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Portch Further Outlines Statewide Engineering Proposal

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Atlanta — August 31, 1998

University System Chancellor Stephen R. Portch released the details of the final component of his proposal to address statewide engineering needs during a visit today (Aug. 31) to Southern Polytechnic State University, citing the role that the unique Atlanta-area institution will play.

During a campus visit to the University, Portch outlined the graduate degree program he has proposed that will be offered through Georgia Tech in collaboration with Southern Polytechnic. Portch said that he will recommend to the regents at their monthly meeting on September 9, a Georgia Tech master of science in systems engineering degree, collaboratively offered by the two institutions. Portch also indicated that he expected Southern Poly to play an increasingly important role in responding to needs for computer and information technology graduates.

Portch announced earlier this month that he plans to propose to the Board of Regents a comprehensive plan to respond to engineering education needs throughout the state. He said collaborative programs to educate additional engineers in high-demand fields 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.

“This new master’s program will be quickly rolled out statewide via distance learning,” Portch stated. “It will capitalize on the experience that Southern Polytechnic has garnered as the first university in our system to offer a complete degree on the Internet, the very successful M.S. in Quality Assurance program. It also could provide an excellent capstone master’s for many working professionals.”

Portch added that he is “very pleased with the University System’s response to the engineering needs identified earlier this summer. His proposal includes two undergraduate degrees and two graduate degrees in the Statesboro/Savannah region, plus the statewide master’s originating from Southern Poly. All degrees will be granted under the auspices of Georgia Tech.

“The models that we are creating should be ‘transportable’ elsewhere in the state if they prove successful – which will be useful in addressing issues of need, location, and the employment of graduates in meeting immediate demands,” Portch noted.

“I believe we are doing the right thing, the right way – a needs driven, Georgia Tech-based, highly innovative response,” he said. “I am thrilled with the responsiveness of Wayne Clough at Georgia Tech, and with the immediate involvement of new president Lisa Rossbacher at Southern Poly.”

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