Cleveland State President Dr. Bill Seymour Announces Retirement Plans

Dr. Bill Seymour, CSCC President

Cleveland State President Dr. Bill Seymour Announces Retirement Plans

Holly Appleton
Wednesday, November 10, 2021 12:00 AM
Press Releases, Employees, Academics, Community, All

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Cleveland State President, Dr. Bill Seymour, has announced his plans to retire during the summer of 2022. Seymour began his CEO duties at the college in January of 2014. He told CSCC employees during a Town Hall meeting that he believes this will be a good time to step-down both for himself and the college. He expressed his gratitude to God for calling him to serve others through this position.

Seymour is completing his 43rd year in higher education administration which has included large state universities, small private colleges and community colleges. Thirty of those years have been in Vice President and President roles. Seymour said, “Being President of Cleveland State is the best job of my career. I have never had more fun in a job, and I could not be prouder of the unprecedented accomplishments we have achieved together.”

Seymour provided four primary reasons for this decision. He stated, “I have always had a dream to retire when I was healthy and had the ability to enjoy it. Top priorities are spending more time with our daughters and grandchildren and traveling.”

The second reason has to do with the significant advancement of the college under his leadership. Seymour said, “I feel like in many ways we have re-founded Cleveland State on multiple levels. In particular, we have transformed our approach to promoting student success.”  

As a national leader in the Guided Pathways reform movement, Cleveland State has been on the cutting edge of teaching and learning and student engagement initiatives. During the past eight years, the college has doubled its graduation rate and the annual number of students completing degrees and certificates have been some of the highest in the school’s history.

Cleveland State has not seen such an abundance of capital improvements since the original campus was built in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Over $50M of campus projects have been funded in recent years. Most notably, these have included the new Health & Science Center on the main campus and the new McMinn Higher Education Center in Athens, Tennessee in partnership with TCAT Athens and the McMinn County UT Ag Extension Office.

Another addition within the college’s five-county service area was the Monroe County Center in Vonore, Tennessee. Through a million-dollar property gift from the Tellico Reservoir Development Agency (TRDA), this facility provides Advanced Technology and Industrial training in that region.

On the main campus, the college has begun a process of renovating its older buildings. This past summer, the Mary T. Barker Humanities Building renovation project was completed. Funding is already secured to renovate the Carl Hite Math & Science Building and construct a pedestrian bridge across Adkisson Drive; both starting this spring.  

In addition to the advancements already described, evidence of great progress came in the form of recognition from the College System of Tennessee as College of the Year in 2019. Seymour received personal recognition from Phi Theta Kappa when he was selected for the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction, their highest award for a Community College President.

The third reason is related to the strong advancement the college has made in enhancing attitudes about the college internally as well as externally. Seymour stated, “Our faculty and staff now function with a growth mindset. They know they can achieve anything and maintain a focus on continual improvement.”  

Seymour also said it was an intentional effort to enhance the college’s reputation throughout its service area. He said, “When I first arrived, many people told me that they knew little about the college and what we did to serve the community. This is why we promoted our commitment to always put ‘Community First’.” A shining example of this theme is the annual Community First Awards that recognize community citizens throughout five counties who exemplify the ideal of putting community before self.

The President stated it was very important for the college, on multiple levels, to reach out, get involved and promote the fact that Cleveland State is a leader in education, workforce and economic development in the region. He summed it up by saying, “We should all be proud that we have collectively achieved this goal with our employees’ dedication and commitment to our mission.”

Seymour said the fourth reason influencing his departure next summer was to enable new leadership to participate in upcoming planning and accreditation initiatives. With their sites set on SACSCOC reaffirmation in 2024, a new President will have time to implement the college’s next Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and participate in the development of the required self-study.

Seymour said his announcement at this time was to allow the Tennessee Board of Regents time to approve a plan for selecting the next President and conduct a search process during the Spring 2022 semester. Concerning his remaining months, Seymour said, “If you know me, you understand that I don’t believe in coasting. You can count on me to enthusiastically carry on my duties with the same focus and energy with which I have done over the past eight years.”

Seymour anticipates that his last day in office will be June 30, 2022.


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