Seymour Brings Community First Workshops to Entire CSCC Service Area

Posted on August 25, 2014

CLEVELAND, TN. - Dr. Bill Seymour, Cleveland State President, has been quoted as saying, “Strategic planning is not just a “buzz-word; it is a way of life.” So, it seems Seymour is in his element overseeing the process for the college's next strategic plan.

This past spring, one of the President’s first goals was to develop a Strategic Planning Calendar, which outlines the process CSCC will put in place this coming year to develop its next strategic plan. That plan called for the establishment of a Strategic Planning Steering Committee, the central body that coordinates the process and develops the actual document.

“This is not a standing committee, said Seymour. “It is an ad-hoc committee serving from July of 2014 to March or April of 2015 that was assembled with a broad representation of faculty, staff, students, and a number of community representatives.”

According to Seymour, the committee has already had their first meeting, an orientation for the committee to have a better understanding for what their role and responsibility is with the strategic planning process. Participants were given a “tool kit” of information, including data from the Cleveland State Fact Book, as well as regional data.

“I wanted to arm the committee with good data and information about the college and the community so they have a frame of reference in which to start the planning process. It is important for this group to really come to a common understanding of what strategic planning is all about and essentially, what we are looking for because obviously this group needs to be very knowledgable.”

Seymour added, “This is the group that is going to see it through--even though there will be other opportunities for people to participate, this group has been tasked with not only guiding the process, but they will be drafting and developing the actual plan, utilizing all the information gathered during the strategic process and the feedback that was gathered during all the various stages.”

One particular part of the strategic planning process that Seymour said he is excited about is the upcoming community first workshops. The first one has already been held in Bradley County and more are scheduled in each of CSCC’s service-area counties of McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk counties. Business leaders, local government officials, members of civic organizations and other school system officials will be in attendance at the Community First workshops.

“This is a broad community-oriented process, so the plan is to involve all of the CSCC community--not just Bradley County. Hence, the name ‘Community First,’” stated Seymour.

Inspired by the book “Good To Great” by Jim Collins, Cleveland State has taken that concept and identified its core primary concept—putting the community in the center of everything they do, and Seymour said they intend to do just that.

Seymour went on to state that CSCC implemented a new strategic planning website where everyone is invited to make comments and provide feedback. The website allows people the opportunity to stay in touch with CSCC's progress toward a new five-year plan, as well as comment on various aspects of the development process. So, basically, even if someone is unable to serve on the steering committee, they can still provide feedback on the website at

Pictured from left to right: Cleveland State Community College’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee. (Front row) Don Martinez, CSCC Student; Nancy LaBine, Dean of Nursing/Health and Wellness; Dr. Denise King, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Kara Headrick, Assistant Professor, Accounting; Patty Weaver, Director of Athens and Madisonville Sites; Marcia O’Conner, Director of Institutional Research; Linda Everett, Administrative Assistant to the President; Karen Wyrick, Associate Professor, Math and Dr. Michael Stokes, Vice President for Student Services. (Back Row) Matthew Tolbert, Associate Professor, Psychology / Faculty Senate President; Dr. Robert Brandon, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences; Dr. Mitchell Rhea, Dean of Math and Sciences; Rick Creasy, Director of Workforce Development, Dr. Bill Seymour, President, Don Lorton, Foundation President, Dr. Sal Mirza, Dean of Business and Technology. Not pictured: Priscilla Simms, Debbie Melton, Bo Marshall, Paul Willson and Tony Bartolo.