Jim Murdaugh, President Monday, August 22, 2016
The start of fall is always a great time to be at Tallahassee Community College. The campus is busy with students again! Some of you are returning and, hopefully, ready to get back in the swing of things. Some of you are taking your first steps onto a college campus and starting a new chapter in your life. Either way, we are excited you chose TCC as part of your journey and can’t wait to see how far you’ll go.
As many of you already know, TCC is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. You will notice banners around campus as well as a special archive exhibit in the Fine and Performing Arts Center. These, along with all the events we have planned for the remainder of the year, help serve as a reminder of the rich history of our institution and keep us focused on our future. This College has graduated more than 70,000 students in the past 50 years and touched hundreds of thousands of lives. Many of these individuals have either stayed and enriched our community or come back to work right here at the College. No doubt you will meet some of them during your time here – you probably already know a TCC alum or two – which is why I always say that we are more than a community college; we are a community institution.
Join us in celebrating our 50th Anniversary this fall. Visit 50.tcc.fl.edu for a full events calendar, alumni features and more.
If I could offer one piece of advice this semester, it would be this – take charge of your college experience. This means being proactive about your education. It means engaging in all TCC has to offer. It means attending class, signing up for intramurals, participating in a student organization, going on a study abroad trip, trying out for theatre or whatever else you’d like. College is a time to learn more about yourself and the world around you. So seize every opportunity to explore what interests you. And don't forget to drop me a line via email or my Facebook page and let me know how it’s going for you. I always love hearing from students.
With that, I wish each of you a heartfelt welcome to TCC and to a new academic year.
Best of luck!
Tuesday marked an important milestone for nonprofits in our
community. The Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence officially
opened in its new permanent home at the TCC Capitol Center.
It’s been a long journey to get here. I remember shortly
after I became president at TCC being approached by several area nonprofit
leaders about the lack of advocacy efforts for their sector in our area. Having
served on multiple boards, I already knew the impact that nonprofits have on
our community, not just in terms of social value for the vital services they
provide, which is immeasurable, but economic value as well. With something like
800 not-for-profits in Tallahassee alone, each year these organizations funnel
millions of dollars back into the local economy for things like hiring staff,
professional fees such as accounting and legal counsel, purchasing supplies,
renting office space, obtaining insurance coverage, etc. I could immediately see both the need and the potential.
With training and networking opportunities, we could create something to
provide our area’s nonprofits with the leg up they need to compete for limited
resources no matter their size or mission. Such a program would be less about TCC
or establishing a brand, and more about designing a place where synergies could
I want to see nonprofits continue to use INIE as a place for creativity, innovation and growth, but more importantly, I want to see INIE continue to help develop more nonprofit professionals like Darby who can help increase the capacity of their organizations and be assets to the people they serve.
INIE is now well-positioned at the Capitol Center just steps
from the state capitol and city hall and with over 9,000 square feet of
flexible office and meeting space to facilitate collaboration and innovation. I
credit much to VP Kimberly Moore for her leadership in making it happen. She
understood that we would need to provide the foundation – we didn’t want
nonprofits raising money for salaries or furniture, we wanted nonprofits
raising money to make a difference. And INIE wouldn’t be what it is today
without executive director Jessica Lowe Minor who has been at the helm for well
over a year now and has made a
remarkable difference including the development of the social entrepreneur
program. As a result, we are now one of only four or five communities in
Florida with this kind of infrastructure built intentionally to its purpose.
The positive feedback has been overwhelming. The opening was
well-attended and I was glad to hear several speak who have already been
impacted by INIE including Darby Kerrigan, executive director of the Legal Aid
Foundation spoke at the opening about how the Institute helped her get started
as a new ED and get started well. In fact the workshops and special events,
like our first-ever Nonprofit Enterprise & Social Innovation Summit (NESI)
held earlier this month, have all been well received and have exceeded our
I want to see nonprofits continue to use INIE as a place for
creativity, innovation and growth, but more importantly, I want to see INIE continue
to help develop more nonprofit professionals like Darby who can help increase
the capacity of their organizations and be assets to the people they serve.
Jim Murdaugh, President Tuesday, June 21, 2016
At the TCC District Board of Trustees meeting on Monday,
we had a very productive workshop and unanimous vote of approval on the
College’s 2016-17 operating budget.
I am very pleased to share that all eligible full-time
TCC employees will receive a 2 percent increase in base salary starting in
October. Our trustees agree with the administration’s recognition that you all
deserve this pay increase for the quality work you do.
In addition to the pay increase, the College is
contributing even more to employee benefits in the coming year. Health
insurance premiums continue to rise, and TCC is absorbing an additional
estimated $600,000 in health insurance costs for the year.
The 2016-17 budget also preserves a sufficient fund
balance, designates a source for classroom and campus technology, and funds a
multi-year commitment to classroom renovations. It includes appropriations for
all TCC satellite locations in Leon, Gadsden and Wakulla counties. This plan
establishes operating budgets for each so that we can provide more
opportunities for our students and our communities.
All of this comes without an increase in the financial
pressure on students. For the sixth consecutive year, the College has approved
a budget that does not raise tuition. TCC has the fourth-lowest per-credit hour
tuition in the Florida College System while still providing one of the best
quality educations in the state thanks to our outstanding faculty and staff’s
I thank each of you for your hard work and commitment to
Jim Murdaugh, President Thursday, June 2, 2016
To TCC Faculty and Staff:
I want to update you on the current state of affairs
concerning some full-time faculty colleagues who are proposing to form a union
at Tallahassee Community College. Everyone should be aware of the facts around
the situation so they can make educated decisions moving forward.
TCC is an incredible institution. I credit this to a shared
passion we all have to see our students succeed. Our faculty members are key to
this success and it is my desire to work with the faculty so we can continue to
provide a quality education to our students.
The College has always fostered an atmosphere of support for
our faculty. Although state funding for colleges has decreased over the
past several years, enrollment has declined and we have been unable to enact
tuition increases, I have advocated strongly to maintain the same level of
support. In fact, the base salary of our full-time faculty at TCC is the
seventh highest among the 28 institutions within the Florida College System,
and we offer an excellent comprehensive benefits package to all our full-time
While I respect the right of our employees to unionize,
faculty must recognize this is an important decision that could fundamentally
change the culture of our campus. In a unionized environment, we will lose the
flexibility we now have to address the unique needs of our faculty members,
communications with administration will be limited and we will not be able to
work together on an individual basis to resolve issues. This is not the type of
relationship we have enjoyed through the decades. I am concerned that the
College will not function as productively or efficiently if a union emerges.
The best way to move forward is together. The task force to
examine faculty reassignments has been convened and will report back to the
Board. In the meantime, as I pledged at the town hall meeting in April, I will
be more accessible to faculty and staff, with town halls held in the fall and
spring, regularly scheduled coffee conversations and more frequent classroom
and office visits across campus. I consider my accessibility to faculty and
staff a priority.
I also urge you to consider the costs of union membership,
including dues, fees and assessments. While the union may make promises in
order to obtain a vote, no such promises can be fulfilled unless the College
agrees. It is important to note that a union cannot guarantee certain benefits
or wages, or even that employees will continue to receive the same benefits
they have today.
Please also be aware that it will be the majority of faculty
members who actually cast a ballot, not the majority of faculty members, who
will decide on unionization. Silence on this issue could result in something
you do not necessarily want. When the vote occurs, please be sure to
participate so that a minority does not make a decision for the majority.
In closing, as we celebrate our 50th anniversary
and continue our Foundation’s campaign to support the College and student
success, it’s never been more important than now for us to work together. I would
like to continue to communicate and collaborate. If you have any concerns or
questions that you would like to share on this issue, please do not hesitate to
Jim Murdaugh, President Tuesday, April 26, 2016
One day last week I happened to look out my office window and
saw a familiar sight for this time of year – a student dressed in full graduation
regalia taking pictures with her friends in front of the Tallahassee Community
College sign. That day had been a particularly demanding one, but as I
witnessed the soon-to-be-graduate’s pride in her achievement and her alma mater
all my concerns were momentarily set aside.
She didn’t know it, but she had instantly reminded me of
what makes my job so special and why graduation weekend is my favorite time of
year. People often ask if I ever get tired of commencement exercises. I could
never. It’s when I get the privilege of shaking the hand of our graduates and
congratulating them each on a job well done.
At Tallahassee Community College, we stand on the principles
of human dignity, individual responsibility and that education should be
accessible to everyone regardless of their socioeconomic status. These
principles have not changed since they were laid out by our founders 50 years
ago. We have always believed in providing opportunities for personal success
through higher education pathways, workforce opportunities and civic engagement
Thank you for your contributions to this College. Thank you for your presence here. However short or long your time studying at TCC, you left an indelible mark.
As a member of our class of 2016, this year’s graduates are
very special. They will follow in the footsteps of the tens of thousands of TCC
graduates who have come before them. Our 50th Anniversary has granted
us the opportunity to reconnect with many of these past alumni and we’ve
cherished their stories of success and how far they’ve gone because of the
foundation they built here. Our graduates are well-positioned thanks to the
quality of the education they’ve received from our excellent faculty and the
support they’ve had from our dedicated staff.
But graduation is a celebration of the student, not the
college. It’s about their growth, their accomplishments and their potential.
This is not a last stop, it’s just their first. It’s why we’re here and we are proud
to have been part of their journey.
With that I just want to say thank the class of 2016. Thank
you for your contributions to this College. Thank you for your presence here. However
short or long your time studying at TCC, you left an indelible mark. As your
name is called and you receive your diploma know that you have helped solidify
this institution so that students just like you will be able to receive the
same access to education you enjoyed. Celebrate that legacy just as that young
graduate was last week – take pride in your achievements and your alma mater.
Moving forward I hope you know that our doors will always be
open to you. Take the opportunity to join the Alumni & Friends Association
and stay in touch.
Congratulations and best of luck in all your future
As most of you know, 2016 is our 50th anniversary as a college. Over the course of those 50 years we have grown and changed, sometimes in response to changing needs and often as a result of inspired leaders whose vision and leadership guided the college through periods of great challenge.
As we moved into our 50th anniversary year, I learned things that have been especially moving for me. In the past three months, I’ve heard stories from our rich history that I had never heard and established many new relationships with people who have all been impacted by TCC in one way or another throughout the years.
I’ve gotten to talk personally with some amazing people like Helen Harvey, Dot Binger and Judy Jolly, all of whom helped found TCC and educated some of our first students, as well as Sam Cunningham and Charlie Macon, who were leading this College as trustees as far back as 1966. What a humbling experience to learn their stories and how they shaped our college over the past decades.
Our milestone year presents us with an excellent opportunity for everyone to rally around the College and help us lay the groundwork for the next 50 years. So after months of thorough planning and hard work our Vice President for Resource Development and Executive Director of the Foundation Heather Mitchell officially announced our comprehensive campaign for the College, “TCC. We Rise.”, at the Foundation's First Annual Cleaver and Cork Event on March 4. The campaign includes six areas of focus:
- TCC Downtown Center – to create a unique education hub in the heart of Tallahassee that links the for-profit, non-profit, and government sectors in ways that stimulate innovation
- TCC Gadsden Center – to provide access for Gadsden County students and residents to degrees and workforce programs that lead to jobs with family sustaining wages
- TCC Wakulla Environmental Institute – to make Wakulla County a world class destination that brings together education, conservation, and recreation in an environmentally sensitive way
- Teaching and Learning Environments – to transform classrooms into spaces that leverage the use of furniture and technology to promote collaboration and encourage critical thinking
- Bridging the Gap Scholarships – to expand access for students in strategic academic and workforce programs that meet the demands of our region’s employers
- TCC Endowment – to secure TCC’s ability to react to future opportunities with the resources to help guide our direction and destiny
I’m thrilled to say today that our campaign has already reached $5.3 million of our $10 million goal. I attribute much of that success to Heather’s skilled leadership with an amazing team behind her, as well as the leadership of two other power women – the unstoppable Pam Butler, president of the Foundation Board of Directors, and the dynamic and passionate Karen Moore, TCC trustee and campaign chair, a pillar in our community and one of the most gracious and accomplished people I’ve ever known. I commend these three for their leadership.
As our campaign continues to develop, I have had the opportunity to meet with alumni, donors, and potential donors. Every single person I have spoken with made it clear that this community believes in what we’re doing at TCC. They all have family or friends of employees who went here, or they went here themselves. Theirs is a deep and universal gratitude for our College. They want to invest in the future of the College because of their past with the College, and they are as delighted to give recognition as they are to receive it. Their philanthropy is about their personal connection.
TCC is not just a community college, it’s a community institution. I know that, the students know that and everyone who works here knows that. Please join us this year because together we rise!
Jim Murdaugh, President Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Taking time to be retrospective is a wonderful exercise. Months ago when we started preparing for TCC’s 50th Anniversary year we spent a lot of time looking back, from the foundation of the College to today, and who helped us along the way. The photos and documents we pulled from the archives, some of which dated back years before the doors even opened, were a wonderful reminder of our rich history and the significance of our institution.
With our anniversary year now well underway, everywhere I go there are people who have been impacted by TCC and express to me their heartfelt gratitude for the tremendous work we do. They ask, “Is Professor so-and-so still at the College?” or they tell me how much they loved a certain advisor or class. Some days it seems like most of our community either was a student, or knew a student, or hired a student. I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding it is that these remarkable people, some of which I work with on a regular basis, have such a positive impression of this institution.
It continued last Thursday evening when we honored 50 such alumni as part of our 50 for 50 – a profile series that celebrates each of their achievements since graduation. The excitement in the room as each of them received their recognition was palpable. There was so much pride in being a part of TCC at such a momentous time.
For one of the honorees, TCC was as much a part of their family history as they are a part of ours. David Chapman’s mother, Ruth, had served on our founding Advisory Board which organized the new College and would later become the District Board of Trustees. His father, Harold, was one of our celebrated early faculty and taught from 1967-79. David graduated in 1972 alongside his wife Diane and they were married the year after. A generation later, their two sons would attend here. They all take pride in TCC.
We could go on and on about the number of students we’ve served or the economic impact we’ve had on our community in 50 years, but this is what really matters – improving the fabric of our community, touching individual lives, being a part of the foundations of students’ success. That is why we’re here.
I can’t wait for what’s next. I hope all our faculty, staff, students and alumni will take the opportunity to join us for one of our many upcoming events.
On January 28, I will be hosting the Archive Gallery Exhibit Opening in the Fine and Performing Arts Center from 5:30 - 7 p.m. In addition to the many pieces of photography from 50 years of history that we will have on display, we will also be premiering the 50th Anniversary short film, “Celebrating a Legacy, Building a Future.”
We also have our first ribbon-cutting ceremony of the year on February 15 at the Wakulla Environmental Institute. More details on that to come.
Visit 50.tcc.fl.edu for more information.
Jim Murdaugh, President Monday, January 4, 2016
Every organization has a certain amount of inertia or velocity with which it moves steadily forward. This forward momentum is almost never the result of one massive push, but rather many small and determined pushes that are motivated by a collective desire for progress.
I have the honor of being at the helm of Tallahassee Community College as we celebrate our landmark 50th anniversary. This institution has seen some of the most hardworking, most dedicated people come through its doors over the last 50 years, students and employees alike. Each of them have shaped the College in their own way.
Where we are today and where we are going is the direct result of their small and determined pushes forward.
Looking back is humbling
Every morning I pass the portraits of my predecessors on my way to my office. They hang on the wall just outside the Board Room and always remind me of the tremendous legacy of our College as well as that of the Office of the President. I am humbled to be counted among their ranks.
Our founding president Dr. Fred Turner was hired when we were nothing more than a legislative act and a service district and over the course of fourteen years, built us into one of the fastest-growing, most respected colleges in the state. It is said that he knew how to put people at ease, the type of man who “just got things done” which probably explains how he managed to not only create such a solid institution from scratch but also hire some of the region’s best teachers and staff. After Turner, Dr. Marm Harris significantly expanded the student experience with cultural and athletics programs though he was only here for two years.
Our third president Dr. Jim Hinson fostered record-setting enrollment and faculty retention rates while simultaneously expanding the footprint of the College. A World War II veteran honored with a Bronze Star, Hinson was well-known as a man with integrity and a great reputation in higher education circles. Over the course of his 12 years at TCC, he was able to secure some of the best legislative support to date and the highest faculty salary average in the Florida College System.
Dr. T.K. Wetherell was and still remains one of the most esteemed members of our community. His impact on TCC can be seen in the scope and beauty of our campuses and the strength of our community relationships. Never before was there a president who accomplished so much, so quickly and with such quality. And finally our fifth president Dr. William Law – a gifted leader and strategist, his passion for academics led to a substantial expansion in programming as well as the establishment of groundbreaking student support services like the Learning Commons.
What is important to note is that none of these leaders had a truly blank slate to work from. They were each faced with a unique set of pre-existing challenges when they came into office. There were countless budget cut-backs and reorganizations, legislative issues and construction delays. But there were also opportunities – to adapt, to grow, to serve.
Looking back, each president was successful in navigating the challenges, leveraging the opportunities and progressing the College, even if the hours were long and progress was incremental.
The future we build for TCC will be on the foundation laid by these men.
What we do and how we do it
Looking ahead I know that while many things will change, our College’s core values will not.
We are demand-driven.
One of our foremost responsibilities has always been to be responsive to the needs of our community, not just in the kinds of degrees or certificates we offer, but also in the method with which we offer them and the level of support and auxiliary programming we provide alongside.
The state of higher education today is such that we often find ourselves serving some students who possess better technology than the College itself alongside other students who have no access to technology or even reliable transportation and depend on our Centers and computer labs to access their classes. The technology landscape changes so quickly that we are often faced with having to choose long-term improvements over short-term enhancements as was the case with our new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. We chose Workday because we needed a forward-looking solution, not one that was built for the present.
Similarly, whole workforce industries are disappearing every year while others are just coming into existence. Tomorrow’s fast growing careers don’t exist today. How do we adapt? By staying nimble enough to make adjustments according to demand. Two years ago, no one would have ever thought we would be teaching students how to fly unmanned vehicles, but a need was expressed and we are now on our second class.
It is also vital that we teach skills that are transferable. For example, I just recently took the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge as a uniquely effective way to provide students with the tools they need to succeed and help support our local economy. Entrepreneurship is not just a career path, it’s a mindset that spurs innovation and job creation.
Most importantly, we have to make sure whatever program we offer leads to a career. To this end, we have made major commitments to our service district through our county-specific workforce institutes – the Florida Public Safety Institute in Gadsden, the Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education in Leon and the Wakulla Environmental Institute in Wakulla. These dedicated facilities are entirely focused on providing an advanced level of career training in public safety, healthcare and the environment, respectively, which are the sectors in our workforce that we have identified as strategic to the success of our district, our College, and our students.
We are student-centric.
Access is the hallmark of a community college. At TCC, we don’t have GPA minimums or extracurricular requirements, we have an open door. We keep college affordable by maintaining one of the lowest tuition rates in the state. We have always placed an emphasis on teaching as was indicated by our very first catalog back in 1966:
"The truest measure of the worth of any college is its faculty. The Tallahassee Junior College faculty is a TEACHING faculty… Their major efforts are directed toward the student in the classroom, toward helping him master his subject matter and toward helping him realize his potential."
Access does not just mean the first step, though. Every semester we welcome a vibrant and diverse group of students with unique needs. We are here to bring out the best in them, to help them succeed from their first class to graduation and beyond. Last year, I requested an evaluation of the Black Male Achievers (BMA) program, a TCC student organization designed to empower and educate its black male students on the importance of the successful completion of their postsecondary education through the practices of academic, social and occupational excellence. I was delighted to learn that BMA members have higher course success rates, higher retention rates and higher graduation rates compared to their non-BMA peers. Furthermore, five of the program’s participants were active members of Student Government Association and of the 12 members who graduated from TCC that semester, most transferred on to a state university. We consider support for these types of programs a duty and a privilege.
Responding to our communities’ needs, keeping that door open for our students, focusing on the classroom experience, constantly seeking ways to position ourselves at the forefront of industry advancements, these are the ways we are able to stay true to our founding principles.
The next 50
It is certainly strange to think that one day our successors will look back on this year as part of our College’s history much like we are now looking back at the past half century. I hope their connections to this institution will run as deep as those who have come before them.
Part of our preparation for the 50th Anniversary has involved us combing through records and inviting many visitors from the past back to our campus. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of them and hearing their stories. Some are funny, many are touching, but all are full of pride, and for good reason.
Over the past 50 years, this organization has represented the community with distinction both locally and nationally. For example, in 2011-12 we were ranked number one nationally among two-year colleges for graduating students with Associate in Arts degrees, and in a recent survey, 83% of respondents in our community rated the quality of education at TCC as “good” or “excellent.”
What we’ve done, we will continue to do because we are proud of what’s been built here. We will continue to be demand-driven and student-centric, we will continue to maintain a high level of quality both in the way we provide education and the way we run our enterprise, and we will continue to be your college of choice.
In honor of this momentous year, I want to thank all of our community, past and present for making TCC such a special place. We would not be where we are today if it weren’t for the efforts of so many who care about the success of our institution.
Here’s to the next 50.
Jim Murdaugh, President Monday, December 14, 2015
As we approach our winter break and the end of another calendar year, I would like to take a moment to share just some of the many highlights from 2015 and express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who make this College a success each and every day.
- TCC was one of 16 colleges nationwide to be named among the 2015 Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development and “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” magazine. This designation recognizes the College for its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
- TCC was recognized by the Huffington Post for being ranked No. 8 in the nation among community colleges by SmartAsset.com for our high success rate, good return on investment and low cost.
- TCC was ranked among the top schools in Military Advanced Education magazine's 2015 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities. TCC was also designated a military-friendly school by Victory Media for the second consecutive year.
- TCC Model United Nations received an Honorable Delegation award and a Position Paper award at the National Model United Nations in New York City.
- TCC’s baseball and softball teams received All-Academic Team honors from the NJCAA for achieving a minimum 3.0 team GPA during the 2014-15 academic year, and five individuals earned Academic Student-Athlete Award honors from the NJCAA.
- Angela Cole and Sarah Allen were named to the 2015 All-Florida Academic Team in recognition for their outstanding academic achievement and their Phi Theta Kappa service projects.
- TCC Forensics received bronze awards in both Overall Team Sweepstakes and Individual Events Team Sweepstakes at the Phi Rho Pi junior college national tournament—the team’s 14th consecutive award in Overall Team Sweepstakes and its 16th straight Individual Events team award.
To read more about these and all our most recent honors, visit Our Accolades.
I wish I could recognize each of the hundreds of other success stories that have occurred this year thanks to the wonderful faculty and staff of this college. With that said, I just want to wish the entire TCC family a joyous holiday season. I hope you will enjoy the time with those you care about, laugh a lot, and remember that the best things in life are not things.
Jim Murdaugh, President Friday, October 16, 2015
As we near completion on two very important construction
projects – our new Gadsden Center and the Wakulla Environmental Institute – I wanted
to take this opportunity to share my excitement around the vision for these
facilities. They will round out the college’s footprint across our district for
years to come.
From time to time I am asked what counties make up our
service district. We serve a district comprised of three very distinctive
counties with unique characteristics and needs: Leon, Gadsden, and Wakulla.
While our mission as an institution is consistent across the district and our
efforts in these counties are parallel in nature, the goals and priorities in
Leon, Gadsden and Wakulla are each quite different.
When the Gadsden Center and the Wakulla Environmental
Institute open in January 2016, our College will proudly operate two campus
sites in each of our three counties. Of course our main campus is located in
Leon County along with our Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education.
In Gadsden and Wakulla, our Centers will have two primary
purposes. First, as an extension of the main campus. Each Center will provide access
to student services such as academic advising, career counseling, job
recruitment and financial aid assistance. Academic services will also be
available in the form of computer labs where students can take college classes
online. The second purpose of the Centers will be to provide county-specific
workforce training initiatives. For example, at the Gadsden Center, we will be
offering HVAC classes, a profession identified as high-growth with good earning
However, it is important to me that you know we are doing
much more than building buildings. We are building relationships by making
long-term commitments to the communities we serve. The programs at each Center
will be tailored to the opportunities for employment in each county that
prepare job seekers with skills and credentials that lead to gainful
employment. Skills pay bills and a good quality of life equals a healthy
We are doing
much more than building buildings. We are building relationships by making
long-term commitments to the communities we serve.
In addition to the Centers, we also have our county-specific campuses.
In Leon, we operate the Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education which is strategically
positioned in the medical corridor to meet the needs of healthcare providers in
this region and beyond. In Gadsden, we operate the Florida Public Safety Institute which is nationally known for the level and breadth of public safety training
offered to prepare professionals to enter, remain, and advance in a wide range
of public safety roles. And in Wakulla, our Wakulla Environmental Institute will
make Wakulla County a world-class destination for ecotourism that brings
together education, conservation and recreation in an environmentally-responsible
Healthcare, public safety, and the environment. Those are
the sectors in our workforce that we have identified as strategic to the
success of our district, our college, and our students.
Jim Murdaugh, President Friday, October 2, 2015
Tallahassee Community College is shocked and extremely saddened by the shooting that took place yesterday at Umpqua Community College. While their institution may be across the country, we are united by our core values. Our deepest sympathies go out to the victims, their families, and the entire Umpqua community. Please join with me in keeping them in your thoughts and prayers.
Our TCC Police Department has already taken measures to increase security on our own campuses and will be providing a strong law enforcement presence in the coming days. The safety of our students, faculty and staff is paramount and we will remain vigilant in our commitment to ensuring our community’s protection.For more information on our security measures, please visit the Chief’s Blog.
Jim Murdaugh, President Tuesday, August 25, 2015
It’s Welcome Week at Tallahassee Community College, when we
get to greet a new class of thousands of new and returning students to our
College and get excited about beginning another new academic year.
I want to thank each of our students, faculty and staff for
choosing TCC. This will be my sixteenth year employed at the College, and my
fifth year as President, and yet the enthusiasm from our campus family for what
we do here still continues to amaze me. The talent of our faculty, the
dedication of our staff and the determination of our students reminds me every
day of what makes our College so great.
I’m also proud of our community. Tallahassee is an ideal
place to learn and earn, and I have worked hard to develop our local economy so
our graduates can find employment. In my capacity as Chair of the EconomicDevelopment Council of Tallahassee/Leon County, I had the opportunity to recap
some of the progress we have made at the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Conference, as well as lay out my hopes for the next few years. We
have so much going on in Tallahassee and as long as we focus on what makes us
great and don’t lose the momentum we’ve been generating, I see big things in
Here at TCC, we’ve got even more on the horizon. We are
currently building two new facilities, the Gadsden Center, which will expand
our efforts in Gadsden County, and the Wakulla Environmental Institute, which
will help establish Wakulla County as a world-class ecotourism destination. And
we are also in the process of reimagining the Capitol Center to become a place
of synergy between the private and public sectors.
I am dedicated to maintaining and
expanding upon this institution’s reputation as the college of choice for
students, the employer of choice for faculty and staff and partner of choice
for the community. I work hard every day to make this happen, and I welcome
Soon we will get to announce a big project that will
solidify our commitment to be an entrepreneurship college. As of yesterday’s
District Board of Trustees meeting, we are one step closer to adding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree which we hope to begin accepting students for this
spring. And I have also welcomed to our ranks several new team members this
year including our new Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Feleccia Moore-Davis and our new Chief Business Officer and Vice President for
Administrative Services Barbara Wills.
But perhaps most important of all, in 2016 TCC will be
celebrating our biggest milestone of all, our 50th anniversary. It
will be a time to reflect upon and commemorate our past, and start the process
of building what we want to become. I am thrilled to be leading this College on
the eve of something so special.
As we move into a new semester and a new year, I want to
reiterate my commitment to this College. I am dedicated to maintaining and
expanding upon this institution’s reputation as the college of choice for
students, the employer of choice for faculty and staff and partner of choice
for the community. I work hard every day to make this happen, and I welcome
your input. Have ideas or questions? Please feel free to join the conversation
and interact with me on my Facebook page.
With that said, best of luck to everyone this semester and
all the semesters ahead. Let’s have a great year!
Jim Murdaugh, President Thursday, July 2, 2015
With summer upon us, I have enjoyed hearing about the range of activities from exotic vacations to stay-cations that many of you have planned. I have also heard from some who haven’t yet made plans and from others who don’t intend to take any time off at all. Those latter conversations concern me.
I know how difficult it is for many of us who get our greatest satisfaction from helping others to put ourselves first. I also know that if we don’t take care of ourselves we cannot take care of others.
We all know that what we do here is important. Not only to those we serve but also to ourselves through the sense of accomplishment and joy that comes from our work. We have both the difficult challenge and rewarding privilege of changing the lives of our students and their families, as well as making an impact in our community. Like you, I am fiercely proud of what we do, but I am mindful that for us to be at our best we must take care of ourselves.
Plan to do what works best for you to refresh yourself. Some of us need significant blocks of time away. Others are at our best after short, frequent breaks. Still others have learned the benefits of daily meditation. Some of us do all of the above. Regardless of what works for any of us, we all need to figure out how to disconnect and spend time with ourselves and those we care about.
I know how difficult it is for many of us who get our greatest satisfaction from helping others to put ourselves first. I also know that if we don’t take care of ourselves we cannot take care of others.
Please take care of yourself and I look forward to seeing you in August!
Jim Murdaugh, President Wednesday, June 24, 2015
It is my pleasure to announce that Tallahassee Community College has named Dr. Feleccia Moore-Davis as our new provost. Her selection follows a very thorough process involving the vetting of candidates by an eight-member screening committee, followed by onsite visits by all four finalists that included time for questions and answers with a number of college constituencies. Feedback from those meetings was very helpful and much appreciated.
Dr. Moore-Davis comes to TCC from Lone Star College-CyFair in Houston, where she served as vice president for instruction from 2008 to 2014. She previously worked as LSC-CyFair’s dean of business, math, communications and computer information technology.
Dr. Moore-Davis supervised strategic planning, outcomes assessments and institutional effectiveness measures, leading student success initiatives that transformed the culture of LSC-CyFair. She was the college’s chief academic officer and oversaw six instructional divisions. She also initiated a Diversity and Inclusion Council on LSC-CyFair’s campus.
We are thrilled that Dr. Moore-Davis will be joining the TCC family, and we look forward to welcoming her to campus in her new role in early August.
Be a leader worth following.
This was the theme of Leadercast, a one-day leadership conference we simulcast last week at the Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education. That message was particularly significant for me as I reflect on where we are heading with some of the leadership changes happening at the College.
I am currently in the unprecedented situation of having to replace three members of our Executive Team in the next eight months. Theresa Smith, our Vice President for Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer, retired last month. And Barbara Sloan, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Sally Search, our Vice President for Student Affairs, will also be retiring this year.
We are in a time of change. That does not mean we will sacrifice our ethos. It means we need to accept the challenges as they are presented and appreciate a fresh set of helping hands.
Parting is not easy, especially from those who have contributed so much to the College. Collectively, these three leaders have served at TCC for more than 50 years spanning four decades and as many presidents. They helped build who we are today. I am deeply appreciative of the legacy that are leaving behind.
But with all these changes also comes opportunity. We are presently in various stages of conducting, setting up or planning for interviews of all these positions.
Now is a time when we need to have an honest dialogue about our future.
It comes down to two questions: 1) where do we go next, and 2) what are we looking for in those who will get us there? To answer these, we must take a good look at ourselves and examine what we have done that we like and what we want to do going forward that will be different. These conversations are especially important as we approach our 50th anniversary, a time to reflect on our past as well as to our future.
To that effect, I am looking for new leaders with strong skill sets, experience that speaks for itself and a passion that will add value to our College. They must be capable of asking good questions but also be ready to work to find the answers.
I feel very strongly that anyone I hire must understand that the executives at this College are a team, not a committee, not a group. In that there is an obligation to each other as well as to the College as a whole.
Finally, and perhaps more importantly, I want to see this organization embrace the possibility of a new direction. With new leaders comes new perspectives. I am relying on our existing campus community to welcome these new perspectives with an open mind. We are in a time of change. That does not mean we will sacrifice our ethos. It means we need to accept the challenges as they are presented and appreciate a fresh set of helping hands.
I hope to have a new Chief Business Officer on board by this summer, the new Provost before classes start in the fall and a new Vice President of Student Affairs by the end of the year. I hope you will join with me in helping these individuals, whoever they turn out to be, to transition into their new roles. Only together we can achieve what we could not as individuals.
Jim Murdaugh, President Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Graduation represents one of the most important times of the
year here at TCC. It also happens to be one of my personal favorites.
This is when we gather together and celebrate the successes
of our wonderful graduates, the class of 2015. It is also an opportunity to
reflect on individual accomplishments. Students, as well as the instructors who
teach them and the staff who support them, have spent the last several months
and years working steadily toward this moment. I know there’s been a lot of
homework, a lot of late nights studying for tests, a lot of hours spent
commuting to and from class.
I’ve met quite a few extraordinary individuals in the past year that I know I will miss. I always hope that the students we send off will not become strangers.
Trust me, it was well worth the effort.
That’s because graduation is not a last stop on the road, it
is just the first. With the skills and credentials TCC has given our graduates,
they will be able to take advantage of a multitude of different opportunities
after their time here. They will go on to a four-year institution or enter the
workforce to become nurses, police officers, software developers, and business
owners. And they will earn more. For every dollar students invest in themselves
at TCC, their future income is increased by about $6.50. It was for this
reason, our College was recently ranked among the top ten two-year schools in
Of course, graduation is also a little bittersweet as we say
goodbye. I’ve met quite a few extraordinary individuals in the past year that I
know I will miss. I always hope that the students we send off will not become
strangers. With the launch of our new Alumni and Friends Association, our
graduates will now have more opportunities than ever to stay in touch. Please
sign-up to become a member here.
We also have our 50th anniversary in 2016 during
which I hope all of our campus family, including alumni and friends, will take
part in a very special year-long celebration of our College.
But in the meantime, I look forward to shaking each of our
graduates’ hands and give them a heartfelt ‘congratulations.’ I know I speak
for all of my colleagues when I say that we wish them the very best in all their
Congratulations to TCC’s class of 2015!
Jim Murdaugh, President Friday, April 17, 2015 It’s been about a year and a half since our trustees
approved a measure to develop a proposal for a much-needed Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at Tallahassee Community College, and just over
a year since a moratorium was put in place by the Florida Legislature to halt
all new degree programs in the Florida College System.
With the moratorium soon expiring, we have much hope we will
be able to proceed with our proposal and meet the needs of our regional
Until this past year, TCC has not been interested in
baccalaureate programs. With two distinguished public universities next door,
five private partner colleges and universities on our main campus and an
effective 2+2 program state-wide, we offer a robust array of transfer
opportunities for our students.
Why are we exploring a BSN program?
First of all, this BSN is not a four-year program. Rather,
it would add the two years of nursing necessary to obtain the BSN on top of the
two years of study we already offer students who obtain an Associate Degree in
Nursing in order to become a Registered Nurse.
We are demand-driven and have a responsibility to local
employers to meet their workforce needs. This effort began when Mark O’Bryant,
president and CEO of Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare (TMH), came to us
regarding the hospital’s decision to pursue “magnet” status which included moving
to a minimum of 80% of their nurses with bachelor’s degrees. I went to FSU and
FAMU to discuss this and to assure them that we had no interest in competing
with them if they could meet this need. Because they recognized they would not
be able to meet the new demand with their existing programs and had no plans
for expansion, they supported a new option at TCC.
We also have a responsibility to our alumni. The TCC nursing
graduates at both TMH and Capital Regional Medical Center (CRMC) are highly
regarded by hospital administrators. Our graduates who are employed as RNs will
have a need for additional training. If they wish to earn a BSN, they would not
be automatically accepted, and those who are would have to start over as
freshmen. Furthermore, our graduates learn and earn right here in our district
while FSU and FAMU graduates come here to attend school and often move home after
With a new BSN program, our current nursing graduates could
return to TCC, retain their credits, finish their bachelor’s degree in two
years and stay competitive in the workplace. Likewise, new students could take
advantage of our excellent facilities and pursue a career in the growing local
healthcare job market at institutions such as TMH, CRMC, Westminster Oaks or
the new VA hospital.
For these reasons, we see a BSN program at TCC as a clear fulfillment
of our College’s fundamental mission to meet regional workforce needs.
Our community partners and our educational partners both
support a new program. I want to thank Senator Bill Montford for his tireless
efforts to lift the moratorium. I also want to thank the Greater Tallahassee
Chamber of Commerce for passing a resolution of support. We are ready to move
Jim Murdaugh, President Thursday, March 19, 2015
The value of any community college to a student lies in their
ability to provide not just opportunity, but equity of opportunity. Without understanding
that students are individuals who chose our institution for unique reasons, we
can fool ourselves into assuming that all students are alike.
Where they come from, how they got here, and what their
plans are for their future are all factors that influence a student from their very
first day of class to the moment they receive their degree at graduation.
I am proud to say that at Tallahassee Community College (TCC),
we provide an environment designed to help all students thrive. You may have
heard about our recent ranking as a top ten community college in the nation for our focus on college affordability,
an impressive return on investment and a high success rate among our graduates.
As access and success are strategic priorities for our College, we have worked hard to keep tuition low while
maintaining the quality of our instruction, and this ranking demonstrates we
are on target.
We know that a student’s success at TCC often starts before
they ever arrive at our doors.
View the full Board of Trustees workshop presentation here.
During this week’s Board of Trustees meeting, several
important leaders representing eight different College divisions or programs in
Gadsden County presented on each of their respective areas – from the Florida Public Safety Institute (FPSI) to the Quincy House to Workforce Development. Collectively, these organizations serve thousands of individuals
ranging in age from middle school students to seniors.
Why so many programs and why are they so important?
Gadsden is a county that faces many challenges. As of this
past December, the unemployment rate
stood at 6.1%, nearly a full percentage point higher than the state and
national average. The school district has the 16th highest high
school drop-out rate in the state. According to the 2010 census, about
one in four people were below the poverty line, and nearly one in three subsist
on public assistance and supplemental security income.
During the presentation it was mentioned that last year FPSI
welcomed over 4,000 students and 20,000 visitors to its campus, and they are
currently partnering with 32 different law enforcement agencies across the
state with plans to expand their national and international training.
The College Reach Out Program (CROP) and Take Stock in
Children (TSIC) programs offered through the
college serve nearly 100 middle and high school students with advising,
mentoring and scholarships. In 2014, 100% of those who participated graduated
from high school and 88% now attend TCC. The Educational Talent Search program serves nearly 500 of the same age, most from
low-income, disadvantaged households and they also saw a high school graduation
rate of 70% last year with 80% going on to TCC. By comparison, Gadsden County
graduation rate overall was 56%.
We have also broken ground on a new Gadsden Center in Quincy
which, when it opens later this year, will further support both the academic
and the workforce sides of the house. The important point is that we are
putting down permanent roots in Gadsden and we are making a difference.
These facts and figures do not adequately convey the
tremendous amount of work that is done to make each area a success. What we accomplish
through the leadership of our talented men and women who deliver these programs
is more than a job, it’s a passion and as Trustee Kilpatrick put it, “pride.”
TCC has made a commitment to finding solutions and making a
difference in Gadsden County. Federal grants expire and there will always be
adversities to overcome, but with the help and cooperation of County officials
and the School Board, I believe we can continue to impact our community in a
positive way. Let’s keep moving forward.
Jim Murdaugh, President Wednesday, February 25, 2015
This week, I had the pleasure of serving
as the speaker at the Gadsden Re-Entry Center’s first GED graduation.
For those of you who aren’t aware, the Center is located on TCC’s Florida Public Safety Institute campus and is
one of just five such facilities in the state and the only place in the country where a prison sits on a
college campus. It serves the entire Panhandle in preparing inmates to
re-enter society and the workforce.
When we fail to appreciate everyone’s journey, we lose sight of who they are as people. At that ceremony, I saw men who knew why they were there, but also knew they wanted a better future.
One of my goals as a leader has always been to create equity
of opportunity so any student can become a responsible citizen. So bringing a
re-entry center to our region back in 2012 was an important project to me, and
one I felt fit wholly in line with our mission as an open education
institution. The graduation certainly affirmed this. In fact, it reminded me
why I love the work we do here at the College.
Everyone’s journey to success is different, and that journey
is never a solo one. Our job as educators is to help remove roadblocks, give
hope and provide the support system each student needs to achieve their full
In my remarks, I spoke to the fact that there is no straight
line to any goal. To obtain a degree, whether it is a high school diploma or a
PhD, you must be dedicated and willing to make sacrifices. It’s not for the
lazy or weak. These particular graduates had to study in a prison setting with
the weight of their past on their shoulders. I imagine there was no small
amount of self-doubt that they could even finish.
But they did and because of that, I have the utmost respect
for these individuals. They were adults, many of them parents, who had made a
conscious decision to improve their lives and be a role model for their
families. And with their GED, they now have choices they never had before.
When we fail to appreciate everyone’s journey, we lose sight
of who they are as people. At that ceremony, I
saw men who
knew why they were there, but also knew they wanted a better future. The pride I saw in their
eyes and heard in their comments was something I am grateful to have
experienced firsthand. Helping students who choose TCC is why all of us at the
college get up every morning and do what we do. Seeing the impact of our
efforts is the ultimate paycheck.
Jim Murdaugh, President Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Every year, I look forward to observing Christmas as part of my personal faith. I also take the time to try to learn something new about the many different nationalities and beliefs represented in our College and throughout our community. With students, faculty and staff from over 80 countries, I think it is important to take a moment and recognize the great diversity of holidays that are also celebrated in December from Hanukkah to Kwanzaa.
There’s so much good cheer going around this time of year. Let’s keep that going by embracing this season not just for each individual holiday, but as a larger celebration of diversity and acceptance.
I want to wish our TCC family and friends a joyous holiday season. If you are traveling, be safe on the roads. Otherwise, I hope you share your time with those you care about, laugh a lot, and remember that the best things in life are not things.
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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