Tusculum, Pellissippi State update agreement with new elements to ensure seamless transition for students

KNOXVILLETusculum University and Pellissippi State Community College’s long-standing relationship has taken another step forward with an updated agreement that will provide additional pathways for students to receive their four-year degree.

Dr. Scott Hummel, Tusculum’s president, and Dr. L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State’s president, sign the agreement.

Dr. Scott Hummel, Tusculum’s president, and Dr. L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State’s president, recently signed the new document, which will ensure a seamless transition for students transferring for their bachelor’s degree after earning their associate degree.

“The smoother the pathway is into college and the smoother the pathway continues in the transition from community college to a four-year institution, the more likely students will be successful,” Dr. Hummel said. “That leads not only to an associate degree but also a bachelor’s degree, which then positions them to graduate with a master’s degree and a doctorate. We appreciate this opportunity and look forward to partnering in additional ways.”

Dr. Wise commended everyone for their work in putting together the pathway to a bachelor’s degree for Pellissippi State students.

“We want our students to have good partners who provide great educational opportunities and clear pathways for our students,” he said. “We appreciate Tusculum’s commitment to that as well. It gives students a chance to think about what all the possibilities are for them and what institution is the right place for them to land as they try to navigate their post-secondary experience. We are grateful to Tusculum for being a good partner to Pellissippi State and being a good home for our graduates when they are ready to make that transition.”

Dr. Angela Hughes, assistant vice president of academic affairs for parallel programs at Pellissippi State, highlighted a couple of the items in the new agreement and the way Tusculum can help students achieve a degree. She said Pellissippi State students who earn their Associate of Science in Teaching will now have a direct route to the four-year degree that will enable them to enter that field.

Dr. L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State’s president, speaks during the signing ceremony.

Dr. Scott Hummel, Tusculum’s president, speaks during the signing ceremony.

She also noted the ability for students to graduate from Pellissippi State with their associate degree and then pursue an independent program of study at Tusculum. That program allows students to build their own bachelor’s degree by choosing two or three areas of study and is an excellent option for transfer students and others who want a more personalized educational experience.

“This is a really exciting program because it provides students with lots of opportunities,” Dr. Hughes said. “Students can use the classes they have taken at Pellissippi State, and Tusculum will help make it fit with their bachelor’s degree.”

Dr. Hummel spoke highly of the independent program of study.

“You often have majors that don’t necessarily fit exactly what the job or career would look like,” he said. “Being able to design the degree for the kind of skills and core competencies a student needs to develop for a particular job or career can uniquely prepare them for that opportunity.”

In addition, Dr. Jacob Fait, dean of Tusculum’s College of Business, and Dr. Michael Wolfe, Pellissippi State’s dean of business and computer technology, collaborated to ensure that students who earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in business from Pellissippi State can transfer and be on a pathway for a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Tusculum. Normally, that associate degree is not designed for transfer, but some students discover in the midst of completing it that the business field is their preferred path, Dr. Hughes said.

Representatives of Tusculum University and Pellissippi State Community College celebrate the agreement. They are, left to right, Paige Cowden from Tusculum, Laura Battel from Tusculum, Dr. Angela Hughes from Pellissippi State, Dr. L. Anthony Wise Jr. from Pellissippi State, Dr. Scott Hummel from Tusculum, Dr. Kellie Toon from Pellissippi State and Dr. Leigh Anne Touzeau from Pellissippi State.

The agreement reinforces the ability for Pellissippi State graduates to earn a host of degrees from the community college in other fields and then transfer to Tusculum to complete the bachelor’s degree in that same area.

Dr. Ramona Williams, Tusculum’s vice president for enrollment management and financial aid, said the ability for the two higher educations to retain traditional pathways to a bachelor’s degree but also adjust to create new avenues provides the flexibility students need. At the same time, it increases the likelihood for students to earn that all-important bachelor’s degree or a higher degree for career fulfillment.

“We have enjoyed a productive relationship with Pellissippi State and welcome the opportunity to continue working closely with that higher education institution to help students attain their academic goals and succeed in their chosen profession,” Dr. Williams said “Pellissippi State offers an outstanding education that prepares students well for the high-quality academic programs at Tusculum. Through this collaboration, we are equipping students to be career-ready professionals.”