Now that we’ve wrapped the 50th anniversary, people are already asking me where I think Tallahassee Community College will go in the next 50 years. While I cannot imagine the changes in degrees and programs that will occur long term, we will remain faithful to the principles TCC was founded on and continue to be demand-driven and student-focused.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to hit the ground running in 2017. Here are a few of the things we have in the works.
Guided Pathways – We are one of thirty colleges from across the country involved in the Guided Pathways Project to share best practices and refine the way our students progress in the Associate in Arts degree program. This is exciting because it starts with what the student wants to ultimately do and works backward from there, stimulating new conversations about scope and sequence of curricula and whether or not we are requiring, or not requiring, courses that students need based upon their specific personal goals. This includes working with Florida State University, Florida A&M University and our University Partners to enhance matriculation success rates and, where applicable, highlight in-demand programs.
Program Reviews – We will be instituting more frequent systematic reviews of our Associate in Science (AS), certificate and workforce programs. The rate of change in career fields such as information technology and healthcare continues to increase. We know there is still work to be done to make sure the skills we teach and the talent we produce is what is required by employers. We’ve made a lot of headway already – with the addition of the commercial transportation program we now offer training in 10 out of 10 of the region’s current hot jobs. And thanks to the generous support of our donors, we will be able to offer financial aid in some of these programs where federal aid is not yet available, allowing students who would not normally have had the means the chance to earn a credential that will lead to an in-demand career.
Entrepreneurism – We are positioning our College to become more innovative and entrepreneurial, fiscally, academically and culturally. This means more than just turning a profit; it also means thinking outside of the box about how we can provide opportunities for our students. For example, on February 6 will be opening the new Center for Innovation. The building has a new purpose with office and conference rooms, training and collaboration spaces, a retail incubator, tenants including WTXL-ABC 27 and New Horizons Computer Learning Center, the Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence and the College’s first-ever franchise, a Starbucks coffee shop. The new Center will help us break down silos and stimulate innovation by bringing the public, private and non-profit sectors together in one space.
Building Bridges – We will continue to do our part as a community institution to support economic development so our graduates have a healthy employment environment where there is opportunity to grow and thrive.
I believe we are well-positioned to do all of the above. Our internal dialogue as we start 2017 involves shifting focus. Instead of looking at whether students are college-ready, we will be increasingly asking if our college is student ready.
Happy New Year!