University System of Georgia

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Skinner Resigns as President of Clayton State to Head Georgia G.L.O.B.E. Launch

Atlanta — May 12, 1999

University System Chancellor Stephen R. Portch has announced that Dr. Richard A. Skinner will resign from the presidency of Clayton College & State University (CCSU), effective May 31, 1999, to assume the duties of president and chief executive officer of a Board of Regents’ initiative in technology-based distance learning called “Georgia GLOBE (Global Learning Online for Business and Education).”

The Georgia GLOBE. initiative will be a high-profile enterprise charged with helping the University System meet its workforce responsiveness commitment and goal of expanding access to University System programs for non-traditional adult learners (see related news release). Skinner will begin serving as president of that operation effective June 1, 1999.

Chancellor Portch praised Skinner’s leadership at Clayton College & State University: “Rick Skinner has been one of the boldest, entrepreneurial leaders in higher education,” he stated. “His mission focus has been exemplary. His national leadership has meant that he is one of the most sought-out talents; we are thrilled that we’re able to keep his talent here in Georgia.”

A native of Savannah and a career educator, Skinner was appointed president of CCSU in January 1994. During his five and one-half years of service, he has become – in the words of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution – “a national ambassador for technological training.” He led CCSU in the largest deployment of mobile computing in higher education, by launching the “Information Technology Project” and providing every student, professor and most of the campus’ staff with personal use of a powerful multi-media notebook computer and unlimited Internet access on and off campus.

This initiative was followed by development of the “Information Technology Career Ladder,” which enables students to “fast track” into the burgeoning IT field through competency-based progression from certificate to baccalaureate degrees in an array of highly sought after high-tech majors, including wireless technology. The design of this new program was derived in part from Dr. Skinner’s work during 1997-98 as chair of a national task force for the Information Technology Association of America, aimed at determining how higher education and the IT industry could work together in addressing the shortage of high-tech workers.

In addition, Clayton’s Bachelor of Integrative Studies degree enables students to work directly with faculty members to design a “customized” career-oriented degree to be earned from a combination of off-campus, “field-based” learning and on-line course offerings from colleges and universities around the world.

In 1995, Dr. Skinner led the steering committee responsible for implementing the Georgia Library Learning Online (GALILEO), the most advanced statewide World Wide Web-based library in the country, which now ties together all of Georgia’s public higher education, regional, and K-12 libraries – as well as the libraries of 44 private colleges and universities and the aircraft carrier, Carl Vinson. When it received initial legislative funding in 1995, GALILEO was implemented statewide thourhgout the University System in less than 150 days.

A member of numerous national, state and local boards, including a recent appointment by Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes to the 14-member Georgia Citizens’ Task Force on Y2K, Dr. Skinner has written and spoken widely on topics as diverse as the role of telecommunications in urban and rural community development, teacher preparation, civic morality in contemporary America, telecommuting and teleworking, and, a favorite subject, “The Age of Learning.”

Chancellor Stephen R. Portch has named Michael Vollmer, acting vice president for Operations, Planning and Budgeting at Clayton, as interim president. He will begin serving in that role effective June 1, 1999.

Vollmer joined CCSU as an executive-in-residence on July 1, 1997. In that capacity, he headed the campus’ Information Technology Project from July 1997 until March 1998, when he assumed his current vice president’s role. From August 1998 until March 1999, Vollmer served as acting president of Middle Georgia College, in Cochran, Ga., while a search was conducted for a permanent president for that institution. Prior to joining CCSU, Vollmer served as director of Georgia’s nationally recognized and award-winning HOPE and Pre-K programs, both of which have been recognized by Harvard University’s Innovations in Government program.

Vollmer first joined state government in 1981, and served four years in thes state’s Office of Planning and Budget. From 1985 to 1996, he served two governors, Joe Frank Harris and Zell Miller, in varied capacities, including criminal justice and juvenile justice, health and education. He holds a law degree from John Marshall Law School and a B.A. in sociology from Greensboro College.

“Mike Vollmer’s outstanding administrative and people skills will serve him well in this interim presidential appointment,” said Chancellor Portch. “In a very short time, Mike has distinguished himself as a leader within the University System, and I am gratified to be able to call on him to lead Clayton State through the institution’s transition to a new president.”

The search for the next president of Clayton College & State University will begin in late summer.

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