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Midstate colleges growing, expanding opportunities for students

Students walk toward the library at Middle Georgia State University’s Macon campus.
Students walk toward the library at Middle Georgia State University’s Macon campus. wmarshall@macon.com

With many high school seniors recently beginning a new school year, parents and students alike will be scouring through college websites, online applications and visiting colleges and universities in hopes of finding the perfect school to fit all of their needs next year.

Within a 60 mile radius, Middle Georgia is home to more than a half dozen colleges and universities that are as unique as the students who walk those campuses.

MIDDLE GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY

With campuses located in Macon, Cochran, Eastman, Warner Robins and Dublin, Middle Georgia State University is one of the largest colleges in Middle Georgia with a current enrollment of about 8,000 students, according to Cheryl Carty, chief marketing officer for MGSU.

“We hope to be at 10,000 students within five years,” she said, adding that another goal is to increase scholarships by $100,000 within the next three years.

Just this fall on the Macon campus, the university now has soccer games for women and men, according to Carty. Previously, all athletics were based in Cochran. In fact, just within the last year, the Cochran campus became a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“While we were a member last year (in Cochran), this is the first year we will be able to compete in playoffs,” said Carty. Currently, there is soccer, basketball, tennis, baseball and softball on the Cochran campus, and she said the university hopes to add women’s volleyball at Macon as well as women’s cross country.

In addition, just this fall, Carty said the university started a men’s fraternity, Theta Xi, on the Cochran campus, with the hopes of expanding with sororities and other fraternities. Another big launch this fall, according to Carty, is the Knowledge@Work program. This program, implemented for first-time freshmen, gives student a chance to apply their learning outside the classroom through internships, undergraduate research and service learning.

“It’s important that (students) don’t just learn in the classroom ... that they are able to apply what they are learning externally,” she said.

For more information about MGSU, visit www.mga.edu.

WESLEYAN COLLEGE

Located on 200 acres in Macon, Wesleyan College has a 179-year history of educating women, according to Mary Ann Howard, director of communications. In the entire history of Wesleyan, which was founded in 1836, the college has had less than 15,000 graduates in the last 179 years.

“We’re small on purpose; we’re exclusive,” she said. “We’re proud of the small student to teacher ratio ... that’s what we do.”

The college, which has 400 residential students and a total enrollment of about 700, including graduate students and nontraditional students, has a 13:1 student to teacher ratio, according to Howard.

“We’re real proud of our small class sizes,” she said, adding that every class is taught by a professor, not teaching assistants, and that 90 percent of the faculty holds the highest degrees in their fields. “We teach seminar style in classrooms ... which engages class discussion and participation; it is expected and demanded.”

Howard said that about 95 percent of the students receive financial aid, including grants, loans and scholarships, and that the college works very closely with students to lower their loans that have to be repaid.

“We have a great debt management system,” she said, adding that the students are trained to be effective speakers and writers and have more opportunities to lead on campus without having to compete against men. “Women who come to women colleges are very focused, very driven.“

The school offers undergraduate degrees in 31 majors and 28 minors, according to Howard. In May, Wesleyan graduated its first cohort of students to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) and each of those graduates, according to Howard, had secured jobs before graduating. In addition, 74 percent of Wesleyan students in 2015 were accepted into their first choice graduate program, and 37 percent of Wesleyannes who graduated in 2015 earned a double major.

The college also boasts five sports in the NCAA Division 3, including softball, tennis, volleyball, basketball and soccer, and it also has an award-winning equestrian program that is nationally recognized, according to Howard.

For more information about Wesleyan, visit www.wesleyan college.edu.

MERCER UNIVERSITY

One of the oldest universities in Middle Georgia, Mercer University was founded as Mercer Institute in 1833. It is a major research university with more than 8,700 students enrolled this fall, according to Larry Brumley, senior vice president for marketing communications and chief of staff.

The main campuses are located in Macon and Atlanta and the medical school campuses are located in Savannah and Columbus.

“We’re a very old institution. ... We’re a private institution founded by Baptists. ... Our distinctives include integrating research and service to solve some of the world’s greatest problems,” he said.

According to Brumley, Mercer has been growing in recent years and much of that growth has been on the Macon campus, fueled largely in the undergraduate student population. With about 3,000 undergrads in Macon, he expects the enrollment to increase to 3,500 in the next five years. Since 2011, undergrad growth in Macon has grown by 30 percent.

A unique program at the university is Mercer on Mission. This program allows students to combine service with research and allows them to travel abroad to work on problems in other countries, addressing real world problems. This past summer, 180 students worked with 30 faculty members in 12 countries, working on issues such as lack of water in Africa, fitting amputees in Vietnam with prosthetics invented and manufactured by Mercer, and mercury poisoning among gold miners in Mozambique.

“That program marries research, service learning and study abroad ... (there’s) no other program like it in the country,” said Brumley, adding that students only pay tuition and get six hours of academic credit for the program. All other costs are paid by the university.

The university is also building two new student housing projects, adding an additional 613 beds, according to Brumley. One will be a traditional freshmen residence hall with two wings, and the other is going to be a loft apartment style development with a parking deck and fitness center for upper classmen. A new undergraduate science building also will be added to the Macon campus, providing additional labs and classrooms for the science programs.

Mercer offers 18 sports and is the only private university that offers NCAA Division One sports.

For more information about Mercer, visit www.mercer.edu.

FORT VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY

Established 1895, Fort Valley State University is the only 1890 land grant institution in Georgia, according to Jessica Bailey, FVSU interim president.

As a land grant institution, Bailey said the university had two missions: to educate the Sons of Toil, the working people’s children, and the economic development of Georgia.

Today, the college has 27 majors and 11 sports and has an enrollment of 2,850 this fall, according to Bailey. Some highlights of the university include the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, where the university does research to help the state develop the food and animal production process and to increase their overall efficiency in the production of food, clothing and shelter for Georgia residents.

Another area, according to Bailey, is the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program, a program that trains students for Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines. They also have one of the largest biology majors in the state.

“In five years, I think we are going to have a lot of international students matriculating on this campus because we are making a concerted effort to attract them,” Bailey said, adding that the university has added a Hispanic recruiter. “We have excellent programs ... especially in agriculture (that they) can benefit from that expertise and take it back to their home country. ... (We are) trying to diversify the campus. ... Diversification is always a good thing.”

For more information about FVSU, visit www.fvsu.edu.

CENTRAL GEORGIA TECHNICAL COLLEGE

One of the largest two-year colleges in the state, the new Central Georgia Technical College was formed in July 2013 when Middle Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins and Central Georgia Technical College in Macon and Milledgeville were consolidated, according to Janet H. Kelly, assistant vice president for marketing and public relations.

“The college fully expects to continue growing in enrollment, programs and services,” Kelly said in a news release. “CGTC has just recently partnered with the Peach County Board of Commissioners to occupy space in the Peach County Development Center for the purpose of offering adult education and new academic programs. CGTC plans to offer Commercial Truck Driving and Welding at the Peach County location, as well as Diesel Equipment Technology, which will be a brand new program for the college.”

Kelly explained that during the next five years, CGTC expects to continue growing and expanding to meet the needs of the communities.

“One aspect that makes CGTC different is our business model is designed to react quickly to the changing needs of the local workforce. Each occupational program engages local business leaders on advisory boards to ensure the college is offering current training relevant to the workforce. These advisory boards give input on current curriculum and offer advice for new training programs to fill local needs,” she said.

In addition, the new Roy H. “Sonny” Watson Health Sciences Building, a 70,000-square-foot facility, will become home to the current Health Sciences programs at the Warner Robins campus and will offer space for new programs, according to Kelly. In addition, Hemodialysis, Paramedicine and Physical Therapy Assisting programs -- all new to the Warner Robins campus -- also are expected to be offered.

Also, the college has been granted approval for curriculum development for a Registered Nursing program that will be housed in this new facility. This program is still under development, but is anticipated for 2017.

For more information about CGTC, visit www.central gatech.edu.

GEORGIA COLLEGE

Located on 43 acres in historic Milledgeville, Georgia College, which also includes a Macon graduate center campus located on Cherry Street and a Warner Robins location on Robins Air Force Base, had 5,500 undergraduate students enrolled last fall, according to Dr. Kelli Brown, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Focused on becoming a preeminent public liberal arts university within the next five years, Brown said the college will be enhancing both the quality and diversity of students and also will concentrate on a greater out-of-state presence.

“Our growth will not be in the number of students, but in the quality and diversity of our students,” she said. “We are also enhancing our faculty and staff to provide continued excellence both inside and outside the classroom.”

“We are the designated public liberal arts university, which means we provide a liberal education, one to provide students with strong communication skills, writing and speaking ... (and one that) allows them to be critical thinkers,” she said, adding that a liberal education is very broad and is “more of a global education.”

Brown said the college has a “competitive admission process” and looking to the future, the college has four transformation ideas it is focusing on. They will be expanding in academics and building upon them in the areas of the arts and social justice, leadership, a Southern literary center and a center for educational, economic and health disparities.

The college will be creating and growing a Writing & Literary Studies Center based on the strength of the Flannery O’Connor history on the campus and the existing Writing Center. They also will be focusing on the creation of a center where a group of interdisciplinary faculty from health, education, environmental sciences and business will provide important knowledge for development in rural counties.

The college also will examine and develop how the arts can engage individuals in meaningful community transformation; and focus on becoming the preeminent university where leaders are formed through scholarship, public service and community engagement.

For more information about Georgia College, visit www.gcsu.edu.

BIBB COUNTY

Bibb County School System: 484 Mulberry St., Macon, 478-765-8711, www.bibb.k12.ga.us

Academy for Classical Education: 5665 New Forsyth Road, Macon, 478-238-5757, www.academy forclassicaleducation.org

Central Fellowship Christian Academy: 8460 Hawkinsville Road, Macon, 478-788-6909, www.cfcalancers.org

Covenant Academy: 4652 Ayers Road, Macon, 478-471-0285, www.covenantacademy.net

First Presbyterian Day School: 5671 Calvin Drive, Macon, 478-477-6505, www.fpdmacon.org

Middle Georgia Christian School: 5859 Thomaston Road, Macon, 478-757-9585, www.mgcswarriors.org

Progressive Christian Academy: 151 Madison St., Macon, 478-742-3134

St. Andrews Montessori School: 501 Bass Road, Macon, 478-474-4465, www.standrews maconmontessori.org

St. Joseph’s Catholic School: 905 High St., Macon, 478-742-0636, www.saintjo.com

St. Peter Claver Catholic School: 133 Ward St., Macon, 478-743-3985, www.spcschool.com

Stratford Academy: 6010 Peake Road, Macon, 478-477-8073, www.stratford.org

Tattnall Square Academy: 111 Trojan Trail, Macon, 478-477-6760, www.tattnall.org

Montessori of Macon: 436 Forest Hill Road, Macon, 478-757-8927

Mount de Sales Academy: 851 Orange St., Macon, 478-751-3240, www.mountdesales.net

Wimbish Adventist School: 640 Wimbish Road, Macon, 478-477-4600

Windsor Academy: 4150 Jones Road, Macon, 478-781-1621, www.windsoracademyknights.com

Woodfield Academy: 4375 Rivoli Drive, Macon, 478-477-9844, www.woodfieldacademy.org

HOUSTON COUNTY

Houston County School System: 1100 Main St., Perry, 478-988-6200, www.hcbe.net

Christian Fellowship Academy: 621 Walnut St., Warner Robins, 478-975-0806, www.cfaeagles.org

Christ School: 511 Russell Parkway, Warner Robins, 478-923-2867, www.christunitedschool.com

Warner Robins Montessori Academy: 221 Everett Square, Warner Robins, 478-923-6969

Sacred Heart Catholic School: 250 S. Davis Drive, Warner Robins, 478-923-9668, www.shswr.org

Spirit of Truth Mission School: 120 Maxwell Drive, Warner Robins, 478-318-1954

Warner Robins Christian Academy: 2601 Watson Blvd., Warner Robins, 478-922-1201, www.bible-baptist-temple.org/wrca

The Westfield School: 2005 U.S. 41 S., Perry, 478-987-0547, www.westfieldschool.org

Westside Christian Academy: 1101 Dunbar Road, Warner Robins, 478-784-9153, www.westside christianacademyga.com

PEACH COUNTY

Peach County School System: 523 Vineville St., Fort Valley, 478-825-5933, www.peachschools.org

Byron Christian Academy: 69 Burnett Road, Byron, 478-956-3503

BALDWIN COUNTY

Baldwin County School System: 110 N. ABC St., Milledgeville, 478-453-4176, www.baldwin.schooldesk.net

EBLA Academy High School: 1943 N. Jefferson St. NE No. 4, Milledgeville, 478-453-0910, www.eblaacademy.org

John Milledge Academy: 197 Log Cabin Road, Milledgeville, 478-452-5570, www.johnmilledge.org

Sinclair Christian Academy: 102 Airport Road NE, Milledgeville, 478-452-4242, www.sinclairchristianacademy-sca.com

CRAWFORD COUNTY

Crawford County School System: 190 E. Crusselle St., Roberta, 478-836-3131, www.crawfordcounty.schoolinsites.com

JONES COUNTY

Jones County School System: 125 Stewart Ave., Gray, 478-986-3032, www.jones.k12.ga.us

MONROE COUNTY

Monroe County School System: 25 Brooklyn Ave., Forsyth, 478-994-2031, www.monroe.k12.ga.us

TWIGGS COUNTY

Twiggs County School System: 952 Main St., Jeffersonville, 478-945-3127, www.twiggsk12ga.com

Twiggs Academy: 961 Hamlin Floyd Road, Jeffersonville, 478-945-3175

BIBB COUNTY

Central Georgia Technical College

3300 Macon Tech Drive, Macon, 478-757-3400, www.centralgatech.edu. Central Georgia Technical College’s Macon campus is a two-year public commuter college serving students in Bibb, Baldwin, Crawford, Jones, Monroe, Putnam and Twiggs counties.

Georgia College (branch)

433 Cherry St., Suite B, Macon, 478-752-4278. The Macon Center offers professional graduate programs for those already in the workforce.

Middle Georgia State University

100 College Station Drive, Macon, 478-471-2700, www.mga.edu. A four-year, residential, bachelor’s degree-awarding college serving nearly 9,000 students with campuses in Cochran, Dublin, Eastman, Macon and Warner Robins.

Mercer University

1400 Coleman Ave., Macon, 478-301-2700, www.mercer.edu. Founded in 1883 Mercer University offers programs in fields such as liberal arts, business, engineering, education, medicine, law, pharmacy and theology.

Miller-Motte Technical College (branch)

175 Tom Hill Sr. Blvd., Macon, 478-803-4800, www.miller-motte.edu. In Macon, Miller-Motte offers courses in cosmetology, management, massage therapy, medical assistant training, medical billing and coding, medical laboratory assistant and medical laboratory technician.

University of Phoenix (branch)

6055 Lakeside Commons Drive, 478-298-6140, www.phoenix.edu. Generally, University of Phoenix offers programs in arts and sciences, business management, criminal justice and security, education, human services, nursing and health care, psychology and technology.

Virginia College

1900 Eisenhower Parkway, Macon, 478-803-4600, www.vc.edu. In Macon, Virginia College offers fast-track career training in areas such as business and office, health and medical, medical billing, medical office and cosmetology.

Wesleyan College

4760 Forsyth Road, Macon, 478-477-1110, www.wesleyancollege.edu. Chartered in 1836, Wesleyan offers women undergraduate degrees in 31 major and 26 minor academic programs. Master of education and executive master of business administration graduate programs are available to men and women.

HOUSTON COUNTY

Central Georgia Technical College

80 Cohen Walker Drive, Warner Robins, 478-988-6800, www.centralgatech.edu. CGTC’s Warner Robins campus provides programs leading to certificates, diplomas and associate degrees. Among CGTC’s academic programs are business and technology, health care and human services, industrial technology and public services.

Fort Valley State University (branch)

151 Osigian Blvd., Warner Robins, 478-971-3322 www.fvsu.edu

Georgia Military College (branch)

801 Duke Ave., Warner Robins, 478-225-4978, www.gmc.cc.ga.us.

Middle Georgia State College (branch)

100 University Blvd., Warner Robins, 478-929-6700, www.mga.edu

PEACH COUNTY

Fort Valley State University

1005 State University Drive, Fort Valley, 478-825-6211, www.fvsu.edu. FVSU offers its students educational opportunities through its colleges of agriculture, family sciences and technology, arts and sciences, education, graduate studies and extended education and other programs.

BALDWIN COUNTY

Central Georgia Technical College (branch)

54 Ga. 22, Milledgeville, 478-445-2300, www.centralgatech.edu

Georgia College

231 W. Hancock St., Milledgeville, 478-445-5004, www.gcsu.edu. Providing an undergraduate residential liberal arts educational environment offering students extensive knowledge and strategic skills for becoming thriving, productive citizens.

Georgia Military College

201 E. Greene St., Milledgeville, 478-387-4900, www.gmc.cc.ga.us. A liberal arts community college, Georgia Military has degree programs and offers associate degrees to prepare students to transfer to senior level colleges.

CRAWFORD COUNTY

Central Georgia Technical College (branch)

640 Ga. 128, Roberta, 478-836-6024, www.centralgatech.edu

JONES COUNTY

Central Georgia Technical College (branch)

1415 Ga. 22 East, Haddock, 478-932-5076, www.centralgatech.edu

Central Georgia Technical College (branch)

161 W. Clinton St., Gray, 478-986-4370, www.centralgatech.edu

MONROE COUNTY

Central Georgia Technical College (branch)

433 U.S. 41 South, Forsyth, 478-992-2717, www.centralgatech.edu

TWIGGS COUNTY

Central Georgia Technical College (branch)

952 Main St., Jeffersonville, 478-945-6951, www.centralgatech.edu

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