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Budget cuts may delay 4-year college degree programs

POSTED: January 11, 2010 11:17 p.m.

As enrollment continues to swell and state budget cuts loom, Gainesville State College is paving the way for nearly a dozen more bachelor’s degree programs.

Gainesville State College President Martha Nesbitt said the traditionally two-year college began offering its first four-year degree in 2005. Now with five bachelor’s degree programs, the institution may offer another degree this fall if the University System Board of Regents approves it, she said.

The pending degree would allow students to earn a bachelor of arts in human services delivery and administration. While demand is high for the forthcoming degree and additional teaching degrees that are in the works, state cuts may stall the implementation of the new programs, Nesbitt said.

"Once we have approval, then we could delay, if we needed to, starting the program. But we would have it on the books, so to speak," she said. "We’re not looking to do that, but sometimes that’s where budget cuts do come in. Budget cuts would hurt if we couldn’t have the faculty we needed, and in the case of science, it might have to do with some equipment."

The human services degree is furthest along in the approval process, Nesbitt said.

"It’s a broad degree," she said. "What people will generally do is take a track in social work or gerontology or nonprofit work. It’s a great degree for this area because there’s a lot of retirees and there’s also a lot of need for social work."

Nesbitt said college administrators are in the process of submitting formal proposals to regents outlining curriculums for two bachelor of science degrees that could be offered in 2011. The programs would turn out biology and mathematics majors who have a concentration in secondary education.

Six other teaching-related bachelor’s degrees in art, English, history, political science, economics and middle school education are in early stages at Gainesville State. Pending regents’ approval, the education degrees could be offered to students between 2011 and 2013, Nesbitt said.

"We need more teachers in the state of Georgia, and of course we’re living in one of the fastest growing areas of the state," she said. "So it’s really responding to a regional need, and it’s providing students with an opportunity they may not be able to get elsewhere."

College leaders also are exploring a bachelor’s degree program in communication and public service in addition to a program for applied research and psychology.



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