MTSU, Motlow State presidents sign agreement to ea...

MTSU, Motlow State presidents sign agreement to ease transfer process [+VIDEO]

SMYRNA, Tenn. — The presidents of Motlow State Community College and Middle Tennessee State University signed an agreement Tuesday, May 1, that highlights the pathways for Motlow students with associate degrees to move seamlessly to the four-year university.

The agreement, signed on the college’s Smyrna campus with MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, was one of the first official actions by new Motlow State President Michael L. Torrence.

MTSU and Motlow State presidents confirm the agreement with a handshake.

After signing the MOU to help make a seamless transition for transfers, Motlow State Community College President Michael L. Torrence, left, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee shake hands, acknowledging the partnership May 1 at the Motlow campus in Smyrna, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

“A strong relationship between Motlow State and MTSU is central to ensuring quality service to the communities we partner to serve,” Torrence said. “The formalization of this transfer scholarship plan will help our team of Motlow advisers and completion coaches as they frame long-term academic options for student success.”

The university will tout its efforts to aid Motlow transfers as the MTSU Promise, pledging support to help them complete their associate degree, then move forward in seeking a four-year degree.

“MTSU is the No. 1 transfer destination for students in Tennessee, and more Motlow students transfer to MTSU than to any other four-year institution in the state,” McPhee said. “I am so pleased that we are renewing this important friendship and partnership today.”

The agreement calls for Motlow to share directory information of its students with MTSU 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.

The pact also says Motlow students who agree to participate in the MTSU Promise will sign a “reverse transfer” agreement, meaning that if they fail to complete their associate degrees before they transfer to MTSU, they would automatically receive an associate degree from Motlow once they’ve completed sufficient credits at MTSU. MTSU also is No. 1 in the state in using the reverse transfer process.

Motlow State and MTSU presidents sign memorandum of understanding.

Motlow State Community College President Michael L. Torrence, left, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee sign the memorandum of understanding that will ease the transition of students transferring from the college to the university. The signing occurred May 1 in the Apple building on the Motlow campus in Smyrna, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU, through its existing Guaranteed Transfer Scholarship Program, will provide transferring Motlow students with $3,000 per year for two years, or a maximum of four semesters, based on reaching and keeping a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Motlow transfer students will not be eligible to apply to receive the Guaranteed Transfer Scholarship until they complete 45 credit hours at Motlow.

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

Sells also said MTSU will revise its letters of rejection for students in the Motlow 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 Motlow for two years of study under the Tennessee Promise, the state-funded scholarship that pays tuition and fees for two-year colleges such as Motlow.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee greets Motlow State Community College President Michael L. Torrence on Troornce's first day on the job.

On Motlow State Community College President Michael L. Torrence’s first official day on the job, he meets MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee before they signed an MOU to help students from the college transfer to the university in a seamless transition. The signing took place May 1 at the Motlow campus in Smyrna, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU will also guarantee to those students that if they complete 60 credits with a 3.0 GPA at Motlow, they will be admitted and will receive a scholarship to attend MTSU for their last two years of study, Sells said.

“Transfer scholarships are important forms of inspiration when students plan their academic goals,” Torrence said. “Scholarship targets help build confidence among students that their long-term plans are academically, financially and logistically achievable. That assurance helps galvanize student focus on priorities they are accountable for on a day-to-day basis.”

“Our partner, MTSU, will make this commitment to all of our eligible graduates and this is remarkable,” the new Motlow leader continued. “It means that all Motlow students can earn this noteworthy financial accolade. It is our hope that this Motlow-MTSU partnership will pay dividends for our students by incentivizing them to build a sound plan, stay on track and finish well.”

McPhee thanked Torrence and his administration for their “tireless work on behalf of students seeking to build upon their work at Motlow and complete their higher education at MTSU.”

For more information about the MTSU Promise, go to

— Andrew Oppmann (

MTSU and Motlow State Community College administrators attend MOU signing in Smyrna.

Motlow State Community College administrators Cheryl Hyland, left, Melody Edmonds and Hilda Tunstill flank their new president, Michael L. Torrence, as MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and fellow administrators Mark Byrnes, Laurie Witherow and Deb Sells attend the memorandum of understanding signing at Motlow College in Smyrna, Tenn., May 1. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)