Ivory J. Warren, program head of Human Services at Tidewater Community College, regards Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as the epitome of leadership because of his commitment, sacrifice, compassion, and relentless dedication. Ms. Warren embodies the same qualities in taking a student-first approach to a Human Services program that has thrived under her direction. "I tell my students that you never know who’s watching or who’s listening to you," she said. "If you’re going to serve, you serve to the best of your abilities 110 percent. If I think of any way I can help somebody or share something with them, that’s what I do. The helper in me never fails to come out."
Encouraging students to follow their dreams has been Ms. Warren’s hallmark since she joined TCC 15 years ago, initially as a counselor for the Women’s Center on the Norfolk Campus. That’s when she also became an adjunct faculty member, teaching classes ranging from stress management to women’s health. In 2011, still as a part-time instructor, Ms. Warren became the program head for Human Services. Two years later, she was named the first full-time faculty member for the program, which prepares students for careers in case management, community outreach and social work.
When Human Services started in 2009, it had three students. Today enrollment is nearly 400. Ms. Warren knows all of her students and their stories, as many have had to overcome homelessness, domestic violence, academic issues, and financial strain to reach their potential. "I position myself at graduation, and when I see them crying tears of joy, I’m crying, too, celebrating with them," she said. "I love what I do, and I have found my niche. I love working with all different types of people and helping them zero in on their strengths."
Ms. Warren’s passion for social work dates back to her younger days. "Even though I came from a two-parent household and we were comfortable, I always knew I wanted to make a difference in somebody’s life," she said. Ms. Warren raised three children as a single parent while pursuing her own education. She received her bachelor of science in social work from Norfolk State University in 1996 followed by a master’s in social work, also from NSU. Ms. Warren is currently at work on a doctorate in human services administration from Nova Southeastern University with completion scheduled for Spring 2015.
Ms. Warren serves on TCC’s Women’s Center Network for Empowering Women Students, the Norfolk Faculty Senate, and on the Friends of Women’s Studies Board at Old Dominion University. She is vice president of the women’s ministry of Ebenezer Baptist Church and an active participant in TCC’s United Way Day of Caring. Ms. Warren is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Organization for Women, and Feminist Majority. At TCC, she has started two organizations, the Human Services Club and Doctorial Divas, a support group for college women pursuing their doctorates.
Tidewater Community College is proud to present its 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. College Distinguished Service Award to Ivory J. Warren on this, the 23rd day of January in the year 2014.