The Board of Regents recognizes that public service, including lifelong education and economic development support activities, are fundamental responsibilities of all colleges and universities; that they are important means by which the USG extends and applies the knowledge available in its instruction and research programs to the needs and problems of Georgia citizens, government, businesses, and organizations, and; that such programs can assist the state and nation in providing solutions to major challenges.
Public service includes a wide array of assistance that the USG and its member institutions provide to the state and the community. Such service can be academic or nonacademic, provided under contract or informally, and funded through external, internal, or a combination of sources, depending on the extent of the assistance and the availability of funds.
The Chancellor shall identify statewide needs and develop system-wide initiatives using the USG’s collective networked resources to meet USG public service responsibilities. Presidents shall identify local and mission-related needs and develop methods to respond to these. The Chancellor shall periodically provide to the Board a comprehensive assessment of the way in which the USG and its institutions are applying their resources to serving the people, governments, businesses, and organizations of Georgia (BoR Minutes, October 2002).
5.1.1 Service Agreements with Local and State Agencies
As part of the USG’s mission of public service, institutions are encouraged to provide expertise and services to local governments or state agencies, as needed and appropriate.
The Chancellor delegates to the presidents of the institutions the authority to sign service agreements between the institution and a government or agency. The president must report monthly to the University System Office that a service agreement has been signed. As part of that report, the president should provide:
- A summary of the service that the institution has contracted for;
- The agency or agencies involved;
- The length of the agreement; and,
- The amount of money that the institution will receive for the service.
The University System Office shall provide a summary of the service agreements to the Board at each meeting through the Committee on Education, Research, and Extension (BoR Minutes, October 2002).
Lifelong education, which encompasses continuing education, provides educational offerings both for upgrading knowledge and skills needed to progress in occupations, and for personal enrichment options important to more meaningful and happier lives, which is a separate function from the offering of traditional college degrees.
Through its Georgia LEADS (Lifelong Education and Economic Development Services) program, the University System Office shall provide leadership and coordination to result in a widely dispersed and easily available program of lifelong education offerings, including both noncredit and credit offerings, which both respond to the needs of citizens, government, businesses, and organizations and leverage the resources of USG institutions to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. Emphasis should be placed on institutional collaboration for professional and personal development programs using streamlined methods for sharing continuing education units and revenue when cooperating to offer programs.
The Chancellor shall issue and periodically review guidelines implementing this policy. These guidelines shall be based on:
- State-level needs assessment;
- Communication with businesses, agencies, and organizations;
- Efficient marketing;
- Ease of access and admission;
- Collaboration both within the System and with other educational partners;
- Geographic responsibilities of institutions;
- New and emerging technologies;
- Financial incentives; and,
- Innovative educational models that address the needs of the state and its people.
Non-credit lifelong education courses shall not be included in the workload of faculty members, but a reasonable degree of participation that does not interfere with their regular duties shall be considered as a contribution to the institution in the faculty evaluation process (BoR Minutes, October 2002).
The Board of Regents finds that the USG and its institutions have a major role in the current and long-term health of the state’s economy, in that the USG produces much of the talent and technology required to advance and expand Georgia’s economic base. The Board’s goal is to develop sustainable intellectual resources through market-driven partnerships between education, business, and government.
The Chancellor shall develop a comprehensive program that organizes and communicates the close relationship between the USG and the economy of Georgia, and that develops and implements programs linking the USG’s intellectual resources to the state’s business community in innovative ways.
Examples of programs that should be supported include:
- Education programs for knowledge workers in high-demand yet low-supply fields;
- Research-driven economic development resulting in lab-to-market enterprises; and,
- Development of engineering, scientific, and social service applications.
(BoR Minutes, October 2002)
5.4.1 Cooperative Extension Service
The Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, created by the Smith-Lever Act passed by Congress in 1914, provides for the United States Department of Agriculture to join with the University of Georgia in conducting off-campus education programs relating to agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and youth development throughout the State of Georgia.
5.4.2 The Rural Development Center
The Rural Development Center, located in Tifton, is an educational and public service unit of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. The purpose of the center is to assist Georgia’s rural citizens and communities in realizing their maximum social and economic development through utilizing the resources of local, state, and federal government agencies and private organizations.
The programs of the center are directed toward the realization of four principal objectives:
- The increase of agricultural and forest production efficiency;
- The development of advanced marketing techniques and improved utilization of farm and forest commodities;
- The realization of comprehensive community development; and
- The continuation of training and utilization.
5.4.3 The Georgia Tech Research Institute
The Georgia Tech Research Institute, a public service unit of the Georgia Institute of Technology, undertakes a broad spectrum of engineering, scientific, economic, and other technical research and development services for customers in industry, government, and academia around the state, nation and world.
5.4.4 The Georgia Public Library Service
The Georgia Public Library Service supports Georgia’s libraries by providing a broad range of services, including consulting services, technical assistance and public library automation. GPLS serves library patrons in all 159 Georgia counties, creating a statewide “borderless library” that provides equal access to information for all Georgians. The Chancellor is authorized to adopt and implement rules and regulations for the Georgia Public Library Service.