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.
I 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.
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.
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
This 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.
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.
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.
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.