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Vision & Mission


The vision of the University of the Cumberlands is to be the premier liberal arts university that encourages intellectual and spiritual growth, leadership and service.

Cumberlands will capitalize on its history, location, and close student and faculty bonds to become a forerunner institution, a distinctive kind of learning center, an independent pioneering 21st century university that is unusually devoted to preparing young people for the future.

To do so, Cumberlands will:

  1. Remain a relatively small undergraduate university, with approximately 1600 undergraduate students.
  2. Continue growing the graduate and adult programs oriented toward emerging professional opportunities, each of which features superior teaching, applied learning and experiences.
  3. Be grounded in the liberal arts while continuing to develop delivery methods that work to improve student learning outcomes.
  4. Create and sustain an environment for learning and professional development.


University of the Cumberlands has historically served students primarily, but not exclusively, from the beautiful mountain regions of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and Alabama which have traditionally been described as Appalachia. The University's impact can be seen in the achievements of its graduates who have assumed roles of leadership in this region and throughout the nation.

While located in the resort like area of Appalachia, with emphasis primarily on serving the beautiful mountain area, the university now reaches into every state and around the world through its student body and alumni.

UC continues to offer promising students of all backgrounds a broad based liberal arts program enriched with Christian values. The University strives for excellence in all of its endeavors and expects from students a similar dedication to this pursuit. Its commitment to a strong academic program is joined with a commitment to a strong work ethic. Cumberlands encourages students to think critically and creatively so that they may better prepare themselves for lives of responsible service and leadership. This focus of its undergraduate programs is extended and extrapolated into its graduate programs. These programs also nurture critical and creative thinking in pursuit of the “life-more-abundant” for both the individual and society. At Cumberlands, graduate study prepares professionals to be servant-leaders in their disciplines and communities, linking research with practice and knowledge with ethical decision-making.

Self-Help Through Work-Study

Since its founding in 1888, the self-help feature has been an integral part of University of the Cumberlands.

Cumberlands believes the privilege of a university education should be based upon motivation, ability, character, and purpose rather than upon the amount of money a student or his parents might have. The most wholesome type of financial assistance consists in helping the student to help himself. A student aid program should develop qualities of thrift and self-reliance, as does the work-study plan at Cumberlands.

Much of the financial assistance at Cumberlands is given in form of remunerative employment. The work program is optional and the amount of work depends on ability and need.

In recent years many students have earned their college expenses. Continued employment and promotion depend upon the quality of work done. At Cumberlands students receive a formal education for minimal cost and if they don't have the money, they pay for a large portion of their education by doing daily work in the college cafeteria, in the maintenance department, in Appalachian outreach programs-as student assistants, photographers, postal clerks and part-time secretaries.

Self-help opportunities are afforded to over six hundred students who work an average of twelve hours per week under guidance and supervision. These students are taught the value of promptness, industry, dependability, and initiative.

Growth Through Service and Work

The Mission Statement of University of the Cumberlands clearly states the University’s position on the value of work and service to others.  The Leadership/Community Service Program illustrates UC’s deep commitment to leadership and community service as a moral task and ethical responsibility. The Leadership/Community Service Program is centered in service and leadership. The goal of this program is to empower students to become compassionate agents of change, to use their knowledge and abilities to help others, to inspire responsibility, and to stimulate service as a life-long commitment. As a requirement for graduation, all students must participate in the Leadership/Community Service Program. The program is developed in four phases, three are required and the fourth is optional.

  • INSIGHTS – Required orientation during the first semester.
  • LEAD – Leadership Education And Development (LEAD 110 – Leadership Seminar or LEAD 120 – Career & Leadership Seminar), recommended to be taken during the sophomore year.
  • SERVE – Service Experiences Requiring Volunteer Effort – 40 hours of approved community service, recommended during the junior/senior years but may be completed any year while enrolled at University of the Cumberlands. Community Service prior to enrollment will not be approved.
  • SUCCESS – Services Unifying Cumberlands’ Commitment to Equip Students for Success - 200 or more hours of approved community service.  Students completing over 200 hours are recognized as Hutton Scholars at the time of official graduation from University of the Cumberlands.

Students may submit a Community Service Proposal Form for review prior to completing community service hours. A Community Service Report Sheet must be submitted as documentation of community service hours. A separate form must be used for each organization served. Students may not complete community service under the direction or supervision of another student or a family member. Students may not submit community service hours for any organization that was served as a requirement for course completion or for jobs for which they received pay.  Some paid positions may be approved where students receive a stipend.   Students should direct any questions regarding the status of approved community service hours to the Coordinator of Leadership/Community Service.

Students may request a Leadership/Service Transcript prior to graduation from University of the Cumberlands.  The purpose of the transcript is to provide students with official documentation of service involvement. Leadership/Service Transcripts are not generated automatically. Students must document validated entries of activities and service on a regular basis throughout their enrollment at University of the Cumberlands. Students must request the transcript at least two weeks in advance.