Juniors & Seniors Make
Up Growing Percentages of MSC Enrollment
By Sheron Smith
Dr. David de Posada, left, assistant
professor of foreign language, talks to Macon State juniors
Ashley Walker, center, and Lindsay Bliss, both communications
majors. The percentage of juniors at Macon State is now comparable
to most state universities in Georgia, and the percentage
of seniors continues to grow as well.
by Sheron Smith
What Ashley Walker remembers most about her classes as a freshman
and sophomore is that she "listened a lot and took tons of
Her upper-division classes, which she began recently after transferring
to Macon State College as a junior, are turning out a bit differently.
"I fell in love with college after gender studies, my first
upper-division class," said Walker, 20, a Stratford Academy
graduate majoring in communications. "Everybody read the material
in advance and we spent class time debating and learning new theory.
That's what upper-division classes will do - make you think, not
Nearly five years after Macon State began offering bachelor of
science degrees, the college's growing number of juniors and seniors
are changing the academic culture.
"Faculty enjoy teaching freshmen and sophomores, but the more
juniors and seniors you have, the more stimulating the academic
environment is," said Macon State President David A. Bell.
"Faculty enjoy sharing the excitement of their discipline with
students who have chosen the same discipline as their major and
are further along in their studies. And the intellectual development
of juniors and seniors begins to have an impact on other classes
they take, even those that are not in their majors."
Dr. Mimi Ford, an associate professor of accounting who teaches
both introductory and advanced classes, said most students are more
motivated by the time they reach their junior and senior years.
"They usually are more interested in the subject matter and
show more responsibility and a take-charge attitude," she said.
"It's a much different experience than teaching freshman and
The percentage of students in Macon State's junior class is now
comparable to most four-year state universities in Georgia. MSC's
percentage of seniors hasn't yet caught up with most such institutions
but will continue to grow as the College's baccalaureate mission
According to MSC's Office of Institutional Research, juniors made
up 14.6 percent of Macon State's enrollment in fall 2001, putting
the college in the same statistical ballpark as Albany State University
(15.5 percent), Armstrong Atlantic State University (15.5 percent),
Augusta State University (16.8 percent), Clayton College & State
University (18.9 percent), Fort Valley State University (17.8 percent),
Savannah State University (16.9 percent) and State University of
West Georgia (16.6 percent).
Seniors made up 8.8 percent of Macon State's enrollment in fall
2001. At most comparable state schools, the percentage of seniors
was 20 percent to 25 percent.
The Board of Regents categorizes the state's 34 colleges and universities
in five ways: major research universities, regional universities,
state universities, state colleges and two-year colleges. State
colleges have the unique mission of continuing to offer a variety
of associate's degrees along with a sharp focus on baccalaureate
programs that meet their regions' economic needs. State universities
offer baccalaureate programs and some graduate degrees.
Bell said it's useful for Macon State to compare itself to state
universities because of the variety of baccalaureate programs they
offer and their healthy mix of student class levels. As the college's
baccalaureate mission continues to expand over the next few years,
he expects the percentage of Macon State seniors to become comparable
to state universities.
The number of students graduating from Macon State with four-year
degrees continues to rise each year. Thirteen students graduated
in the first baccalaureate class in 1999. This spring, about 185
are scheduled to graduate with bachelor's degrees in business, communications,
health services administration, health information management, information
technology and public service.