Get to know Kia Hardy, dean of student services at the Norfolk Campus.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I enjoy working with adult learners, whether they are young adults or nontraditional students. The conversations we can have are different at the college level, especially as students are trying to find the next steps.  For nontraditional students, we talk about how to manage life and do the work to change or enhance their careers. Working in higher education also keeps me youthful! I learn about what’s trending and current events. I escape my personal bubble.

What are your top tips for students?

I often refer to a quote from Arthur Ashe that says, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

I live by this quote myself. I’m always reminding students that it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. Even with limited resources, you can make your way. I remind students to celebrate small victories day-by-day. Don’t think too far ahead and mark the milestones, whether it’s completing that major paper or finishing the semester. Treat yourself along the way with a milkshake, walk in the park or pedicure.

Why Tidewater Community College?

While getting my bachelor’s at William & Mary, I played basketball and majored in sociology. I thought I was going to be an athletic trainer or coach. And for a short time, that was my path. But I found my passion working with students while in undergraduate admission at William & Mary. I went on to get my master’s in education and now I love what I do every day.

What did you learn from basketball?

My dad is the basketball coach at First Colonial High, and since he didn’t have any boys, my sister and I started sports early. Back then, they didn’t have a lot of girls leagues, so we played on community coed teams. I gained a great work ethic playing sports and found out that I’m definitely competitive and a perfectionist. My sister was a different personality, more laid back but still focused on success. I now use that knowledge when working with students. We all have our strengths and weaknesses; it’s just a matter of discovering what they are.

What do you like about working at the college?

I’m learning about so many things and meeting so many people. With the national trend of enrollment reductions, we have to change how we are doing our work. I’m encouraged since TCC is a modern community college with faculty and staff moving forward and focused on students.

It’s personal

A lifelong resident of Virginia Beach, Hardy went to preschool at the child development lab on TCC’s Virginia Beach Campus. Her mom, Phyllis Butts, was an administrative assistant at the college for 32 years. Hardy is at work on her doctorate in community college leadership at Old Dominion University. She and husband Cerone have one son, Kai, 3. They spend a lot of time with family and doing kid-friendly activities including bowling or playing at the park.