Get ready to SOAR

Tennessee Board of Regents announces new statewide excellence award for students, faculty and staff

Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) announced the establishment of the SOAR Awards this month to recognize excellent students, faculty and staff.  TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings also will name a College of the Year based on the recommendation of TBR senior staff who will evaluate TBR institutions.  Awards will be handed out Spring 2019.

Southwest will select one student, one faculty and one staff representative as SOAR Award finalists. Nominations are now open and must be submitted no later than Oct. 9, 2018, to Judy Schedneck in the Office of the Special Assistant to the President at


Eligible Southwest students are those who:

  • Are at least 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen and Tennessee resident
  • Are currently enrolled and have accumulated at least 12 semester hours at Southwest (as verified by the official transcript submitted to the TBR office on Jan. 30)
  • Maintain an overall, cumulative 3.3 grade point average (GPA) or higher throughout the matriculation and the state competition
  • Are scheduled to graduate between May 2019 and August 2019
  • Exhibit exemplary service at Southwest and throughout community
  • Exhibit exemplary academic accomplishment during enrollment
  • Are in good standing with Southwest and are free from any academic or other “holds” on their Southwest account
  • Have been nominated by a Southwest faculty or staff member
  • Maintain enrollment and academic standing throughout the nomination and awards process
  • Fully disclose all prior convictions (regardless of when they occurred) excluding minor traffic violations (failure to comply may result in disqualification)

Outstanding candidates for the SOAR Student Award also:

  • Recognize TBR’s critical impact on Tennessee’s overall workforce readiness and economic future
  • Have a strong work ethic, a dedicated sense of loyalty and a healthy enthusiasm for promoting education throughout Tennessee.

Full-time employees of Southwest who are also enrolled as a student are ineligible. Students who otherwise meet eligibility requirements and who are working part-time (20 hours or less) as work study, lab assistants and tutors or students participating in internships are eligible.


The SOAR Award is open to full-time and part-time faculty. Eligible faculty must:

  • Have completed at least one year of employment at the institution
  • Be a full-time or adjunct faculty member during the 2018-19 academic year as a lecturer, instructor, assistant, associate, or full professor, including those who have tenure or are tenure-eligible or contingent.

The foremost criterion for the Excellence Awards is an overall excellence in the responsibilities of a faculty member’s specific appointment including teaching, scholarship, service and/or professional activity.  See the SOAR brochure for more criteria information.

The SOAR Award is open to full-time Southwest employees. To be eligible, a nominee must:

  • Have completed at least one year of employment at the institution
  • Be a non-exempt or exempt employee who is employed full-time during the 2018-19 academic year
  • Be employed at the institution at the time of the final selection
  • Be at or below the level of associate/assistant vice president (or equivalent) in the organizational structure

The foremost criterion for the Excellence Awards is an overall excellence in the responsibilities of a staff member’s specific appointment service and/or professional activity. Service is also recognized on many levels including service to the department, school, college, profession and community. Candidates should be able to demonstrate distinction beyond normal job responsibilities, reflecting excellence in those area(s).

Areas of distinction could also include, but are not limited to:

  • Diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Experiential learning initiatives
  • Sustainability initiatives
  • Effectively supporting student success inside and outside the classroom
  • Bringing national recognition to institution or TBR
  • Exemplary service to the college, the larger community, and/or professional field

Refer to the attached brochure for additional information on the eligibility requirements and nomination submission instructions and other pertinent details. More information also is available at