(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Nov. 12, 2012) - - - Columbia State Community College has been nominated to receive a Bellwether Award for its work in developing a model for aligning mission, funding and budgets. The Bellwether is an extremely competitive recognition awarded for ‘cutting-edge, trendsetting programs that other college might find worthy of replicating.” Three awards are given by The Assembly of the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Florida.
“The Bellwether Award nomination is an extraordinary achievement for Columbia State,” said Janet F. Smith, Ph.D., president of Columbia State. “The award is determined by a community of peers.”
Columbia State will learn whether it was selected as a 2013 award finalist on Jan. 26 at the assembly meeting in Orlando, Fla. This year’s theme is Forces for Good.
Smith noted that the college began to re-design the way in which it budgeted, beginning in 2008-2009 when projections of economic trouble made it apparent that strategic action would be necessary to re-align parts of the college’s programs to create efficiencies, but to do so without compromising any of the quality of programming extended to students and the community.
“We moved to adopt a mission review team, representing all college constituencies of support, professional and faculty. We included the Student Government Association president and the vice presidents of academics, student services, advancement and administration,” Smith said.
“The process was deliberately slow so that our modeling would clearly define our mission and vision while aligning all of our activities in order of things that were critical, needed or desired,” Smith continued. “Teams then examined data that helped us understand areas of strength, weakness and areas that needed revisions or consolidating.”
“Our early planning has produced a college that is fundamentally and structurally changed,” Smith said. “But our efforts enabled us able to meet a $1.7 million state funding reduction without in any way compromising our dedication to the success of our students.”
“To have weathered this period of time with colleagues on campus who dedicated themselves to this task was uplifting, but to be nominated by our peers for a Bellwether Award and recognized as a trendsetter is an incredible affirmation of the work poured into this by every sector of Columbia State.”
Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee’s first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the sixth largest higher education system in the nation. For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu.