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Portch Further Outlines Proposal to Address Engineering Needs

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Atlanta — August 27, 1998

University System Chancellor Stephen R. Portch outlined additional aspects of his proposal to address statewide engineering needs during a visit to Savannah, August 26 and 27.

During meetings with business, civic and media leaders, Portch provided additional details regarding the specific undergraduate and graduate degree programs he is proposing in the Savannah area. He will submit his formal proposal to the Board of Regents at their monthly meeting in September.

Portch announced earlier this month that he plans to propose to the Board of Regents a comprehensive plan to begin to address engineering education needs and potential needs throughout the state, including in South Georgia. He said collaborative programs to educate engineers in South Georgia could begin as early as the Fall semester of 1999, if approved by the board and contingent upon legislative funding. According to Portch, planning and design by University System officials could start immediately.

“Our goal is to start to address specifically identified needs in the region,” Portch stated. “While we recognize there may be individual needs that are not immediately met by this approach, we think it’s critical to get started and to have success.”

Portch will recommend to the Regents that Georgia Tech collaborate with Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Atlantic State University and Savannah State University to offer a bachelor of science program in civil engineering, for both traditional and non-traditional students in the Savannah area. Local institutions would be heavily involved in recruiting qualified students into the program and providing much of the first two years of instruction. Students would ultimately receive a Georgia Tech degree and benefit from its cooperative program with industry and the placement services of Georgia Tech. At the graduate level, Savannah would be served by two master’s degree programs: one in environmental engineering and another in electrical engineering.

Both programs would be offered by Georgia Tech, and provided primarily through distance education degree offerings. Students in the region will also have access to the proposed undergraduate degree in computer and software engineering that the chancellor recently announced in Statesboro. The M.S. in environmental engineering may utilize the Skidaway facility to optimize the research and economic development opportunities that exist in the region, and all programs may utilize the downtown location of the Coastal Georgia Center.

Portch also challenged the business community to be involved in raising funds for scholarships, for programs that strengthen math and science preparation in the schools, and for equipment.

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