TTU, Nashville Tech Share More than Goals

On outward appearance, Nashville State Technical Institute's Cookeville Center and Tennessee Technological University couldn't be more different.

The Nashville Tech Center enrolls about 149 students, while more than 8,200 students study at Tennessee Tech. Nashville Tech offers one-year certificate and two-year degree programs, while Tennessee Tech offers programs leading to the bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degrees.

Despite their differences, both institutions remain committed to a common goal - educating and training the region's population. And together they're making it easier than ever for adults and recent high school graduates alike to find the training and education that meets their career goals.

"It's a mutually beneficial relationship," said Tennessee Tech President Angelo Volpe. "Both of our institutions are unique in what we offer, but the key is, we pair our programs to ensure they work well together to give students the best choices available."

The two institutions have a history of cooperation. For years they have shared facilities, classes and even equipment.

When the local Nashville Tech center began outgrowing its current home on Freeze Street, Tennessee Tech opened its doors to the two-year school and made rooms available for center classes. Today Nashville Tech teaches several classes at TTU.

Nashville Tech students also attend Academic Development Program classes on the TTU campus, including courses in writing, math, reading and study skills. The cooperative arrangement provides the academic services to meet the students' needs and allows them to take advantage of the development laboratory and learning tutorials available at TTU.

But sharing is a two-way venture, and when needed equipment or machinery isn't available at one institution, classes from the other share the equipment. One of TTU's electrical engineering classes recently borrowed some of Nashville Tech's programmable logic controllers because the equipment wasn't available at the university.

"The major benefit of our cooperation is shared resources," said Nashville Tech President George Van Allen. "The intellectual resources of the university can never be duplicated at 'Cookeville Tech,' so we take advantage of what's offered by the university. We hope the advantage to Tennessee Tech is that we will become a primary feeder of students interested in completing a four-year degree. Our students are already taking some courses on Tennessee Tech's campus, and we hope that number increases."

The institutions have also recently finalized transfer agreements to help students make the transition from Nashville Tech to TTU's four-year degree program. Students who complete Nashville Tech's two-year police science program will be able to transfer their credits and finish their final two years at TTU to earn a bachelor's degree. Officials at both campuses are hoping to arrange similar agreements for other programs, too.

"The relationship between both schools has been excellent and beneficial," said Bill Pardue, director of Nashville Tech's Cookeville Center. "We're pleased to be in the same community with Tennessee Tech. We're thankful for the cooperation, and we're looking forward to enhancing an already strong partnership."