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TCC : Our College : TCC Newsroom : Blogs : President's Blog

President's Blog 

Technology and the Future of Our College

Jim Murdaugh, President Friday, April 4, 2014

There’s been a lot of buzz circulating as of late here at the College over technology. Just a few short months ago, the District Board of Trustees approved the purchase of a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system, along with a partnership with the provider, Workday, Inc., to help design a revolutionary new student system from the ground up. We’ve also been working on our next quality enhancement plan (QEP) as part of our accreditation process. The QEP theme will be technology and digital literacy across the curriculum. 

This year will truly be the start of a new, more technology-focused chapter for our College.

WorkdayLaunch.jpgAs many of our employees learned at the Workday project kick-off a few weeks ago, we are moving quickly in the direction of our goals. Configuration and testing of our first phase of the ERP, student recruiting, begins this month with deployment expected sometime late summer or early fall. Then the process will move on to other areas such as human capital management, admissions, financial aid and advising, some of which will be simultaneous. Completed implementation is expected sometime in 2017 which may sound far away to some, but is actually quite impressive considering the amount of work that must be done.  

Collectively, this project will require some tens of thousands of hours and the involvement of not only Workday and our implementation partner, CedarCrestone, but also nearly every area of our College. It is the single largest technology project we have ever undertaken. However, the large team that is leading the charge on campus has already proven to be enthusiastic and quick-thinking as they are well on their way to an on-time completion of the first phase.

On the academic side, the QEP committee announced the winner of their recent naming contest. Students were invited via email and social media to weigh in on the development of the QEP strategy and give it a name. The name that was chosen, Digital FOCUS (Find, Operate, Create, Utilize and Share), won its author an iPad Air. Over the coming months, the QEP committee will finalize their strategy and create initiatives to help our College leverage new and existing technologies to keep our students digitally literate in the classroom and beyond. This will satisfy both accreditation standards and our College’s mission while also significantly improving the student learning environment.

As we work through the many tasks ahead of us, let’s not forget that the work we do today puts us at the forefront of tomorrow and will help create a better College for our students and our future.​​​​

These projects represent only two of the larger efforts we have undertaken to advance areas such as student onboarding, academic planning and leadership. We are fortunate to live in a digital age where technology is readily available and can offer solutions to maximize the experiences in these areas, areas where I see effectiveness as more important than efficiency. Efficiency is great for established processes, but when confronted with change, efficiency can sometimes create barriers. Effectiveness thrives in changing environments and sees barriers as opportunities for advancement.

I believe technology will change the face of our College. 

I envision a future where employees transition our business processes into best practices; where students are able to service their own accounts easily with online and mobile functionality; where evaluation involves tools like apps and micro-credentials, and serves to enhance student and the employee experiences, not hinder them. As we work through the many tasks ahead of us, let’s not forget that the work we do today puts us at the forefront of tomorrow and will help create a better College for our students and our future.

Jim


Announcing the TCC2FSU Golden Guarantee Program

Jim Murdaugh, President Wednesday, February 26, 2014

TCC2FSU_LogoSquare.jpgThis 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 campus.  

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

Jim  ​


Celebrating Black History Month at TCC

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.   

During the 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.​

I also 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. 

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. 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​


Happy Holidays 2013

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.

  • ao97xx24mkt7mzx1.jpgOur student organizations continue to thrive and bring home awards such as the Model United Nations team that earned the highest award at an international conference earlier this year
  • Our nursing program received national accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc.
  • TCC rose to No. 1 in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1 Baseball Poll for the first time in the program’s 23-year history. 
  • The new Wakulla Environmental Institute broke ground in April
  • We were recertified as a Leader College by Achieving the Dream, a national reform network dedicated to community college student success and completion. 
  • TCC was ranked No. 1 in the nation among two-year institutions in graduating students with A.A. degrees. 
  • TCC’s Police Department became the first among Florida state colleges to receive accreditation from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation. 
  • IMG_0546webedit.jpgWe entered into a partnership with Workday, Inc. to build Workday Student, the first student service application developed for higher education in over two decades.
  • We finalized a new five-year Strategic Plan.
  • TCC was recognized as a military-friendly school by Victory Media’s 2014 Military Friendly Schools list  for our academic credibility, on-campus support, veteran student outcomes and student satisfaction.
  • Our District Board of Trustees approved the development of a proposal for a baccalaureate degree in nursing.
  • Our Connect2Complete and service learning programs were recognized for community engagement by Florida Campus Compact.

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.

Happy Holidays!

Jim

 

Campus Compact: Creating Global Citizens Through Service Learning

Jim Murdaugh, President Tuesday, November 19, 2013

There 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.

CampusCompact_11-7-13.jpgI 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. 

For 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. 

During 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 community garden.  

communitygarden.jpgThis 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. 

All 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. 

However, 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. 

I 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.

Jim​


What Student Veterans Mean to Our College

Jim Murdaugh, President Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In Memorium display at the TCC Veteran's Center

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: 

At the TCC Veteran's Center with Student Veterans Association President Ryan McKibbenVeteran’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 parade. .

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” college and 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 


Moving Forward with an RN-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program

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.

TCC District Board of Trustees Meeting 10-21-13Yesterday’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 students. 

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 community. 

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. 

@GoToTCC Facebook Screenshot on Four-Year DiscussionIn 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 environment. 

It is good for our College. 

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 Gadsden County.

Jim​​​


Creating a Better College - Strategic Enrollment Management and the Strategic Plan

Thursday, September 26, 2013

IMG_8296.JPGGood 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 other things:

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 to succeed.   

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 campus communications.                     

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.   

Jim ​​​


Welcome Back - Fall 2013

Jim Murdaugh, President Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Welcome to fall semester 2013 at Tallahassee Community College!IMG_9859edit.jpg

Now that another summer has come to a close and fall semester 2013 has begun, I find myself once again reflecting on the months and years past. Though it feels like the blink of an eye, this November will mark my third year as president of Tallahassee Community College. We’ve had a lot of changes during those three years, the most recent of which I discuss in my Summer Mash-Up video below. 

But one thing that hasn’t changed is my respect for our students, faculty and staff, the three pillars of our campus family. Their enthusiasm for what we do reminds me every day of what makes our College such a great success – the talent of our faculty, the dedication of our staff and the determination of our students. I’m excited to see what this new year will bring. 

A few housekeeping notes. The College’s new Strategic Plan is available on our Web site here. The Plan describes our vision, our mission and how we hope to implement strategic priorities over the coming year and beyond. Also, students should become familiar with our Code of Conduct which can be found here. It outlines standards of conduct, procedures and student rights which are all designed to ensure our campus remains “a place of learning, safety, shared responsibility and harmony.” 

Finally, I highly recommend that everyone gets involved on campus as much as possible this year whether it is through volunteer opportunities afforded by the Office of Service Learning and Civic Engagement, or with a student organization. College is such a great experience and getting involved only enriches that experience while also benefiting our campus and our community. 

As we kick-off another academic year, I hope everyone will remember to hold each other in as high regard as I do. Work hard, study a lot, have fun and reach for the stars. Good luck! 

Jim​​

​​​​


My Take on This Week's Discussions

Jim Murdaugh, President Thursday, August 22, 2013

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 stude​nts 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.   

Jim​


TCC Ranks First in A.A. Degrees Awarded

Jim Murdaugh, President Monday, July 22, 2013

This summer, as with every summer, has been a whirlwind. While many students take advantage of this semester by catching up on one or two classes, experiencing an internship or just relaxing, we administrators are spending every minute preparing the College for the upcoming academic year.1AA_6-26-13.jpg

In higher ed, summer is also when institutions are honored for previous years’ achievements. For example, TCC was recently ranked #1 nationally in the number of students graduating with A.A. degrees. That ranking in Community College Week reflects the fact that we awarded 3,006 A.A. degrees during 2011-12. We also ranked No. 5 for awarding associate degrees in all fields to African-American students.

I must say that moments like these leave me humbled. As president of TCC, I get to see first-hand how the enthusiasm of our instructors or advisors can inspire the creativity of a student who can then go on and change the world. Our alumni become nurses, CEO’s, artists, public servants and leaders among their peers, and we believe in each of them as soon as they step through our door. They have goals for their future, and we want to see them achieve those goals.     

As I wrote in a recent email to our faculty and staff, the numbers confirm that TCC students are reaching their goals – graduating and moving on to a university or directly into the workforce. This kind of success is not something that happens overnight; it is years in the making. These rankings are an affirmation of both the determination our students possess and the tremendous work our faculty and staff does to bring students to our College and give them the education and support they need to be successful. Thank you! Let’s keep up the good work.   

Jim


Getting Involved

Jim Murdaugh, President Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tallahassee may be a little city, but it’s got big dreams. 

The melting pot that exists here between students and government, transients and natives, young and old produces a wonderfully diversified culture. From a leadership perspective, that can sometimes be a challenge, but more often than not, I’ve found that an assortment of perspectives leads to more creative ideas and better solutions. 

For that reason, I like to take collaborative approach to decision-making whenever possible. For example, the College’s recently finalized Strategic Plan was the result of months of surveys, town hall meetings and research, listening to faculty, staff, students, and the community in order to formulate priorities and strategies for the next five years.  TCC now has an excellent plan to move forward with focused goals that encompass all areas of our College. 

 I believe it is my privilege and duty to be involved in the community as much as humanly possible, and I also encourage our faculty, staff, and students to do the same.
The grassroots initiative Imagine Tallahassee, which I am excited to be a part of, has followed a similar path. Their mission is to provide citizens with a chance to brand Tallahassee by creating a long-term community vision. They have now hosted multiple forums and roundtables for the public, and plan to host more through partners around town. I believe the resulting strategy will be dynamic, exciting and more importantly, integral to the future of Tallahassee. The results of this effort will serve to help policy-makers identify projects that they can fund to grow the economy of our region.  

I’m also honored to have been selected as chair of the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County (EDC), a post which I will assume this coming October. In line with Imagine Tallahassee, the EDC is committed to economic prosperity in our community.  They appreciate the different facets of Tallahassee’s identity and want to see its full potential realized through the combined effort of its citizens, private sector, education and local government. I’m definitely enthusiastic about the work both Imagine Tallahassee and the EDC are about to do in the next year or two. 

The reason I am telling you all this is to explain one of my principle motivations as president of TCC. I believe it is my privilege and duty to be involved in the community as much as humanly possible, and I also encourage our faculty, staff, and students to do the same. 

Our College has worked hard since 1966 to be a valuable resource to the community and every year, we continue to attract and support more students and business to this area. We place great value in those who utilize our institution to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, get their education and become successful and productive citizens. We think these individuals are Tallahassee’s most valuable resource. And after graduation, some are leaving the community to find jobs. 

This is why TCC wants to not only be the college of choice for our students, we also want to be the partner of choice in our community. We want to be a force for progress in Tallahassee and I believe that with the efforts of organizations like EDC and Imagine Tallahassee, a fantastic synergy can be achieved between the education and employment of top talent, and the progress of the entire community. We should welcome crowd-sourcing and citizen engagement. We need existing businesses to thrive, new businesses to choose to move here, and employment options that keep our graduates here.  

We need as much input and ownership from the public as we can get to achieve these goals. I invite all of you to get involved. This is our town, our home, and we have the opportunity to shape its development. Whether it is participating in an Imagine Tallahassee forum, a TCC student organization or a public service project, get involved. 

​​Jim


Strategic Students

Jim Murdaugh, President Monday, May 13, 2013

StrategicPlanStudents.jpgI’m happy to say that TCC has recently finished updating our new Strategic Plan. This plan, which will have a five-year lifespan, envisions the future of our institution and incorporates all the feedback we’ve received over the past few months. It prioritizes the Colleges immediate needs and sets both short and long term achievement goals in areas such as student access, technology, enrollment, stewardship and more. The new plan can be viewed in its entirety here. 

Now the real work begins.   

I recently hosted a forum for students to weigh in on how the Strategic Plan will be implemented in areas that affect them. Those who participated may not have realized it at the time, but they were making College history as students have never before been involved in the Strategic Planning process. However, I see this as a logical collaboration – who better than students to tell us how to cultivate meaningful communication, increase engagement, and foster a richer campus environment with our students?   

I asked the participants to give me specific strategies on how the College could promote a safe and healthy environment and promote engagement and service learning. Here are the highlights of the ideas we discussed.   

Promote a safe and healthy environment: 

  • Revisit student code of conduct (examples: smoking on campus; dress code) 
  • Offer childcare options for TCC students 
  • Partner with FSU, FAMU and/or municipalities to offer access to community amenities, recreation facilities and healthcare (example: Leach Center,  Thagard) 
  • Improve forms of communication that meet students where they are (examples: increased texting; display college policies and student handbook in different ways) 
  • Offer healthier and inexpensive dining options on campus    

Promote Engagement and Service Learning:  

  • Improve forms of communication on campus (example: app) 
  • Increase focus on connecting students with employers (example: host more career/internship fairs) 
  • Develop volunteering requirement for classes (example: SLS) 
  • Reward and incentivize high performance of students 
  • Extend library hours during peak times (example: open until 2:00 am during finals week) 
  • Promote student aid opportunities (examples: scholarships for TCC and next phase of education; work study opportunities on campus) 
  • Increase number of activities available for students (example: more diverse programming with Eagle Adventures; more opportunities that engage a wider number of students)    

These were all great suggestions that I believe all our students could agree with. So I also asked the participants to also think about how the student body could be enabled to apply the strategies they came up with. For example, should the SGA be more involved in the direction of student policy? Should the clubs and organizations take a more proactive role in campus activities? When and where should we be engaging with students?   

These questions and more are now this committee’s responsibility. Over the next academic year and beyond, students will be asked to take a more active role in not only the decisions this College makes, but also in the execution of our strategies. It is an exciting opportunity for both them and our faculty and staff. I truly believe that working together we can make TCC a better place.

Jim 


Changes in Student Affairs

Jim Murdaugh, President Thursday, April 25, 2013

It is said that change brings opportunity; I can definitely say we here at TCC are experiencing many changes, and as a result, opportunities abound. 

 By now, everyone is probably aware of the recent developments related to the former Department of Campus Life, the first of which is a renaming to the Department of Campus and Civic Engagement. In an effort to realign the priorities of this area of the College, many hard decisions had to be made, but I believe we are now on a path that will reinvigorate our student life and provide new and meaningful opportunities for our students both in and out of the classroom. 

 As the name suggests, the department will have a new focus on community engagement. All their efforts, activities and resources will now emphasize socially and intellectually rewarding experiences. Our goal is for students to see Campus and Civic Engagement as the place where they can find fun ways to improve their résumés while also enriching their lives. 

"...greater engagement with our campus community, greater respect for our students, and greater transparency in our actions. These values preserve and protect TCC’s creed and core mission to provide a learning environment that prepares students for success."

Judicial Affairs has been separated from Campus and Civic Engagement and also renamed the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Under this office’s supervision, students will now have a much more proactive approach to how rules and regulations of the College will be shaped providing for more transparency and more oversight in the judicial process. Also, Campus and Civic Engagement will become more proactive in communicating and educating the entire campus community, students, faculty and staff alike, on the resources they make available. 

Lindsey Smitherman-Brown, volunteer and service learning coordinator and interim director of the new department, has had her hands full implementing the full rebranding. Our Student Activity Coordinator, Michael Coleman, just started at the College last week and has hit the ground running. He will become a pivotal player in making sure our students, who come from all walks of life, will be encouraged to participate on campus and feel a connection with our College. We’ve also begun the hiring process for many positions that will be instrumental in making this department a success. 

 These sweeping changes are direct result of a multi-faceted proposal brought to me by Vice President Sally Search back in mid-February. Her vision was to restructure Student Affairs, not just the modification of Campus and Civic Engagement, but also making the Office of the Registrar independent from Enrollment Services and renaming Enrollment Services as Admissions and Enrollment Services. Admissions and Enrollment Services will now be responsible for front-end items like outreach, recruiting, organizing orientation and testing. All of this adjusting will create many new job opportunities for counseling specialists, academic advisors, clerks and more. Student Success is renamed and Student Success and Retention and counseling staff will collaborate with faculty in developing and implementing strategies to promote the success of our students. 

 I believe this overarching plan represents the future of the College. I have tasked all those responsible in these offices and departments to become torchbearers for the spirit of these changes – greater engagement with our campus community, greater respect for our students, and greater transparency in our actions. These values preserve and protect TCC’s creed and core mission to provide a learning environment that prepares students for success. The future certainly looks bright. 

 Jim​​


My Trip to Washington

Jim Murdaugh, President Friday, February 22, 2013

Capitol2_2-12-13small.jpgLast week, I traveled to Washington, DC with TCC Trustees Dana Callen, Allison DeFoor, Eugene Lamb and Karen Moore to participate in the National Legislative Summit hosted by the Association for Community College Trustees. The Summit offered us the rare opportunity to meet with trustees and presidents from community colleges around the country and be briefed on key federal issues impacting our colleges. We are grateful at TCC to have a board that is engaged in federal, state and local issues that affect our college and our ability to serve students.   

The week before our trip to Washington, many of our trustees also attended the Association of Florida Colleges legislative conference hosted here in Tallahassee. Both programs helped our trustees become more familiar with issues that could have a cascading impact on higher education in Florida and across the US.     

RepSoutherland2_2-13small.jpgWhile in Washington, we also took the opportunity to meet with our congressional members to share with them the importance of keeping our “open door” open to students with access to financial aid and academic resources. We also updated them on the College’s efforts to support economic and workforce development in our region.   

We extend our thanks and gratitude to Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio and Representative Steve Southerland – and their respective staffs – for their interest in our College, for taking the time to meet with us while we were in Washington, and for their service to the citizens of Florida. They are very familiar with the issues impacting community colleges at the state and federal levels and I am confident that they are fighting for us every day. 

Jim​​


The Wakulla Environmental Institute

Jim Murdaugh, President Monday, January 14, 2013

WEIheader.jpg

​First of all, I want to thank Doug Blackburn and the Tallahassee Democrat for their article in last Sunday’s paper on the Wakulla Environmental Institute (WEI), as well as the follow-up editorial on January 9th. As Doug put it, we are “gung-ho” about the Institute and its potential, and we appreciate the shared enthusiasm. 

It is true that WEI is going to be a big deal. That’s an understatement, really. When it is finished, this multi-million dollar project will become a world-class destination for education, conservation and recreation. The initial facility, which we hope to break ground on this year, will be situated at the heart of the fifth hottest biodiversity spot in the nation on 158 acres and will feature landscapes so beautiful, it will make you want to come back again and again. (We’re counting on it.) It is also important to note that from this location, the Institute will have direct access to over one million acres of state and federal land and water.  

For more information on the Wakulla Environmental Institute, visit: www.tcc.fl.edu/WEI​​​

For students, WEI will mean innovative classes on the cutting-edge of environmental studies that result in focused degrees and in-demand job opportunities.  For county residents, it will mean 900 permanent and sustainable private-sector jobs in fishing, aqua culture, green business and more. For visitors, it will mean access to beautiful hiking trails, a private sink hole and a plethora of plant and animal life as part of a working research area. 

We believe Wakulla has a lot to offer. With the Institute, we look forward to showcasing the county’s best qualities. Of course, there is still a lot of planning to do and hurdles to overcome. I applaud the continued hard work of individuals like Trustee Allison DeFoor and Executive Director Bob Ballard as well as the amazing people who have agreed to serve on our new WEI Advisory Board who is helping to bring the project together. I especially appreciate Wakulla County leaders’ readiness to come together, roll up their sleeves and make this happen. A community in action like this is truly an awesome sight to behold. In the meantime, I hope everyone will please bear with us as we plan, build and realize this dream of ours. Stay tuned for more updates. 

Jim


Happy Holidays from TCC

Jim Murdaugh, President Tuesday, December 18, 2012

​As we prepare for the holiday season, it’s a great time to reflect on the year that’s coming to a close. We’re so grateful for the continued support of our friends, students and their families. We’re also thankful for the many contributions of our faculty and staff. Our national recognition this year as one of the best colleges to work for in America and one of the top associate’s degree producers in the country is the direct result of these contributions and the support we receive from so many.

We’re proud to be the college of choice for students in this community and look forward to serving our students in the year to come with outstanding programs and services that support their success while maintaining access and keeping our costs low. 

Happy Holidays to you and yours from Tallahassee Community College.

Jim

 

Check out President Murdaugh's holiday message on the latest episode of the TCC Report:

 

 


Celebrate Diversity

Jim Murdaugh, President Monday, December 10, 2012

IMG_6056-small.jpgAs many of you may already know thanks to our recent International Education Week, TCC is privileged to have 83 different countries represented by our student body. In light of that, I think it is important to take a moment and recognize the great diversity of holidays that are celebrated internationally in December. For example, here are just some of the holidays I know of and where they are observed.


  • December 8 - Bodhi Day (Buddhist)
  • December 8 – Hanukkah ​(Jewish)
  • December 21 - Winter Solstice (Northern Hemisphere)
  • December 21 – Pancha Ganapati (Hindu)
  • December 21 – Yule (Pagan, Germanic)
  • December 25 – Christmas Day (Christian)
  • December 26 – Boxing Day (British Commonwealth)
  • December 26 - Kwanzaa (US and Canada)
  • December 31 – New Year’s Eve (Worldwide)

 

So when we say ‘happy holidays’, its TCC’s small way of celebrating our amazing diversity and truly wishing a world of joy to all of our TCC family. ‘Happy holidays’ honors ‘Happy Hanukkah’, ‘Merry Yule’, ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Happy Kwanzaa’, ‘Happy New Year’ and all the other festivities together. There so much good cheer going around this time of year. Let’s keep that going by embracing this season not just for the individual holidays but as a larger celebration of diversity and acceptance!​ ​


Jim


Giving Thanks

Jim Murdaugh, President Tuesday, November 20, 2012

​In the spirit of Thanksgiving this week, I just wanted to show my appreciation to all of our students, faculty, staff and alumni for making TCC the great college that it is. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. You represent some of the most dedicated and talented individuals I have ever known, and every day I get the privilege to work with you to create a better future for us all. I am so thankful to be representing you as president of the College.   

I am also thankful for my family - my beautiful wife, Sara, and my son, Austin, who is the coolest kid I know. They keep me grounded and make each day special.    

I want to encourage you to take a few minutes sometime in the next couple of days to reflect on those individuals in your own life who you care about. Through good times and bad, these are the folks who have helped you along your life’s journey.  Whether that is a committed instructor, a best friend, a caring employer or a loving parent, it is important to never take their kindness and support for granted.  

Otherwise, have a safe and happy break. Eat too much, relax as much as possible and we’ll see you back here on Monday ready to finish out the year strong.    

Jim ​


Service Projects Announcement

Jim Murdaugh, President Friday, November 2, 2012

Colleagues,   

As part of TCC’s United Way participation this year, we have worked to set up several days of service in our community.  This is a way for our TCC faculty and staff to get out in the community and volunteer their time to worthy causes and help those in need.  Additionally, this will allow you to directly learn about – and see in action – a few of the programs which directly benefit from your United Way pledge contributions.    

Please take a moment to look over your schedule and consider volunteering for one or more of the projects listed below as your time allows.  To sign-up as a volunteer, please contact Marissa Mainwood at mmainwood@gmail.com or 201-6672 at least two days prior to the project date.   

  1. 11/9/12 (Fri.) Big Bend Homeless Coalition We will be cooking and serving breakfast. Volunteers are needed from 6:30 AM – 8:30 AM  Need a minimum of 6 volunteers    
  2. 11/13/12 (Tues.) The Shelter We will be serving lunch.  After we are finished serving, we will go behind The Shelter to take a brief tour of the new Renaissance Center. Volunteers are needed from 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM  Need a minimum of 8 volunteers    
  3. 11/19/12 (Mon.) Meals on Wheels We will be delivering meals to senior citizens in the Tallahassee area.  Currently we have two assigned routes, both of which are close to the service center to help with time constraints.​ Volunteers are needed from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM  Need a minimum of 4 volunteers    
  4. 11/29/12 (Thurs.) America’s Second Harvest We will be packing backpacks of food for children and families in need to be distributed on Friday for use over the weekend.  Volunteers are needed from 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM  Need a minimum of 4 volunteers    

Thanks,   

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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