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.
Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
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