MILLEDGEVILL, Ga. – Beginning in August there will be more than one on-campus option for students to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Milledgeville.
Georgia Military College already offers a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in both business management and supervision and management online and at the Augusta campus. Those two degrees along with a BAS in supply chain management and logistics will be offered on the Milledgeville campus starting in August.
Dr. Tianna Marynell, division chair for business and computer information systems, said 24 classes will be added to GMC’s catalog to accommodate requirements for the new curriculum. No new staff will be added in the initial phase while the college waits for enrollment to grow.
“We initially will start off a little bit slow,” Marynell said. “We already have staff available that can teach the courses initially to get the jumpstart. As we see enrollments increase then, yes we would have to hire more adjuncts, maybe even an additional full-time person.”
Marynell added that the bachelor-level courses will be offered in the afternoons and evenings to begin with as school officials believe most of the students wanting to take advantage will have a work schedule to navigate. If GMC officials see they are getting students transferring directly out of technical or other two-year institutions, it will move to offering the new courses in the mornings.
The process for allowing a two-year school to offer four-year degrees is not a short one. Dr. Derek Stone, associate chief academic officer, said there were multiple steps that took more than a year to complete. GMC had to update its charter to allow for a level change, await approval from its accrediting body (SACSCOC), and make bachelor’s courses available online and at the Augusta campus for one year before rolling out to other campuses.
Both Marynell and Stone said the addition of the bachelor’s programs came about after surveying students at Central Georgia Technical College who said they would like to enter their chosen field with something more than just an associate’s degree. While the knowledge gained at technical school may earn them an entry-level job in their field, adding a bachelor’s degree may help them advance more quickly in their careers or start higher up. GMC has signed articulation agreements with 17 out of the 22 technical colleges in the state to facilitate entry for students into the new four-year programs and is working toward getting agreements with all 22.
When asked if GMC was looking to add any other four-year programs in the near future, Stone said discussions have taken place but, “our primary focus will never be four-year degrees because we’re primarily an associate degree granting institution. That’s the primary part of our mission, but we are always looking for opportunities to fill needs for students. If there are needs we feel like we can meet then we are certainly open to looking at those. It’s just that this is a separate part of our mission, not the primary mission of the institution.”
The latest bachelor’s degree added for supply chain management and logistics is a big need in the industry, according to Marynell. Retailers and manufacturers need professionals to ensure their products get where they have to go in a timely manner.
“That’s a huge initiative within the state, to get professionals educated in supply chain management and logistics,” said Marynell.
GMC currently offers three associate’s degrees across its 12 campuses and online. Both school officials who spoke with The Union-Recorder said they are glad GMC has taken this step.
“I’m very excited about being able to offer these courses,” Marynell said. “If you look at all three of the programs they are designed to meet the needs of individuals whether in manufacturing, service industry or health care. They were intentionally and deliberately designed that way. I’m excited about the one for supply chain management and logistics. I think that’s going to really be a plus for GMC to have that particular degree and it’s a BAS degree.
“We’re always excited when we can move students forward, so this is just another option to help them do that,” said Stone.