Rutherford County Offers Three Higher Education Settings
Rutherford County students have multiple choices when it comes to higher education quality.
Rutherford County offers a multiple-choice option when it comes to the quality of higher education.
Middle Tennessee State University, Motlow State Community College's Smyrna Campus and the Tennessee Technology Center at Murfreesboro supply the region's employment base with skilled and knowledgeable graduates ready to meet the workforce needs of business and industry. The largest of the three institutions is MTSU, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2011 and remains a key component of Rutherford County’s continued economic success.
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU is the largest undergraduate university in Tennessee and offers 60 academic programs across a range of disciplines. The university also conducts a large number of research initiatives that support local business ventures.
“The fall 2010 semester saw us with a record enrollment of 26,400 students, so MTSU contributes to the local economy simply by providing graduates for the workforce,” says David Penn, director of MTSU's Business & Economic Research Center. “If you visit just about any employer in the Middle Tennessee area, you are going to find MTSU graduates. In all, MTSU has about an $890 million economic impact each year on the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area.”
A recent addition to the university is Confucius Institute, which promotes understanding of the Chinese language and culture. The Institute creates opportunities for exchange and collaboration between communities in Tennessee and China, which is especially important these days given China’s steady rise in the global economic picture.
“The opening of this Institute is yet another step toward demonstrating MTSU’s commitment to enhancing the international programs on our campus,” says MTSU President Sidney McPhee. “It speaks to our appreciation of other cultures.”
Motlow State Community College, Smyrna Campus
Motlow State's Smyrna Campus has an enrollment of more than 2,000 students who can pursue associate degrees and one-year certificates. Motlow State originally began offering evening classes to Rutherford County students in 1998 at Riverdale High School, then moved to the Tennessee Army National Guard in Smyrna in 2000 to serve the rapidly growing population.
In 2006, Motlow moved into its current facility off Sam Ridley Parkway, and construction is scheduled to begin in 2011 on a 35,000-square-foot classroom building that will be the latest addition to the Smyrna campus.
“The Smyrna site is growing fast and [is] in the midst of a four-phase building project, getting ready to start phase two,” says Cheryl Hyland, campus director. “Our facilities and technology are top notch.”
Tennessee Technology Center at Murfreesboro
The county's workforce development needs are also served by the Tennessee Technology Center at Murfreesboro, which provides training for workers who need to learn new skills or upgrade skills they already have. TTC offers 15 full-time programs in subjects such as automotive technology, biomedical technology, business systems, computer information, cosmetology, dental assistant, drafting and CAD, machine trades, pharmacy technology and practical nursing.