EGSC’s growth increases access in 2018

EGSC’s growth increases access in 2018

by Norma Kennedy | April 15, 2019
Last Edited: June 04, 2019 by Katelyn Moore
EGSC’s growth increases access in 2018

East Georgia State College saw many changes in 2018, from breaking ground on new buildings to providing new opportunities for students to enhance their learning experiences. It was a year of change, but EGSC remained focused on providing students the ability to access their future.

Paving New Ways to Success
   At East Georgia State College, there are many ways to a successful education. The introduction of its RN-BSN Bridge Program in 2016 allowed working nurses to continue their education and earn a Bachelor of Nursing degree online in an affordable, supportive program. In 2018, EGSC recognized the first two cohorts of the RN-BSN Bridge Program during the first White Coat Ceremony. Twenty students were presented official white lab coats designating them as EGSC BSN students and honored for their commitment to continue their education.
   The RN-BSN Bridge Program also went through the process of becoming accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), with a site visit in September. The results of this visit should be known in 2019. The RN-BSN Bridge Program was also named the Most Affordable Online College for Nursing Degrees by OnlineU, which publishes an annual list of the most affordable colleges in the nation.
   EGSC also focused on offering internship opportunities and new experiences for its students in 2018. Partnerships with the Swainsboro Animal Clinic and Emanuel Medical Center allowed EGSC Bachelor of Science in Biology students to gain hands-on knowledge of their future careers while still working towards earning their degree, while political science students earned prestigious internships in Atlanta and entry into programs in Washington, D.C.

A Focus on Leadership
   East Georgia State College is committed to providing experiences to students that will help them thrive in their future careers, and, to that end, the Student Leadership Program was developed in partnership with the UGA Cooperative Extension Service to provide an opportunity for students to further develop the skills and leadership qualities needed to become effective campus and community leaders. The program began in September 2018 with 50 students and will run through April 2019, providing participants with leadership skills that will serve them well now and after their graduation from EGSC.
   Leadership skills for faculty and staff also became a focus in 2018, and the Staff Leadership Program was also formed in 2018 to help employees develop effective leadership skills as higher education professionals. The program began at the end of August and will run through July 2019, allowing EGSC employees to develop professionally and better serve students.
   EGSC also began a new initiative in the 2017-2018 school year to honor select high school juniors throughout their service area. The L.E.A.D. the Way Program recognizes high school juniors through their Leadership, Engagement, Achievement and Dedication, and nominations were at the discretion of each school’s guidance office. The program honored students from 16 area schools in 2018.

Breaking New Ground
   In August, East Georgia State College broke ground on its newest capital improvement project: the expansion of the Jean Anderson Morgan (JAM) Student Activities Center. This project will add approximately 15,000 square feet to the existing facility and will provide much-needed student activity space, including a large multi-purpose room, digital gaming, larger game room, offices and a meeting room for the Student Government Association, student publications offices, and student life administrative space. The existing JAM Center is also undergoing renovations as space formerly occupied by student activities will be repurposed for a larger college bookstore, as well as open computing space and student group study nodes.
   EGSC also recognized the gift of the Gambrell family of 138 acres of land adjoining the campus on Lambs Bridge Road. Donated in 2017, this land underwent a strategic timber management plan implementation in 2018 that saw a focus on sustainability and will see the replanting of long leaf pine where cutting was necessary. The property will be utilized for several academic pursuits, especially in the Biology program, and will focus on allowing native wildlife species to return to their natural habitat.
   EGSC also introduced new opportunities for students, including the beginning of Spring Break Study Abroad opportunities. In 2018, students traveled to Cortona, Italy, for Spring Break and were able to visit Rome, Milan and Florence. The EGSC Costa Rica Study Abroad Program also saw students visit the country during Maymester to continue their studies, and trips to both Italy and Costa Rica are scheduled for Spring Break 2019.
   Travel abroad is an exciting opportunity, but sometimes traveling the local area is just as exciting. To better serve students, EGSC introduced the Bobcat Express in September. The bus route provides students the opportunity to travel to various locations in Swainsboro, with stops at shopping centers and downtown venues each Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This route reinforces EGSC’s historically strong connection between the college and the Swainsboro community, and allows students to participate in community activities as well as be an active part of the local economy.

Staying Green
   East Georgia State College continued its commitment to the environment in 2018 and was recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, becoming one of 19 colleges and universities in Georgia and over 300 in the nation to help combat issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being and energy through the care and management of campus tree populations. An ongoing process, the continuing commitment to promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of preservation allows EGSC to provide unique experiences for its students through educational programming for the campus and community as well as helping maintain a healthy tree population on campus.
   EGSC also continued their Bee Campus USA designation with the hives of Bobcat Apiary and a commitment to supporting pollinators on campus. The Student Government Association partnered with the EGSC STEMM Club to plant a new Memorial Garden in 2018 in honor of students who have passed away. The garden is populated with pollinator-supporting species and serves as a place of quiet reflection on campus.
   The Apiary also continued educational outreach in the community by visiting Franklin Memorial Library as part of Pollinator Week and sharing information during GreenFest in Statesboro as well as the downtown Swainsboro farmers market in recognition of Earth Day. The Sudie A. Fulford Community Learning Center also partnered with the program for Bee Inspired, a pollinator awareness night featuring the bees of Bobcat Apiary and lots of activities promoting pollinator awareness.
   East Georgia State College also received a grant to establish a plant growing facility featuring a hoop garden and raised beds. This will allow the EGSC biology program to help preserve endangered native species and provide education and awareness to the community about native plant species in areas such as the Ohoopee Dunes. The growing spaces will allow EGSC to grow native species and then help reintroduce them to their native habitats, as well as for education and outreach with surrounding elementary and middle schools.

Awards and Recognitions
   During 2018, several EGSC departments were honored by various organizations. In January, EGSC was named one of the most efficient disbursement programs in the country by BankMobile Disbursements. The ACE (Achieving Campus Efficiency) Award was presented to EGSC as one of the institutions that achieved campus efficiency by disbursing more than 90% of all financial aid refunds electronically and promoting the refund disbursement program/process so that more than 40% of all students, regardless of financial aid eligibility, completed the refund selection process. EGSC’s Sheila Mosely, Business Affairs Accountant I, and the Information Technology team consisting of Wilder Coleman, Jr., Database Administrator; and Victor Poole, Web Services Specialist, spearheaded the disbursement project and were presented with the ACE Award.
   In April, EGSC President Dr. Bob Boehmer was honored by the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society with the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction. This award honors college presidents who have demonstrated outstanding effort toward promoting the goals of PTK. The award is named in honor of the late Dr. Shirley B. Gordon, long-time chair of the PTK Board of Directors and president emeritus of Highline College in Washington. Dr. Boehmer was the only president in Georgia to be recognized with this honor in 2018.
   In May, EGSC’s Plant Operations department was recognized with the Joseph M. White Award from the Georgia Association of Physical Plant Administrators (GAPPA). This award, a $1,000 grant, honors Joseph M. White, who was a charter member of GAPPA. The grant will be used for staff safety training and a lunch and learn series at the College.
   EGSC’s Biology Program was also honored in September 2018, being named INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine’s 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM. This award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. EGSC was one of 77 recipients nationally to be featured in INSIGHT Into Diversity’s September edition.

A Record Year for Athletics
   The Bobcat Athletic Program continued to grow in 2018, seeing several of its athletes honored by the GCAA. The Bobcat Basketball Team saw four young men make the All-Star Team. They were De’Miria Glover of Monticello, Ga., Aaron Reddick of Douglasville, Tariq Jenkins of Jonesboro and Dallas Jacks of Douglasville. The Lady Bobcat Basketball Team was also honored to have Khari Jernigan of Lilburn, Aandia Mayhew of McDonough and Daniella Vizcaya of Hiram, named to the GCAA All-Star Team.
   The Bobcat Baseball Team also had the best season on EGSC record in 2018, posting the most wins in conference history for EGSC at 24 and 6, and the most wins in a season for EGSC at 32 and 17. They also saw seven players named to GCAA All-Conference Teams. Outfielder Nathan Fancher, infielders Drew Haywood and Keven Jimenez, DH Ashton Pratt and pitcher Rhett Gay were named to the First Team All Conference. Infielder Christian Castro and pitcher Tyler Owens were named to the Second Team All Conference.
   The Lady Bobcat Softball Team also posted a great season, which came to a close for 2018 with an impressive regular season of 27 and 14 and a conference record of 16 and 12. Four softball players were also honored by the GCAA:  Breanca Davis, a sophomore from Lizella, Ga., plays outfield. Catcher Libbi Lance is a sophomore catcher from Commerce, Ga. TaNiya Moye is a sophomore outfielder from Soperton, Ga. Taylor Long is a sophomore infielder from Milledgeville.

Creating Your Path
   East Georgia State College’s annual College Readiness Tour was held in February and March of 2018, to inform high school students of their options after graduating from high school. The 2018 theme was “Create Your Own Path,” and students at the 22 area high schools visited heard from EGSC students about the importance of continuing their education. The tour serves not only as an important information tool for area students, but a reaffirmation of the importance of EGSC’s mission to provide students access to both academically transferable pathways and collaborative programs in occupation related fields and  preparing traditional and nontraditional students for success in the global 21st century through a technologically advanced teaching and learning environment that fosters personal growth by utilizing an expanding range of resources and amenities.
   EGSC continued that mission in 2018, seeing 143 students cross the stage to receive their degrees in the Spring Commencement Ceremony and 114 in the Fall Commencement Ceremony. In 2018, 130 students received their Associate of Arts degrees, 21 received their Associate of Science degrees, two Bachelor of Science in Biology, 10 Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and two CHOICE Program Certificates of Accomplishment in Work Readiness Skills.
   2018 saw the first cohort of BSN students earn their degrees and go on to further their careers, and the Associate of Science degree was awarded for the first time.
   All of these students were able to complete their college education at EGSC without incurring large amounts of student debt due to EGSC’s continuing efforts to provide the lowest tuition rates in Georgia along with many scholarship options provided through the hard work of the EGSC Foundation. Although enrollment at many state colleges across the University System of Georgia is on the decline, EGSC continues to provide a high-quality education at an affordable cost, allowing students of all ages access to a successful future.