Life Changers

Whenever I talk with students and alumni about their experiences at Palm Beach State College, invariably they tell me about a key person who inspired them, launched their career path or gave them the confidence to pursue their dreams. That life-changing individual, in most cases, is usually a member of the College faculty.

Outstanding teaching, in my opinion, is the core of the academy. At Palm Beach State, 325 full-time faculty and an excellent cadre of adjunct instructors each year teach more than 48,000 students seeking certificates and associate and baccalaureate degrees. Whether our faculty are teaching in the classroom or online, their impact reverberates throughout the College as they prepare students to enter the workforce or transition to another institution of higher education for an advanced degree.

To enhance our focus on student completion, our faculty collaboratively identify specific learning outcomes that guide their instructional plans. Beyond that, they mentor and advise students, empowering them to take charge of their lives and move purposefully toward their goals. While they are focused on student learning, many instructors also have achieved great professional success in their own right. Through teaching, they share their knowledge and skills as a way to ensure that those entering their profession and global community are well prepared.

In this issue of Contact, we highlight a few of our faculty members who are making a huge impact on our students and the College. Their backgrounds and teaching styles differ, but each shares a genuine commitment to helping students develop, learn and succeed. Their stories help us recognize the indispensable role of faculty in the academy, and perhaps cause each of us to reflect on a faculty member who made a difference in our own life.

Also in this issue, you will find an update on our continuing progress toward a new campus to serve the central western communities of Palm Beach County. We are now “shovel ready” and poised to begin construction as soon as funding permits. We also are organizing meetings with area residents to gain their insights and ideas on how this campus can best contribute to the success and economic vitality of the community.

We are committed to providing life-changing opportunities for all whom we serve. The Aspen Institute recently recognized our success by naming Palm Beach State College one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation. We are proud to be among the best, and we will continue to make this institution even better in the future!

Dennis P. Gallon, Ph.D.