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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Chancellor reflects on 47 years at TCC

Chancellor+Hadley+was+hired+on+NE+Campus+in+1968+as+an+instructor.
Chancellor Hadley was hired on NE Campus in 1968 as an instructor.

By Jamil Oakford/editor-in-chief

Hadley goes from NE instructor to the top

Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley is one of the pivotal figures that has been a part of the district’s past and continues to shape its present and future.

Chancellor Hadley was hired on NE Campus in 1968 as an instructor.
Chancellor Hadley was hired on NE Campus in 1968 as an instructor.

“It’ll be 47 years in August,” Hadley said of her time at TCC.

Hadley heard about TCC while studying and working in Ohio. Missing Texas’ warm weather, she was looking for an opportunity to return home.

She was considering going to the University of Texas at Austin.

“I didn’t want to go there, though, because they didn’t focus much on vocational programs,” Hadley said.

When she heard about TCC and the positions that were open, she jumped at the chance and applied for a position as a business instructor on NE Campus.

“I thought I was in the best place in the world,” she said.

Though NE Campus wasn’t finished with construction, forcing day classes to be taught on South Campus, Hadley remembers those times fondly.

“The district worked out a deal so we taught on South and were bused back to NE for evening classes,” she said.

Stepping over rolls of carpet and drinking from water coolers because they had yet to install water fountains only emphasizes how far TCC has come over the last half-century.

When Hadley was appointed interim chancellor in 2009, she and board members discussed the future of TCC.

Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley poses with TCC's mascot Toro.
Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley poses with TCC’s mascot Toro.

“My vision for TCC was partially shaped by the board of trustees,” she said. “They gave me several goals.”

Most of Hadley’s vision came from her looking into reports to see how the school was serving students.

“I was not happy with what I saw,” she said. “We bragged about being an open door for students, but we weren’t completely meeting their needs.”

From that moment, Hadley made it her mission to improve those reports.

“My goal was to work toward closing the gap between students who needed us most and the students who needed us least,” she said.

Technology aided part of that, a recurring theme in TCC’s history. The college had to progress with the times. Now, the institution has kept up and even surpassed its peers, she said.

“It feels very rewarding that our board members understand the importance of technology,” Hadley said. “So many of our students graduate high school and come to us expecting the same level of technology they had in high school.”

By working closely with institutional intelligence and technology vice chancellor Timothy Marshall, she is given an idea on how often technology should be refreshed.

“We serve over 100,000 individuals, so we have to stay up to date,” she said.

Hadley speaks with board president Louise Appleman during a session.
Hadley speaks with board president Louise Appleman during a session.

Hadley said TCC’s greatest achievement was serving the community. She mentioned the birth of most TCC campuses coming from a need in the community, and all of them are flourishing.

“The greatest accomplishment [of TCC] has to be making college accessible and affordable to the people of Tarrant County,” she said.

Hadley considers her greatest achievement to be student-oriented.

“I would have to say it was probably moving the college to a more focused approach and redesigning our college for the 21st century student,” she said. “Reimagining our college as a place to assist every student who enrolls to succeed.”

Hadley has made this a major movement of her time as chancellor and believes that everything the college does ties back to the strategic plan she set out with when she was hired as chancellor in 2010.

As for what the future holds, she sees TCC keeping a great relationship with the community.

“The future is always going to hold a very strong system of service to the community,” she said. “We serve our private sector. I see TCC right in the middle to keep our businesses going.”

She also sees TCC moving into assisting students when they first enroll with the college, helping them choose degree plans that fit their goals.

“I see the college offering students opportunities in different ways,” Hadley said. “Maybe the century-old semester system is gone.”

Whatever changes are to come, Hadley believes TCC is one of the greatest places to be.

“It’s like what I tell my co-workers, ‘You could find a place as good as TCC, but you’ll never find one better than TCC.’”

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