The coming academic year is extraordinarily important to Middle Georgia State as the institution moves briskly toward a dynamic future, Dr. Christopher Blake told faculty and staff on August 8 at fall convocation, the official kickoff of the academic year.
More than 600 Middle Georgia State faculty and staff assembled in the new Recreation and Wellness Center to hear President Blake and other leaders frame strategic goals, tout recent successes and promote the college’s values – Stewardship, Engagement, Adaptability, Learning (SEAL). It was the first time the entire faculty and staff gathered together since the formation of Middle Georgia State in early 2013.
“We’re in a wonderful time of transition,” Blake, beginning his first full year as Middle Georgia State’s first permanent president, told the gathering. “We are a place on the move – delivering on the promise of our vision to transform individuals and their communities through extraordinary higher learning.”
Convocation day events also included the formal opening of the College of Arts and Sciences, which now makes up the academic heart of Middle Georgia State.
In a historic move, Middle Georgia State combined the former schools of Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences and Math and Social Sciences into the College of Arts and Sciences. For the first time, Middle Georgia State has a standalone college, a hallmark of a university.
“This is another important step in our march toward university status,” said Dr. Martha Venn, Middle Georgia State’s provost. “A standalone college is a sign of prestige and reflects an institution’s elevated status. It is an important symbol of our commitment to a strong core curriculum.”
The College of Arts and Sciences houses Middle Georgia State’s core curriculum, which is made up of the common courses that all undergraduates must take, regardless of major. The core curriculum is the foundation of a liberal arts education.
With three schools combining to form the College of Arts and Sciences, it houses the most faculty members and degree programs. Bachelor’s degrees offered through the various academic departments that make up the College of Arts and Sciences are in English, new media and communications, interdisciplinary studies, math, biology, history, psychology, public service and criminal justice.
The first dean of the College of Arts and Sciences is Dr. Ron Williams, who had been dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Math.
Rounding out convocation day, faculty and staff met with their departments before reconvening for a picnic, complete with entertainment from the Muddle Jawja Band, consisting of Blake, Williams and faculty/administrators Shannon Beasley, Dr. Anthony Patti, Dr. Pam Bedwell and Dr. Neil Rigole.
Fall 2014 new and returning students begin classes on August 18.
Photo: Left to right, Dr. Christopher Blake, Dr. Ron Williams and Dr. Martha Venn cut the ribbon during the ceremonial opening of the new College of Arts and Sciences.