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University System Technology Principles Presented to Regents

Atlanta — March 10, 1999

The Board of Regents moved a step closer today (March 10) toward accelerating technology’s integration throughout the University System of Georgia, with the first reading of proposed principles that will impact educational delivery and access.

According to Dr. James L. Muyskens, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University System of Georgia, who presented the principles to the regents at their monthly board meeting, “the educational demands of the 21st century are driving the need to develop and adopt such principles.” Larger segments of society are requiring continuous learning, which “will both force and require a transformation of higher education,” noted Muyskens. “Our challenge is to make that transition as smooth and effective as possible.”

Muyskens said the 21st century may best be described as “the Age of Learning,” because “more people everywhere are involved in acquiring new knowledge and skills continuously throughout their lives.”

The key factor in making the transition from a more traditional method of educational delivery to a technology-focused approach will be the successful integration of technology into every aspect of the higher education environment, including teaching and learning, student services, public service, research and management. For the University System, the development and adoption of principles to guide this transition is the first step in that process.

The principles are organized under four headings, which include:

  • Expanding access, which is aimed at minimizing prohibitive student technology costs, and developing and maintaining “anytime/anywhere” access to the System’s educational offerings and support services;
  • Enhancing learning via active student involvement in career planning, faculty training and development, electronic library services, and life-long learning;
  • Enriching opportunity by responding to workforce development needs and fostering the transfer of new business technologies and applications; and
  • Shaping effective financing and innovative governance, by creating fiscal and academic policies which support on-campus, off-campus and on-line education; and encouraging collaboration which optimizes the University System of Georgia’s fiscal and administrative operations.

Dr. Kris Biesinger, assistant vice chancellor for distance education and academic innovation, who joined Dr. Muyskens in presenting the principles to the board, cited the changing health care environment to illustrate the changes one might see in higher education. “Today, you can drive by a hospital and it will look the same as it did several years ago,” she said. “But inside, it is much more technologically advanced. That is how we will start looking at the University System of Georgia’s college campuses in the 21st century.”

Since September, the Board of Regents has engaged in an extensive study of technology’s impact on higher education, first reviewing the current landscape and the entrepreneurship that has taken place on the System’s campuses. The principles presented today will culminate in policy adoption, which will provide guidance on many unresolved issues – such as cost, quality and content duplication – that have developed with technology’s exponential growth and utilization in higher education.

The first reading allowed the Board to react to the proposed principles. A final version will be brought to the Board in April for their approval, following which action items will be developed and presented for adoption in June 1999.

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