Come Here to Get There: Student Success Begins at Cumberland

billboardLife is a series of destinations, and for every destination, there is a journey. For students striving to succeed in 21st-century careers, that journey begins at Cumberland University. Combining vibrant liberal arts programs with innovative career preparation experiences, Cumberland offers its students a pathway to lifelong success. Whatever students’ destinations in life may be, they can come to Cumberland University to get there.

In 2013, students will find those opportunities—and more—at the new Cumberland. Renewing its more than 170-year commitment to student success, the University has taken unprecedented steps to revitalize its educational model with an eye towards value and affordability in a rapidly changing job market.

According to Phillip Carter, Cumberland’s Executive Director of Communications, the new CU is expanding upon its traditional virtues to deliver even better value to its students.

“Cumberland has always been an institution with attentive, accessible faculty who care deeply about student success,” said Carter.  “Today, however, we are supplementing our core strengths with a renewed focus on student career growth. We’re offering students an education that is affordable and attuned to tomorrow’s careers.”

Every day, CU is offering new pathways to student achievement, whether in the form of the Learning and Career Commons, a facility geared towards continuous learning and real-world skills preparation, or in the form of the “Adjusting for Success” plan unveiled by University President Dr. Harvill Eaton in early 2013 to revitalize Cumberland’s institutional excellence. That plan came into sharp relief in March, as the University reorganized its five schools into three deeper, more comprehensive units to offer students even greater academic value.

“The idea of aligning these areas of emphasis is one that higher education, as a whole, is embracing, and we are on the front edge of that trend,” said Eaton. “This model is one that will allow the university to operate more efficiently and better serve our students.”

MagazineThat is certainly the case for Cumberland’s traditional undergraduate students, to whom the University offers a rich, relevant on-ground experience. From free iPads for all entering freshmen and upper division nursing students to comprehensive career preparation and internship opportunities, Cumberland pairs technology and experiential learning to prepare students to succeed in both the classroom and the workplace.

Each of Cumberland’s three schools offers undergraduate students a unique bridge to career success. In the School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts, the Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business, and the Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions, students study the latest advances in a multitude of fields, often pairing their classroom lessons with firsthand internship experiences.

The University’s Education programs alone are renowned for their student outcomes, having earned the best job placement and four-year retention rate of any Tennessean teacher preparation program with more than 100 graduates, according to a recent report.

“Whether you’re in a teacher preparation program or another of our exciting career-oriented majors, it is an exciting time to be at Cumberland,” said Dr. Eric Cummings, Dean of the School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts. “Our goal for you is not just to get you ‘ready’ for your chosen profession, but ‘ready to lead’ the profession.”

Students graduating with an undergraduate degree from Cumberland need not leave the University to advance even further. For graduate students wishing to reach greater heights in their chosen professions or sharpen their job prospects after years in the field, Cumberland offers seven cutting-edge graduate programs in education, public service, business, sport and exercise pedagogy, and fine arts.

Those graduate programs are not merely distinctive. They are often groundbreaking. Established in 1995, Cumberland’s well-respected Master of Business Administration program was the first in the nation to offer a Services MBA track and the second in the nation to offer an Educational Leadership MBA track.

“Hundreds of Labry School MBA graduates have seen their professional lives grow in such fields as healthcare, telecommunications, distribution, retailing, finance, realty, government, not-for-profits, sports, and [other] professions,” said Dr. Paul Stumb, Dean of the Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business.

Not all students follow a traditional path in their studies, however, and for those working adult students who cannot come to Cumberland in person, Cumberland comes to them through its Center for Online and Professional Studies. With offerings such as the Master of Arts in Education and Bachelor of Business Administration programs, Cumberland offers a personalized online education that is every bit as vibrant as its on-ground counterpart.

“Cumberland online studies professors and instructors have a reputation for developing strong relationships that translates into a unique, student-centered learning environment,” said Stacey Garrett, Vice President for Online and Professional Studies. “Through our virtual campus, learning takes place on your schedule anytime, anywhere.”

There is no better example of that mission than Cumberland’s Online RN-to-BSN program. Designed for the working nurse, the course of study offers nurses a fully online learning experience that requires no on-ground clinical rotations, unlike many other programs. Allowing working adults to learn from their laptops, Cumberland’s online programs place success at students’ fingertips.

Whether beginning their college experience as undergraduates, enhancing their command of their field as graduate scholars, or returning to education as working adults, students can achieve their dreams at Cumberland University. At Cumberland, the tossing of the cap is not the end of a college experience, but the start of lifelong career success.