Welcome to Spring 2015!

With the first week of the semester now well underway, I want to take an opportunity to welcome everyone back to campus and to remind us all of the possibilities that lie ahead and the progress we continue to make. In 2015, we find ourselves at an exciting crossroads—on the threshold of becoming a state university. We began to prepare for this opportunity from the moment Middle Georgia State College came into existence two years ago, and during 2014 we have stepped up the pace.

Last summer we published a new vision: We transform individuals and their communities through extraordinary higher learning. Today, our Strategic Planning Team is expanding that vision into a plan for the next few years. With our vision, we defined our core values as: Stewardship, Engagement, Adaptability, and Learning. Becoming a university starts with living those values and I am pleased to report that we are doing just that. As the semester gets underway, I want to share with you some of the ways we are preparing for the future by embodying our core values today.

Stewardship: This value speaks to our financial, environmental and human resources, and how to ensure the best from them. In an era of tight budgets, we must be responsible and mindful of the investments our state and our students make in MGA, but stewardship is also about forward-thinking and sustainability. Our recycling program—which began with a student-led initiative and pilot program on our Macon campus—now extends across all campuses. Water bottle fill stations are being installed on all five campuses. We are saving electricity on all campuses by transitioning to more efficient bulbs and installing sensing switches. We are helping students cut textbook costs and book recycling, one of the ideas submitted to the Greatness Dropbox, is available at each of our book stores. We also continue to grow strategically, with new properties, needed staff, and equipment.

Engagement: One of the ways that we are behaving like a university is by engaging with our communities. Over the past year, we have announced more than a dozen new partnerships. We have signed articulation agreements with Technical Colleges in the region, such as Central Georgia Tech and Southern Crescent Tech, which make it easier for students to transition into programs at MGA. We are also collaborating with area businesses and government agencies, such as GEICO and the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, to allow MGA to become their employees’ top choice for lifelong learning.

Adaptability: This value implies change. I am excited to report that we are changing for the better. Our performance on Complete College Georgia metrics has improved, particularly in retention and Baccalaureate completion rates. We are working toward a level change to university from the Board of Regents and our accrediting body SACSCOC, as we await approval of the first graduate programs we will offer. We are in discussions to offer more study abroad opportunities. Moreover, we are strengthening the traditional undergraduate experience at MGA, with our athletics teams playing in the tougher NAIA division, Greek Life coming in the fall, and students taking an active role in leadership through organizations like our Torch Society.

Learning: Of our core values, this is perhaps the one that is most intuitive—we are, after all, an institution of higher learning.  To that end, I want to encourage us all to take learning to a new level. For students, that may mean adopting better study skills now, instead of waiting until the pressure of papers and exams comes along later in the semester.  For faculty, administrators and staff, it means looking at each situation or challenge that comes our way with a renewed sense of curiosity about what we can learn from it, both as individuals and as part of a collective whole undergoing an important transition.

I wish all of you a successful Spring semester and look forward to all that our future holds!