Pellissippi Community College President Allen Edwards, left, and UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek sign the formal agreement creating the bridge program.
KNOXVILLE—Sixty students have now confirmed their attendance in a new program in which students will be dually enrolled at UT Knoxville and Pellissippi State Community College (PSCC). The agreement formalizing the bridge program was signed this week by UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek and PSCC President Allen Edwards. “We’ve gotten it off the ground and it is operational,” Cheek said. “UT and Pellissippi State have a great working relationship.
This program is testament to UT’s commitment to collaborate with community colleges.” Edwards said the bridge program will help both institutions in their missions to serve the community. “Part of our role as the local community college is to serve the university, which is part of the community,” he said. This new bridge program—the type of partnership required by the 2010 Complete College Act of Tennessee—will allow some students who are wait-listed for admission at UT to tackle initial program requirements at the community college.
The program provides a seamless transfer to UT, provided they complete a specified number of hours and maintain a certain grade requirement. Invitation letters have been sent to eligible students who have applied for fall 2011 admission to UT and are among those at the top of UT’s wait list. Invited students have until May 16 to confirm their attendance.
Administrators are hoping for an initial bridge class of seventy-five to 100 students. The students, who will be guided by advisers on both campuses, will attend the second summer session at UT to take a set of credit courses to help them adjust to college life and get a head start on their UT degree. During the following fall and spring semesters, they will take classes exclusively at PSCC, and at the end of the spring semester, will be admitted to UT if their academic record at PSCC indicates an ability to succeed at UT.
Bridge students will be invited to live in a residence hall on the UT campus when they begin. They will be issued a UT ID card and enjoy library, computer, tutoring and mentoring services, and recreational opportunities on both campuses. This partnership between UT and PSCC is part of how UT is working to comply with the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010. Passed by the state Legislature and signed by former Gov. Phil Bredesen in January 2010, this act is intended to enhance cooperation between colleges and universities in the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and UT systems.
The Complete College Tennessee Act:
· Changes the state funding formula so it is based on six-year graduation rates rather than enrollment;
· Eases the transition for community college students moving on to state universities;
· Requires TBR and UT to establish dual-admission and dual-enrollment policies at two- and four-year colleges and universities; and
· Requires community colleges to offer all remedial work.