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Motlow State Community College
P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
(931) 393-1500
1-800-654-4877

Help wanted: Tenn. Promise spurs faculty openings

Nov. 12, 2014
Mealand Ragland-Hudgins, Daily News Journal
Used by permission


Motlow College is preparing for an influx of students this fall by hosting an open house for potential faculty members.

College President MaryLou Apple previously told The Daily News Journal that she expects "thousands" of college-bound seniors to enroll at Motlow because of Tennessee Promise. The program offers Tennessee high school graduates beginning with the Class of 2015 a chance earn an associate degree or technical center certification at no charge.

The Smyrna site will host its open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the campus, located at 5002 Motlow College Blvd. Instructors in nearly 30 disciplines are needed, including math, music, speech and foreign languages.

Cheryl Hyland, director of Motlow's campus in Smyrna, said it was not known how many students would actually enroll this fall, but that the college wanted to be prepared.

"Because there is a series of steps involved, I don't think anybody knows what that final number will be," she said.

Tennessee Promise is major component of Gov. Bill Haslam's "Drive to 55" initiative, which aims to raise the number of college graduates in the state from 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025.

In order to register for classes by July 1, students must students must complete a FAFSA form, attend two mandatory meetings, apply to the school of their choice and take the ACT.

More than 56,000 Tennessee students applied, including 2,524 seniors in Rutherford County, according to data from the Drive to 55 Alliance. Those figures indicated that traditionally, only 58 percent of the county's graduating seniors go on to attend college.

State officials initially projected 1,204 Rutherford County students would apply.

Modeled after the Knoxville-based Knox Achieves program launched six years ago, Tennessee Promise is the first of its kind in the nation. The program will use lottery proceeds to fund a $300 million endowment. The annual cost of the program is estimated to be about $34 million. Nov. 1 was the deadline for students to apply.

Motlow's current enrollment is 4,790 at its four campuses, with 1,724 registered at the Smyrna site. About 35 percent of Motlow's students call Rutherford County home, according to the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Last fall, the college employed 92 full-time and 175 part-time instructors. Hyland said Smyrna has 21 full-time instructors, with another 50 to 60 serving as adjuncts.

"There's always a high need in the core subject areas, math, science, English, history, the classes students have to have in order to earn a degree," Hyland said.

During the event, each of the college's department chairs will be on hand to talk about needs in their departments and interview potential candidates, she said. Though Cynthia Kelley, the college's vice president of academic affairs will be available that evening, Hyland said the final hiring decisions will rest with the department leaders.

Beth Duffield, vice president of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce's workforce development efforts, was one of those charged with helping to recruit mentors for the program.

"Based on the history tnAchieves has provided, only about half of those registered will take advantage of the scholarship dollars. Even so, that would be a big number for Rutherford County," she said.

Considered a "last-dollar scholarship" program, Tennessee Promise will cover up to $4,000 tuition and fees not covered by other financial aid for five consecutive semesters. Books, housing and transportation are not covered.

Funds can be used at any of the state's 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology or other eligible institution offering an associate's degree program.

Contact Mealand Ragland-Hudgins at 615-278-5189 or mragland@dnj.com. Follow her on Twitter @dnj_mrhudgins.

Motlow College will host an open house for potential adjunct faculty members from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18 at the Smyrna campus, 5002 Motlow College Blvd.

The college expects an increase in enrollment due to Tennessee Promise. Candidates are needed in nearly 30 subject areas, including accounting, economics, criminal justice, nursing, physics and political science.

Candidates must hold a master's degree in their chosen subject area or a master's in any subject with 18 graduate semester hours in the desired subject areas.

The nursing program is seeking qualified nurses with a minimum of three years' experience in acute care and a bachelor's degree in nursing, but a master's in nursing is preferred.

For a complete list of academic subject areas or to RSVP, contact Smyrna site director Cheryl Hyland at chyland@mscc.edu.

In Rutherford County, 2,524 high school seniors registered for Tennessee Promise. The state's target was 1,204. The county has a college non-going rate of 42 percent. More than 56,000 student applied for the funding statewide.

The program also has a mentorship component. Based on the number of potential applicants, Rutherford County needed 273 mentors, but 354 local residents agreed participate. Mentors will work with between five and 10 students to help ensure the students meet required deadlines.