On Collaboration: An Update on Complete College Georgia

As we approach spring break, after a busy couple of weeks of midterms, it is appropriate to take a moment to focus on how well we are serving our students. Midterms are an essential point in assessing progress, alerting both students and faculty to strengths and weaknesses in mastering concepts in a class during a given semester.

Similarly, our progress under Complete College Georgia—an initiative that seeks to remove artificial barriers to post-secondary student success—provides policymakers with a picture of how well we, as educators, are preparing Georgia’s workforce for industries that drive our economy.  The initiative has a number of goals, ranging from increasing access for underserved populations to increasing the number of degrees earned on time.

The goals are challenging. Yet, despite a period of considerable change at Middle Georgia State, we have made great strides. The number of students taking 15 credits per semester—the number needed to earn a baccalaureate degree in four years—increased from 15.7 % in 2011-2012 to 20.6% in 2015-2016. Middle Georgia State now ranks fifth among USG institutions for the number of high school students earning dual-enrollment credit on our campuses—and 92% of those students are earning grades of B or higher.

It has taken a great deal of effort to come this far under Complete College Georgia, and our work is not finished. As the Provost shared with faculty at her recent town hall, we must focus on innovation, continuous improvement, and integration.

The fact is that whether our students succeed or fail is on all of us—not just on faculty, not just on staff, and certainly not just on students. I am very encouraged by our thinking and working. Increasingly we are overcoming our silos and working collaboratively across divisions, departments and campuses.

For example, we are closing the gap on summer registration. One month ago, summer registration for this year was lagging by 18% compared to last year. Today, we have reduced that lag to 12%, through concerted efforts to inform and enroll our students in summer classes. We have a way to go, but our efforts are producing results.

As we grade not only our students’ midterms, but ourselves in upcoming annual employee evaluations, I encourage all of us to reflect honestly on how we are contributing to preparing our students for the future that awaits us. Only by working together will we fulfill our mission.

I wish you all a relaxing and reinvigorating spring break next week and look forward to continued collaboration upon our return!