Williamson County’s Higher Education Options Expand in Size and Scope
PHOTO CREDIT: Brian McCord
A diverse population is one of the things that make Williamson County a dynamic place to live, and nowhere is that more evident than in its higher education institutions. Whether you’re a newly minted high school graduate not quite ready to leave home or a 40-something looking to get that MBA, there are plenty of options to continue your studies right here at home.
Known for its adult degree programs, Belmont University’s Cool Springs campus and corporate meeting facility continue to reach a wide segment of the community. Undergraduate degrees include accounting, general business, ministry, social work and public relations management. The satellite campus also offers a RN-BSN bridge program for nursing students, and a unique partnership with the Nashville Ballet allowing dancers to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
Columbia State Community College
In 1966, Columbia State became the first community college in the Tennessee Board of Regents system, and it hasn’t stopped innovating since. The Williamson County campus started classes in 1971, moving to its current location in 1989. Almost 1,300 students attend CSCC in Williamson County, and ongoing growth is such that new facilities are needed. Thirty-six acres off Liberty Pike in Franklin have been purchased, and the first phase of a new campus is set to open in spring 2016. It will include an arts and humanities building, library, industrial testing center, tutoring center, nursing lab and much more.
Another longtime Williamson County resident is King University. The Presbyterian, doctoral-level university has been around since 1867, and has more than 80 majors, minors and pre-professional degrees in business, nursing, law, medicine, education and the humanities. Its graduate programs include an MBA track as well as advanced degrees in education and nursing. King also continues to develop its online programs, which include an associate’s degree in art as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in many fields.
O’More College of Design
At O’More, it’s all about the visuals. Fine arts degrees in fashion design and merchandising keep company with studies in graphic, interactive and interior design, as students work with professionals through local, regional and international partnerships the college has developed.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Religious education also can be found here, thanks to the long-standing efforts of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Its Williamson County extension center in Franklin allows students to pursue bachelor's and master’s degrees in theology, divinity, philosophy and more.
Spark: Lipscomb’s Idea Center
Lipscomb University is known for creative programs, and Spark certainly fits the bill. With more than 6,400 square feet of meeting space, it’s a corporate gathering center for workshops, receptions and retreats. Entrepreneurs also flock to its smaller areas, where brainstorming is an everyday occurrence.
Non-traditional Students Benefit
For Tina Mead-Bello, Columbia State was the answer to a prayer. She had been working for many years, and decided after making some life changes that she wanted to pursue a nursing degree. She received an associate’s degree from CSCC, and in May 2014 received her bachelor’s in nursing from Lipscomb University. She also found employment at CSCC, where she works as an evening and weekend coordinator.
“I live less than a mile from campus,” she says. “Having high-quality education so conveniently located made all the difference. You can start small here, and go all the way through.”