Skip navigation

Tom Lee: 2015 MLK College Distinguished Service awardee

Tom Lee“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Those words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. deeply impressed Tom Lee, coordinator for faculty professional development at Tidewater Community College, when he first heard them. How fitting for a man who keeps TCC forging ahead as a technological leader in higher education.

“I love working directly with faculty and showing them the possibilities and resources available to make technology work for their students,” Lee said from his office in the Batten Lab inside the Joint-Use Library on the Virginia Beach Campus. “As I saw technology growing over the years, I saw education changing. Learning is no longer about a professor getting up and giving out content.”

He strives to make classrooms come to life by showing faculty all the resources available to them in today’s interactive age.

“Tom Lee’s early vision and advocacy for the importance of media in support of teaching and learning have had a lasting impact on making classrooms not just relevant but engaging for TCC students,” said Daniel DeMarte, vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer.

Lee’s TCC career spans almost 30 years, starting as a guidance counselor eager to shape the lives of the students he mentored. He opened the first career center on the Virginia Beach Campus and created the first campus-wide video bulletin board there in 1995. A year later, then-President Larry Whitworth asked Lee to expand advertising college events and promoting new programs visually to all of TCC’s campuses. Shortly after Mr. Lee created the college’s first website, he became coordinator of multimedia development.

“I had never done a website in my life, so I had to learn by doing, but within five months I got the video bulletin board going on every campus, I got the TCC Information Center opened, and I got the first website up and running,” said Lee, who also was behind the college streaming its graduation ceremony online for the first time in 1997.

Currently, Lee mentors faculty on how to best use online resources that range from TED lectures to innovative new apps. He presents workshops on topics such as presentation skills, flipped classrooms, Google apps for educators, Open Educational Resources, video creation, podcasting, lecture capture and student learning pedagogy.

“I’m not afraid of technology,” he said. “Being at TCC, we have the latest technology, and I enjoy showing faculty that it’s easy to use.”

Lee is a member of the Holocaust Commission of Tidewater and contributed over the years to TCC’s role in the Festival of Jewish Film, sponsored by the Simon Family Jewish Community Center. He remains especially proud of “What We Carry,” a multimedia presentation of Holocaust survivors sharing their stories. He is on the board of the Hurrah Players and the Hampton Roads Charitable Foundation and has been active in the Norfolk Emergency Shelter Team.

Lee holds a master’s of education and a bachelor of science in mathematics from Old Dominion University.