University System of Georgia reshaping strategic plan

jmink@macon.comAugust 14, 2013 

In an effort to reshape itself as public higher education changes, the University System of Georgia is rolling out a new strategic plan.

The Board of Regents adopted Wednesday the new plan, which acknowledges affordability concerns and extra pressure to offer quality programs, according to a news release.

The new plan aims to make college more affordable by offering less costly degrees and “minimizing some of the amenities” that increase the cost of college education, the news release said. It also calls for better management of physical space by constructing fewer new buildings and remodeling existing ones instead.

“We’re in a new normal when it comes to public higher education,” Chancellor Hank Huckaby said in the news release. “The old days and old ways of structuring, funding and advancing higher education are gone and will not return.”

The plan also seeks a bigger economic impact by building community partnerships as well as expanding research, graduate programs and international education. Additionally, it calls for a review of college and university programs to make sure they are relevant and to encourage innovation, according to the release.

The cornerstone of the plan is a goal to increase the percentage of Georgia residents completing college from 42 percent to 60 percent by 2020.

The University System of Georgia oversees 31 colleges and universities, including Fort Valley State University, Georgia College & State University, Gordon State College and Middle Georgia State College.

“Middle Georgia State is well positioned to move forward under the new guidelines,” said John Black, the college’s interim president.

Middle Georgia State has several initiatives in the works, including expanding distance learning and developing a freshman-sophomore college to support the newest students and increase retention, he said.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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