James.qxp Jan Feb 2019 web - Page 37

In 2014 Dr. Christopher Blake was named president of Middle
Georgia State University, which has campuses in Macon,
Cochran, Dublin, Eastman and Warner Robins. Previously he
was president of Mount Mercy University, a Roman Catholic
liberal arts school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and he received his
Ph.D in Education from the University of London. James CEO
& Publisher Phil Kent interviewed Dr. Blake on what is
happening at one of Georgia’s newest public universities.
PHIL KENT What is your overall vision for Middle Georgia
State, especially as you work on everything ranging
from enhancing student learning to increasing scholarship support?
CHRISTOPHER BLAKE The university is distinctly positioned as superbly affordable, highly relevant to regional
needs, and diverse in its student population and its programming opportunities. I call it a “both/and” university
that is heterogeneous in its mindset. That’s what the
word “University” implies, a plurality of ideas and practices! Our vision must be to serve the people and economy of Georgia at an amazing value for the cost. That will
drive the economic return-on-investment we deliver and
empower the lives of our students, 90 percent of whom
continue to live and work in the region after graduation.
KENT As you well know, Georgia is seeing phenomenal
growth in various areas. Please get into specifics on how
the university is working to see to it that the current generation of college students is prepared to fill present and
future workforce needs.
BLAKE We offer a Bachelor of Science in Aviation
Science and Management, and numerous certificates for
those focusing on technical credentialing only. Our student body in the School of Aviation comprises over 750
students, devoted almost exclusively to flight or AMT
(maintenance). Both flight and maintenance opportunities are huge in Georgia. Our reputation for quality was
recognized by our inclusion in the Delta Air Lines Propel
program, and we are one of only eight schools nationally
included in that elite program. It guarantees employment by Delta for those flight graduates selected by the
airline for participation in the program. With 12 percent
of our aviation students being female and large numbers
of minority students, our demographics are twice the
national trend in female and minority recruitment to aviation careers. In addition to our hub in Eastman,
Georgia, we have expanded to offer flight in Macon,
Adel and soon in greater Atlanta.
KENT Besides aviation, there are five other schools and
colleges that make up Middle Georgia State. Could you
give more specifics on the expansion of programs and the
degrees you offer?
BLAKE We have a College of Arts & Sciences, pioneering
career opportunities in those fields, and very strong schools
of Information Technology, Behavioral Sciences and
Education, Health Sciences, and Business. The common
theme is cutting-edge preparedness for continued on page 38
BLAKE Put simply, by ensuring they reach successful
graduation with a degree credential that directly enables
them to build a career here in Georgia. We are doing this
in ways that are particular to the emerging strengths of
the Georgia economy, such as aviation and cybersecurity.
And, the way in which we do this must ensure our students incur as little debt as possible. As Georgia’s most
affordable university, that commitment to avoiding student debt is front and center in our planning.
KENT In the field of aviation, Middle Georgia State is positioned to provide our state’s second-largest and fastestgrowing industry with highly-qualified graduates who
can fill various jobs. Tell us more about Georgia’s only
public four-year school of aviation?


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