How did TCC get started? Back in the 1950’s and 60’s there was a growing movement across the state of Florida to make higher education more accessible. Local leaders and citizens here in Tallahassee got together and made a push for the establishment of a community college for Leon, Wakulla and Gadsden counties. By 1966 TCC, then known as Tallahassee Junior College, was founded. The College’s success in those early years is a credit to President Fred W. Turner, a gifted academician and visionary leader who was well-known for his ability to work with all types of people to get things done. He set the course that would define TCC for the next 50 years and beyond. However, I don’t think any of our founders imagined just how big of an impact TCC would have on our community over the next 50 years.
How has TCC grown over the years? Our first semester’s enrollment was just under 700 students. We had really only one program of study and a few dozen courses available, and because construction on the first buildings at the Appleyard Drive campus would not be complete in time, classes were held in borrowed space at Godby High School. Much has changed since then. Today, we serve more than 37,000 credit and noncredit students at seven campuses across the three county district, offering 78 degree and certificate programs and many more workforce programs. TCC has become more than just a community college; we are a community institution.
What brings people to TCC? TCC is consistently ranked as one of the top colleges in the nation for our cost of education, return on investment and student success rates. We don’t have GPA minimums or extracurricular requirements, just an open door. We also maintain one of the lowest tuition rates in the state which means more students are able to pursue a college degree. Once they graduate, many of our students take advantage of programs like TCC2FSU and TCC2FAMU to seamlessly transfer and earn their bachelor’s degree from either FSU or FAMU. Because of the excellent relationships we have with them, we are the number one transfer school to both universities. I think a combination of all of these qualities and more make us a good college for students who want to earn a college degree but don’t want to go hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt doing it. The beautiful weather and scenery of north Florida don’t hurt us either.
What’s next for TCC? Our 50th Anniversary in 2016 was a great time to reflect on how far we’ve come as an institution. But now that we are into 2017, we are looking towards the future with several key initiatives. We are one of thirty colleges from across the country involved in the American Association of Community Colleges’ Guided Pathways Project. This project will refine the way our students progress towards an A.A. degree, our largest degree program, by flipping the traditional model to start instead with what the students want to ultimately do and working backward from there. This will ensure they take only the courses they need to achieve their specific personal goals. Another initiative is related to a national trend in higher education and entrepreneurism. Our College is committed to entrepreneurship as both a practice and a culture. We believe it means more than just turning a profit, it also means thinking outside of the box about how we provide opportunities to our students. Recent projects include the Center for Innovation at our downtown location which was specifically designed to bring together the nonprofit, for-profit and government sectors to facilitate innovation and entrepreneurism; or our forestry management efforts at the Florida Public Safety Institute which helps us responsibly maintain the property as well as netting the College additional revenue. With decreased funding for higher education coming from the Legislature, but no less need from our students, these next few years we will be challenged to innovate, fiscally, academically and culturally. I’d like to think we will be well ahead of the curve.
What social media does TCC use? We are on just about every platform. You can find us @GoToTCC.
Describe TCC in 5 words or less The College of Choice.