Cookeville Campus breaks enrollment record for Fall 2016

by Michaela Marcellino

Volunteer State Community College’s Cookeville Campus has experienced dramatic growth for Fall 2016.

“Last fall, sixty-four students were enrolled, while this fall, over one thousand students are enrolled,” says Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs, Michael Torrence.

“The greatest contributing factor to this growth is the collaboration of the Cookeville, Livingston, and Gallatin Volunteer State campuses, coming together to support the needs of students.

“There has also been great flexibility of the faculty to come in the summer. Student Services, as well as Financial Aid, Disability Services, advisors from the Livingston Campus, and more, were all in support of the Cookeville campus.

“Another contributing factor [to the huge boost in enrollment] is the support for Vol State that we have received from the Cookeville Community.

“I want to make special mention of the Cookeville Chamber of Commerce, The Rotary Club, and our partner in education, the Putnam County School System,” said Torrence.

“We expect student growth to continue. We have a lot of dual-enrollment students this semester from Putnam County’s three High Schools.

“We also have a record number of part-time and full-time faculty this semester. We are able to offer students the programs they are asking for, and they are able to get their education close to home. Students can live in the area without having to rent an apartment.

“Of course, TN promise students are also able to live at home and save money,” said Lori Richards, the director of the Cookeville Location.

In addition to record-breaking enrollment, some other exciting things are coming to the Cookeville campus.

“We are looking at establishing a Student Government Association at the Cookeville campus. With over one thousand students now, maybe we will have some students study abroad over the summer with TNCIS (Tennessee Consortium for International Studies),” said Torrence.

“[Other] contributing factors to this growth in enrollment are positive excitement, and trying to take care of the students.

“We had a great, small team that did not and would not quit, helping students navigate enrollment, classes, advising, and more. I also think it is the atmosphere that is causing students to choose the Cookeville campus.

“We helped every student we could, and gave them service they had not had before. Even through some uncertainty and instability, this faculty stepped up to the plate to serve the students. I could not see them doing a better job,” said Joshua Hite, the Academic Chair for Cookeville, and Professor of English.

“Everyone is excited, and looking forward to the opportunity to engage with students in the classroom, as well as tutoring.

“We have a great amount of academic and student support available. When needed, we are able to redirect students to where they can get what they need for an enhanced academic experience.

“We do not only want these students enrolled, but to retain them and see them through graduation,” said Torrence.

With great support from faculty, staff, and the Cookeville community, this promises to be a successful semester for Vol State students.