Spring Cleaning

In his “Great Expectations,” Charles Dickens describes “…one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.”  For a man who spent most of his life in London, Dickens certainly seems to have understood a typical March day in Georgia!  But, despite the vagaries of its weather, March heralds the arrival of spring, that season of celebration, of planting, and of emergence – that eagerly-anticipated time of year when we put behind the chill of winter and look forward to new growth and new beginnings.

As spring is a time of celebration, we will once again host the finale of Macon’s premiere observance of the season – the Cherry Blossom Festival’s Tunes and Balloons event.  This annual event, featuring live music from the Macon Pops and other family-friendly attractions, is an opportunity not only to celebrate, but also to showcase our University to our friends and neighbors in the region.  Tunes and Balloons will be held on the Macon Campus on April 5, from 4:00 – 8:30 pm and, should your schedule permit you to attend, is always a fun and memorable occasion.

Celebration is not the only agenda item for the spring season, however. Spring is also a time of planting and planning, a time that we use here at MGA to prepare programs and establish policies that will prepare both us and our students to succeed going forward:

  • In Academic and Student Affairs, we’re developing themed-housing and Living-and-Learning communities, to increase both student engagement and student learning.
  • Our Technology Resources team and Academic Affairs are piloting an early-alert system that will allow advisors, student affairs, and other support staff to identify and assist students prior to mid-term.
  • Institutional Research is reviewing current and historical enrollment data to help inform our decision making – and increase enrollment, retention, and engagement.

As we proceed with these and other plans under the auspices of our academic strategy, we also are looking to spring as a time of emergence, by examining how we enter into our communities, through the many events we host on our campuses. It is refreshing to see an increasing number of events on campus, and I encourage all of you to use the tools on hand – both the MGA Calendar and InsideMGA– to find out about events happening on campus and to post your own events so that we may ensure that they are properly promoted.  In that same vein, I have asked Chief of Staff Ember Bentley to convene a working group to make recommendations on streamlining event planning and execution for our campuses.

Before I close, and on the subject of campus events, there is one bit of housekeeping I’d like to address: as University President, it is my honor to attend events both on and off campus as MGA’s representative, but the demands on my schedule require significant coordination. If you know of an upcoming event at which I should be present, please complete the event request form on the Office the President web page. If there are special occasions or visiting dignitaries I should make special effort to attend or meet, please coordinate with Hannah Warren.  This process is meant not to increase the work, but to streamline and standardize the process so that I can be best served to help you when you need me and the Office of President to have a role at one of your functions.  I really appreciate your help in doing this.

At this University, we strive every day to plant the seeds of curiosity and knowledge for the students who choose to study with us.  Let us continue to do so through this spring of growth and emergence.  I value your dedication and look forward to celebrating spring with each of you.