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As Columbia State Community College president Dr. Rebecca Hawkins prepares for her retirement, newly appointed president Dr. Janet Smith is preparing to take the helm on Feb. 18 as the colleges fourth president.

Smith graduated from APSU in 1969 and 1971.

Tennessee is home to me, Smith said. I grew up in Houston County, my mother is still there as are two brothers and other family members. This is a professional challenge and an opportunity to return home.
As Columbia State Community College president Dr. Rebecca Hawkins prepares for her retirement, newly appointed president Dr. Janet Smith is preparing to take the helm on Feb. 18 as the college's fourth president.

Smith graduated from APSU in 1969 and 1971.

“Tennessee is home to me,” Smith said. “I grew up in Houston County, my mother is still there as are two brothers and other family members. This is a professional challenge and an opportunity to return home.”

Since July 2000, Smith has been president at Rich Mountain Community College in Mena, Ark., developing the 1,600-student institution into a model rural community college recognized by the North Central Association-Higher Learning Commission Accreditation.

With a bachelor's degree in health and physical education, it wasn't long before Smith's teaching role changed. While at Isothermal Community College in Spindale, N.C., as the chair of the division of life sciences, Smith got a taste of administration, “fell in love with the community college” venue and realized she had aspirations for a career in administration.

“When I left Isothermal, the school newspaper interviewed me,” she said. “They asked me what I wanted to be. It was then I realized I wanted to be a college president. That had been formulating but at that point it came together and I knew what I wanted the future to hold.”

With a few years off to begin a family, Smith began her educational and professional pursuit of her new career goal to be a college president.

Smith returned to administration as the director of extension services at Dyersburg Community College from 1983-1990, then moved on to become dean of academic affairs at Hopkinsville (Ky.) Community College from 1990-2000. In 2000, she went to Rich Mountain Community College as president.

“I enjoy administration,” she said. “It's a teaching from a different perspective. I regard administration as a teaching role and an organization leadership role.”

After seven years at Rich Mountain, Smith wanted to move back to middle Tennessee to be closer to family. The position at Columbia State not only offers professional challenges, but personal opportunities.

“Tennessee community colleges hold a very special place for me and my professional development,” she said. “I became acquainted with Tennessee community colleges through research for my dissertation, ‘The History of Tennessee Community Colleges.'”

Smith said she intends to be an “open door president” and be seen throughout the campus, available to chat with students and faculty members. (Williamson Herald, Jan. 4, 2008)

Getting a teaching degree just got easier for students at Pellissippi State Technical Community College. Pellissippi State has received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to offer an associate of science in teaching degree for elementary education, with a K-6 emphasis.

“TBR has made the Associate of Science in Teaching course uniform for all Tennessee community colleges, so if students transfer to another community college or any TBR university, they're not going to lose credits,” said Meg Moss, coordinator of teacher education and associate professor in mathematics at Pellissippi State.

That means the degree will transfer to any TBR institution. (The Daily Times, Jan. 1, 2008)

The University of Memphis' FedEx Institute of Technology has launched its much anticipated technology transfer department, which will work to commercialize faculty inventions.

Kevin Boggs, a molecular and cellular biology scholar and a former St. Jude Children's Research Hospital researcher, will lead the new tech transfer office. He has five years of technology licensing experience, having served as assistant director of the University of Florida's office of tech transfer.

University of Florida, famous for commercializing energy drink Gatorade, has a tech transfer office that's among the five most grossing in the nation, according to economic think-tank Milken Institute. (Memphis Business Journal, Jan. 7, 2008)