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Crafting a Connection for Honors Education

The University of Tennessee is pleased to announce a new partnership with Cleveland State Community College. The partnership allows transfer students from  community college’s honors program to directly enroll in the 1794 Scholars Program. On November 16, 2018, President of Cleveland State Community College, Bill Seymour, met with Interim Chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Wayne Davis, to formally sign the agreement bridging the two honors programs. Current 1794 Scholars, University of Tennessee administration, and representatives from both honors programs were present at the ceremony.

Sydney McAbee, the first student to transfer into the 1794 Scholars Program through the partnership, explored the importance of continuing her honors education in a piece for the Ignis Newsletter this August. In it she states “I am excited to continue to cultivate the mindset I gained through the Presidential Scholars Program at UTK. The 1794 Scholars Program provides a chance to extend my honors education … The idea of a new community of students and faculty that will share the common interest of an honors education truly excites me.”


Leaders at both schools share excitement for the new partnership. UT’s Interim Chancellor, Wayne Davis, stated, “This is a beautiful opportunity to create a bridge [for students] at relatively no cost. The fact that these students get to participate in a unique program tailored to high-achieving students is phenomenal. [The value of an honors education] is that it engages students and differentiates them from others on their resume.” President Bill Seymour, of Cleveland State Community College, added, “[This partnership] helps to cement the pathway from high school, to community college, to a four-year institution. The more seamless the process, the better students do. Being able to focus not just on graduating students, but on connecting them to next steps [like the 1794 Scholars Program] helps them to excel.”


Cleveland State Community College began enhancing its honors program in 2014-2105 school year in anticipation of the changes Tennessee Promise would bring to its student population. Director of their honors program, Victoria Brian, lead that charge and is excited to see the development of a continuous honors experience for students that graduate her program. Director Brian stated, “I know how excited our students are to come directly into the 1794 Scholars Program. It communicates [to them] that UT will respect all the work they have been putting in [at Cleveland State Community College]. I’m proud of the sense of community we’ve formed for our students. They are highly engaged and highly motivated, so this program will be great for them.” Timothy Hulsey, Associate Provost and Director of Honors & Scholars Programs, concurred by stating, “Our goal is for every student to succeed. We want students who are pursuing the next opportunity and engaging in the life of the mind.[This partnership] brings students who have already demonstrated their academic ability and willingness to engage.”


Both schools look forward to a lasting partnership that embraces the goals of the Drive to 55 initiative, the state, and the institutions.