Advance Business Program Paves the Way Toward Summars’ Success

Carl Summars

Advance Business Program Paves the Way Toward Summars’ Success

Holly Vincent
Monday, June 13, 2016 10:28 AM
Athletics, All

When Carl Summars heard about Cleveland State’s Advance program through his job at Whirlpool Corporation, he assumed it was going to be a lot of traditional aged students and Whirlpool employees enrolled in the classes, but after enrolling, he found out he was wrong about both.
Advance Business is the college’s accelerated program that offers students a quick and convenient way to obtain a college degree. This option is suitable for highly motivated and mature adults that are seeking an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in the Business Management Major-Business Concentration. Many Business Management students obtain their A.A.S. in 15-18 months (focusing on 2-3 courses at a time) at Cleveland State and a bachelor’s in two additional years at a selected four-year college or university.
Summars had dropped out of high school in 1998 and received his GED. He had never even thought about returning to school again until CSCC’s Advance program. Many of his coworkers had been through the program, so he mentioned it to his wife and a month later, he was already enrolled and attending class! Talk about motivation!
“For me, it was a new beginning—righting a wrong from when I was young and wreckless,” stated Summars. “Within my job, this will allow me to advance and get promotions. They have a system at work that calibrates you, and education is a big factor.”
According to Candice Patterson, Assistant Professor of Business / Co-Director of the Advance Business Program, a typical Advance student might be an individual that has experienced limited promotional opportunities and needs a degree to advance in his / her chosen field or a working adult that has decided to explore new career opportunities.
Dr. Denise King, Vice President for Academic Affairs, said, “Successful graduates tell us they appreciate that the set schedule of an Advance program as well as a built-in group of like-minded achievers for study and support. We are pleased that this program has helped many students finish their credential faster and move more quickly into the next level of their chosen career.”
The common factor for all Advance students is the relentless pursuit of a degree and the willingness to do what it takes to be successful. The benefits of the Advance Business program include attending class one night a week, completing the degree in a fast-paced format and working with the same group of students throughout the program.
Summars credits his success to both his own personal family, as well as the Cleveland State family. “My daughter also attended Cleveland State, but she finished right before I started, so I guess you could say we are the first and second generation to attend. It was an interesting feeling to have your daughter giving you the inside scoop on navigating through college. My family was huge motivation. They made a huge sacrifice because of the time it took away from our schedule, but the whole campus helped me with this process, and all in all, it wasn’t as time consuming as I thought it was going to be.”
He continued, “My advisors were incredible—Candice Patterson and Donna Brogdon. They were a key factor in my success. They were always willing to help anytime I had a problem or was stuck on an assignment. I’d send them an email and within the hour, I’d have a response back with some type of direction or offer to meet and get things worked out. There were people my own age in the classes, and the whole experience turned out to be very enjoyable—not at all what I thought it was going to be.”
Many Advance graduates have earned promotions in their jobs or gained new employment. Several started because their current employers told them about the Advance program.
“I’m very grateful for CSCC having this program. It allows the community to further their education in a manner that works with jobs and also keeps in mind the families and allows you to maintain a life balance. That is something that I didn’t know existed, and it is definitely a huge asset to the community.”
Summars graduated from CSCC with his associate degree in May with a 4.0 G.P.A. He plans to attend Tennessee Wesleyan in the fall to pursue his bachelor’s degree through the Management Excellence program.
For more information on the Advance program, visit the CSCC website at or call (423) 473-6224 for the main campus or (423) 745-8486 for the Athens Center.

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