Southwest Tennessee Community College Named 2021 National Finalist for Prestigious Bellwether Award

Southwest Tennessee Community College

Memphis, TN: Southwest Tennessee Community College is the only college in Tennessee to be selected as one of 10 national finalists to compete in the Planning, Governance and Finance category for the prestigious and highly competitive Bellwether Award.

Bellwether finalists represent leading community colleges whose outstanding and innovative programs and practices were selected among competitive submissions as exemplary.

Southwest’s submission, Redesign, Reinvent, and Reset: Organizing for Large Scale Systemic Change, focuses on the progressive, scaffolding reform work the College initiated as an Achieving the Dream Leader College to transform the student experience and improve student-centered processes. Over the course of two years, 22 committees worked to redesign processes from recruiting to graduation, resulting in a living strategic plan that intentionally embraces a culture of equity and upward social mobility. The work reflects the challenges faced by students in an urban environment and maps out positive outcomes that students, regardless of their income or life experience, can achieve.

“We are thrilled to be selected among some of our nation’s most esteemed and innovative community colleges as a finalist for this prestigious recognition,” President Tracy D. Hall stated. “Our faculty and staff have worked diligently to reimagine Southwest and transform the student experience. Being named a Bellwether finalist is a magnificent affirmation of the dedicated, passionate work that has led to amazing achievements at Southwest over the past four years.”

Southwest will compete among nine other community colleges in its category in a rigorous, final round of review judged by thought leaders and skilled practitioners at the virtual 2021 Community College Futures Assembly in January 2021. The assembly, now in its 27th year, convenes annually as an independent national policy forum for key higher education leaders to work as a “think tank” in identifying critical issues facing the future of community colleges, and to recognize Bellwether winners and finalists as trend-setting institutions.

“The Bellwether College Consortium prides itself on identifying and celebrating replicable, scalable and results-based programs and models and disseminating these highly lauded examples of institutional success to peer institutions,” said Dr. Rose Martinez, director of the Bellwether College Consortium.

The Consortium announced 20 other finalists in two additional categories – Instructional Programs and Services and Workforce Development.

2021 List of Bellwether Awards Finalists

The Planning, Governance and Finance category recognizes programs or activities that improve efficiency and effectiveness in the community college. The following ten institutions have been named finalists:

Southwest Tennessee Community College
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Onondaga Community College
El Paso Community College
Blinn College District
Collin College
Pensacola State College
Broward College
Pima Community College
University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Texarkana

The Instructional Programs and Services category recognizes programs and services that foster or support teaching and learning in the community college. The following ten institutions have been named finalists:

College of the Canyons
Pima Community College
Bossier Parish Community College
South Mountain Community College
Broward College
Naugatuck Valley Community College
Oxnard College
Reading Area Community College
Pima Community College
Madisonville Community College

The Workforce Development category identifies strategic alliances that promote community and economic development. The following ten institutions have been named finalists:

Houston Community College
Broward College
Pima Community College – HPOG
Rogue Community College
Oxnard College
San Jacinto College
Polk State College
South Mountain Community College
Pima Community College – USAF Paramedic
Holyoke Community College

All finalists will be presented at the 2021 Community Colleges Futures Assembly and one winner will then be selected from each category by a panel of national experts.

Southwest Tennessee Community College is a comprehensive, multicultural, public, open-access college that serves more than 10,000 students annually. Southwest awards associate degrees and certifications in more than 120 programs of study to raise educational levels, enhance economic development and enrich quality of life for students and the community at large. Southwest is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution, accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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