(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – TN Tribune) – – – Columbia State Community College was recently awarded Community College of the Year by the Tennessee Board of Regents during the system’s third annual Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition Awards.
The Community College of the Year is selected from all community colleges in the system. The award recognizes the college that has demonstrated, through evidence, a sustained commitment to and proactive advancement of the causes of student success and workforce development at their institution.
“On behalf of Columbia State, we are deeply honored,” said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. “I think every community college across the state deserves this award. We have all had a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so to be selected from among our group of sister colleges is more than an honor; it is something we are extremely proud of.”
Dr. Flora Tydings, Tennessee Board of Regents chancellor, presented Columbia State with the SOAR trophy for the 2021 Community College of the Year at the inaugural ceremony of the Southern Tennessee Higher Education Center.
“At our annual SOAR event, we recognize the best of the best in our system,” Tydings said.
She continued, “this award is not just given away, it is earned. It is based on their performance measures, initiatives that they’ve put in that help with student success and how well they have performed throughout the year. Columbia State is a tribute to this state, to this nation, for all that you do.”
To be selected as Community College of the Year, the institution has:
  • Developed a comprehensive, bold and strategic completion plan with a particular focus on addressing existing equity gaps.
  • Achieved measurable and significant increases in:
On-time degree completion
Certificate completion
Transfer rates to either a two-year or four-year institution (as applicable)
Underrepresented student progression and completion
  • Developed innovative programs that support student success and workforce development in areas such as developmental education, student support services, K-12 partnerships/collaboration, workforce readiness and partnerships.
  • Substantially contributed to the integration of state completion goals and system strategic priority areas across the institution.
The TBR established the SOAR Awards in 2019 to recognize and honor the outstanding students, faculty and staff members; the major accomplishments of the colleges, and the philanthropists, volunteers and partners who support them.