James July-Aug 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 51
km At Georgia Southern, we lead from our values to
achieve our stated goals. One of those very important values is openness and Inclusion, which we define as valuing
the diversity of all people, communities, and disciplines
with an unwavering commitment to equity and inclusion.
Freedom of expression and thoughtful, intelligent,
respectful discussion of differing ideas are tenets of
our ongoing efforts to align actions with our values. We
encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas in our
classrooms and on our campuses. These ideals are spelled
out in our new inclusive Excellence Action Plan.
in Healthcare, Public Health, Engineering and Business/Logistics.
Promoting pathway dual enrollment programs for
high school students to maximize their transferability and impact.
Creating 2+2 partnership agreements with East
Georgia State College, Ogeechee Tech and Savannah
Tech that allow students to spend two years at their
home school then nish their bachelor’s degree at
Pk How has the campus changed over the past few
years, or will it change in the near future?
Pk Returning to the impact of COVID-19, how has
that affected your athletic programs?
Specifically, we see our emergence as Georgia’s premiere university for community engagement and public
impact. We will continue to see increases in enrollment,
retention rates and graduation rates of our students. We
will invest in opportunities for capitalizing on the needs of
our region in areas such as logistics technology and supply chain management, health and wellness (expansion of
our nursing cohorts), coastal sustainability, hospitality and
We see great opportunity with our local military bases
and military affiliates, and our regional education collaboratives will help us close the post-secondary attainment
gap and better prepare students to ensure they enroll in
post-secondary education, enlist in the military or are
gainfully employed in the workforce.
Pk You have mentioned the expansion of programs
and degrees being offered. But, specifically, how is
the university striving to ensure that the current
generation of college students is prepared to address Georgia’s workforce needs?
km According to our industry partners, we have established a strong track record in workforce readiness of
our graduates and are committed to further developing
talent and impacting economic growth in our region and
throughout the state. We have the largest number of undergraduate health professions students in the state. We
have the only college of engineering in southeast Georgia
and the only Manufacturing Engineering program within
a 450-mile radius of the university.
Our new academic programs are driven by a regional
academic plan developed with input from local industry
executives and economic development professionals. We
are increasing regional educational access to facilitate
economic development and the quality of life for our communities by:
Developing stacked/certicate credentialing and new
degrees in response to industry/business demands
JULY /AU GU ST 2021
km In spite of all the challenges facilitating and competing in 17 NCAA D1 FBS athletics, we actually had a
really good year. Men’s golf and women’s tennis brought
home Sun Belt Conference Championship trophies and
our rifle team shot a school-record to take runner-up at
the 2021 SoCon Rifle Championship. Also, our all-girl
cheerleading squad won their sixth national championship and our competitive clay target team won the
Division 4 Championship, during their first-ever team
competition, at the 2021 Association of College Unions
International Collegiate Clay Targets Championships.
Of course, we missed having all our fans at our
games last year, but Georgia Southern was one of only
two FBS teams to play their usual 12-game regular season schedule, and the Eagles were the first team to play
a 13th game (winning the New Orleans Bowl).
Stadium attendance was reduced to 25 percent of
capacity, which is, of course, a significant reduction of
revenue stream. Athletic Director Jared Benko and his
staff worked diligently to implement complex safety
protocols that kept our players and staff safe and operational all year. We are in good shape heading into this
next year and look forward to a great season for all our
student athletes and the Eagle Nation faithful.
Pk College costs present a big obstacle for all too
many parents and students. What are your thoughts
on how Georgia Southern can provide an affordable,
km The University System of Georgia announced that
tuition rates will not increase for the 2021-2022 academic year at Georgia Southern or any other university in
the system. Students will pay the same tuition rates as
they do now for the current 2020-2021 academic year. I
applaud the Regents’ decision and commitment to affordability. No doubt, a college education is a substantial
investment, but one that pays dividends. We have seen
the transformational power of education in individuals
and in communities. I think it’s also important to look at
not just cost, but also value and the return on investment.
I’m proud that Georgia Southern consistently ranks as
affordable and best value by national groups. For example, we are ranked in the Top 49 Most Affordable Online
Schools in 2021 by Best Value Schools, and we ranked #1
in the 2020 list of lowest cost for higher education for Best
College Towns and Cities (Savannah) by WalletHub.
Also, we are very active and successful in raising
funds from private donors to assist Georgia Southern University in fulfilling its multifaceted mission and its efforts
to achieve educational excellence on all campuses.
This past fiscal year, donors provided approximately
$10.5 million to the foundations to support Georgia Southern students and programs. Examples include student
academic scholarships, faculty travel and research, and
building projects. This year, we are on track for record-breaking philanthropic giving to Georgia Southern
that will further support our students and programs.
We also have funds that provide assistance to students facing hardship, such as Student Government
Association’s Eagles for Eagles fund. https://students.
Pk Free expression should be essential to the mission of higher education. How is the university committed to protecting open campus discourse representing various viewpoints?
km Georgia Southern has three campuses— our Statesboro campus, our Liberty Campus just outside of Fort
Stewart Army base in Hinesville, and our Armstrong
Campus in Savannah— spanning over 2,000 acres and 7
million square feet of academic, student support/housing,
athletic and administrative facilities.
In Savannah, we recently opened a spectacular new
building to house our Waters College of Health Professions.
The beautiful facility has several areas that are so effective
at mirroring a health care environment, that the building
has been used by movie and TV producers as a hospital
set. This year in Statesboro we opened a new Engineering
and Research Building, a 140,625-square-foot facility. It
houses robotics and automated manufacturing labs, flexible
research space, metal and non-metal 3D-printing capabilities and high-bay spaces for large projects that run nearly
the length of a football field in the building.
This fall we have renovation projects scheduled in
Savannah and in Statesboro, and we’ll also be working
on designing and securing philanthropic funding for
two important upcoming projects. They are an indoor
practice facility for athletics, and a convocation center
in Statesboro named in honor of the late state Sen. Jack
Hill and his wife of 46 years Ruth Ann Hill, both who are
Georgia Southern graduates.
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