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TCC : Our College : Our Leadership : President's Blog

Campus Compact: Creating Global Citizens Through Service Learning

11/19/2013

There is a growing buzz at Tallahassee Community College that has nothing to do with any innovative technologies we implement or demand-driven programs we add, though these things are pivotal for the future of our College. What I’m talking about is something I see as a subtle re-emergence of the role of higher education in providing students the opportunity to use our communities as classrooms.

CampusCompact_11-7-13.jpgI recently had the pleasure of attending the annual Florida Campus Compact Conference including the conference’s Awards Gala with several TCC team members. The Gala ended up being a stellar night for TCC. Our College placed second in the Florida College System for the Engaged Campus of the Year Award. Our Connect 2 Complete program won the Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs Award. And I was also very proud to see Assistant Professor of Humanities Lindsey Smitherman-Brown win the Community Engagement Educator Award which recognizes “significant contributions to the institutionalization of community engagement by inspiring a vision of service on the campus.” Well-deserved honors. 

For those who don’t know, Campus Compact is an organization that encourages colleges and universities to advance their civic engagement with local communities. They seek to foster engaged scholarship (also known as service learning) initiatives in higher education that educate students on social responsibility while improving the lives of those around us. 

During the conference, I took part in a discussion panel with two other College presidents on the topic of understanding an administrator’s perspective on engaged scholarship. We talked about the challenges we face as leaders, and our unique perspective on how service learning supports colleges’ strategic plans and affects institutional growth. I spoke at length on TCC’s own service learning projects including the Connect2Complete program, which is doing a great job promoting college success with our developmental students, our 16 different service learning classrooms, and our community efforts like the campus food pantry and the community garden.  

communitygarden.jpgThis year we also carried out a significant restructuring of Student Affairs, phasing out the Department of Campus Life in favor of creating the Department of Campus and Civic Engagement to focus on student service and leadership. 

All these projects and developments represent TCC’s mission to produce graduates who are valuable, socially-conscious members of society. This is a topic I’m extremely close to. I believe our College has a responsibility that transcends occupational trends. Our learning environment fosters personal growth as well. We are educating our future. 

However, I am never one to say we have it all figured out. We have only just begun to explore the possibilities. I have asked those currently leading our service learning efforts to define some clear objectives for improving and growing. This type of scholarship should not just be reserved for special projects or select classrooms. It should saturate every subject and initiative we administer. Service learning isn’t just about doing good, it’s about changing the way our students learn and preparing them for their future as citizens of the United States and of the world. 

I want to congratulate those who were a part of the programs and initiatives that won the Florida Campus Compact awards. The faculty, staff and students who dedicate themselves to service learning on this campus are not just representing the College with distinction, they are working towards the betterment of our entire community.

Jim​


A college is more than a collection of buildings or an online presence. A college is a community—a group of people with the same goal: to learn and to prepare for the future. And a great college is more than just a destination—it is a partner in the success of each student.

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