Cumberland University trustees adopt ‘strategic directions’

Members of the Cumberland University Board of Trust approved a plan by the administration calling for certain “strategic directions” to support the school’s campus in Lebanon, a recently established instructional site in Mt. Juliet and an expanding online degree program.
May 23, 2014
(Submitted to The Democrat) Cumberland Board Chairman Bob McDonald and University President Harvill Eaton (center) discuss future plans of the university with trustees John Van Mol and Judge John Wootten following Wednesday’s Board of Trust meeting on the Cumberland campus in Lebanon.  

Members of the Cumberland University Board of Trust approved a plan by the administration calling for certain “strategic directions” to support the school’s campus in Lebanon, a recently established instructional site in Mt. Juliet and an expanding online degree program.

Trustees, meeting Wednesday, also received information about the progress made in the transition of the school’s intercollegiate sports programs from NAIA to the NCAA and how the change in its athletic status may influence enrollment and impact school operations. 

 According to Board Chairman Bob McDonald, trustees of the 172-year-old school “embraced” a strategy introduced by the administration that places a focus on three key areas in which the university offers learning opportunities and also endorsed the idea that Cumberland should continue to explore presenting new academic programs to high school graduates that meet current employment demands.

Cumberland President Harvill Eaton told trustees it is important for the school to continue to support what he described as the “on-ground instructional site in Mt. Juliet.”

According to Eaton, the Mt. Juliet site, launched about two years ago, continues to be a credible asset for collegiate credit for primarily a working adult population west of Lebanon, including many in west Wilson County, as well as Nashville.

Eaton said Cumberland must continue to place an emphasis on its online degree track. He said there is an increasing demand from an audience of students who choose to work or have other commitments that prohibit them from attending classes as traditional students and look to the Internet to secure their college education.

Calling the Lebanon campus a venue for the traditional residential student, Eaton suggested to trustees Cumberland should not lose focus of its commitment to a liberal arts core while offering strong degree programs in business, science and technology, teacher education and the health professions.

“These are exciting times for our university,” McDonald said. “Cumberland has an agenda full of prospective new ideas, new programs and new ways of engaging students in the process of learning.

“For almost two centuries Cumberland has provided a classroom setting with qualified teachers personally interested in individual students to encourage and stimulate learning. 

“While computers have replaced blackboards and textbooks are now found online, Cumberland continues to stress the importance to be placed on individual students. This is what our university is about, and this is what makes and has made Cumberland different since its beginning.”

Cumberland University, founded in 1842, is a private, independent, coeducational, liberal arts institution with five academic schools, three graduate degree programs and a non-credit continuing education program. The school’s list of graduates includes a U.S. Secretary of State, two U.S. Supreme Court justices, 11 governors and 68 U.S. congressmen. 

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