Bringing Quality to Quantity
TCAT Morristown proves that bigger is better when it comes to technical education. The Morristown, Tennessee institution strives to do more for Tennesseans by providing an abundance of opportunities to acquire the technical skills, professional training and work ethic essential for workplace success, workforce development and a better quality of life. This mission and its accomplishments have earned TCAT Morristown the attention of students, industry partners and COE accreditation.
“We usually average 1,000 to 1,100 students per year comprised of full-time and part-time students, along with dually-enrolled high school seniors and special industry professionals, who come for new training to stay up-to-date in the workforce,” says Mr. Jerry Young, President of TCAT Morristown.
The school has two off-site campuses, 5 service centers and is preparing to open a 44,000 square-foot advanced manufacturing training facility this fall.
“We serve a 10-county area and our classes are consistently full with a waiting list, students trust us to train them in the skills they need for a better future.”
The Challenge to Key into Digital
While all COE-accredited member institutions comply with the same high standards of excellence, each reaccreditation visit is different. This was especially true for TCAT Morristown. This was the first time the school was tasked with making the transition from paper to digitized materials. Little did they know at the time that what started as a challenge would turn into a rewarding opportunity.
“Getting everything ready was a brand-new experience for us,” says Mr. Young.
After decades of compiling and filing self-study reports by hand, faculty and staff had to approach documentation completely differently. They began with developing precise digital formats for each of the needed materials, followed by guiding everyone involved on properly recording and documenting their activities.
“It took some time to get everything digitized, but once we did, it gave COE an opportunity to review the information before their visit, so they had more time to spend with faculty and touring the campus,” he explains. “This let us develop a better relationship with COE because we had more personal time together.”
Planning Today for a Better Tomorrow
While TCAT Morristown was recently reaccredited with COE at the end of 2020, the faculty is already planning and preparing for their next reaccreditation visit in 2026. Their calendars have already been set up for committee meetings over the next six years. Faculty have been asked to serve on teams focused on specific standards. And everyone has begun compiling information as they prepare to start formally meeting in 2024. While the school invests a lot of time and effort in reaccreditation, all agree it is well worth it to help TCAT Morristown become a better college and help students change their lives for the better.
“During my first COE reaccreditation twenty-nine years ago, I was nervous I thought they were going to focus on finding what we weren’t doing right, but that wasn’t the case at all,” says Mr. Young.“They’re there to help us as a school by looking at what we were doing and what we could be doing better. COE is a friend and they’re on your side to guide you in what it takes to be a great institution.”
Celebrating 50 Years of Accreditation: A Remarkable Achievement
TCAT Morristown was one of 21 institutions first accredited by the newly-formed Council in 1971. Throughout the last 50 years, the institution conducted no less than eight self-studies and hosted many visits to ensure compliance with the standards of accreditation at intervals averaging every six years. Notably, throughout the last half century, TCAT Morristown consistently maintained its ‘good standing’ status with the Council, having never been placed on any type of restrictive violation status which would call into question the quality and integrity of its administration, operations, or programs. This solid reputation and well-documented compliance with standards that ensure quality and integrity in career and technical education is truly a remarkable achievement.