Follow us on an authentic written journey through life here at Tallahassee Community College.
Jim Murdaugh, President Wednesday, February 26, 2014
This week, our College was proud to launch the
TCC2FSU Golden Guarantee Program. This program offers guaranteed admission into
Florida State University for those students who continue to meet the academic
requirements to complete their Associate in Arts degree program at Tallahassee
Community College. It will also be a great opportunity for students who want to
go to FSU but were not admitted initially. This pathway will allow them to
achieve that goal.
The program is another demonstration of the
proven partnership between TCC and FSU. We are the #1 transfer school to
Florida State in addition to being #1 nationally in producing A.A. degrees
among two-year colleges. Studies have shown, our students do well at FSU and
graduate at the same rate as their classmates who started at FSU. They thrive
in the classroom and in the Seminole community having already developed
friendships in their first two years in Tallahassee.
This program is designed to help our students start
right and stay on track for their FSU degrees with customized orientations,
individualized advising, and special opportunities to participate in activities
at FSU. Of course, participants will
also enjoy the personal touch that our caring faculty and staff offer in and
out of the classroom.
I would like to point out that the TCC2FSU
program is just one of the many transfer pathways we have established or are currently
working on to ensure our students’ success beyond our College. We know that students are attracted to
Tallahassee because of the excellent opportunities our community provides in
higher education. The diversity of these opportunities is directly represented
here at TCC where, in addition to the public universities, we partner with five different private colleges and
universities who offer many in-demand baccalaureate degrees right here on our
These programs are important not just to TCC and our partner universities; they are important to our community today and will continue to increase in significance in the future.
We have also set up guaranteed transfer
programs to FAMU and UWF which we will launch this spring, and we are in talks
with other four-year schools that are looking for more qualified transfer
students like those here at TCC. I hope to establish many partnerships of this
nature in the months and years to come so that our students can have as many
options as possible.
These programs are important not just to TCC
and our partner universities; they are important to our community today and
will continue to increase in significance in the future. The more students we
bring to our area and the more graduates we retain locally, the more we
invigorate our economy. This will pay dividends for our community.
I encourage students to consider the TCC2FSU
Golden Guarantee Program. Those who are interested can learn more about program
benefits and application details at: www.tcc.fl.edu/tcc2fsu
Ginny Wagner, Faculty Thursday, January 30, 2014
It is amazing to me how my thoughts so easily fly off on
seemingly random tangents. Two weeks ago I taught my dental radiography
students about the sine wave of the 60-cycle alternating current operating at
90,000 Volts (90kVp). Basically this means that the normal flow of household
electrical current changes its direction of flow 60 times every second. For our
purposes, this means that x-rays are produced in bursts or impulses rather than
a continuous flow. On the diagram, the effective portion of the cycle is shaded
in the light green.
Last Friday we continued our discussion of the biophysics
of ionizing radiation and the theories of harm to living tissue. The breakdown
of water molecules begins in the ‘green’ cycle within the first 10 -12
of a second, and by the time the ‘green’ cycle is over, the damaged molecules
have recombined and the free radicals have disappeared. Then the negative phase
of the cycle begins when no x-rays are produced and the tissues continue to repair.
My thoughts joined the x-rays traveling at the speed of
light about the nature of change. All of change seems to flow from alternating
currents as well. We move in new directions, mostly chosen, sometimes mandated,
but the movement in never straight or linear. All of the changes require
learning new methods, computer systems, trainings, paperwork, or,
fill-in-the-blank with whatever is changing. Changes also spend time below the
line, in what I am going to call the unproductive part of the curve. This is
where we hold onto the old, we make mistakes, we think in the old paradigm, we
dig in our heels and fight the change.
The most important revelation to me, while I was staring
at this diagram in the front of class, was the realization that this is a
snapshot of my attitude as well. How do I consider the changes coming at me?
The productive or ‘green’ attitude lasts for half of the cycle, but on the
smallest level, it has already cycled through repair before 1/120th
of a second!
These types of insights motivate me to challenge my team to focus on the ‘green’; the productive part of change... Let’s move forward. Vent your frustrations, but let’s not remain stuck in them.
Complaining, criticizing, whining, blaming, acting
passive-aggressively, stalling, balking, sabotaging, and refusing may describe
some of the damages to my attitude, which are comparable to damage to tissue,
but if the physical repair can occur almost instantaneously, then why should my
attitude take longer? I can choose to let go of the negative and cycle
immediately back to an attitude of embracing
I am a positive individual, and these types of insights
motivate me to challenge my team to focus on the ‘green’; the productive part
of change. We are beginning renovation of the dental clinic area which we have
wanted for a long time. The end result will be beautiful and state-of the art. Until
then, we will have construction noise (drilling, hammering, removing floors),
construction smells, roped-off doorways, different classrooms with different
seating/lighting/teaching arrangements, and new systems to adjust to even when
the construction is completed.
Let’s move forward. Vent your frustrations, but let’s not
remain stuck in them. We can do this, we can move forward together.
Oh, and green is my favorite color because it is the color of
Jim Murdaugh, President Tuesday, January 28, 2014
On Monday, TCC
unveiled our 14th annual Cherry Alexander African-American History
Calendar in a special event that both showcased the calendar’s 14 honorees and kicked off our celebration of
Black History Month. This year’s theme for the calendar was, “Civil Rights
Unsung Heroes: Great by Choice” and each of the individuals featured in the
calendar were chosen for their significant contributions to the community.
ceremony, I found myself reflecting on the “great by choice” theme. The calendar’s
honorees were all pioneering leaders who at any point in their careers could
have chosen an easier path. Fortunately for all of us, they chose to be the
first to break through their respective barriers, improving the path for all
those who would follow and promoting our country’s founding principles of
equality and opportunity.
Diversity, particularly as a minority serving institution, among our student population as well as among our faculty and staff, is a great source of pride for our College.
appreciate the theme because TCC is known as the “college of choice,” a tagline
which I feel has many different meanings. For example, we are the college of
choice for over 4,700 African American students. (For perspective: that is just
over half as many students as Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
enrolled in Fall 2012.) In 2013, we were ranked fifth in the nation among two-year colleges in awarding
associate degrees to African American students having graduated over 700
African American students.
We are also
the employer of choice for many outstanding African American faculty and staff
like recently retired math professor Mac McCorvey who, until his
retirement, was the most senior faculty member at the college, and Kimberly
Moore, vice president for workforce development who was appointed to the FAMU
Board of Trustees last year and selected by the Florida Diversity Council
to receive their 2014 Florida Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award.
particularly as a minority serving institution, among our student population as
well as among our faculty and staff, is a great source of pride for our College.
The cultural richness that comes as a result is not only a fortunate side-effect
of our open-education policy, it has become an essential component of our
collective success. Every day thousands of students, faculty and staff come
together on this campus. They bring their own individual experiences, insights,
and talents, and together they create something cool, something new, something
better. We are, and always will be, greater than the sum of our parts and that is the story of our College.
Jim Murdaugh, President Friday, December 6, 2013
This semester has flown by, as has this entire year. Already we are putting up the decorations, gathering family and friends, and celebrating the holidays again.
I blinked, and 2013 is over. Or at least that’s how it feels.
In reality we have had another great year at Tallahassee Community College. There have been a few challenges but many more accomplishments. In case you missed some of our College’s biggest news stories, here are just a few highlights.
We certainly have a lot going on, none of which would be possible without the students, faculty and staff that make it happen. The individuals that comprise our TCC family all believe in the College’s principles of freedom and equality through open access to education, and being a 'College of Choice'. They come here from all over to learn, to grow and to give back. Needless to say, it is an inspiring place to work.
This season, I invite you to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. Myself, I am thankful for a fulfilling job and the many great family and friends who remind me every day what is important in a life well lived.
Jim Murdaugh, President Tuesday, November 19, 2013
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.
Ginny Wagner, Faculty Friday, November 15, 2013
We are working fast and furiously on the plans for
the renovation of the TCC Dental Clinic. It seems that I am constantly asking
what the words really mean. The architects and the other construction experts
have their own language. I hear familiar words, but the meanings have changed. Everything
seems to be in code. I am learning to ask for definitions, but it is a very
slow process, when every word in the sentence is ‘odd’ to me. I wonder sometimes if we are really still
Then there are the IT experts asking questions
that provoke a blank stare. I guess I have finally found my poker face, devoid
of any intelligent signs of life whatsoever. Sometimes there is a ripple of
hysterical laughter bubbling up inside as I wonder if they really expect me to
have an answer to questions containing words that are not really words to me. I
remember the first time someone asked me about the computer’s ‘footprint’ for
clinic. Danger, danger, Will Robinson!
I am learning to quietly respond, “I’m not quite
sure I understand” while my brain tries to capture the misplaced letters,
rearrange them and create meaning. Most of the time I just drift away into
unknowingness. (There’s a word that in
context makes perfect sense!) I cannot even remember the conversations enough
to give any examples. I think I have mentally blocked my ignorance.
Then in a stroke of brilliance, I decided I would
offer up some of my own acronyms and abbreviations, my own fluency of dental
educationese. We have our own language, our own code that makes us special. Try
these on and enlarge your perspective, so we can reach a little further and see
a little clearer into each other’s world.
*Answers available upon request.
Jim Murdaugh, President Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Many may not know it, but modern higher education owes a
great deal to the military.
The months and years following the end of World War II was a
time of change. With all the veterans returning from war, leadership recognized
an opportunity to help transition our nation into the new world order and
passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, more commonly known as the
G.I. Bill. The Bill paid educational tuition and board, and made college
accessible for many veterans who couldn’t have afforded it otherwise. As a
result, tens of thousands of much-needed college educated engineers, teachers,
scientists and other professionals were graduated over the next few years and
colleges and universities grew and flourished along with the nation’s economy.
Today, student veterans continue to benefit institutions of
higher education everywhere. Their perspective improves each initiative,
organization and classroom they participate in. Their maturity and discipline
add incalculable value to any student body.
Almost every decision I’ve made and will continue to make at
Tallahassee Community College works back to the end goal of creating a learning environment that
produces well-rounded global citizens. We have a responsibility to provide
degrees with both market value and social value. We are committed to producing
citizens with diversity and distinction who promote democracy and understand
service. Veteran students are particularly well-suited for this. They have come
to our campus from all paths having made a conscious decision to better their
lives. In turn, TCC strives to provide the resources to help them transition
back into a meaningful civilian life, including:
Veteran’s Affairs is a specialized office that provides exclusive services to eligible veterans, dependents, active duty servicepersons, and members of the Selected Reserve.
The Student Veteran’s Association is a non-political student organization that promotes a welcoming atmosphere
for all branches of prior military service and their supporters. They
participate in many community events including the Tallahassee Veteran’s Day
The Veteran’s Center is a recently opened space dedicated to helping veterans in their transition to
college. Everything from academic advising to management training to academic
tutoring is offered there.
A dedicated VA
adviser is now available two days a week in the Veteran’s Center to
facilitate veterans and dependents with VA benefits, GI Bill programs, work study
opportunities and more.
GI benefits programs are available to all veterans and active duty servicepersons with
one-on-one guidance offered to help students identify the best program to fit
their educational goals.
It is our honor to be considered a “veteran friendly”
to be one of the 250 institutions participating in the 8 Keys to Success.
Our College will continue to do everything we can to promote those who have
served our country. Their stories of dedication and sacrifice are a constant
inspiration. We owe a great debt to them,
greater than we can repay. Our sincerest thanks to them.
Jim Murdaugh, President Tuesday, October 22, 2013
It was January 21, 1964 when an official request was made to
conduct a survey to determine if there was a need for a two-year junior college
in the Leon, Wakulla and Gadsden county area. Two years later, Tallahassee
Community College, then known as Tallahassee Junior College, opened its doors.
Yesterday’s Board of Trustees meeting marked another important
milestone in our history – I brought to vote and the Board approved a measure
to move forward with the development of a
proposal for adding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree for those who
already have an Associate in Science in
Nursing. I brought it forward because I believe the
timing is compelling and the three objectives we set for ourselves at the
beginning of this discussion have been met:
It is good for our
One of our College’s primary missions has always been to
provide a high quality, affordable learning
environment. I place great value in that. No degree we offer should be financially
inaccessible. Our research shows our College can offer an RN to BSN program
with no substantial increase in tuition. With facilities already in place at
the Ghazvini Center, virtually no new resources would be needed and start-up
costs can remain low.
We also researched retention rates, licensure rates, optimal
class times, degree path – all aspects of the student experience in a new
nursing program have been vetted. Finally, we reached out to our current
students, alumni and community to see if this is something they wanted. The
response was an overwhelming, resounding ‘YES.’
It is good for our
Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare President and CEO Mark
O’Bryant spoke at the meeting yesterday on the value of our graduates at TMH,
and how their education, qualifications and confidence in their practice make
them preferred hires. However, in three years’ time their hospital’s Nurse
Residency Program will require baccalaureate degrees. Regardless of how notable
our current grads are, they would have been excluded. I am glad to say we will
not be turning our backs on them.
In addition to TMH, I was contacted by other local
healthcare organizations such as Capital Regional Medical Center, Westminster
Oaks and the upcoming VA hospital, and they have expressed similar sentiments.
The need is there. They are ready for us to meet it.
Of course, I also did not move forward until many
discussions and planning meetings were conducted with our University Partners to
ensure that our forward momentum would not interfere with their programs’
success. Our goal was always to create growth opportunities, not a competitive
It is good for our
Relevancy is a priority for any higher education institution. The writing is on the wall in the Florida
College System with 24 of the 28 institutions having already begun adding
four-year programs. A paradigm shift is happening. All the same, being at the
front of the pack is less important to me than fiscal stewardship so we ran the
numbers to make sure a new nursing program would be financially viable.
Happily, our research shows that a baccalaureate degree in nursing would bring
in significant revenue, a welcome concept in lean budget years. State
legislature has also already committed a total of $30 million to expand
baccalaureate degrees in Florida, funds we would not have been eligible for
without the Board’s decision yesterday.
Moving this initiative from idea to vote has assured me of
just how much our Trustees love our College, something I was already well aware
of. We’ve had many good conversations and I respect all sides greatly.
Now that the decision has been made, the real work begins. At this point, it is premature to talk about changing the name. If our proposal is approved, then we will have to entertain that conversation. We’ve got a lot of t’s to cross and i’s to dot over the coming months and
years. However, I fully anticipate this process will go smoother than most
would think. Demand-driven initiatives tend to do that, in my experience. All are welcome to leave any comments or questions on my
Facebook page at facebook.com/jimmurdaugh, or join us at our next Strategic Plan event on October 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the Florida Public Safety Institute in
Ginny Wagner, Faculty Wednesday, October 9, 2013
have spent the past two weeks interviewing applicants for an adjunct position. This
is another first for me. I have been a part of selection and review committees
in the past for various full-time faculty and administrative positions, but
this was different. This was for a new member for the team, our team, with the
potential to work with us for many years.
called a number of individuals and began the process by talking a great deal
about the ‘down’ side of the position; no benefits, only two days a week, lunch
hour meetings, homework, no paid vacations, no summer hours, and no guarantee of
future semesters since the number of faculty is based on enrollment. We still
had four enthusiastic interviews of qualified hygienists!
The current faculty and staff demonstrate an incredible dedication to meeting the needs of each individual student while promoting self-esteem, continual personal and professional development.
requested that the first-year coordinator join me in the interviews, since she
would be working with whomever we hire, and I really wanted a colleague’s
perspective for such an important decision. We were able to discuss the
specifics of the job, our philosophy of instruction, and the importance of
teamwork in building student confidence and facilitating progress. We were both
also able to share the thrill of teaching and the intrinsic rewards that
idea of intangible and intrinsic rewards is explored in great detail in Drive, a book by Daniel H. Pink, currently under discussion by the TCC
Leadership Book Club. What really motivates us and those around us? What does
the research say? Financial gain is not the ultimate reward that we often think
have seen this in action during this short recruitment process. Only one of the
four top interviewees withdrew because of the unpredictable financial
arrangement. The other three were
determined to join us in spite of the job’s limitations. They want to teach,
but they also want to teach with us.
current faculty and staff demonstrate an incredible dedication to meeting the
needs of each individual student while promoting self-esteem, continual
personal and professional development. They are constantly guiding the students
as positive role models with an underlying value system committed to providing
quality dental health care to patients.
began this semester thinking I needed to build a TEAM spirit in our department,
but in reality, it is already here.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Good things come to those who
research thoroughly, plan accordingly and execute decisively.
During the month of October, the
College will be presenting our brand new five-year Strategic Plan to the
community in three open forum events. The Plan outlines nine priorities, 35
strategies and has already prompted some very exciting discussions and
commitments around here. But our work has only just begun.
Enrollment is one of the Plan’s
top priorities under which we will be developing and executing a Strategic
Enrollment Management (SEM) plan to take effect during the 2014-15 academic
year. To be clear, an SEM plan is more than just more students; SEM is a
comprehensive process that encompasses everything from growing signature
programs to recruiting top students to managing student success to helping
alumni achieve their career goals. It is designed to guide a sustained and
healthy increase in student and institutional success.
In short, this new SEM plan will
keep TCC moving forward.
What does all this mean for you? Among many
For students, your student experience will receive a facelift –
applying, orientation, enrollment, career planning, learning resources,
co-curricular activities, and graduation, these and other student touch points
will be streamlined and improved.
For faculty, academic programs will be assessed for need and
opportunity, advising and career counseling will be refined, and we will be
developing or expanding strategies for early alert and intervention. We will
also plan for better professional development and technology implementation. We
want to make sure our instructors have the resources they need for our students
For staff, we will foster a culture of evaluation and feedback from
all resource areas so each staff member has the tools to identify areas of
improvement for everything from the application process to record keeping to
For our community, this will mean TCC will continue to remain relevant and
useful in today’s ever-changing education landscape.
SEM is just part of our overall
Strategic Plan. To hear more about our other priorities, please join us one of
the three Strategic Plan events:
- Wakulla County on
October 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Wakulla Center
- Leon County on
October 21 at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom on TCC’s Main Campus
- Gadsden County on
October 30 at 5:30 p .m. at the Florida Public Safety Institution
For more information about our
Strategic Plan, SEM or any of the upcoming events, visit the Strategic Plan section of our Web site.
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