Floor plans and construction budgets were approved by the Tusculum College Board of Trustees for both the Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Math and Science and the Tusculum environmental resources and facilities center. The Board held their winter meeting at the Greeneville campus Feb. 7-8.
In other action, the Board heard reports on the state of higher education from both Dr. Melinda Dukes, vice president of academic affairs at Tusculum College, and Dr. Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association.
“Higher education is in the midst of whitewater change,” said President Nancy B. Moody. “During these times, institutions that rely solely on current or past success for their future may well become extinct. We are continuing to look into the future to consider new majors, using new technology and creating environments that foster human interaction to support the learners’ efforts.”
The Meen Center for Science and Math will be a four-story structure of approximately 88,000 square feet. Interiors include wings for biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and environmental science. There will also be lab space and research areas for both faculty and students.
The ground floor features the environmental science wing with a loading dock, as well as larger general classroom spaces and classrooms equipped for distance learning programs. A large lecture hall will also be included on the ground floor.
The Tusculum Environmental Resources and Facilities Center will be located adjacent to the wetlands area and will become home to the facilities staff on campus, provide work bays and a place for the college’s vehicle pool. In addition to office, work and storage space, the facility will feature a classroom, space for employee training and additional dedicated space for use by the environmental science and geology programs on campus.
“Every time we visit campus we continue to see visible signs of growth,” said Dr. Ken Bowman, chair of the Board of Trustees and a 1970 graduate of Tusculum College. “In addition to the construction, Tusculum is also growing in enrollment, academic programs and offerings to the community, such as through our dual enrollment efforts.”
The Board heard a report on competency-based education approaches in higher education from Dr. Melinda Dukes, vice president of academic affairs at Tusculum College, and the state of higher education from Dr. Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association.
Dr. Dukes’ report provided an overview of the major components of competency-based education programs, why competency-based education is of current interest in higher education and the strengths and limitations of developing academic programs using the competency-based education model.
Dr. Pressnell’s report looked at threats and pressures in higher education both at the state and national level. Pressnell discussed the Tennessee Promise plan announced this past week by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, as well as other pressing issues and changes in higher education. TICUA has publically announced that while supporting the goals of Tennessee Promise, does not support funding it through shifting Hope Scholarship funds away from students attending four-year colleges.
In other action, Dr. Dukes announced that a reverse transfer agreement had been signed with Northeast State Community College, allowing students who have transferred to Tusculum from Northeast State without completing their associate degree to use their Tusculum credits to complete their associate degree.
Dr. Dukes reported that 46 applications were submitted for seven courses for the NETCO dual enrollment program with regional high schools for the spring semester. Five courses were also offered in the fall semester, with 32 students.
The Board also approved graduates for May Commencement, the engagement of Blackburn, Childers and Stegall to perform the college’s 2014 audit and conducted discussions of the year’s and next year’s budgets.
The next meeting of the Tusculum College Board of Trustees is May 16-17.