Board of Regents Policy Manual

Official Policies of the University System of Georgia

2.10 Institutional Mission

(Last Modified on January 12, 2017)

The mission of the University System of Georgia (USG) is achieved through the collective missions of our state’s public colleges and universities. The role of public higher education in Georgia is to drive economic development and produce more educated individuals to contribute to the quality of life in the state. USG institutions are responsible for producing graduates with the requisite skills and knowledge to ensure Georgia’s strong future in the knowledge-based and global economy. The individual mission and function of the institutions within the USG must be aligned with the overall USG mission in order to strategically meet the higher education needs of the State.

To that end, the function and mission of each institution in the University System of Georgia (USG) is determined by the Board of Regents, and any change in institutional function and mission must be approved by the Board. Institutional function determines the scope of activity of the institution over a considerable period of time and covers the following aspects:

  1. the level at which the institution will operate
  2. the types of educational degree programs to be offered
  3. the cost of attending the institution (student tuition and fees)
  4. the admissions selectivity of the institution and the extent to which the institution serves as a primary point of access to higher education for under-represented students in a geographic region of Georgia
  5. the extent to which the institution engages in teaching, research, and service

Specific functions and missions for individual institutions and the procedures to request a change in functional sector, functional sector category, and institutional mission can be found in the Institutional Function and Mission Guidelines in the Academic and Student Affairs Handbook. USG institutions are classified according to the following functional sectors.

Research Universities Institutions classified as research universities offer a broad array of undergraduate and graduate and professional programs and are characterized as doctoral-granting with a Carnegie Classification of very high or high research activity. Associate degrees are typically not offered at research universities. While teaching is a core focus at all USG institutions, the emphasis on basic and applied research is much heavier at research universities than any other institutional sector. It is expected that institutions operating within this sector will be world-class research institutions with significant commitments to receipt of external funding, philanthropic giving, and fundraising at the highest levels.

Institution Primary Section/Function Secondary Sections/Function Secondary Sections/Function
Georgia Institute of Technology Research University n/a Georgia’s technological research institution
Georgia State University Research University State College
University of Georgia Research University n/a Georgia’s land-grant institution and agricultural experiment station
Augusta University Research University n/a State’s dedicated health/sciences/medical college

Comprehensive Universities Institutions classified as comprehensive universities offer a number of undergraduate and master’s-level programs with some doctoral programs. Typically, associate-level degrees are not offered at comprehensive universities. Graduate programs at comprehensive universities are characterized as master’s-dominant. While teaching is a core focus at all USG institutions, the emphasis on basic and applied research is heavier at comprehensive universities than state universities or state colleges, but not emphasized as heavily as research universities. It is expected that institutions within this sector will be committed to being world-class academic institutions.

Institution Primary Section/Function Secondary Sections/Function Secondary Sections/Function
Georgia Southern University Comprehensive University n/a Approved for doctoral programs
Valdosta State University Comprehensive University n/a Approved for doctoral programs
Kennesaw State University Comprehensive University n/a Approved for doctoral programs
University of West Georgia Comprehensive University n/a Approved for doctoral programs

State Universities Institutions included in the state universities sector offer a number of undergraduate and master’s-level programs, but very few doctoral programs. Associate-level degrees can be offered at these universities, but they are also typically limited. While teaching is a core focus at all USG institutions, the emphasis on research activity at these state universities includes some basic research, but is typically more focused on institutional and/or applied research.

Institution Primary Section/Function Secondary Sections/Function Secondary Sections/Function
Albany State University State University n/a n/a
Armstrong State University State University n/a Approved for doctoral programs
Clayton State University State University n/a n/a
Columbus State University State University n/a Approved for doctoral programs
Fort Valley State University State University n/a State’s 1890 land grant institution
Georgia College & State University State University n/a State’s public liberal arts institution; approved for doctoral programs
Georgia Southwestern State University State University n/a n/a
Middle Georgia State University State University n/a n/a
Savannah State University State University n/a n/a
University of North Georgia State University n/a State’s military college; approved for doctoral programs

State Colleges

Balanced Bachelor’s and Associate State Colleges
Institutions included in the balanced bachelor’s and associate-level state colleges group offer bachelor’s degrees, associate programs, and general education courses, but no graduate programs. These state colleges are characterized as balanced bachelor’s and associate-level degrees with bachelor’s programs focused on specialized academic and economic development program areas and regional, college-educated workforce needs. The emphasis at these state colleges is on teaching and service with limited focus on basic or applied research activity.

Associate Dominant-Select Bachelor’s State Colleges
Institutions included in the associate dominant state colleges group are characterized as offering associate-dominant programs and general education courses, with very few, select, professionally-oriented bachelor’s degree programs. The select bachelor’s programs are focused on specialized academic and economic development program areas and regional, college-educated workforce needs. The emphasis at these state colleges is on teaching and service with limited focus on basic or applied research.

Institution Primary Section/Function Secondary Sections/Function Secondary Sections/Function
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College State College - Balanced Bachelor’s & Associate Degrees n/a State’s agricultural state college
Atlanta Metropolitan State College State College - Balanced Bachelor’s & Associate Degrees n/a n/a
College of Coastal Georgia State College - Balanced Bachelor’s & Associate Degrees n/a n/a
Dalton State College State College - Balanced Bachelor’s & Associate Degrees n/a n/a
Georgia Gwinnett College State College - Balanced Bachelor’s & Associate Degrees n/a n/a
Gordon State College State College - Balanced Bachelor’s & Associate Degrees n/a n/a
Bainbridge State College State College - Associate Dominant, Select Bachelor’s n/a n/a
Darton State College State College - Associate Dominant, Select Bachelor’s n/a n/a
East Georgia State College State College - Associate Dominant, Select Bachelor’s n/a n/a
Georgia Highlands College State College - Associate Dominant, Select Bachelor’s n/a n/a
South Georgia State College State College - Associate Dominant, Select Bachelor’s n/a n/a

Institutions with a Blended Function
At times a USG institution may be approved by the Board to advance aspects of a mission from different functional sectors. When this occurs, an institution will have a blended institutional function. An institution with a blended function will be designated with a primary sector function and a secondary function sector. A blended function contains components from both the primary and secondary sectors. While the institution will follow the function of their primary sector, it will also be authorized to function in accordance with aspects of the secondary sector function. For example, a state university may be approved to advance aspects of the function of a state college in order to provide access to students in a region of the state that would typically be served by a state college. Such an institution will continue to function primarily according to the state university sector, but will also reflect aspects associated with the function of a state college (e.g., level at which the institution operates, the types of degrees offered, cost of attendance, admission standards, and extent the institution engages in teaching, research, and service).

No institution may operate as an institution with a blended function unless approved by the Board. When the Board approves an institution as having a blended, function the Board will also approve the institution’s primary functional sector. The guidelines for obtaining Board approval to operate as an institution with a blended function can be found in the Academic and Student Affairs Handbook. A list of institutions currently approved for a blended function is also located in the Academic & Student Affairs Handbook.

The Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee may, from time to time, direct institutions with a blended function whether and to what extent an institution will implement primary functional sector requirements or secondary functional sector requirements.

(BoR minutes, August 2013; January 2017)

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