Columbus State Playing Big Role in State Effort to Boost Graduate Numbers

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Going into the 2012-2013 academic year, Columbus State University will use more than $1 million from the state Board of Regents to specifically address institutional priorities designed to close the gap between the number of Georgians who have some type of college degree and what the state’s workforce will need in 2020.

That gap is being addressed statewide as part of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Complete College Georgia initiative, which guides the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia to work together to increase the number of adults with certificates or degreeswhile maintaining qualityby 250,000 graduates over the next eight years.

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Ongoing work by Georgia's public colleges and universities to increase college completion rates will get a boost in the upcoming year with $72.5 million in new funds. Deal and the General Assembly fully funded the university system's enrollment formula and, as a result, all 35 institutions will receive new funding to strengthen programs serving the system’s almost 320,000 students.

Columbus State University is taking part in this initiative by increasing the number of science, technology, engineering and math educators in Georgia; by revamping the university’s retention processes; by increased military educational programs and research partnerships; and by better tracking all these efforts through analytics. Four new faculty positions are included as part of CSU’s priorities next year.

“Columbus State University has been working for several years already to develop the kinds of partnerships that are behind the Complete College Georgia initiative,” said Tom Hackett, CSU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We greatly appreciate the state’s support and confidence that CSU is poised to make a mark in this effort.”

Hackett pointed to recent agreements as examples of how Columbus State is working to help more Georgians earn college degrees:

  • Columbus State is working with more than $2.4 million in federal grants to recruit math and science majors into a new teaching-degree program. Half the funding came via the U.S. Department of Education “Race to the Top” initiative, through Deal, designating Columbus State as one of three Georgia institutions selected to get federal funds to address a critical shortage of STEM teachers in Georgia. Columbus State is using its grant, up to $1.4 million over four years, to establish UTeach Columbus, modeled after a highly successful program started at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997.
  • For Fort Benning soldiers, Columbus State now offers nine credit hours toward two master's degrees for completion of the Maneuver Captains Career Course. The programs are Master of Public Administration (Government Track) and a Master of Education in educational leadership. Additionally, CSU now offers a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts degree with tracks in military and in global issues. Through this degree, non-commissioned officer can receive up to 18 credit hours toward a minor in military science and advanced leadership for completion of a senior leadership course.
  • Columbus State University and Columbus Technical College announced last week a partnership to offer nursing students a seamless transition from Columbus Tech’s associate degree in nursing program to Columbus State’s RN-BSN online degree program. Through the partnership, students will apply to both programs at the same time. After students have passed their clinical license exam and received their associate’s degree from Columbus Tech, they are fully admitted to the CSU online program.
  • Earlier this month, Columbus State finalized an agreement allowing students who successfully complete Associate of Science degrees in business or general studies at West Georgia Technical College to count much of their coursework toward bachelor’s degrees at Columbus State University.

“These agreements and partnerships provide students with important paths for transitioning within and across our systems of higher education,” Hackett said. “We’re trying hard to focus on those areas where we know we can excel and improve those areas that we know need attention, all in support of the state’s college completion goals.”

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For more information contact:

Tom Hackett, Columbus State University provost and vice president for academic affairs, at Hackett_Paul@ColumbusState.edu

or

John Lester, Columbus State University assistant vice president for university relations, at JLester@ColumbusState.edu