[Milledgeville, GA] – On April 22, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation authorizing Georgia Military College, a junior college, to offer a four-year degree program at select campuses across the state.
“GMC is committed to supporting Governor Deal’s ‘Complete College Georgia’ initiative, which aims to increase the number of college graduates by 250,000 by the year 2020,” said Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, IV, GMC president. “Our new Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree will allow us to contribute even more significantly to Governor Deal’s goal, and position GMC to support technical college graduates seeking to earn four-year degrees.”
In 2012, GMC’s research found two-thirds of technical college students surveyed had an interest in pursuing a four-year degree program at GMC, if the two-year junior college were to offer it.
“These are young men and women who will come to us with an array of associate in applied science (AAS) or associate of applied technology (AAT) degrees, from construction management to computer programing to hotel/restaurant management,” said Mike Holmes, Ph.D., GMC vice president for academic affairs. “Unlike several years ago, many of the leadership positions in those fields now require a four-year bachelor’s degree. Our BAS in supervision and management will offer these students an avenue for advancing their careers across a wide range of technical fields.”
In addition to attracting recent technical school grads, GMC’s BAS program is expected to appeal to working community members who already hold AAS or AAT degrees and want to advance their careers, but cannot uproot their jobs and families to relocate.
“The BAS degree is currently offered at eight other colleges in Georgia, but these schools are not easily accessible to several of the communities we serve,” said Dr. Holmes. In order for GMC to offer the BAS in those areas, a change in state law was required because the school was legally limited to offering two-year courses of study.
GMC will initially offer the BAS degree at its Milledgeville, Augusta and Columbus campuses, as well as at its recently announced campus in Fayetteville.
“None of the four-year institutions currently offering the BAS degree are in the same geographic areas, so we are most definitely filling a void,” Dr. Holmes said. “And GMC will continue to work with the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents to avoid duplication of programs in close proximity to one another.”
Lt. General Caldwell says it is important to note that GMC’s new degree program in no way signals its intent to become a full-fledged four-year institution as the concept applies to sports, ROTC or other extra curricular programs. “We are one of only five Junior Military Colleges in the United States—also serving a large civilian student population—and we intend to maintain that status,” Caldwell said.
GMC’s next step is to seek approval from the Southern Associate of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accrediting agency. In the meantime, school officials will work with local technical schools to design the BAS degree program curriculum. Pending SACSCOC approval, GMC is targeting August 2015 to begin offering its new BAS degree program.
Pictured left to right: Senator Burt Jones (District 25), Representative Joe Wilkinson (District 52), Representative Rusty Kidd (District 145), Mr. Mark Strom (GMC Vice President for Human Resources and Business Development), Dr. Mike Holmes (GMC Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculties), Major General Peter Boylan (GMC President Emeritus), Mr. Dudley Rowe (GMC Foundation Chairman), Governor Nathan Deal, Ms. Jeanette Walden (Milledgeville City Council), Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, IV (GMC President), Representative Bubber Epps (District 144), Mr. Jim Pace (Group IV Senior Partner), Mayor Richard Bentley (City of Milledgeville), Representative Emory Dunahoo (District 30).
About Georgia Military College
Georgia Military College is the state’s second largest, two-year, public college with campuses in Milledgeville, Augusta, Fairburn, Warner Robins, Valdosta and Columbus, extension centers in Madison, Sandersville, and Stone Mountain, and an online campus program. Its enrollment includes more than 8,000 civilian students at these locations, plus 250 junior college cadets and 500 prep school students at their Milledgeville campus.