Dr. Kimberly Batty-Herbert, who has served as the dean for the Division of Arts and Sciences at South Florida State College since 2007, will leave her post on June 30.

Dr. Kimberly Batty-Herbert on the SFSC Highlands Campus.

Dr. Kimberly Batty-Herbert on the SFSC Highlands Campus.

When the new academic year starts this fall, Dr. Batty-Herbert will have already taken up the position of vice president for academic affairs at Cecil College, a community college in northeastern Maryland.

“This is a good time for me to move on to the last phase of my academic career,” Dr. Batty-Herbert said. “I am nearing retirement and the position at Cecil College will give me an opportunity to help another institution drive academic achievement for its students.”

Dr. Batty-Herbert came to SFSC from Broward College, where she served as the associate dean for academic affairs and taught classes in communication. At SFSC, Dr. Batty-Herbert never left the classroom behind. In addition to overseeing the associate in arts degree program, she taught the required speech class at SFSC.

Earlier in her academic career, Dr. Batty-Herbert had taught at a community college in New Mexico. It was in New Mexico where the Pennsylvania native completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Dr. Batty-Herbert said she takes great satisfaction in the work she accomplished helping SFSC grow its dual enrollment program. “I enjoyed working with the adult students in our college credit program,” Dr. Batty-Herbert said. “It was especially rewarding working with the high school students participating in our dual enrollment program—it’s great to see them get so much out of their experience here on campus.”

Helping younger students prepare for college is a passion for Dr. Batty-Herbert. During her tenure she ushered in a regular series of summer enrichment programs–often called bridge programs– that prepare high school juniors and seniors for the rigors of college coursework.

“Bringing high schools students on to SFSC’s campus during the summer, putting them through the paces, and giving them a feel for college life is critical to their success,” Dr. Batty-Herbert said. “You can’t wait until they show up after high school graduation. You’ve got reach them before that.”

She also oversaw the development of SFSC’s second bachelor’s degree program, the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEE).

“We graduated our inaugural class of elementary school teachers this May, with many of them already hired on with local school districts,” Dr. Batty-Herbert said. “Now we’re tweaking the BSEE class schedule to give working folks the opportunity to enter the program without altering their day schedule.”

As she prepares for her final day at SFSC, Batty-Herbert has made several house hunting trips to towns around Cecil College. “I looked at an amazing 1930s bungalow with a view of the Chesapeake Bay,” Dr. Batty-Herbert said. “But my husband won’t join me until the spring of 2017, so I may hold off on buying until he arrives.”

Cecil College lies in a corner of Maryland where the borders of Pennsylvania and Delaware meet. Dr. Batty-Herbert said she has many option to choose from before settling on buying a house.

Dr. Batty-Herbert will by no means sever her ties with Highlands County. “I am coming back,” she said. “We own a great house on Lake Sebring, with a dock, and a tiki hut my husband built where we want to live out our retirement.”

Her son, a deputy sheriff with Highlands County, will watch over the house while Dr. Batty-Herbert is away.

Lynn MacNeill, a long-serving professor of communication, will take over Dr. Batty-Herbert’s duties for the next academic year, giving SFSC an opportunity to mount a search of a new dean.

During the final week of the spring term, Dr. Batty-Herbert learned the students had voted her adjunct professor of the year. “I was just so tickled by their recognition,” Dr. Batty-Herbert said. “What a nice send-off.”

She noted she feels a kinship with many of the students at SFSC, particularly the dually-enrolled high school students. “I, too, was a dual enrollment student at a community college,” Dr. Batty-Herbert said. “I know how important a good start to college is for success because I was once one of them.”