JA19 web - Page 45



A NEW ERA BEGINS FOR
GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Kyle Marrero, appointed president of Georgia Southern University in April after having been
president of the University of West Georgia, brings previous experience building partnerships
among colleges, public and private schools and the business community. At UWG Marrero led
enrollment growth of 16 percent over five years and a 32 percent improvement in graduation rates.
He has an interesting musical background and is married to nationally acclaimed opera singer Dr.
Jane Redding. Staff writer Tal Wright asks what comes next for Georgia Southern.
TAL WRIGHT How would you describe your leadership
style?
KYLE MARRERO I believe in collaboration and working togeth-
er, which utilizes the intellectual capacity of the team, and
results in better outcomes and decisions. That requires
team members to listen, learn from each other, and share
ideas. My success is due to individuals I work with. If I
have helped individuals and the organization work collectively and be successful, I have been successful.
WRIGHT Having served as president of Georgia Southern
for a few months, what feedback have you heard from
students, faculty and the community?
MARRERO I conducted a listening tour of faculty, staff and
community leaders and I was encouraged by the optimism, eagerness for direction, and excitement for unification of the three campuses in Statesboro, Hinesville
(Liberty), and Savannah.
WRIGHT How do you see Georgia Southern evolving with
the addition of the Hinesville and Savannah campuses?
MARRERO The combination of the three is still new. All
three campuses have legacies and traditions, and I sympathize with those who feel they will be losing something. However, it’s a wonderful opportunity to combine
our strengths, and provide additional educational
resources to all three communities. We have outstanding
talent among faculty and staff at all three locations.
WRIGHT As a lifelong educator, what are your thoughts on
the future of higher education in general?
MARRERO In a recent Gallup Poll, respondents were clear
about their expectations. When in comes to investing in
education, whether it’s a Diploma, Certificate or
Associates Degree, they expect educators to work at the
speed and efficiency of business. Research also shows
that legislators, parents and students feel the same way.
They want to know how additional education will help
them get a job and launch their careers. They want a
return on their investment in education. So as educators,
we must be timely, and timeless, by providing skills that
will transcend lifetimes and careers.
WRIGHT Are there new trends in education that you would
like to implement?
MARRERO It’s natural for people to question the long-term
value of education. So, as educators, we must speak to
the outcomes of a higher education, including essential
skills for specific careers, as well as preparing students
for all aspects of life. We also need to be nimble and provide educational opportunities that meet marketplace
needs, thus helping students obtain skills and the credentials they need for a successful career.
WRIGHT Georgia Southern, in addition to its campus in
Statesboro, now includes two new campuses, Armstrong
and Liberty. Tell us about these locations and how they
bring value to existing and potential students in these
communities.
MARRERO We serve about 20,000 students at the traditional
Statesboro campus, where we offer approximately 140
different majors in a variety of baccalaureate, masters and
doctoral programs as well residential living options, food
services, NCAA Division 1 sports and many other student
activities. The Armstrong Campus is in the historic and
vibrant city of Savannah. It is home for approximately
6,000 students and offers more than 50 majors in areas of
science, business, education, public health, the fine arts,
humanities and the health professions. Georgia
Southern’s Liberty Campus is in Hinesville, which is
home to Fort Stewart, a United States Army Post and
home to the 3rd Infantry Division. The Liberty campus
serves more than 500 students, including many affiliated
with the military, in all undergraduate categories, including dual enrollment, new freshmen transfers, and adults.
continued on 46
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9
45

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