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Board of Regents to Expand Colleges’ Programs to Meet State Need

Atlanta — May 16, 2006

Georgians soon will have access to a number of new college programs in the fields of agriculture, aviation and education, following the Board of Regents’ positive consideration today of several new degree programs that meet increasing needs in four parts of the state.

The new programs were approved today by the Board of Regents’ Committee on Academic Affairs, and will be acted upon by the full board on Wednesday.

Five bachelor’s degree programs were approved by the committee at three University System of Georgia two-year colleges – Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Middle Georgia College in Cochran, and Gordon College in Barnesville. These three institutions also will undergo mission changes while integrating the new limited array of baccalaureate degree programs, however they also will retain their two-year college access missions. A new doctoral degree program at Kennesaw State University in Cobb County will mark that institution’s first doctorate in its 43-year history.

All of the new academic offerings have been developed to meet local, regional, and state demand for graduates in the respective disciplines, and should have a positive impact on the state’s economic development efforts.

In some instances – such as in agriculture – the new degrees respond to higher industry standards, while the new education programs address the well-documented teacher shortage in the state. The two new aviation degrees are the University System’s response to the Governor’s Commission for a New Georgia identifying aerospace as a strategic growth industry.

“I am pleased that our institutions are responding to unique and documented state needs,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “The analyses and assessments that were conducted validated these campuses’ requests to expand their degree offerings. However, the three two-year colleges whose new programs were approved today still will have robust and active access missions.”

The following degree programs received approval today by the Board of Regents:

  • Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College received approval for a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degree with a major in turf grass and golf course management and a Bachelor of Applied Science with a major in diversified agriculture. The turf grass B.A.S. degree builds upon existing programs offered by ABAC at the associate-degree level and is in response to changing industry standards that increasingly require entry-level professionals in this area to earn a four-year degree. The new B.A.S. in diversified agriculture is intended to serve graduates who hold the Associate of Applied Science in Agriculture, who now will be able to take the additional courses required for the bachelor’s degree without a substantial loss of earned academic credit. The new diversified agriculture degree also is in response to major agricultural, chemical and equipment companies that now require a four-year degree for their sales and product-promotion positions.

  • Gordon College received approval for its Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in early childhood education. According to a 2004 report by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, early childhood education is one of the top three shortage areas in the field of education, based upon the number of provisional teaching certificates issued by the Commission. The geographic area served by Gordon College includes four fast-growing suburban counties in south metro Atlanta – Henry, Fayette, Clayton and Spalding counties. This new degree program will help meet the needs of this region for early childhood teachers.

  • Middle Georgia College received approval for its Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management and a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) in Flight Management – the only two such programs offered by a public institution in Georgia. The Governor’s Commission for a New Georgia in 2004 identified aerospace as a strategic industry cluster. The degrees have been developed by Middle Georgia College in partnership with the Georgia Aviation & Technical College, a unit of the Department of Technical and Adult Education. Students enrolling in the aviation-management bachelor’s degree program will be able to specialize in one of four areas: professional flight management (professional pilots), air traffic management, logistics, or airport management. The B.A.S. flight-management degree will provide a transfer path for students completing an Associate of Applied Science degree in flight technology at a technical college to pursue a bachelor’s degree in flight management, enabling them to move into a career as professional pilots.

  • Kennesaw State University will offer its first doctoral degree – a Doctor of Education in Leadership for Learning. Students will be able to pursue one of five areas of concentration under this degree program: adolescent education and mathematics, elementary and early childhood education, instructional technology, inclusive education, or educational leadership and policy. Teachers who want to remain in the classroom but also assume a school leadership role are the target audience for the first four concentrations. The fifth program, educational leadership, is designed for those who want to become school administrators. Kennesaw State has waiting lists of students for the areas covered under the new doctorate.

The approval of the doctoral program at Kennesaw State University is consistent with similar approvals given by the Board of Regents for limited doctoral programs at Georgia Southern University, the University of West Georgia and Valdosta State University. Kennesaw’s new program will be reviewed internally after three years and will undergo an external review after five years.

All six of these new degree programs will be offered at their respective institutions during the 2007 calendar year.

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