About SOAR

The College of the Year Award recognizes the college that has demonstrated, through evidence, a sustained commitment to and proactive advancement of the causes of student success and workforce development at their institution.


  • Has developed a comprehensive, bold and strategic completion plan with a particular focus on addressing existing equity gaps.
  • Has achieved measurable and significant increases in:
    • On-time degree completion
    • Certificate completion
    • Transfer rates to either a 2-year or 4-year institution (as applicable)
    • Underrepresented student progression and completion
  • Has developed innovative programs that support student success and workforce development in areas such as developmental education, student support services, K-12 partnerships / collaboration, workforce readiness and partnerships.
  • Has substantially contributed to the integration of state completion goals and system strategic priority areas across the institution

Selection Process

The Chancellor, in consultation with members of the system office senior leadership team, will make nominations for the College of the Year Award based on identification of institutions that meet the minimum qualifications listed above. System staff will assess data on the criteria listed and other factors. Finalists will then be discussed by the senior leadership team with a final recommendation made to the Chancellor.

Cleveland State was just featured in a national study released by the Center for Community College Student Engagement about mindsets. Our Men’s Basketball Team just won the NJCAA regional tournament and went to the nationals for the first time in 30 years! Our Phi Theta Kappa President was one of 20 students in the nation selected to the PTK All-USA Academic Team for outstanding academic achievement! Add to this the new programs such as Mechatronics Honors Institute, the Tennessee Valley Early College and the growth of the CSCC Honors Program to over 100 students, and you start to understand why….

Cleveland State was the first TBR College to receive the 2019 SOAR Award for College of the Year! Listed below are some of CSCC’s latest accomplishments:

TBR Information:

Cleveland State Community College is part of The College System of Tennessee, governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents — the state’s largest higher education system, with 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology serving more than 110,000 students.

Cleveland State Information:

Cleveland State is an open door, comprehensive community college located in southeast Tennessee, which offers programs leading to certificates and two-year degrees (Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, and Associate of Fine Arts). As a small commuter college serving a predominately rural, five-county service area, ground courses are offered on its main campus in Cleveland, and its instructional sites in Athens and Vonore. The college’s service area includes Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk counties.

Link to SOAR Press Release on TBR website: