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 on-line degree program.
Trustees, meeting Wednesday, also received information about the progress being 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 Dr. Harvill Eaton told trustees that 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 only some two years ago, is continuing to be a credible asset for collegiate credit for primarily a working adult population west of Lebanon including many in West Wilson as well as Nashville.
Eaton advised that Cumberland must continue to place an emphasis on its on-line degree track saying that 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 that 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, adding that “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 on-line, 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,” McDonald said.
Cumberland, 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 state governors, and 68 U.S. Congressmen.