Students will have a few more options to consider when declaring a major this fall at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus.
The school, which offers mostly associate degrees, will soon offer four-year undergraduate degrees in English, mathematics and health and physical education.
Chaudron Gille, associate vice president of university affairs and academic services, said the new programs were an “easy choice” to roll out in its first year as a consolidated institution. The university was formed in January from the former Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega.
“Gainesville (State College) had already been working on a proposal for those,” Gille said. “We had the facilities, the faculty and the funds in place to offer that without needing additional resources.”
The Gainesville campus will also offer majors in accounting, finance and management in the fall. The courses were offered at Gainesville State College through a collaborative program with NGCSU prior to consolidation.
Gille explained that introducing new degree programs at any of the university’s four campuses, which include Cumming and Watkinsville, can be challenging.
“When you’re analyzing bringing a program to a campus you have to look at do you have the demand, do you have the faculty ... and do you have the appropriate space,” Gille said.
To help determine which programs may be desired at the different campuses, the university surveyed students.
“In theory, any program that North Georgia had could now be delivered on (the Gainesville) campus, but we really have to look at student demand,” Gille said.
She said the university will begin phasing in more programs gradually.
“We’ve projected some potential ones for year two and year three,” Gille said. “But we really need to do the studies and see if the demand on campus and the faculty is in place to deliver the curriculum or can we build that into our budget process.”
Gille said other programs are “in the works” and awaiting approval from the state Board of Regents.
Another likely program to be offered in Gainesville in the near future is communications. The school already has facilities in place to support such a program.
“The number of (students majoring) in that are growing,” Gille said. “So we expect to have that in the future. I can’t give a timeline but that is one we expect to see.”
While it’s likely the Gainesville campus will experience some growth in terms of which programs are offered, the Dahlonega campus also could get new programs.
“It’s not just what is strategically feasible to move to Gainesville,” Richard Oates, associate provost for academic administration, said. “But what unique strong programs that are currently housed on the Gainesville campus could be delivered and replicated on other campuses in the university.”
Oates said a lot of those questions will be addressed now that the university has completed consolidation. The institution will begin strategic planning, a process Oates said could last until the end of the semester.
One of the university’s biggest goals is to offer more opportunities for students to complete degree programs.
Oates said it was the detailed planning that took place between the schools during consolidation that has allowed the university to offer more programs between campuses in such a smooth manner.
“It is a very interesting time,” Oates said. “As we’re looking at how to best utilize the process and the strengths of the two previous universities and leverage those strengths to strengthen the new university — it’s exciting. It gives a different dimension that neither institution, I don’t think had prior to that consolidation.”