Consortium Gains Momentum with New Ventures, Updates of Existing Programs

The Tuscaloosa Consortium for Higher Education logo represents The University of Alabama, Shelton State Community College, and Stillman College.

The community and its collaborating institutions of higher education are experiencing a multitude of benefits from the Tuscaloosa Consortium for Higher Education (TCHE), made up of The University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College. The Consortium’s purpose is to create partnerships that aid students and provide lifelong continuing education learning opportunities for faculty and staff at the three institutions.

“Through the renewed dedication by all institutions, the decades-old Tuscaloosa Consortium for Higher Education is having an unprecedented impact on our students, faculty, staff and local citizens,” said Dr. Nicole B. Prewitt, director of Programs and Partnerships for Community Engagement in UA’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships. “New programs are being established as we update older ones. The TCHE liaisons look forward to advancing this great work at our respective institutions.” (The liaisons are Dr. Byron Abston, associate dean for student services at Shelton State, Dr. Lamin Drammeh, executive director of the Stillman College Foundation, and Dr. Prewitt.)

“Moving forward, TCHE has the capacity to promote educational opportunity, support economic development, and enhance the quality of life in the Tuscaloosa community,” said Dr. Prewitt.

According to Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, UA vice president for Community Affairs, who also serves as a member of the Stillman College Board of Trustees, “TCHE has its roots in the leadership of the late Dr. Cordell Wynn, who greatly influenced all three institutions, hence all of Tuscaloosa. His legacy extends to all three TCHE institutions. Not only did he serve as Stillman College president, but also as a UA Board of Trustees member and special assistant to C.A. Fredd State Technical College, a subsidiary of Shelton State.”

Consortium influences are found in academic programs, grants, community-engaged research, and training and development activities. For example:

  • Seed-fund collaboration in which faculty from Stillman and Shelton State collaborate with University faculty in carrying out small research projects designed to lead to larger grants. UA’s seed funds, administered through the Division of Community Affairs, are available to UA faculty who then partner with colleagues from the other institutions.
  • Creation of collaborative nursing and study-abroad programs.
  • Joint STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educational opportunities.
  • Promoting scholarships. Examples include the Community College Distinguished Scholarship program in which students with a 3.75 GPA and 45 hours of transferrable coursework are eligible for $5,000 per year for two years, and the All-Alabama Academic Team Scholarship program, which awards $1,000 per year plus a $300 book grant for two years.
  • TCHE Employee Scholarship Program. This program creates a “common market” among the academic disciplines for employees of the three institutions. Employees may take courses at a TCHE institution for certificate and undergraduate degree programs not offered at the employee’s home institution.

“By combining our resources we are bringing new energy and benefits to all three institutions,” said Dr. Pruitt. “This collaboration is resulting in benefits for all three institutions and its future looks very bright. My thanks to Dr. Prewitt and her counterparts at the other consortium institutions for breathing new life into this valuable program.”

For more information about the consortium, email Dr. Prewitt at, Dr. Abston at, or Dr. Drammeh at