On Graduation: Where Pathways Converge

This Thursday, more than 500 students will graduate from Middle Georgia State University. Their commencement caps the end of our Fall semester, as we prepare to enjoy some rest and recreation with loved ones this holiday season.

Of the 516 candidates for graduation, 37 will receive master’s degrees, including the first graduates of the Master of Science in Nursing. Another 391 will receive bachelor degrees, while the rest will pick up career-oriented associate’s degrees or certificates.

Whether they are entering the fields of healthcare, aviation, business, information technology, education, STEM, or the arts, our graduates have one thing in common: they are the reason we exist. Our mission is to educate and graduate students, and in so doing, we fulfill our vision of transforming them and the communities we call home.

From the moment students express an interest in higher education until the day they walk across our stage, we focus on helping them earn not only a post-secondary credential, but the life skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We measure our effectiveness through the Complete College Georgia (CCG) program, the goal of which is to improve student access to and graduation from institutions of higher education in Georgia.

The University System of Georgia’s guidance on CCG reminds us of the importance of a Momentum Year. Evidence-based research confirms that college students are most successful when they start out their college careers with a chosen focus area, a productive mindset, and clear pathways.

We find that our students often encounter obstacles along their pathways. Some obstacles are beyond our control, but where we can improve processes and culture to drive retention, progression, and graduation, we must.

I am thrilled that when we return from the break, we will welcome our new Provost, Dr. Jon Anderson. His arrival brings the promise of stronger academic planning, which is key to making pathways clear for student success.

There is no greater asset in helping students navigate those pathways than a dedicated faculty and staff. That is precisely what Dr. Anderson and—more importantly—our students have found here at Middle Georgia State.

As another calendar year draws to a close, many will take the time to reflect. Last week, we issued Middle Georgia State’s second President’s Annual Report. In it, we are reminded that while no two pathways here look exactly alike, they all converge on graduation day as we deliver on our shared values.

Thank you for all you do to shape our students’ journeys. Here is to 2018 becoming a Momentum Year for Georgia’s newest public university!