By Linda Chion
Deborah Kish Johansen, who began her job in January as president of the Brandon campus of Hillsborough Community College (HCC) and president-elect of the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, has walked the path of law in academia smoothly.
Licensed to practice corporate law, Johansen said she entered the college career after learning about an opportunity through a previous chamber membership and then serving as an adjunct professor at Valencia College in Orlando, where she taught business law.
“I loved being with students on the college campus and seeing the light bulbs go out,” said Johansen, whose subsequent rise in academia took her to Colorado, Arizona, and then back to Florida. . She has served as director of studies, chief operating officer, academic dean, and graduate and undergraduate professor, and prior to Brandon, she was vice president of academic affairs at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville. .
Johansen said issues at the Brandon campus include changing enrollment trends, continued attention to health and safety support, deferred facility maintenance, and support for new and emerging.
“The decline in enrollment is a national issue, and we’re no different,” Johansen said. “We’re seeing some growth in enrollment this fall semester, and we’re excited about that.”
To maintain momentum, “we need to meet the modern challenges of students who want different flexibilities and learning styles,” Johansen said, while noting hybrid learning opportunities that involve both classroom instruction and online.
The FINTECH program for financial technology is in the works, which would include studies on cybersecurity and applications for online banking and investment services. Currently being sought, a certificate offer, followed by a two-year diploma program and a connection with HCC’s four-year university partners, Johansen said.
HCC’s associate degree program in supply chain management, a field particularly relevant today, was recently created, Johansen said. She also mentioned studies in aquaculture and biotechnology which, through the FUSE program, pave the way for graduate studies in biology at the University of South Florida.
The Environment Club is working to revitalize the food forest created years ago for edible plants, which has been overrun by the COVID-19 pandemic, Johansen said. A fish pond is also being developed, with fish waste intended to feed the food forest.
In line with its workforce readiness goal, HCC launched the Bachelor of Science in Nursing this fall for further education by registered nurses, the first four-year degree program offered in 54 years of HCC history. It aims to address the critical shortage of nurses locally and nationally.
Also new this fall is the Pre-Health Society, under the auspices of the American Medical Student Association Club. The company is “an online community for students that will provide support in preparing to apply for medical programs,” Johansen said. “This is a student-generated program to create support for fellow students.”
Johansen also participated in the seventh annual Hawk Run, scheduled for Saturday, October 22, “which last year raised enough money to create an endowment for the perpetuity of scholarships,” she said. .
To learn more about offerings from the Johansen and HCC Brandon campuses, visit www.hccfl.edu.