South Georgia State College was recognized as the Campus Spotlight at the Board of Regents monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The Campus Spotlight is an initiative that allows the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to learn more about the students, faculty and academic programs at their member institutions.
The SGSC presentation entitled “Engaging Community Partners in Students’ Experiential Learning Opportunities” focused on three of its baccalaureate programs, the Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education, the Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, and the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology.
Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers, SGSC president, began the presentation with a history of the college and an introduction to the three programs of focus which have been an important part of the college’s strategic plan, “Moving Forward”. These programs, as well as the other five baccalaureate programs at SGSC, have been developed based on the identified needs of the workforce and community. Dr. Thompson-Sellers explained, “The experiences of our students are powerful and transformative. From educating our youth to working in a highly-technical setting within a local industry, the students are finding their path and establishing their careers.”
During the presentation to Dr. Sonny Perdue, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, the Board of Regents and others in attendance at the meeting, SGSC representatives spoke on each of the featured programs.
Dr. Kimberly Hunt, chair of the Biological Sciences program, explained the two tracks of the program, pre-professional track and nature and ecology track, that will prepare students for a variety of professional and graduate school programs and careers. A highlight was hearing virtually from two graduates of the pre-professional track who are currently at the American University of Antigua College of Medicine in their medical school.
Amy Fitzgerald, assistant professor of education, offered information on SGSC’s teacher education program, which was followed by testimonials from a current student, Peyton Merritt and a graduate of the program who is currently employed in the Clinch County school system as an elementary teacher, Paige Lamie. Dr. Morris Leis, superintendent of Coffee County Schools, explained how the program has benefitted the schools in his system, as well as neighboring communities. He said, “The quality of the graduates is excellent. The students earning a degree from SGSC have been well prepared to enter the classroom. Our partnership has been a valuable investment.”
Dr. Charles Johnson, dean of the School of Sciences and chair of the B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology program echoes the success of the programs highlighted during the presentation. He stated, “The success we have experienced just goes to show what happens when a college and a local community come together to reach common goals.” Amanda Meyer, a current student in the BSMET program, told her story of becoming a candidate in the program to being successful and gaining the experiences needed for her future. She says, “In just one year of the program, I’ve been given an opportunity to improve my children’s lives, as well as my own, tenfold.”
“Our work with community partners is the catalyst for the success of our students. Mentoring them, leading them and providing support through experiential experiences and financial means are all ways our partners are making a difference for those entrusted to our care for educational opportunities,” explained Dr. Thompson-Sellers. “Our programs play a significant role in preparing our students for their successes, and we see bright futures ahead for them.”
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