It’s Official: Middle Georgia to Become a State University on July 1

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 7:19 PM
Categories: Pressroom | School of Information Technology

Macon, GA

MGA logo
Fulfilling a longtime dream of many graduates, students, faculty, benefactors and regional leaders, Middle Georgia State College is on the brink of officially becoming a university.

The institution’s name will be Middle Georgia State University, with the status and name change becoming effective on July 1, 2015. The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents unanimously approved the changes at its March 18 meeting in Atlanta. The board also approved Middle Georgia’s first master’s degree program – in information technology.

Dr. Christopher Blake, Middle Georgia’s president, said the region will benefit in many ways from the institution’s status as a state university.

“Today’s vote is an important milestone—a moment first foretold nearly three years ago, when the board resolved to create Middle Georgia State College out of Macon State College and Middle Georgia College,” said Blake. "I am excited about the opportunities university status will allow us to provide for Middle Georgia, and grateful to the many people who have supported our journey from consolidation to this momentous occasion.”

“We sought to better serve our students and the region when we decided to create Middle Georgia, a consolidated institution, nearly three years ago," said University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby. "Today, we are seeing the benefits of that consolidation by creating Georgia’s newest university that expands degree offerings tailored for the region and designed to meet our state’s workforce needs.”

Regent Larry Walker said, “Middle Georgia State College and its predecessor institutions have been a driver of economic and cultural vitality in this region for more than 130 years. Today’s vote to make Middle Georgia our state’s newest university should make us all proud—especially visionaries like former Board of Regents Chair Bob Hatcher and former Regent Mansfield Jennings, who foresaw the potential of increasing opportunities for higher education in Middle Georgia.”

Thursday, March 19, at 9:30am, President Blake delivered a short address to outline what university status means for faculty, for current and future students, and for the Middle Georgia community. The address was delivered in the Banquet Hall at the Professional Sciences Center on the Macon campus and livestreamed to Cochran, Dublin, Eastman and Warner Robins. The text of the speech is here.

Dr. Martha Venn, Middle Georgia’s provost, said becoming a university allows the institution “to create more pathways for people in the workforce. We will be able to provide tremendous opportunities for employers to address workforce demands that go beyond the bachelor’s degree level.”

The first, most obvious sign of university status will be the introduction of the master’s degree in information technology (I.T.). Middle Georgia also submitted a proposal to the Regents for a master’s degree in nursing.

Both master’s degree proposals were developed in consultation with regional business, industry and healthcare leaders who advised on the type of graduate degrees needed in those fields. Additional master’s degrees will be added over time, beginning with proposals to start graduate programs in business and education.

Middle Georgia will continue to offer bachelor’s degrees. Associate’s degrees and certificates will be limited and targeted to specific workforce needs.

That the soon-to-be university’s first master’s degree will be in I.T. is fitting because information technology was the first bachelor’s degree offered by Macon State College, one of the forerunners of the current institution.

The fully online degree will offer concentrations in information security, digital forensics and health informatics. The program is designed with working professionals in mind, including those at Robins Air Force Base.

The offering of an MSN degree is pending accreditation agency approval. Graduates of the program would be eligible to take the certification exam to become an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner.

In the University System of Georgia, the mission of a state university is to provide a limited number of master’s degrees that support regional economic needs. Teaching is still the primary activity of state university faculty members, but they can engage in applied research that would impact students, the institution or the community in positive ways.

Blake made it clear that Middle Georgia would continue to honor its traditional access mission for students with academic potential.

“We plan to create a University College at the Cochran Campus for traditional and residential students,” he said. “This will allow targeted resources and support services to be aligned for the benefit of our students who may not meet state university admission requirements but show academic promise.”

The practical effects of Middle Georgia becoming a state university was outlined by Blake in his address to the university community on Thursday.

Short history of Middle Georgia State University: In early 2012, the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents recommended the consolidation of Macon State College, which was founded in 1968 in Macon, Ga., and Middle Georgia College, which was founded in 1884 in Cochran, Ga. The consolidation became official on January 8, 2013, creating Middle Georgia State College, a baccalaureate-granting institution with an enrollment of approximately 8,000 students. The institution has campuses in Macon, Cochran, Dublin, Eastman and Warner Robins. MGA is home to the only public school of aviation in the state and has eight four-year athletics teams competing in the NAIA. Dr. Christopher Blake became Middle Georgia State College’s first permanent president in January 2014. On March 18, 2015, the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents approved the elevation of the institution to state university and changed its name to Middle Georgia State University, effective July 1, 2015. The board also approved the institution’s first graduate degree, a master of science in information technology.