May 19, 2017

Columbia State Places Fourth In National Community College Survey

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. - May 19, 2017) - - - Columbia State Community College was recently recognized by the Center for Digital Education as a top five winner of their 2016-2017 Digital Community Colleges Survey, an award honoring community colleges for their efforts using technology to deliver curriculum and improve services offered.

Now in its twelfth year, the survey is used to highlight community colleges who demonstrate innovative uses of technology, including online courses and mobile environments, mobile apps, secure platforms and wireless networks, to improve services for students, faculty and staff. This is the second year that Columbia State has ranked among the top 10 community colleges nationwide.

"This year's survey indicates community colleges are continuing to improve efforts at creating cost-effective platforms and Open Education Resources, mobile environments, real-time resources, telepresence robots and more to create robust online and mobile environments for their students," said Dr. Kecia Ray, executive director for the Center for Digital Education. "Congratulations to this year's survey winners."

Columbia State placed fourth overall in the CDE's Mid-sized Colleges Category, which encompasses all community colleges nationwide with enrollment of 5,000 - 10,000 students. This is the second year that Columbia State has placed in the top 10 of nationwide community colleges. Columbia State moved up from seventh in the small category to fourth in the mid-sized category.

"There were many people at Columbia State responsible for this achievement," said Dr. Emily Siciensky, Columbia state associate vice president of information technology. "Faculty, staff and the forward thinking among leadership in the college have contributed to our progression."

Siciensky explained that Columbia State was chosen for the award for providing digital course content in a multi-platform environment that includes mobile devices; flexible scheduling options for content delivery; aggressive technology refresh strategies; inclusion of advanced technology in traditional and non-traditional classrooms; growth of desktop virtualization enabling the quick adoption of new academic software and wireless capabilities on all campuses; and wireless instructional technology at all campuses, as well as other uses of technology at the college.

"To be ranked as a top five winner speaks to the expertise of our information technology department," said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. "We strive to stay on the cutting edge of technology in order to provide technology-driven education for our students in the classroom, at home or wherever they might be.

This year's survey revealed insights about community colleges' technology priorities. Colleges surveyed indicated that mobility devices/app support is their top priority in the coming year, followed by website redesign/updates, cybersecurity tools and testing and digital content and curriculum.

The survey also revealed that 54 percent of colleges offer professional development courses on how to use mobile apps for instruction; 28 percent of colleges offer professional development for faculty or provide specific policies regarding how to protect student privacy when using apps, and 91 percent offer professional development courses on how to integrate technology into curriculum and instructional practices.

cc award
Photo Caption:
Dr. Emily Siciensky, Columbia state associate vice president of information technology and Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president pose with the award.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee's first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit

Tennessee's Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at

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