Columbus State Establishes Graduate School, Council

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University has established a Graduate School and Graduate Council to provide a framework supporting excellence in graduate research, scholarship, training and mentorship in accordance with the university’s mission.


“The Graduate School was formed to support CSU’s strategic goal to achieve excellence in graduate education to meet student and community needs and, in particular, to strategically develop and grow graduate programs,” said Inessa Levi, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The move, recently affirmed by CSU President Tim Mescon, also represents “an exciting step that poises the university to raise the level of professionalism in our community and throughout the central Georgia corridor,” said the school’s interim director, Tom Hackett.

The Graduate School and Graduate Council oversees a new doctoral program, master’s and specialist degrees in 31 specialty areas, and four online degrees. Many of the graduate programs are nationally accredited, and the restructuring reinforces CSU’s role as a regional pipeline for business professionals, counselors, teachers, environmental specialists, law enforcement officers, health service professionals and information technology specialists.

“To facilitate this development, we formed the Graduate Studies Task Force that included representatives of the University Curriculum Committee and the Graduate Directors’ Assembly. Based on the recommendation of this task force, the CSU Graduate School has been established,” said Levi. “My sincere thanks go to the Graduate Studies Task Force, consisting of (CSU faculty members) Glenn Stokes, Tom Hackett, Tara Redmond and Kristen Hansen, for their work on supporting graduate education at CSU.”

According to bylaws developed by the task force and directors’ assembly, the Graduate School is administered by a director, who is assisted by a representative body, the Graduate Council. The council, chaired by Hackett, promotes academic excellence in graduate education by supporting communication between existing graduate programs, fostering creation of new graduate offerings and upholding high standards of performance by graduate faculty and graduate students.

“The university is conducting a national search for an associate provost for graduate education, research and economic development to serve as director of the Graduate School and be charged with continuing and expanding the work of the Graduate Council,” Levi said. “I offer my heartfelt thanks to the current Graduate Council, consisting of the directors of the graduate programs, for their outstanding work on developing the framework and the bylaws of the new Graduate School.”

As CSU looks to grow its graduate programs, the Graduate School and Graduate Council also will oversee the pooling of resources in terms of research and technology, especially involving online course delivery. The latter is vital to accommodating working professionals in these programs, said Hackett, who also chaired the Graduate Directors Assembly. Once relieved of his interim director duties, he will focus on directing the College of Education and Health Professions’ master’s programs, plus a post-master’s specialist degree program and the recently announced Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Leadership program — the university’s first doctoral program.

The doctoral program, starting this month with 26 students and 100 applicants on file, is a cornerstone and catalyzing force for the new school.

“Those students and graduates will be conducting research at the highest level,” Hackett said. “This not only will elevate the level of teaching in our region, it also feeds into the overall growth and success of the other programs, which can become launching points for future doctorates — perhaps in health professions, business or from the College of Letters and Sciences.”

In addition to its projected regional impact, the School of Graduate Studies also is designed to more efficiently serve its growing student body from admission through graduation. CSU graduate-student enrollment — 1,210 this fall — has increased by 31 percent since 2004.

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