

 “We will strive to make the transition as seamless as possible for students and faculty alike,” Nichols continued. “One of the great benefits of having a unified system of community colleges is we can work together to keep the focus where it should be – on the needs of the students.”

The overlap of general education courses taught by two colleges in the CHEC was cumbersome and has led to an unnecessary duplication of services, Nichols said. Simplifying the service areas along county lines will provide a more efficient allocation of resources and allow both colleges to better serve their students.  This was a joint agreement between both colleges. TBR said the transition should begin with the Fall 2016 semester. 

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.