Posted: Wednesday, March 31st 2010 at 3:27pm
GSC President gives school status report
By Marc Eggers Staff
OAKWOOD – At Wednesday’s South Hall Rotary Club meeting Dr. Martha Nesbitt reported on the current status and future outlook of Gainesville State College where she has served as President since 1997.
Dr. Nesbitt pointed to continued enrollment growth at the campus, but the effects of the slow economy are felt everywhere. This past year is the first in five years where the percentage increase of the student population has not been double digits.
When asked about one of the most recent budgetary decisions, closing the swimming pool complex, she said that response from the community has been on both sides of the issue. “I’m a swimmer,” she said. “The pool is an aging facility. It will have to be redone in a few years. Closing it is a $240,000 a year saving. We have to look at that!”
The possibility of private funding has been suggested, especially in light of the growth of swimming as a competitive club sport in the area high schools, but Dr. Nesbitt felt such funding was unsustainable and would prefer to see that level of support used to fund scholarships and other academic needs.
Other budget balancing considerations are the increased use of part-time faculty and the continuation of furlough days, but GSC has done all possible to keep their effect invisible, according to Nesbitt. Furlough days, for example, are scheduled on “off” days. “If you came on campus today,” Nesbitt suggested, “you wouldn’t know we were in an economic crunch.”
Dr. Nesbitt reiterated that the motto of her leadership is “Student Focused Learning Center”, which is actually something for which they were commended during a school evaluation.
“Student Focused Learning Center” aims at keeping classroom sizes small; interaction between faculty, staff, student body at a maximum; treating all students as individuals; and not being afraid to fail a student when needed to maintain high academic levels.
What might lie ahead for GSC? Nesbitt said she saw growth potential in the area of teacher preparation. The school has applied for certification in granting Bachelor level degrees in both biology and mathematics with a Secondary Focus on Education. Currently GSC offers a teacher's degree in Early Childhood Education.
She also spoke proudly of the continued success of the Gainesville Theater Alliance which is a student focused experience co-sponsored with Brenau University.
Link: GSC Website
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