Middle Georgia State College has crafted a new, bold vision and embraced a set of core values to help reshape the institution into Georgia’s newest state university.
Those important steps are among the results of several months of work by Middle Georgia State’s Task Force on Vision and an executive-level review process. The 23-member task force was appointed early this year by the college's president, Dr. Christopher Blake, to establish a trajectory that will lead the college to becoming a university in the near future.
The new vision statement is: “We transform individuals and their communities through extraordinary higher learning.”
The core values are:
• Stewardship: to remind Middle Georgia State of its moral and public commitment to the people it serves on and off campus and to task all faculty and staff with the responsibility to marshal their time, talents and resources for the Common Good
• Engagement: in recognition that learning is a social activity and that the institution cannot fulfill its mission of public higher education without collaborating with the community, both on and off the campuses
• Adaptability: a cornerstone of human growth, individual and collective, and a necessary hallmark of progress and success, requiring the institution to lead and manage change, not be simply affected by it
• Learning: what underpins all the other values and the reason Middle Georgia State exists
“Middle Georgia State now has a vision that will directly lead us to becoming a university,” Blake said. “Vision gives us a compelling horizon view of where we need to move, and it inspires us to think of stronger and larger possibilities for our work and our institution.”
The task force’s agenda and subsequent executive-level review were guided by Blake's white paper, titled "A New Vision for the College: The Public University of Middle Georgia, Leading Georgians to New Heights and Sights,“ which was distributed to the college community and to the public via Blake's Twitter account earlier this year.
Blake shared his thoughts on the new vision statement, core values and other details of the work resulting from the task force and executive review on his blog, which can be found at http://president.mga.edu/. The blog links to the task force report.
The report and executive-level review highlight themes that “bring to light the future of the institution as it competes in the marketplace for high quality students (and) faculty and staff who deliver excellence in all aspects of university life.”
Among those themes and conclusions:
• Middle Georgia State is already a strong institution. A survey among various college constituencies revealed a number of institutional strengths the college can build upon as it moves forward. Among Middle Georgia State's many strengths are strong academic reputation; core curriculum rigor; faculty scholarship; beauty of campuses; facilities; affordability; small classes; library resources; diversity of student body and of faculty/staff; athletics; cultural/diverse opportunities and first-year experience programs.
• Middle Georgia State should pursue strategies to:
1. provide a 21st century learning environment by using a planned model of innovation, integration and deployment of technology and student services across the institution;
focus on retention, graduation and student success;
2. recruit, develop and retain the highest quality faculty and staff;
3. be the higher education leader and collaborate within the region to ensure that academic programs meet the workforce needs of the institution’s constituents;
4. be a partner in the community, joining others who strive to improve the economic, cultural and social well-being of the region;
5. promote itself by focusing on its distinctive contributions to improving the education, economic development and quality of life within Middle Georgia.
• Specific steps needed to become a university are the development of graduate programs based on regional needs; gradual increase of admissions standards; and creating the environment necessary to increase faculty scholarship and academic excellence.
Middle Georgia State was created in January 2013 under the direction of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. It was among the first of new institutions resulting from mergers intended to boost the efficiency and accessibility of higher education to the citizens of Georgia. Building on the considerable strengths and legacies of two former colleges, Middle Georgia State is a powerful force for regional economic, social and cultural growth.