Cleveland State Scores Strong in National Survey

Cleveland State Scores Strong in National Survey

Dr. Bill Seymour
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 12:00 AM
Employees, Academics, Community, Alumni, Students

Please take the time to read these important words from Cleveland State President, Dr. Bill Seymour: 

Cleveland State received results from the most recent Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE).  This is a nationally normed survey utilized by hundreds of community colleges across the United States and its parent organization – the Center for Community College Student Engagement – is considered a leading authority on matters leading to student success.

The Tennessee Board of Regents and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission use scores on selected items as part of our performance funding formula.  The 80-question survey measures five primary benchmarks: Active & Collaborative Learning, Student Effort, Academic Challenge, Student Faculty Interaction and Support for Learners.

Cleveland State’s scores have been improving over the past five years.  This year, the mean scores on each of the five benchmarks surpass the mean scores for all TBR Community Colleges and surpass the national cohort for small community colleges.

There were two items that jumped out at me as I reviewed the data.  Ninety-seven percent (97%) of our students indicated that they had decided on a program, major or pathway of study before they completed their first term.  If you know anything about college students of any kind you know they struggle with deciding about majors and career pathways.  

This percentage is in the top 5% across the country.  What it tells me is we have done an excellent job of getting students on a career path early in their college experience.  We work hard on this from the time of application, time spent with their individual Success Coach, on-boarding through orientation and registration and then reinforced through their required college success class that spends quality time on career decision-making.  This leads to more students graduating and at a much earlier date.

Cleveland State was one of 30 colleges selected across the country to participate in the Bill & Melinda Gates funded Pathways Project – a 2-year process including six institutes that helped us change our culture about student success.  From the commitment and dedication of our faculty and staff we are realizing many improved outcomes. Most significantly, we have nearly doubled our graduation rate over the past 5-6 years.

Then, add an influx of approximately $50M for capital outlay and maintenance funds in recent years and we start to see a physical transformation that complements the improvements in student success.  We are about to break ground on the first new classroom building on the Cleveland campus in 45 years! At the same time, in collaboration with our partners in Athens, we will be building the McMinn Higher Education Center which will provide a brand new home for our programs in that community. 

So, it makes good sense that 94% of the students who responded to the CCSSE said they would recommend Cleveland State to a friend or family member.  We are committed to continuous improvement, quality education and being a regional leader for workforce development. We thank you all very much for supporting your community college.


Dr. Bill Seymour is President of Cleveland State Community College and can be reached at


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