The Georgia Department of Corrections is partnering with Middle Georgia State College to develop and host online training for corrections staff. The move is expected to not only save the corrections department money but widen a path toward college degrees for staff members who want to pursue one.
GDC Commissioner Brian Owens and Middle Georgia State President Dr. Christopher Blake made the partnership official at a Tuesday, March 25, signing ceremony. The event took place in the Commissioner's Board Room at State Offices South at Tift College in Forsyth.
Middle Georgia State, working with the department, will produce online courses for corrections staff that include videos, interactive features and quizzes.
"By moving the professional development of employees to an online format, the GDC will save both money and time for travel," said Dr. Darryl Hancock, dean of Middle Georgia State's School of Distance Learning.
Added Owens, "This meets the goal of Governor Nathan Deal by working together with another state agency for the purpose of accomplishing one goal while saving taxpayers' money."
Middle Georgia State considers the partnership part of a larger effort to reach out to corrections department employees who want to earn their college degrees. Middle Georgia State is in discussions with various law enforcement-related employers on how to convert certain professional experience into academic credit and how to deliver additional courses online that staff would need to complete degrees.
Middle Georgia State and GDC representatives most involved in developing the partnership are Hancock; Charles Smith, director of Academic Technology Services; Gail Donnelly, training director; Antonnio Printup, Academy director; Cathy Smith-Curry, former leadership development unit manager; and Joycelyn Lucas, e-learning development specialist.
The GDC has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising nearly 60,000 state prisoners and more than 160,000 probationers. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 12,000 employees.
For more information on the Georgia Department of Corrections call 478-992-5247 or visit http://www.dcor.state.ga.us. To learn more about distance learning at Middle Georgia State, including a fully online IT bachelor's degree named the most affordable in the U.S., visit http://www.mga.edu/distance-learning/default.aspx.
(Source material includes GDC news release.)