Welcome to 2014-15: A Year of Transformation

As a new academic year gets underway, it is my pleasure to welcome all of you to Middle Georgia State College. This summer, we articulated a vision for MGA based on our core values of Stewardship, Engagement, Adaptability, and Learning.  As you may recall, the vision is this: We transform individuals and their communities through extraordinary higher learning.

Transformation is not easy, but it is worth it. Today, I encourage each of us to reflect on the role we will play in transformation — of our college into a university, of ourselves into better students and professionals, of our families and our communities into thriving places growing into their tremendous potential.

A little over a week ago, for the first time since I arrived, MGA faculty and staff from all five campuses came together in person. We outlined specific goals for this year and discussed how we would work together toward achieving them.

In 2014-15, we will strive to:

  • Prepare to become a university. A university is defined as an “Institution of higher education, usually comprising a liberal arts and sciences college and graduate and professional schools that confer degrees in various fields. A university differs from a college in that it is usually larger, has a broader curriculum, and offers advanced degrees.” We are well on our way, having launched our College of Arts and Sciences this semester and getting ready to send our proposals for graduate degree programs to the Board of Regents this fall.
  • Work together to achieve the goals of Complete College Georgia. By next fiscal year, our budget will be based not only on how many students attend MGA, but how many we retain and graduate on timely basis. I will share more about this initiative in the coming weeks, but it is important for all of us to focus on the part we play in student success.
  • Engender cultural change. To become a university, we must think and behave like a university. To support recruitment, retention, and graduation, we must foster student success with professionalism and customer service. In short, we must all live our values.

Transformation takes time.  It also takes action. What steps are you taking today to achieve transformation? To encourage others in theirs?

Signs of transformation are everywhere. Students are engaging in an exciting way on the issues that matter most to them.  For instance, our pilot project for campus recycling came about because of a resolution by the Student Government Association this past spring.

Faculty and staff are also engaging in new ways. I challenged MGA employees to submit ideas, suggestions, and questions directly to my office.  Our goal is to select 40 Great Ideas in 2014-15; one each week of the academic year. So far, more than 30 ideas have poured in.

We are daily engaging with our communities. MGA is interested in partnerships that advance our mission and the economic, educational, and cultural wellbeing of Middle Georgia. Our partners so far include the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, GEICO, IT programs in universities abroad, the State of Georgia and Central Georgia Technical College—and there are more to come.

I want to thank each of you for the ways you are contributing to our transformation and wish you a wonderful new academic year!