Southwest Tennessee Community College

December 19, 2005

For more information, contact: Kimberly Stark (901) 333-4023

The Liberal Studies and Education Division, Developmental Studies Program at Southwest to Receive Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence 2005 Commitment Award

The Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (the Center) announced today that the Liberal Studies and Education Division as well as the Developmental Studies Program at Southwest are 2005 winners of the Commitment Award in its annual recognition program. The awards will be presented at the thirteenth annual Awards Banquet on February 23, 2006, at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The Liberal Studies and Education Division is a five-year-old academic division within academic affairs. The Developmental Studies Program at prepares students for college-level coursework.

The Center, through its annual evaluation and assessment process, recognizes organizations that have achieved the highest standards of excellence in their operations and results. The program uses the Criteria for Performance Excellence established by the Baldrige National Quality Program as the evaluation tool.

“The (Liberal Studies and Education) Division is committed to quality,” states Dr. Ada Shotwell, the division’s dean. “The National Baldrige Award is internationally known. The Division is proud that its processes are of the caliber to be recognized. I think that the Liberal Studies and Education divions is making great progress. We are building a fooundation of quality that should propel us into the future.” The Division offers courses in Developmental Studies, Fine Arts, Languages, Literature, Education, Social & Behavioral Science, and Criminal Justice to help students prepare for careers, further education, and personal development. Departments in this division offer most of the courses in the general-education curriculum.

Dr. Cheryl Cleaves, chair of the Developmental Studies Program states, “We believe that our faculty is one of the reasons we were given this award. Our faculty are hired specifically to teach Developmental Studies courses. That is the field they chose. We also believe that our processes and the fact that we have a centralized organization is what makes our processes worthy of this award.” The Division offers Developmental reading, writing and mathematics courses as well as courses to assist students to learn how to organize their study activities and work on their study skills.

The Center, through its annual evaluation and assessment process, recognizes organizations that have achieved the highest standards of excellence in their operations and results. The program uses the Criteria for Performance Excellence established by the Baldrige National Quality Program as the evaluation tool.

Awards are presented in four categories: Interest Recognition (the beginning level), Commitment, Achievement, and the highest level – the Excellence Award.

In addition to the Liberal Studies and Education Division, 11 other organizations will be honored with the Commitment Award, 4 are being recognized with the Achievement Award and 17 are Interest Recognition recipients.

Awards are determined on the basis of fulfilling the criteria described for each level. There is no limit to the number of awards presented annually, but to achieve the Center’s prestigious Excellence Award, an organization must demonstrate management excellence through its practices and achievements.

To date, 16 other organizations have attained this “world class” designation of which four – Eastman Chemical Company, Federal Express, Pal’s Sudden Service and Caterpillar Financial Services, Inc. – have also achieved the Baldrige National Quality Award.

“The quest for excellence distinguishes Tennessee as a place where businesses flourish, consistently high standards are set and attained, and a skilled, competent workforce is ready for future challenges,” Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen said. “Winners of the Tennessee Excellence Award not only reach the highest national and international performance standards in their industries year after year – they set them. I am proud to offer my congratulations to all of these companies that have demonstrated a commitment to excellence. The employees of each of these organizations are to be commended for having set and met the standards for quality performance that reflect positively on our state.”

Since the Center’s creation in 1993, more than 1,000 organizations have progressed through one or more levels of achievement. A Board of Examiners made up of 100 experts in business, education, health care and government assessed this year’s applicants in seven categories: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; human resource focus; process management; and results.

“Excellence implies more than competence,” said Katie Rawls, president of the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence. “It means striving for the highest possible standards. The 2005 Award winners represent the best and have done a great service by setting high standards for others to follow. I applaud their accomplishments.”

The Tennessee program, which is itself a national and international role model, is open to all businesses as well as public and private education institutions, health care organizations, government agencies and other non-profit entities. Serving as chair of the 2005 Board of Directors is Edward Scott, executive vice president and CFO of Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation.

For more information on the Liberal Studies and Education Division or the Developmental Studies Program at Southwest, contact Southwest at (901) 333-4024 or 4116.

For more information on the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence, contact Katie Rawls, President, at the organization’s Nashville office at (800) 453-6474 or katie.rawls@tncpe.org