Thu, 06/27/2019 - 9:45am
University of the Cumberlands has been named a College of Distinction for 2019-2020. Only four schools in Kentucky received this honor.
“We are very grateful to Colleges of Distinction for this recognition,” said Dr. Larry Cockrum, president of the University.
Colleges of Distinction’s selection process consists of detailed interviews and research for each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, career development, strategic plan, student satisfaction and more. Schools are accepted on the basis that they adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community and Successful Outcomes.
“Colleges of Distinction knows that students learn and thrive best when they embrace hands-on learning in a vibrant, welcoming community,” said Tyson Schritter, Chief Operating Officer for Colleges of Distinction. “University of the Cumberlands puts the student experience first, providing all the tools and opportunities they need to become lifelong learners who are ready to take on any challenge in today’s ever-evolving society.”
Society is evolving at what may seem a rapid pace. While college students in prior years viewed amenities and more expensive facilities as greater deciding factors, some recent studies show that prospective students today prioritize other facets of college life. Dr. Jerry Jackson, vice president for enrollment and communications at Cumberlands, sees the incoming undergraduate population as digital natives looking primarily for “worthwhile outcomes and viable careers.”
“The question today isn’t necessarily ‘Why come to Cumberlands?’ it’s ‘Why come to college?’” said Jackson. “Our argument is that a college degree still acts as validation to future employers that you have the job skills and people skills to be successful in the workforce. Students need critical thinking skills and a well-rounded experience, but mostly they want their programs to fit together into a formula more likely to get the outcome they want, which is a job.”
The University has revised, expanded and added programs in recent years based on this knowledge. When Cumberlands announced its new online graduate degree program in blockchain technology, it was the first private university in Kentucky – and one of the first in the country – to do so. In the past year, Cumberlands has also expanded its undergraduate special education program, established a School of Social and Behavior Sciences and received official accreditation for its graduate nursing program and continued accreditation for its PA program (both of which are hosted at Cumberlands’ Williamsburg campus). All changes were made with the knowledge that workforce needs today lie heavily in the fields of technology, education and health sciences.
The University’s campus itself is enjoying updates at several spots, including the addition of a new outdoor fitness court, receiving state-of-the-art laboratory equipment for its medical wing and a new dishwasher in the dining hall and the replacement of the football field’s outdoor running track. A complete renovation of the University’s library is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks. The University has no deferred maintenance projects across campus.
“We have been incredibly blessed over the years,” said Cockrum. “Watching the progress being made in all facets of campus life is a bit astounding. Our students are experiencing success in the classroom and in their extracurricular activities, our faculty continue being the phenomenal educators we need and appreciate, and our staff have supported each other well as we maneuver through our continued growth.”
“It is humbling to walk around campus and see how much it has changed,” Cockrum added, “but at the end of the day, I think the heart of Cumberlands is still exactly what it always has been: committed to serving our students.”