Monday’s Board of Trustees workshop saw a historic discussion take place – will TCC become a state college? It’s an excellent question, and one we wouldn’t be asking ourselves if a need hadn’t arisen from the community.
First of all, it’s important to note that of the 28 schools in the Florida College System, 23 have already added four-year programs. This signals a distinct change in the system and we need to think of what this means for our College.
Secondly, over recent months both of our Tallahassee area hospitals have come to me expressing a growing necessity for an RN to BSN program to keep up with growing industry demands.
Asking the question does not force us in any direction, but not asking the question does.
TCC has always had a commitment to our community. We respond quickly to the workforce needs of those we serve, and those we serve have in turn come to trust us to fulfill those needs. This simple model has seen our College grow from just a small junior college to the #1 A.A. producing two-year College in the nation with over 20,000 students and more than 90 academic and career programs.
Three years ago, while interviewing for this position, I was asked about implementing baccalaureate degree programs in the future. I said then and I maintain today, it is helpful for any college to ask itself from time to time how well it is meeting the expectations of its students and its community. Asking the question does not force us in any direction, but not asking the question does.
What we have to do at this point is talk, and listen. In order to move forward, we will need to determine if adding four-year degrees will be good for, 1) the community, 2) the students, and 3) the College. We will be having lots of conversations with our District Board of Trustees, our faculty and staff, our students, our partners, our employers, our alumni and the public at large. It’s going to take a while, but we want to invite all viewpoints and weigh all the pros and cons.
I don’t believe in change for change’s sake. However, if we do find an unmet need we are well positioned to meet, we will need to have a willingness to go where the data takes us.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will be opening up forums and hosting events to facilitate discussion on this big issue. In the meantime, I invite you to visit my Facebook page and leave your comments at www.facebook.com/jimmurdaugh I look forward to hearing your feedback.