Nov 01, 2016

Candace Warner Spotlight

Candace and Dr. Joshi, India Prof
Photo Caption: Warner and Dr. Varsha Joshi, professor of history and gender studies at the Institute of Development Studies in Jaipur, India.

Dr. Candace Warner, Columbia State associate professor of sociology, has been with the college since 2003. During this time, Warner has traveled across the world exploring her passion in social issues and leading students to different countries to explore these issues with her.

In 2011, Warner and Dr. Barry Gidcomb, professor of history, traveled to Haiti to assess the needs of the residents in the rural mountain community of La Montagne. They worked with Yonn Ede Lot, a non-profit that focuses on economic development. During this time, Warner had the opportunity to work with a women's group that implemented a microfinancing program.

Warner Gidcomb Haiti
Photo Caption: Gidcomb and Warner in La Montagne, Haiti.

"I was able to interview these women," Warner said. "I talked to them about their family and what they needed economically to succeed. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done."

Warner, Famn Se Lavi
Photo Caption: Warner with some women from Famn Se Lavi women's association group in La Montagne, Haiti.

In 2015, Warner taught a three-week intro to sociology course in South Africa through the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. Following the course, she was asked to be the 2016-2017 program director for the TnCIS study abroad program in India.

"Study abroad is a very valuable experience," Warner said. "I believe in the value of study abroad because traveling has changed my life and I feel like it does changes a lot for student's lives as well."

Warner explained that she has to prepare to teach each course from a cross-cultural comparison.

"It's the same course structure, but I incorporate more data and information about social issues from the host country," Warner said.

Warner, Hindu family
Photo Caption: Warner with members of a Hindu family after a Hindu ritual of blessings in Jaipur, India.

Warner is immersed in her field and is impassioned by anything involving people and their quality of life; however, this path was not her first choice. Warner, a Big Creek, MS native, earned her bachelor's in commercial music from Mississippi University for Women. She took her first sociology class her senior year and realized that sociology was the career she wanted to pursue. She proceeded to earn a master's in sociology from Valdosta State University and her doctorate in public administration and policy from Tennessee State University where she explored diversity programming in Tennessee for her dissertation.

"Basically, I examined what our local governments are doing to foster inclusiveness in the community," Warner said. "It's connected to my broader interest of how diverse groups of people are adapting in a community. Diversity meaning: age, race, ethnicity, LGBT states, gender and socioeconomic standing."

Going forward, Warner would like to continue leading study abroad programs. Warner hopes that in the future she can foster partnerships and conduct research on international issues related to poverty, gender and ethnicity issues.

Warner, TAABAR
Photo Caption: Warner with the executive director of TAABAR, an organization that works with runaway and abandon children. Warner's students in the India program will work with this organization as a component of the service learning aspect of the program.

"I enjoy traveling and I love teaching sociology," Warner said. "I have the best of both worlds right now."

In addition to teaching abroad, Warner leads her social problems students to the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution where they learn about the judicial system and the processes that take place in a prison that carries out the death penalty.

"Each year the students get a lot out of it," Warner said. "There is always something new to learn."

Warner currently serves on the Columbia State International Education Committee this year and helped organize a Bridging Cultures presentation at convocation about cultural acceptance and religious freedom. She is also Chair of the Service Learning Task Force.

Recently, Warner was awarded the Outstanding Alumni for the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice at Valdosta State University.

To learn more about Columbia State's Study Abroad program, visit

TnCIS represents nineteen colleges and universities devoted to making international education and cultural understanding a central goal of higher education throughout the state of Tennessee. TnCIS sponsors an annual conference on international education and continues to expand study abroad and international educational opportunities for students throughout the state. TnCIS welcomes membership from all colleges, universities and other organizations seeking to expand opportunities for international educational exchanges.

To learn more abut TNCIS, visit

Candace Warner, Haiti
Photo Caption: Warner with Famn Se Lavi, women's association in La Montagne, Haiti.

Warner in South Africa
Photo Caption: Warner with Columbia State students in Cape Town, South Africa.

Warner, girls in Haiti
Photo Caption: Warner and a group of young school girls in Haiti.

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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