“GMC is committed to supporting Gov. Deal’s ‘Complete College Georgia’ initiative, which aims to increase the number of college graduates by 250,000 by the year 2020,” said Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV, GMC president. “Our new bachelor of applied science degree will allow us to contribute even more significantly to Gov. Deal’s goal, and position GMC to support technical college graduates seeking to earn four-year degrees.”
In 2012, the college’s research found two-thirds of technical college students surveyed had an interest in pursuing a four-year degree program, 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 or associate of applied technology degrees, from construction management to computer programing to hotel/restaurant management,” said Mike Holmes, college 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, the college’s new bachelor’s program is expected to appeal to working community members who already hold applied science or applied technology 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 Holmes.
In order for the college to offer the bachelor’s in those areas, a change in state law was required because the school was legally limited to offering two-year courses of study.
The college will initially offer the bachelor’s 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,” Holmes said. “And GMC will continue to work with the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to avoid duplication of programs in close proximity to one another.”
Caldwell said it is important to note the college’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 extracurricular programs.
“We are one of only five junior military colleges in the U.S. — also serving a large civilian student population — and we intend to maintain that status,” Caldwell said.
The college’s next step is to seek approval from the Southern Associate of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accrediting agency.
In the meantime, school officials will work with local technical schools to design the bachelor’s degree program curriculum.
Pending commission approval, the college is targeting August 2015 to begin offering its new bachelor’s degree program.