Access, Completion & Community

Northeast State is committed to student success. In fact, the college’s  mission  focuses on educational access and the lifelong educational development of residents.

Drive to 55 Logo

One mechanism for Northeast State to achieve its mission is by aligning with Governor Bill Haslam’s goal to increase the number of Tennesseans with a degree or credential to 55 percent by 2025. This initiative is  Drive to 55 . Northeast State and Tennessee community colleges are working to improving student outcomes and increasing student completion rates.

Since 2010, Tennessee has pursued an ambitious completion agenda, committed to policy innovation focused on significantly increasing educational attainment among Tennesseans. For Tennessee to reach its completion goals, the state must fundamentally change how it approaches higher education and measures progress, while reinforcing deep commitment among all stakeholders to the completion agenda. Tennessee took ambitious and comprehensive action toward this end with the passage of the  Complete College Tennessee Act  (CCTA) in 2010, which established a direct link between the state’s economic development and its educational systems, and effectively recognized increased educational attainment as the state’s primary need relative to higher education.

This year, these broad reform efforts have been further strengthened by the launch of Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 campaign – a series of initiatives to galvanize Tennessee around a set of specific strategies to move from a 32 percent postsecondary attainment rate to 55 percent by the year 2025. Increasing college completion is among Tennessee’s top priorities.

Below are a few of Northeast State’s completion-focused initiatives:

  • Expansion of college access to within 20-30 miles of every citizen in the Northeast Tennesseefive-county region (Carter, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties) through expansion of teaching sites and implementation of additional ITV classrooms/options from seven to 13.
  • Implementation of the SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) Program at all high schools in the service area. This state-wide program targets students who have not achieved college readiness benchmarks by introducing the college learning support curriculum into the high school senior year, allowing students to begin their higher education career prepared for credit bearing coursework. Click here for more information.   

  • Implementation and expansion of Structured Learning Communities and accelerated learning options. Northeast State added a cohort in fall 2013 to include target populations that have the highest attrition rate. The college implemented the "mini-mester" in spring 2013 in which students can take a course each month; and the college restructured registration and financial aid processes to make enrollment in the middle of the semester possible.  
  • Expansion of dual enrollment through more course offerings in University Parallel programs and Associate of Applied Science degree and certificate courses to focus on workforce development. The goal is to have access for high school students to complete at least one year of a degree/certificate before graduating high school. 
  • Expansion of our capacity to serve through restructuring the organization, integration of technology, applications and more efficient processes. In fall 2012, Northeast State reduced the number of vice presidents from seven to four. During the last four years, more full-time faculty, staff, front-line and dean positions were added in Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. Northeast State integrated a paperless workflow system, which helped save an estimated $30,000 in 2012 in Admissions, Financial Aid, Business and Human Resources offices. In fact, Northeast State’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society challenged faculty in fall 2013 to go paperless. Additional examples of capacity expansion include, but are not limited to:
    • Expansion of partnerships with public and private secondary schools, public and private higher education institutions and with business and industry to provide as many open doors as possible for students and future students. Several higher education partner agreements were signed for transfer and reverse transfer, dual enrollment and dual admissions. Northeast State was recognized in April 2013 by the American Association of Community Colleges for College/Corporate Partnership with Eastman Chemical Company, the Economic and Community Development (ECD) department and the city of Kingsport for the expansion of our Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (from less than 100 students in fall 2009 to more than 400 in fall of 2013). The college was awarded a $10 million grant from the ECD to expand that regional model, programs and services to better serve the region's workforce and economic development needs.
    • Improvement and expansion of academic and student support services to improve student success through grants, support staff and technology/applications: 
      • Design and construction of a new Emerging Technologies Complex through a commitment by the governor and state legislature to create a very inviting facility to grow student enrollment and enhanced skills sets directly related to workforce and economic development. The project is in the design phase with construction scheduled to begin in fall 2014 with completion anticipated in 2016. 
      • Addition of new programs of study and scheduling/format options to enhance enrollment and completion. Cyber Security, entertainment technology and health informatics program development are underway with planned programs for Horticulture/Natural Resources, Culinary Arts, Building Construction and Energy Specialist implementation over the next five years. Northeast State offers “Weekend College” on the main campus with a current enrollment of 300 students.  
      • Creation of a grant development office. The office supports the expansion of workforce development programs (more than $13 million in 2013, alone) and student support (TRIO, Lumina, College Access/THEC grants). These funds provide for development and expansion of programs to increase options for student enrollment/completion and support services to assist in completion. 

      Additional information regarding the CCTA can be found  here

      Additional information regarding the Drive to 55 program can be found  here