TCC Offers Higher Education for All

Meeting the Academic and Workforce Development Needs of Leon, Wakulla and Gadsden Counties

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As it celebrates its 50th anniversary serving the Leon, Wakulla and Gadsden tri-county area, just about the only thing that hasn’t changed about Tallahassee Community College since its inception is its commitment to affordable, accessible higher education for all. Today, TCC boasts 14,000 students; six campuses; a 75 percent success rate for A.A. degree students moving on to universities; exceptional passing rates for graduates of its professional education programs; a burgeoning commitment to local workforce development; and a plethora of awards and accolades for the college, its students and faculty.

courtesy Tallahassee Community College

TCC’s Computer Technology building

courtesy Tallahassee Community College

Dr. Jim Murdaugh

“It’s a remarkable story. Everywhere I go in this community, the reputation of the college is strong,” said TCC President Jim Murdaugh. “It’s an exciting time. Is the college where I want it to be? Yes. Would I change things? Of course. Anybody who’s satisfied needs to move out of this office. Your job is to push and to continue to look for ways to improve what we do for students and how we meet the needs of our community. I’m happy where we are (and) excited with the plans that we have to do those things.”

Technology and the new breed of millennial student have transformed the college, said Monte S. Finkelstein, who has spent his almost 35-year professional career there as a history professor and dean of the division of history and social sciences.

“When I taught, we had a chalkboard and an overhead projector,” he explained. “Now, you’ve got to be ready to put videos up there. (Students) want PowerPoints. We’ve got smart boards; we have smart podiums.

“It used to be ‘the sage on the stage,’ ” he said. “You can (still) impart your knowledge, but you have to do it in such a way that you keep your kids’ attention — and that’s, I think, the biggest change in the classroom.

“You want to know what has changed? In ’84, things changed so slowly. If we needed to do something on campus, we were all relaxed. Now,” he said, snapping his fingers, “that fast, things change on the campus. We pick up a new initiative now, we run with it, (and) we keep picking up new initiatives. We work at the speed of light around here sometimes.”

In November 2012, Florida Gov. Rick Scott challenged the state’s colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees that would cost just $10,000. With tuition less than half the cost-per-credit-hour of Tallahassee’s two state universities, Murdaugh said that goal is doable for TCC.

Even within Florida’s state college system, TCC’s $98.83-per-credit-hour tuition is one of the lowest, and it hasn’t increased in five years.

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