The Social Scholar Goes to Campus

The Social Scholar Goes to Campus


My Affection Toward Academia

My 20-plus years as a degree seeking student and my eight years as a teacher in public and private schools cemented my affiliation and affection toward academia. That is why this month, March, I am excited to go back to campus. This time I go not as a student, but as a board member. I have the privilege of serving on the boards at three higher education institutions: The University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida; Goodwin College in East Hartford, Connecticut; and The University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. My capacity on each board varies and I value each one.

I owe a great deal to this university and my passion for UF makes it easy to be a strong ambassador for it. 

The University of Florida National Foundation Board

At the University of Florida, I am a new board member on the University’s National Foundation Board. In my capacity on the UFF Board, I support the university’s growth campaigns and serve as an ambassador for the university in my state of Connecticut and in the Northeast to help attract top students to the university. I also look for opportunities to connect businesses, philanthropists and other alumni to UF. The University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top universities. It is my alma mater; the place where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in telecommunications and where I grew up. I owe a great deal to this university and my passion for UF makes it easy to be a strong ambassador for it.

Goodwin College Department of Business, Management, and Advanced Manufacturing

Goodwin College is a small non-profit institution founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population. Goodwin seeks to admit all students who have academic potential, regardless of past performance. The open enrollment model is part of what attracts me to Goodwin. So many universities have made higher education inaccessible to young people and working adults because of their quests to build reputations as elite institutions. Goodwin provides solid education with resources and support for students who may need a second chance.

The open enrollment model is part of what attracts me to Goodwin. 

I serve on the advisory board within the department of business, management and advanced manufacturing. My role is to help create and launch a Master of Science degree program in organizational leadership. I give input on curricula, student requirements, and methods to engage the business community. My affiliation with Goodwin is a direct result of my commitment to working toward equity and equality in education and career.

 

The University of Georgia, College of Education

At the University of Georgia, I have spent three years on the College of Education Board of Visitors. My work on this board includes reengaging alumni and friends to support the College’s programs and students. I play a leadership role on this board and I am very proud of the accomplishments we’ve made. At the top of the list is helping to fund needs-based scholarships to keep deserving students matriculating at the university. What inspires me most is my knowing that I’m helping to support future educators.

This university did the most in preparing me for the career that I love…

The University is also my alma mater. I received my Master of Education degree and my Doctor of Philosophy degree from UGA. This university did the most in preparing me for the career that I love – human resource and organization development. Though my heart is always a Gator (UF’s mascot) first, I am also a Double Dawg (UGA’s mascot is the Bulldog). And, it is my time at UGA that is most directly responsible for my career success. Therefore, I give full support to UGA, America’s first state-chartered university, and a top public institution of higher education.

What Do I Get In Return? Inspiration for The Social Scholar

While I give my time and talents to these three institutions of higher education, I receive so much more in return. For example, I learn innovations taking place in teaching and learning. Additionally, I learn of the challenges our educational institutions face as they navigate new policies, funding shortages, and issues impacting faculty and student acquisition and retention.

What excites me most is when I meet directly with students. Earlier this month at the University of Florida, I met with students in the College of Journalism and Communications. I could not have been more proud of them, how smart and enterprising they are, and how remarkably prepared they are for the workplace. They inspire me to do the work that I do with The Social Scholar.

Meeting with deans, faculty, administrators and students remind me why the mission of The Social Scholar is an educational imperative. The board service provides a platform to create conversations among scholars and advocates who believe we can do more to ensure all children have the resources and supportive environments they need to succeed academically, from cradle to career. In return for board service, I receive the satisfaction of knowing that I am a partner in building our nation’s next leaders.

Call to Action: Closing Education’s Leaky Pipeline

As I stated, going back to campus allows me to see the needs of our educators and students. I am cognizant that while I serve on the boards of institutions of higher education, many students’ educational journeys stop short of that. We must support education from preschool through college. We must support our under-served schools, teachers, students and communities. Education’s leaky pipeline to college is real. Let’s do our part to ensure that future generations have a quality education, K – 16. This is my call to action to all of you who read this post. I ask you to find a school and become an advocate. Give of your money, time and talents to help make our schools great institutions of learning for our kids. You will receive so much more in return. And, our future depends on it.

 

© 2017

Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.

All Rights Reserved

Comments (20)

  1. India
    Mar 11, 2017

    Very nice article mom!

    • Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
      Mar 11, 2017

      Thank you for reading and commenting, India.

  2. Tyrone Cornileus
    Mar 11, 2017

    Great job!! So proud of you and your achievements! Go Gators/Canes lol. Great write up!

    • Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
      Mar 11, 2017

      Thank you! It’s awesome when purpose and passion come together. Go Gators, Dawgs, Canes, Blue Devils. Okay. That’s it.

  3. George Edwards
    Mar 11, 2017

    Great post, your journey on the path to higher education has been a beacon of hope to many. Thank you for sharing how being on the different boards even though different still all connects to your passion for making sure no one is left behind. You’re a light, keep shinning.

    • Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
      Mar 11, 2017

      Thanks, George. I appreciate the feedback.

  4. Tyrone Cornileus Sr.
    Mar 11, 2017

    You have been called to be a leader in the areas of education, leadership, and development. I find joy in watching you thrive through life and sharing your wisdom and reaching out to others. Great article Tonya. Go Gators !!

    • Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
      Mar 11, 2017

      Thank you, Tyrone for always being a supporter – always. I appreciate the feedback. Go Gators.

  5. Elbert Harris Sr.
    Mar 11, 2017

    In all of your writings I can hear and feel your passion for what you do. It is that passion that will serve as the impetus for greater appreciation for learning and academic excellence in our schools, communities and our nation. Congratulations on your accomplishments which I am sure will gravitate towards others as they continue to explore depths of THE SOCIAL SCHOLAR.

    • Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
      Mar 11, 2017

      Thanks to you, Dad, for being a light for me. I appreciate your wisdom and support. And, thank you for all the years you devoted to education and to our nation’s kids who needed you most.

  6. Kevin Harris
    Mar 12, 2017

    Great insight to both the challenges our institutions of higher learning face and the impact or influence they can have on our careers. It’s also good to see Board members like yourself understand that “it not where you start but where the journey can take you’. Dawgs for life!

    • Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
      Mar 12, 2017

      Spoken like a true Georgia ‘Dawg!! Thank you.

  7. Tonya Dillard
    Mar 12, 2017

    I commend the Social Scholar for raising awareness and challenging everyone to “act” to “close education’s leaky pipeline”. Therefore. I ask, how do we fix our educational system? This has become an age old question that has stumped well-intentioned educators, scholars, institutions, philanthropists, governmental agencies and politicians alike. Not even the billions of dollars spent annually (you read it right, billions with a capital B) has been enough to close the leaky pipeline. For answers, let’s turn to Albert Einstein, arguably one of the most brilliant minds ever. He said, “it’s not that I’m so smart, but I stay with the problems much longer”. As each us accepts the “call to action”, first, choose a school, not just any school, but a school in great need of you. Go there. Once there, ask a simple question: “how can I help?” Then go to that school, to that class, to help that teacher, that student, that family, again and again and again. Then follow the advice of Albert Einstein, “stay longer”.

    • Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
      Mar 12, 2017

      Thank you my friend, Dr. Dillard. You give an even stronger call to action. I will follow your call and encourage all of us to do just that – find a school and stay longer.

  8. Stephanie G.
    Mar 12, 2017

    What an amazing role you serve in education, in the community, and specifically in my life. You are smart, resourceful, and have a heart so open and full of love. Thank you for continuing to make an impact in the lives of students, and specifically on the life of our family. Blessed to be mentored, loved, and taught by you. Keep making a HUGE impact!!! Your work never goes unnoticed.

    • Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
      Mar 12, 2017

      Thank you, my DIL. 😘 As God wills it I hope I have the courage, obedience and willfulness to do it. Education and helping people to achieve their fullest potential are my passion.

  9. Joshua Watson
    Mar 12, 2017

    Wow, I am so impressed Miss Tonya. To be on the advisory board at one major university is a big honor, let alone three of them. I wish you an abundance of success and blessings as you step into this new chapter in your life. I am very proud of you!

    • Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
      Mar 12, 2017

      Thank you, Josh. I appreciate your comment and your support. I’m wishing you continued success with your blog and career.

  10. Laura Bierema
    Mar 16, 2017

    What amazing service you are giving these wonderful educational institutions! Your insight is so important for helping us serve our learners and broader communities. Thank you for your service and for writing about it!

    • Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
      Mar 16, 2017

      Thank you, Laura. I really appreciate your comment. It’s my pleasure to serve those institutions. It keeps me close to academia and allows me to play a part in enabling student success.

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