When Bainbridge State College Early County Center’s Renee Spence earned tenure recently, it was not only a milestone for her, but for the entire presence of higher education in Early County.

Spence, an associate professor of Administrative Office Technology, became the first faculty member to have earned tenure both through Bainbridge State College and through the former Albany Technical College.

“This is truly a very, very special and historical day in the life of this institution,” said Dr. Richard Carvajal, president of Bainbridge State College, during a reception honoring Spence held May 1. “This is the first tenured faculty member of higher education’s presence in Early County. Renee’s tenure is a testament of the journey this institution has made, and it could not have made it without Renee’s and all of your investments and talents.”

Tenure is the highest recognition a faculty member may achieve, and it indicates that faculty member has been successful in the classroom and in representing the institution.  Moreover, Spence’s tenure is an indication of the journey the Early County Center has made since the University System of Georgia’s Bainbridge State College took over the former Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education facility on U.S. 27 North in Blakely on June 12, 2006.

Spence, a resident of Colquitt, started working at the Early County Center in August 2006 as an instructor. She was promoted to assistant professor in August 2009 and to associate professor in August 2013.

“When you think of dependability, you think of Renee,” said Joann Simpson, dean of the Early County Center. “When you think of commitment, you think of Renee. Renee is dedicated to her students and to keeping up with the latest technology in her field so her students will be prepared for the ever-changing business environment. That in itself is a tough job given the times we live in now.”

Simpson also said Spence characterizes a faculty member who cares for and inspires her students, and she is a great ambassador of the College throughout the community.

Fellow faculty members Assistant Professor of Computer Science Misty Joiner and Assistant Professor of Electronics Technology Claude Bell both shared personal stories of professionalism and friendship of Spence, saying she is an awesome co-worker and a tireless leader who can expand an hour into a day and a day into a week.

Saying she was taught at an early age of the value of education, Spence said she works hard every day to make a difference in her students’ lives.

“I am very proud to be part of this college and proud to receive this award,” Spence said. “I am proud to work at an educational institution that has as a primary mission to make higher education accessible and affordable for all – that is making the dream of education available to everyone.”

Spence concluded that she is one of those fortunate people who goes home knowing she made a difference in her community by just being a teacher and that being a teacher  is a reward in itself.

Spence has been married to Toby Spence for 20 years. They have two sons, Tristan, 17, and Tucker, 14. Spence is very active in the Colquitt/Miller Arts Council and Swamp Gravy.


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