On Growth: Continued Expansion of Graduate Studies

As we returned from spring break, you may have seen welcome news regarding our graduate programs in Sunday’s Telegraph. Late last month, we received approval from the SACS Commission on Colleges to begin admitting students into our first face-to-face graduate program, the Master of Science in Management (MSM) offered by our School of Business.

Graduate programs are a key element of what makes us a university as opposed to a college. Yet, the way we have gone about adding programs—focusing on regional needs—speaks to our university mindset and to our core values of stewardship, engagement, adaptability, and learning.

With courses offered centrally in our region on the Warner Robins campus, and concentrations in accounting, general management, program management and supply chain management, the new MSM should be welcome news for area employers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, the number of jobs typically requiring a master’s degree for entry is expected to grow by 22%. Reflecting this trend, so far, Middle Georgia State’s graduate offerings have been met with open arms.

Our graduate enrollment has grown from 47 students at the launch of our Masters programs in Nursing and Information Technology in Spring 2016, to 77 graduate students enrolled today. With approval of our MSM, upcoming Master of Arts in Teaching, and as we prepare to launch our first graduate certificate in Technical Writing and Digital Communication, we expect continued growth.

Our first Master’s recipients in IT graduated in December 2016, and we expect our first Master of Nursing students to walk the stage by December of this year. In preparation, we recently hosted the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, which we expect will render initial accreditation of the MSN program later this summer.

Beyond external approval of our programs, community interest in our offerings, and our engagement in the Georgia Council of Graduate Schools, we are cultivating opportunities for our graduate students both on and off campus. A new Graduate Student Advisory Council launched last month, the university has awarded its first Graduate Assistantship, and our students are already presenting at academic conferences.

The first time we gathered as a community after we became a university, I quoted Gandhi, who said, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves.” One of the ways we are remaking ourselves as an institution is by continuing to expand our academic offerings. My thanks to the School of Business and the Office of Graduate Studies for leading this next step on our journey.