Columbia State's Pat Harlan Named Maxine Smith Fellow

Photo Caption: Pat Harlan attended her first Maxine Smith Fellows program meeting Tuesday, March 17. Fellows are nominated by their college president, and once selected by the Tennessee Board of Regents they are assigned to a senior level administrative mentor of the TBR System Office, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission or a TBR institution.

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – March 26, 2015) - - - Columbia State Community College’s Patricia Harlan has recently been selected for the 2015 Maxine Smith Fellows program by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

“Pat is a student-centered, dedicated Columbia State proponent and learner,” said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. “The opportunity to participate in this program will broaden her growth and understanding of higher education in Tennessee, and it will provide her with skills and knowledge that will enhance her development as a leader and administrator for Columbia State and Tennessee community colleges.”

Harlan, the coordinator of testing services for Columbia State, has served at the college since 1982 where she began as an accounts clerk for the business services division. She has also served as a purchasing agent, a testing administrator and an adjunct faculty member.

The Maxine Smith Fellows program is a TBR initiative designed to provide a professional development experience for underrepresented employees, allowing them to observe and participate in decision-making situations and experience how policy is made at the institution, senior administrative and governing board levels.

Expected to enhance the marketability and employment potential of all Fellows, the competitive program is also designed to help increase the number of qualified candidates considered for senior level administrative positions at TBR institutions. The initiative is designed to provide opportunities to participate in a working and learning environment that would enhance work experience and career development.                                     

During her tenure at Columbia State, Harlan has earned multiple awards and honors, including the Columbia State Outstanding Professional Staff award and the Columbia State Professional Staff Spotlight Recognition. She is a Leadership Maury graduate and has received a Tennessee Department of Education award for the Outstanding GED Test Center for Special Accommodations Testing.

Harlan is a TN Achieves mentor, a member of the National College Testing Association Planning Committee, a member of Columbia State’s Right Start Orientation Committee and a Maury County Vision 20/20 Board Member, along with a multitude of other accomplishments and accolades.

Harlan holds an Associate of Applied Science in office administration from Columbia State, a Bachelor of Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University in office management, and a master’s degree in organizational management from Trevecca Nazarene University.

“I consider it a great honor to be selected to represent Columbia State as a Maxine Smith Fellow,” Harlan said.  “It is a privilege to be selected for this highly competitive leadership program. Dr. Maxine Smith’s legacy has greatly enhanced the quality of life for so many people, and her impact is still being felt today.”

Harlan said she has already had the opportunity to meet with her mentor, Dr. Robbie Melton, associate vice chancellor for TBR Mobilization and Emerging Technology.  

“Dr. Melton has a wealth of knowledge and experience,” Harlan said. “I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of the TBR system and eager to share the best practices with my colleagues.”

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee’s first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit

Tennessee’s Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at

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