Building Tomorrow…Today

To Cumberland University, tomorrow’s education is today’s opportunity. Celebrating a growing community footprint and unprecedented enrollment figures, Cumberland is utterly transforming its campus facilities to provide the most modern, cutting-edge liberal arts education possible, with projects ranging from a newly opened residence hall to a rapidly progressing Mt. Juliet facility. In 2012, students at Cumberland will find not only a revitalized campus designed to meet the needs of tomorrow’s students, but a completely revitalized University: a new CU.

Even at an institution as storied as Cumberland University, the campus’s transformation is a historic one. The new CU—in facilities and in spirit—is the product of massive ongoing efforts that will equip Cumberland to embrace the future of university education. The transformation is unprecedented, according to University President Dr. Harvill Eaton.

“You can now begin to see the new CU, and the only exclamation that describes our growth in facilities is ‘Wow,’” said Eaton. “It’s an exciting time of continuous improvement and expansion, and it’s more than a watershed moment. It’s a total paradigm shift.”

South Hall

Nowhere is that transformation more apparent than in the University’s new South Hall, a state-of-the-art 152-bed residence hall. Opened in late January, the coeducational facility is a building that was two years in the making. Built to meet the needs of a student population which hit an unprecedented high of over 1,000 full-time undergraduates in Fall 2011, South Hall features four-person suites with double bedrooms and shared bathroom facilities.

As Eaton noted, South Hall “is more than just another residence hall.” The hall’s amenities are myriad, ranging from keyless entry to study areas. Technology is also a central feature of South Hall, which features wireless internet access and iPad-ready rooms to ensure that students stay connected to the new online CU. The suite-style facility conforms to the latest best practices in student life management, according to Director of Residence Life Eddie Lovin.

“We’re very proud of the Residence Hall, and I think its impact will be extremely positive. The model we’re following is a very modern one, and we want to create a new dimension in student life at Cumberland,” said Lovin. “The new hall will be able to handle anything students can throw at it.”

Learning and Career Commons

Cumberland will also address the need for continuous student learning with its planned Cumberland Learning and Career Commons, which the University hopes to begin construction on in the near future. Located in a new and completely renovated Mary White Hall, the Commons will be a dedicated student learning resource, featuring a coffee shop, living-room type lobby, study areas, and computer resources. Director of First Year Experience and Assistant Professor Dr. Joshua Hayden believes that the iPad-friendly Commons will be a hub of activity for students who wish to continue learning beyond normal classroom hours.

“The Commons will be a place for students to study alone or in groups, a place of ideas, a place of preparation, and a place of transformative activities,” said Hayden. “It will be a place that is alive with interaction, concentration, and community well into the night.”

The Commons will also provide students with a crucial array of career resources. Through recorded mock job interviews at the facility, students will learn the “nuts and bolts” of starting a career, writing resumes, learning how to dress and behave, and even mastering how to shake a hand. Additionally, students will be able to interview professionals in their field at the Commons, gaining working knowledge about their chosen majors even before they leave the University.

“The Cumberland Learning and Career Commons is where we’re going in a longer-term and broader sense,” explained Eaton. “College should never be seen as a four-year slice of your life between the ages of 18 and 22; it should be an experience that never leaves you. That’s why we want to prepare students in all ways, so they know not only how to understand knowledge, but how to put it to an end.”

Community Center and Café

Those students will also be able to relax and learn in the University’s planned Cumberland Community Center and Café. The $3.2 million, two-story facility will feature six distinctive spaces including a community room, activity room, café, terrace, board room, and patio and alumni arbor. The facility will also house student media services and a second floor meeting area. Designed to bring students, faculty, and local civic and business groups together, the 14,000-square-foot facility will serve as the University’s new campus hub.

The project is not only a testament to Cumberland’s initiative for campus innovation, but also to ever-growing community support for the University. In fall 2011, an anonymous benefactor donated a landmark $500,000 gift to support the building’s construction, bringing the facility’s promise of a new future for student and community life on campus that much closer to realization.

“This is an incredibly generous donation that will continue the transformation of our beautiful campus and serve Cumberland’s students, faculty, and staff for years to come,” said Eaton. “This is a landmark gift and is just another example of the shared community support for Cumberland University.”

Expanding Our Footprint

Cumberland will also soon unveil its new off-campus facility in Mt. Juliet in a critical strategic move designed to greatly increase Cumberland’s presence in Wilson County and the Nashville metropolitan area. In recent years, Middle Tennessee and the Nashville metropolitan area have experienced tremendous growth, and Cumberland has poised itself to take advantage of that expansion with its new facility. Set to open by June, the strategically located 7,500-square-foot facility will serve as the headquarters for Cumberland’s Online Campus and School of Professional Studies, featuring classrooms, lab spaces, and administrative and faculty offices.

“The facility is part of Cumberland’s strategy to expand the mission of the University and provide even better service to our community,” explained Dr. Charles Collier, Vice President of Cumberland’s Online Campus and School of Professional Studies. “The facility’s official purpose will be to better serve adult learners and nontraditional students throughout the region, including students from Mt. Juliet, Nashville, Rutherford County, and West Wilson County in general.”

Those students will benefit from the location’s off-site facilities for Cumberland’s Criminal Justice and Master of Science in Public Service Management programs. The University’s Nursing program extension in Mt. Juliet will also relocate to the site, which is larger and better-equipped than Cumberland’s earlier Mt. Juliet site at Shiloh Plaza. Critically situated in close proximity to Nashville, the campus will strategically expand Cumberland’s footprint both on and offline.

Those projects are but the latest demonstrations of Cumberland’s ongoing commitment to continuous growth and expansion in educational facilities. As students approach learning in new and innovative ways, the institution is doing the same, having striven since 1842 to provide a modern, cutting-edge liberal arts education.

“Our students are seeing Cumberland grow to fit the times and opportunities our students must have to succeed in the 21st century,” said Eaton. “I’m not ashamed to say we want the learning experience at Cumberland to be amongst the very best in the world.”

Every day, a new CU emerges to reach that goal, whether in the physical form of the new South Hall or in the online form of electronic programs. Every day, the institution is reaching out to its students through new facilities, new teaching strategies, and new technological advances. Every day, Cumberland University is building for tomorrow.