David A. Bell is interviewed by MSC-TV during grand opening
festivities for the newly renovated Library building on the
Macon campus. (Photo:
This fall, as he reached his eighth anniversary
as College president, Dr. David A. Bell reflected on what
Central Georgia can expect from Macon State over the next five years
Q. What is the significance of Macon State's enrollment
exceeding 6,000 students for the first time in its history?
A. While 6,145 students place us among the growth leaders in the
University System, the best news is what's going on behind the
number. It means that 6,145 Central Georgians - students just out of
high school, working mothers, young veterans and older adults
changing careers - all recognize the value of higher education and
are going to college. That's tremendously important because Central
Georgia's future prosperity and quality of life will be largely
determined by the talent of these students. When they graduate, more
than 90 percent will remain in Central Georgia to teach our
children, provide quality healthcare and contribute to the success
of business, industry and Robins AFB.
We pay attention to the numbers because we must anticipate the
needs for faculty and teaching facilities, although we don't measure
our success by the size of the student body. It's more about
outcomes and what our graduates contribute to society.
State College has shown remarkable growth and progress in
recent years. Since 1998, the College has:
• Increased enrollment
73 percent to a record total of 6,145 students as of fall
2005. More than 1,800 students are taking classes at the
Warner Robins Campus, also a record.
• Launched eight bachelor
of science degrees in areas that address professional
workforce needs in Central Georgia: business,
communications, early childhood education, health
information management, health services administration,
information technology, nursing and public service.
Undertaken more than $65 million in new construction
projects, including the Student Life Center, a permanent
Warner Robins Campus and the Charles H. Jones Building,
which houses the divisions of nursing & health sciences and
natural sciences & math, as well as the brand new division
of education. Macon State's Library reopened this fall after
extensive renovations, expansion and unsurpassed
• Secured new grants
totaling at least $6.3 million, including funding for
technology initiatives, minority student achievement and
ongoing development of the campus botanical gardens project.
• Along with the MSC
Foundation, built endowment funds totaling $6.9 million to
assist in the development and improvement of the college.
Q. Will the College continue to expand facilities over the
next few years?
A. The College has one major building project, the Professional
Sciences Building, which is currently number five on the Board of
Regents' priority list of major projects. We plan to pursue funding
to build a facility for our education programs. And we hope to
significantly increase the square footage of the Warner Robins
Campus to support the tremendous growth we're seeing there. All of
our campuses will continue to become even more beautiful through the
development of the Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens and other
projects. We want our students, our faculty and staff and the public
at large to find an attractive, hospitable environment at Macon
Q. What kind of academic programs and economic initiatives do
you see Macon State College developing by 2010?
A. We will continue to embrace and refine the philosophy that the
presence of a robust metropolitan college is a key factor in
strengthening the economy of the region it serves. Among other
things, that will mean introducing additional bachelor's degree
programs at Macon State, and they will tie in with what the most
important enterprises of Central Georgia - Robins Air Force Base,
the healthcare industry, education and business - need in terms of
personnel and expertise.
Some new programs will be built around emerging trends in
information technology. Others may stem from baccalaureate programs
we already have. In education, for example, we hope to expand to
majors in middle and secondary grades. I know this for certain: new
degree programs will focus on what Central Georgia needs.
We are also going to at least double our efforts to support the
region's major enterprises with ongoing professional development.
That means more initiatives like what we are doing at our Warner
Robins Campus through the Institute for Business & Information
Management. One of the Institute's major projects is providing ways
for Robins Air Force Base personnel to fully engage the efficiency
improvement method known as Lean.
The College is also going to do more to support our graduates
over the course of their careers, which is crucial given the fact
that more than 90 percent of our graduates remain in Central
Georgia. It's not enough that we graduate students with degrees in
accounting; we need to give the opportunities to return to the
campus to continuously update their accounting skills and keep up
with the trends in their profession.
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