MTSU, Cleveland State Extend Partnership


Middle Tennessee State University signed an agreement Tuesday (Oct. 16) to extend the MTSU Promise to Cleveland State Community College, a pathway for students with associate degrees from the college to move seamlessly to the four-year university.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Cleveland State President Bill Seymour also signed a transfer agreement to make it easier for Cleveland State students who earn an associate degree in mechatronics technology to transfer to MTSU’s mechatronics engineering program and earn a bachelor’s degree.

The presidents signed the documents on the Cleveland campus, as MTSU’s True Blue Tour, a 14-city, four-state caravan to recruit prospective students, stopped in nearby Chattanooga, en route to Atlanta, Georgia, Oct. 17.

To view video from the signing, visit

McPhee noted that 91 former Cleveland State students are currently enrolled at MTSU, making the college one of the most valuable sources of transfer students for the Murfreesboro campus.

“MTSU is the No. 1 transfer destination in Tennessee,” McPhee said. “Extending the MTSU Promise to Cleveland State steps up our partnership even further and will allow our advisers to help these great students transition to our campus.”

Seymour agreed, saying the cooperation between the two mechatronics programs underscored the unique partnership between the two institutions.

“Perhaps no other program at Cleveland State has developed so quickly and strongly as our Advanced Technologies programs,” Seymour said.

“This agreement is also timely due to the establishment of our new Mechatronics Honors Institute – and these students will be strong candidates for completing their bachelor’s degree at MTSU,” he added.

MTSU launched its MTSU Promise program in May with an agreement signed between the Murfreesboro campus and Motlow State Community College.

The MTSU Promise pledges support to help students at partner schools to help them complete their associate degree, then move forward in seeking a four-year degree.

The agreement calls for Cleveland State to share with MTSU directory information of the college’s students so they are included in tailored communications of emails and hard-copy mailings that support the process of planning for the bachelor’s degree after successful completion of the associate degree.

Also, the agreement says Cleveland State students who agree to participate in the MTSU Promise will sign a “reverse transfer” agreement, meaning if they fail to complete their associate degrees prior to transfer, they would automatically receive their associate degree from Cleveland once sufficient credits have been completed at MTSU.

MTSU is No. 1 in the state in using the reverse transfer process.

MTSU, through its existing Guaranteed Transfer Scholarship Program, will provide aid for Cleveland State students who transfer to MTSU in the amount of $3,000 per year for two years, or a maximum of four semesters, based on achievement of a 3.0 GPA.

Students transferring to MTSU will not be eligible to apply to receive the Guaranteed Transfer Scholarship until after completing 45 credit hours at Cleveland State.

Deb Sells, MTSU’s vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment services, said the application deadline annually is Feb. 15, which means the majority of participating Cleveland State students will have completed 60 credits before transfer.

Sells also said MTSU will revise letters of rejection for students in the Cleveland State service area who apply to MTSU for freshman admission, but who are not admitted.

The letters will also say the student is being placed in a “deferred admission” category, and that MTSU recommends that they enroll at Cleveland State for two years of study under the Tennessee Promise, the state-funded scholarship that pays tuition and fees for two-year colleges.

MTSU will also guarantee to such students that if they complete 60 credits with a 3.0 GPA at Cleveland State, they will be guaranteed admission and a scholarship to attend MTSU for their last two years of study, Sells said.

Meanwhile, the agreement between the institutions on mechatronics education was hailed as “an exciting day, three years in the making” by Tim Wilson, chair of Cleveland State’s Advanced Technologies Department.

“This agreement is also timely due to the establishment of our new Mechatronics Honors Institute. Students in this program will be strong candidates for completing their bachelor’s at MTSU,” Seymour added.

Wilson said Cleveland State started this process “to give our students an opportunity to complete their undergraduate degree in mechatronics engineering. MTSU now is an excellent avenue by which those students may complete their studies in an engineering program of study.”

McPhee concurred, underscoring the partnership both institutions enjoy with Siemens Mechatronic Systems as part of the global company’s certification program. Siemens recently donated advanced software, with a commercial value of $278 million, to the mechatronics program at MTSU.

“We welcome this opportunity to invite these excellent students from Cleveland State to continue their education at MTSU in a facility that is clearly one of the best in the nation,” McPhee said.