SouthShore Campus President Dr. Allen Witt recently announced his decision to hire long-time math faculty member Dr. Craig Hardesty as the new dean of academic affairs, effective February 21.
A West Virginia native and the first member of his family to graduate from college, Hardesty began his higher education studies at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College while still in high school. He graduated from high school just a few credits shy of an AA degree. Hardesty went on to earn his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in mathematics, as well as a doctorate in higher education leadership, from Marshall University.
Hardesty’s HCC career began in 2006 on the Plant City Campus. When he learned of plans to open a new campus in Ruskin, he jumped at the chance to be part of a campus growing from the ground up. So he became the first tenure-track faculty member hired at HCC-SouthShore’s first location in Sun Pointe Center in 2008.
“I feel a deep connection with SouthShore,” Hardesty said. “I have a personal stake in the success of this campus.”
A NISOD award-winning educator with 18 years of college and university teaching experience, Hardesty was selected as Faculty of Excellence in 2008. His success in developing distance learning courses at HCC resulted in a 2011 Blackboard Catalyst Award.
Hardesty hopes to help SouthShore continue grow and gain footing as the educational center of southern Hillsborough County.
“I’d like to grow the breadth and depth of our academic programs,” he said. “This includes expanding our AS and workforce offerings to meet the needs of the community.”
Hardesty hopes to put more emphasis on distance learning and hybrid classes, making HCC a pioneer in high quality distance education and technology driven learning. He even hinted at the prospect of adding programs like golf course management technology and landscape technology to SouthShore’s workforce line-up.
“We’ve certainly got the land,” he joked, pointing at the rural landscape outside his window.
Beyond the excitement of his new role at HCC, Hardesty and his wife Kathleen, also an educator, are in the process of adopting two beautiful children from Haiti.
“This campus has been so supportive of us during the entire adoption process,” Hardesty said. “We can’t wait to bring John and Cora home.”
Article written by: SouthShore Campus Staff