Knoxville College is set to begin enrolling students again following a vote last week from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) to grant re-activation.
The commission’s vote on May 17 signaled a new beginning for the historically Black college that has not held classes since 2015. Students will now have the opportunity to enroll in online courses toward an Associate of Arts degree in mathematics, natural science, social science or the humanities.
The college will accept students for the fall semester starting in August, Knoxville’s Board of Trustees chairman Dr. Michael V. Bowie told WATE 6. Admissions will be based on high school transcripts.
“It doesn’t end here,” said Knoxville College president Dr. Keith E. Lindsey. The institution’s re-opening cannot be “the only jewel in our crown, and then we just rest on this one laurel, this one accomplishment. This is the first of many.”
In an interview with Diverse, Lindsey added that Knoxville’s reopening fostered in him a “great sense of pride” in knowing that the college can move forward in regaining its accreditation. He is currently searching for accrediting agencies that align with the college’s goals to serve students.
Admitted students will be separated into cohorts according to their field of study and skills level. An academic committee selected the four specialty areas for the online associate’s degrees after conducting research on regional job needs and projected pay for graduates, Lindsey said.
“We need people that are skilled in math, we need people that are skilled in the sciences and we still need good writers and journalists,” he said.
Leaders do not have a “magic number” of students they intend to enroll. However, Lindsey said the college invites any student with a desire to attend Knoxville and receive a “great education” to apply.
“If that’s one student, if that’s 100 students, we will be open and ready to serve,” he said.
Bowie predicts that students will be able to arrive on campus near the end of 2018 or the start of 2019.
The college is also looking to hire several new faculty members for the fall semester depending on how Knoxville officials want to initiate their new online learning system. Further, institutional leaders are working to reestablish engagement with the surrounding community.
“We’ve had a lot of support, not only from our community, but from city government, our state government and state legislators,” Lindsey said. “They have been very instrumental in assisting us to get to this point. I would be a mistake to leave them out. They have really worked for us, and they have really worked hard.”
Tennessee General Assembly Representative Eddie Smith spoke of the THEC board’s positive vote for Knoxville College in a Twitter post. He said it is “still a long way to go, but the first big step has been taken.”
Tiffany Pennamon can be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter @tiffanypennamon.