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Technical college head lauds relationship with University System

POSTED: March 29, 2013 12:02 a.m.

The relationship between Georgia’s technical colleges and the University System of Georgia “is better than it has ever been,” the Technical College System of Georgia’s commissioner said Thursday in Gainesville.

Ron Jackson, speaking at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors meeting, said 27 core classes in the technical college system are now transferable to the University System.

“We had five for about five years. It took us two years to get five more approved,” he said.

After Hank M. Huckaby became University System chancellor in May 2011, 17 more courses were approved, Jackson said.

“That kind of working relationship bodes well for Georgia, our education enterprise and for our workforce,” he said.

“I want to salute the chancellor for the great work he’s doing to make sure Georgia students have a lot of opportunities ... that we’re not getting in the way of students.”

Jackson also referred to Complete College Georgia, a joint effort between the two college systems, to produce 250,000 additional graduates by 2020.

Data has shown that of 100 people who enter a postsecondary institution in Georgia, only 20 will emerge with a four-year degree in eight years.

“We are losing people right and left ... and we’re just not going to let that happen any more,” Jackson said.

“We have to look at why are these people not completing, what’s happening to those who fall out, why are we losing so many students at such critical times,” he said.

Students get married, have children and face other challenges that divert their focus, he said.

“Some stay in school too long. Some finally get a four-year degree, but it takes them eight years,” Jackson said, drawing some chuckles from the audience.

Jackson also talked about Lanier Technical College’s leadership transition.

Russell Vandiver resigned as president last week, and Laura Elder, vice president of administrative services, has been appointed acting president.

The State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia will vote next week on a recommendation for a new president.

The finalists are Jamie Loyd, vice president of economic development at Columbus Technical College in Columbus; Ray Perren, president of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College in Valdosta; and Joanne Tolleson, vice president of institutional effectiveness and operations at Lanier Technical College.

“They’re all strong candidates, so whomever the selection will be, I know you’ll be proud of,” Jackson said.


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