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

Providing Equity of Opportunity for Our Students

5/29/2014

BMA_Feb14.jpgA couple weeks ago, I received an evaluation of the Black Male Achievers (BMA) program in my inbox. For those of you who don’t know, BMA is a TCC student organization designed to empower and educate its black male students on the importance of the successful completion of their post-secondary education through the practices of academic, social and occupational excellence. I had requested the evaluation in order to determine the educational and personal impact of this program on its participants.   

Learn more about Black Male Achievers​

According to the data collected, it was found that BMA members have higher course success rates, higher retention rates, and a higher graduation rate compared to their non-BMA peers. Five of the program’s members are active members of Student Government Association (SGA) and of the twelve members who graduated from TCC this month, most will be transferring on to a state university.  

Perhaps more significantly, all of the members of BMA reported the program has made a positive impact on their lives, empowering them as students and as citizens to be the change they wish to see in the world. They cited their exposure to positive role models, opportunities to network with professionals, exposure to black history and opportunities to give back to the community as benefits of the program, creating an environment that supports student success. One student stated that the program helped him get his life back on track, while another called it a “life changer.” Through the requirements of the program, rules become habits and habits become success. 

Why is this important?     

At the core of every higher education mission is the desire to bring out the best in students through opportunity. But at an open education institution like ours, we bring out the best in students through equity of opportunity. We aren’t admitting cookie-cutter students based on someone’s opinion of what a perfect academic should be. We are open education which means we welcome a vibrant and diverse group of individuals with unique needs and goals.  Our job is to create the setting where any student, regardless of race, gender, religion, etc., can take their first step towards realizing their full potential.  

We cannot demand success from our students without providing a variety of outlets through which they can grow as individuals.​​ 

We cannot demand success from our students without providing a variety of outlets through which they can grow as individuals. This is why we have programs like BMA, Connect2Complete, Phi Theta Kappa, Model United Nations, Theatre TCC, STEM programs, International Student Organization, Student Veterans Association and many others. It’s why we have enriching study abroad programs, a well-equipped library and an award-winning tutoring center. These are not officious organizations and services meant to make us look better on paper; they are living, breathing resources that provide the equity of opportunity our students need.     

Equity of opportunity also means going beyond our campus. Relationships with area universities and partnerships with local businesses are equally vital. From the on-campus university partners to our workforce training clients, we are always working on paths to help students along after graduation. In fact, I feel there is a need for an annual meeting with Florida State University and Florida A&M University leadership to evaluate the value of our current degrees and catalog the region’s needs.     

Resolve is, of course, the student’s responsibility – college is hard work and takes no small amount of perseverance – but providing equity of opportunity is our responsibility. To that end, we will proudly continue to foster organizations such as BMA and the valuable qualities they promote in our students.

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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Tallahassee Community College does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, genetic information, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or age in programs or activities. Inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies may be directed to: Renae Tolson, Equity Officer | Room 239 Administration Building | 444 Appleyard Drive | Tallahassee, FL 32304-2895 | (850) 201-6074 | tolsonr@tcc.fl.edu (Other Languages)
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