Posted: Saturday, September 1st 2012 at 9:17am
USG chief academic officer visits NGCSU
DAHLONEGA - Making his first visit to North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU), Dr. Houston Davis, executive vice chancellor of the University System of Georgia (USG), called the university "a special place" and was impressed by the academic programs and students.
Wednesday’s visit by Davis, who became the system's chief academic officer in May, aimed to highlight some of North Georgia’s key academic initiatives, as North Georgia works toward consolidation with Gainesville State College.
Pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and final authorization by the USG Board of Regents in January 2013, the two institutions will become the University of North Georgia next year.
After touring the campus and meeting with members of the university's leadership, Davis heard presentations — all of which shared common themes of community engagement, innovation, and student success and research — from each of the four schools at the university.
"First of all, wow. That was really impressive," Davis said when the first group of students finished. "Regent Dink NeSmith told me North Georgia is a special place, and I have to agree with him."
In introducing the presentations, Dr. Patricia Donat, vice president of Academic Affairs, highlighted the university's history of success and the bright future indicated by the quality of students coming to North Georgia. As the university has experienced steady enrollment growth since the mid-1990s, the academic excellence of entering freshman has risen as well, consistently ranking North Georgia near the top among all USG schools. The average high school GPA of this year's freshman class is 3.55 and the average SAT score is 1117.
Seven pairs of students presented a brief dialogue in each of languages taught at North Georgia—Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Korean, Russian and Spanish—to highlight the university's internationalization efforts, which encompass all the university's disciplines. Foreign language is a core curriculum requirement at North Georgia.
Dr. Ruben Boling, assistant professor in the Mike Cottrell School of Business, talked about the Center for the Future of North Georgia and its efforts to enhance regional development, economic growth, and career opportunities for graduates by partnering with business, industry and government leaders on projects like the university’s annual Economic Development Conference and involvement in the North Georgia Network broadband project.
Two students from the early childhood/special education program talked about their experiences in the School of Education's new and innovative approach to teacher training, Professional Development Communities. The two-year immersion model puts student teachers and professors in classrooms and forges partnerships with school systems in four area counties. Both students said the program has instilled in them confidence to lead their own classrooms and gives them an advantage in getting hired.
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