NE State earns SACSCOC continued accreditation

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has continued its accreditation of Northeast State Community College as part of its routine five-year interim review of the college and its operations, the Tennessee Board of Regents announced today.

SACSCOC is the prestigious regional accreditation agency for 11 Southern states and one of seven regional education accrediting associations in the United States recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to conduct accreditation activities. Accreditation is required to receive federal funding. 

Once a college or university has been accredited, it undergoes full-scale, comprehensive reaffirmation reviews every 10 years and five-year interim reviews in between the decennial reaffirmation process. The accreditation encompasses the entire institution, including branch campuses, other instructional sites, online programs, and distance learning modalities. 

As part of its recently completed five-year review of Northeast, SACSCOC also conducted routine reviews of Northeast’s instructional sites in Bristol, Johnson City, at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, Tennessee High School in Bristol and Unicoi County High School in Erwin.  

After accreditors submitted their Fifth-Year Interim Report on the college, the SACSCOC Board of Trustees continued its full accreditation of Northeast State, with no additional report requested – indicating that it had no recommendations for or questions about the college after the review. The agency notified Northeast President Janice H. Gilliam in a letter.

“We extremely proud of our faculty and staff, who have played an important role in this successful 5th-year review,” Gilliam said. “Our institutional effectiveness leadership team has played a vital role in our successful accreditation renewal with no recommendations.”

Northeast’s next regular comprehensive accreditation reaffirmation review is scheduled for 2021.

Northeast is a comprehensive two-year community college providing university parallel programs for students who plan to continue their education at a four-year college or university, career programs for students planning to enter the workforce after graduating from Northeast, and continuing education and community service programs for professional growth and personal enrichment to the residents of Carter, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties, its primary service area.

The college is one of 13 community colleges in the statewide Tennessee Board of Regents system, the governing board for Tennessee’s Community Colleges, 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology and six Universities.

 For more information on Northeast State Community College:

For more information on SACSCOC:

For more information about the Tennessee Board of Regents:

Information Fair set at Johnson City campus Feb. 21

With Tennessee Promise the high school kids are alright. Now, the Tennessee Reconnect Act hopes to give adults their turn.

Northeast State invites the public to learn more about returning to college at an Information Fair scheduled Feb. 21 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the College’s Johnson City campus, 101 E. Market Street. Northeast State hosts this free informative session for adults as well as younger students seeking a college degree or certificate.

info-fair-at-jc-feb-21-imageNortheast State representatives from the offices of Admissions, Financial Aid, Scholarships and Veterans’ Affairs will be on hand to answer questions. Fair attendees can meet with staff and learn more about the College and Tennessee Reconnect.

Like the Tennessee Promise Scholarship for upcoming high school graduates, the Tennessee Reconnect Act seeks to establish a last-dollar scholarship for adults to attend a community college tuition-free. With this extension of the Drive to 55, which comes at no additional cost to taxpayers, every Tennessean will have the opportunity to enter or reenter public higher education with no tuition expenses.

For more information about this event, contact Northeast State Enrollment Services at 423.323.0229 or

Northeast State Machine Tool Operations earns NIMS accreditation

The Machine Tool Operations Program at Northeast State Community College reached a new height in program history when it became nationally accredited by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) beginning November of 2016.

NIMS Accreditation is the premiere benchmark for metalworking training programs in the United States as based on NIMS Skills Standards which are industry-written, industry-approved, and recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. NIMS sets industry supported standards for accreditation in machining across America.

“Our NIMS accreditation validates our program and curriculum on a national level,” said Brad Stufflestreet, Machine Tool program director. “With this accreditation, we join an elite group of machining programs that have received this recognition, with the next closest school being over 100 miles away.”

Stufflestreet noted that not only does accreditation support the program, but Northeast State students are able to earn industry-recognized credentials through NIMS. The credentials are validated through local industries and attest to the students’ level of learning through practical demonstration of their skills.

“We continue to strengthen our local relationships and are investigating additional opportunities including registered apprenticeship programs with support from NIMS,” he added.

(from left) Barry Griggs, Barbara McCray, Brad Stufflestreet, and Keith Tittle hoist the banner recognizing Machine Tool Operations as a nationally accredited program by NIMS.

The NIMS accreditation resulted through the Labor Department’s Trade Adjustment and Community College Career Training grant that brought together Northeast State and five other colleges to form the Southeastern Economic and Education Leadership Consortium (SEELC) in 2013. One of the purposes of this grant was to add the opportunity for students to receive stackable industry-recognized credentials (such as NIMS credentials) in addition to college certificates and degrees.

“This national NIMS accreditation is a major accomplishment and is the result of a focused team effort that involved college faculty, local employer partners, and SEELC grant staff,” said Barbara McCray, project manager for the SEELC grant at Northeast State. “The NIMS accreditation will bring more attention to the Northeast State machine tool program from area employers and potential students.”

Accreditation is based on NIMS National Skill Standards for Machining Level I with a focus on CNC and manual machining skills. As a nationally accredited program, the College demonstrated its commitment to providing industry-level training for northeast Tennessee and for the greater U.S. manufacturing industry.

Led by Industry Certification Coordinator Barry Griggs, college staff and faculty met the stringent quality requirements set forth by NIMS. The College undertook several requirements including a self-audit, the certifying of faculty and students against NIMS industry credentials, and an intensive two-day on-site evaluation at the Blountville campus.

“Everyone has worked together well to meet all the NIMS requirements for a top-notch machine tool program,” said Griggs. “I think the school’s desire to meet these high standards shows the commitment of the school to its students and I’m very happy to see the school achieve this national recognition.”

The Fall 2016 on-site evaluation was conducted by NIMS evaluators. The visit included a comprehensive facility inspection, observation of student safety habits, and a series of in-depth interviews with faculty, administrators, and local employers.

Keith Tittle, interim assistant dean of the Advanced Technologies division at Northeast State, said the NIMS accreditation validated the quality and level of instruction offered at the College. He said the program’s dedication remained consistent with that of nationally recognized programs.

“This is also an indication of the commitment of our highly qualified instructors to deliver training that will ensure students are successful in the workplace,” said Tittle. “Overall, this NIMS accreditation is evidence of a very successful program involving instructors, students, and local industry.”

For more information about the Machine Tool Operations program and how to apply for admission, visit or call 800.836.7822.

Career Discovery program offered for high school juniors, seniors

This summer, rising high school juniors and seniors will have the opportunity to take part in a five-day, rigorous, hands-on exploration of various academic areas such as Entertainment Technology, Welding, Drafting, and Criminal Justice.

Career Discovery, sponsored by Northeast State’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, aims to help high school students discover their career and academic potential within a fun and exciting atmosphere. Students will join in activities at the College and explore careers through industry field trips.

The Career Discovery program will allow CTE students to explore career and academic paths.

Career Discovery will be held June 12-16, 2017. The program is free, but limited to 20 high school students. Participating students will receive a t-shirt, lunch daily, and a $50 gift card for completing the program.

Any current high school sophomores or juniors interested in Career Discovery should speak with their high school’s CTE Principal by March 30. For more information, call 423.354.5297 or e-mail

NE theatre students, alumni competing at Kennedy Festival

Northeast State Theatre’s 2016 productions of She Kills Monsters and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest were hits with audiences and critics.

Northeast State Theatre students and alumni were nominated by proctors from Region IV of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) to submit their work to the Festival’s Region IV competition Feb. 8-11 at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga. The adjudicated competition recognizes the best theatre work of two- and four-year colleges across the Southeast.

“I am continuously impressed and proud of the hard work and dedication our students put towards the shows they work on,” said Elizabeth M. Sloan, associate professor and director of Northeast State Theatre. “They really do push themselves and grow not only as theatre artists but as humans. It is a wonderful thing to observe.”

A proctor from Region IV attended performances of Cuckoo and Monsters to judge both productions.  The plays’ quality was graded and considered for nominations to the regional competition.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest cast and crew.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest cast and crew.

Current Northeast State students Madison Grace Phillips and Hayley Forbes both earned Irene Ryan Acting nominations for their work in Monsters. Meredith Muse won a nomination for her role of Nurse Ratchet in Cuckoo.

Phillips portrayed Tilly and Tillius the Paladin, a gaming legend whose death prompts her sister’s search for her identity. She also served on the crew as assistant fight captain and dance captain.

“Every performance we did was more exciting than the last,” said Phillips. “After our last curtain of the last show, I cried my eyes out not from sadness but joy from what we had all accomplished in putting on such an amazing show.”

Forbes stepped on stage for the first time in the role of Agnes, pursuing the adventure her sister Tilly started. Forbes tapped into her role through her relationship with her own younger sister and how her character dealt with grief and loss.

“This was my first play so I threw myself into it and discovered I had a passion for theatre,” said Forbes. “Though the play is funny and light-hearted, but I’m glad people saw how powerful love can be through the play.”

The She Kills Monsters cast and crew.
The She Kills Monsters cast and crew.

Northeast State alumnus Charles Clark will serve as the acting partner to the participating acting nominees during the competition. A theatre veteran, Clark portrayed Orcus in Monsters while serving as fight captain on the crew. Participating acting nominees will perform in dramatic scenes at the festival. Actors are judged with the winners advancing forward into new rounds facing longer scenes and more stringent critics.

Northeast State alumnae Erin Peters and Jessica Richardson were nominated for their work on Cuckoo.  Peters received her nomination for sound design while Richardson nabbed a nomination for costume design. Northeast State students Andrea Marshall, Andrea Greer, and Shelby Ashley will present their work in the Weiss Design competition hosted for theater participants at the festival.

Northeast State alumni Dustin Lawson and Grace Arrowood both received nominations. Lawson earned a nod for makeup and special effects design for Monsters. Arrowood was nominated as a Weiss Design participant in set design on Monsters. She will present a start-to-finish concept of a set design for competitive review. This is her second trip to the festival being a Weiss Design participant in 2015.

Theatre instructor and technical director Brad McKenzie was nominated for a Best Faculty Design award for his work as Lighting Designer on the production. Sloan said she was delighted to see Northeast State alumni returning to be a part of new productions.

“We had current students, alumni, and alumni who are now students at East Tennessee State University nominated for their work with us,” said Sloan. “The collaboration between Northeast State Theatre and the ETSU Department Theatre is at an all-time high.”