Georgia Perimeter College Newsroom

GPC In the News

Rob Jenkins article on consolidation in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Professor Paul Hudson featured in Wall Street Journal article on time capsules

Trying to Capture a Moment, Many Lose Track of Time

(reprinted from the Wall Street Journal, Aug. 2, 2015)

One day in March 1963, as workers were building Houston’s Astrodome, politicians and business leaders gathered at the construction site. They held a brief ceremony and placed a time capsule of mementos into a hole. Workers then covered it over and resumed construction of the 9-acre complex.

Earlier this year, Ed Emmett, the top elected official in Houston’s Harris County, saw a photo of the event accompanying a newspaper article. He asked his staff about it. “They all went, ‘What time capsule?’” he says.

Mr. Emmett sent in the sheriff’s bomb squad with ground-penetrating radar to find the capsule. Their hypothesis: it is likely buried under a concrete support. But digging for it could structurally damage the dome, they say.

“Basically we don’t have any idea” where it is, Mr. Emmett says.

Many people, from small town mayors to the late Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, have felt the need to memorialize the present by sending a love letter to the future. But most time capsules are lost, says Paul Hudson, a 64-year-old history professor at Georgia Perimeter College and president of the four-member International Time Capsule Society.

“People seem to forget about them as soon as they bury them,” he says. “They move on to other things.”

Even the time capsule that inspired the society’s creation—the “Crypt of Civilization” at Oglethorpe University outside Atlanta—was itself forgotten for decades. Mr. Hudson was an Oglethorpe undergraduate in 1970 when he stumbled on the crypt’s sealed door in a basement hallway crammed with text books and junk. It was one of the most famous time capsules in the world when it was sealed with fanfare in 1940. It isn’t supposed to be opened until the year 8113.

“I saw this large stainless steel door and there were cobwebs on it,” says Mr. Hudson on a recent visit to the basement. “I read the plaque and I thought, ‘What is this?’ ”

In 1990, on the 50th anniversary of the crypt, Mr. Hudson and three other men launched the society to spark interest in time capsules and teach best practices. Many capsules are lost to poor record keeping or forgetfulness, says Mr. Hudson, who students once called “the crypt keeper.” Others are stolen, vandalized or so poorly made they collapse into a “soggy mess” when recovered, he says.

The society estimates 9,000 of the world’s 10,000 time capsules have been lost.

“Lots of people just poop out,” says Will Jarvis, 70, author of a book on time capsules and another society co-founder.

The loose-knit society fields questions every week from people looking to build, or find, a time capsule. It posts a to-do list on Oglethorpe’s website for time capsule makers: make sure it is securely sealed, be sure to document when and where you seal it, and be careful what’s in it (books and clothes, yes; food that can spoil, no). On its list of don’ts: No burying.

In 1983, actors from the television show “M*A*S*H” decided to bury a medical chest full of souvenirs—dog tags, a rosary, surgical clamps—on the Hollywood set where the show was filmed, according to Alan Alda, a star of the show. They were taking a cue from an episode in which the characters bury a time capsule, he says.

The actors hoped the capsule would stay buried for 50 or 100 years, he says, but about a month or two later the land was sold off for an office building. A construction worker found the chest and called to ask what to do with it. They told the man he could keep it. “And it’s the last time I’m going to have anything to do with a time capsule,” Mr. Alda said in an email.

Also in 1983, organizers of the Aspen International Design Conference buried a capsule that included a computer mouse of Steve Jobs, a Rubik’s Cube and an eight-track cassette by the Moody Blues. It was supposed to be dug up in 2000, but after landscaping, no one could find it. The National Geographic television program “Diggers,” using metal detectors and a backhoe, uncovered the 13-foot-long metal cylinder in 2013.

This June, children at Camp Wewannago in New Lenox, Ill., found a time capsule made by campers in 2005. The capsule, a wooden chest holding plastic bracelets and other mementos, was supposed to be opened in 2006, following an annual tradition. But after the sand volleyball courts were renovated, no one could find the chest. The new annual game became trying to find the missing capsule. This year, they did.

“It was luck,” says Jason Braglia, 30, the park district’s program coordinator. He says in a few weeks camp counselors intend to bury a new time capsule. The district has a plan for this year’s capsule, he says: “Make a map.”

Humans have been trying to preserve historic treasures in containers for the future or the afterlife since at least ancient Egypt. For centuries, the Masons held ceremonies and put boxes of mementos in cornerstones of new buildings. One ceremony took place in 1793, when George Washington placed an inscribed silver plate under a cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol. People have been wondering for more than two centuries which stone holds the plate.

One of the most famous time capsules was buried in 1938 for the 1939 New York World’s Fair by the Westinghouse Electric Corp. That capsule, the location of which is clearly marked in Queens, is supposed to be opened in 6939.

The Atlanta crypt—a former indoor pool beneath the entrance to a Gothic-style building—is packed with material from 1940, including early televisions, 14 samples of Formica and a script from “Gone With The Wind.” Its creator, the late Oglethorpe President Thornwell Jacobs, chose 8113 as the year for the capsule to be opened because it was as far in the future from 1936—the year he declared his plan—as 4241 B.C.—the date that he believed the Egyptian calendar was established—was in the past.

Though the crypt was neglected for years, today the small liberal arts college takes better care of its oddity. The cobwebs are gone, and the capsule’s shiny door and explanatory plaques sit in a well-lit hallway between a fire extinguisher and a hand-sanitizer dispenser. If no one forgets about it again, plans are to open it in about 6,098 years.

Chancellor Huckaby talks about college issues, mergers in WABE interview

Thousands of Georgia students are going back to school this week. Most of the attention is focused on elementary and high school children, but Georgia’s colleges and universities are getting ready for a new year, too, with the start of the fall semester.

The head of the University System of Georgia, Chancellor Hank Huckaby, has led the system for four years now. Huckaby joined National Public Radio station's WABE's Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer on “A Closer Look” to discuss Georgia’s educational system, college mergers, funding, fee increases and more. Listen to the interview.

Streamlined Move on When Ready advantage for high school students

(reprinted from the Rockdale Citizen, July 30, 2015)

High school students have the chance to earn college credits in a new way with recent changes to Move On When Ready.

“In the old days dual enrollment was when a student took some courses in high school and some courses at (college). The Move on When Ready students took all their classes (at a college),” Georgia Perimeter College Newton Campus Move On When Ready coordinator Amanda Boone said. “Now the program has been streamlined … It’s dual credit, so while you’re sitting in the Georgia Perimeter College U.S. history course, you’re at the same time receiving credit for U.S. history in high school.”

The major change in the Move On When Ready program is that as of July 1 all costs for tuition, mandatory fees and books are covered for the student through state appropriations and post-secondary institutions, leaving the students to be responsible only for items labeled as course materials, such as calculators or software packages.

“That’s a huge change. I know it may sound small, but when you know how much textbooks are, that’s a huge deal. I know we’re all starting to move toward more electronic things, but I require textbooks every semester,” said Boone, who is also an English instructor.

The Newton Campus of GPC currently has around 100 Move On When Ready students, but Boone said she hopes to be able to set up information tables at the local high schools as soon as possible once school gets started.

“Rockdale County Public Schools students who qualify are encouraged to register for either an Advanced Placement course at their school or a Dual Enrollment course at Rockdale Career Academy or on a college campus,” RCPS Chief of Strategy and Innovation Cindy Ball said.

The program at GPC is open to all rising high school juniors and seniors, including home school and private school students, who have a minimum of 3.0 GPA in their core classes and have a minimum combined critical score of 970 on the SAT or a composite score of 20 on the ACT. They also require a minimum critical reading score of 480 and a minimum critical math score of 440 on the SAT. The minimum English score on the ACT is 20, with a minimum score of 18 on the math portion.

“The Move On When Ready program provides an excellent opportunity for our students to gain exposure to college courses while completing their high school requirements. We encourage students to take advantage of any opportunity that will better prepare them for life after high school graduation,” Newton County School System Director of Secondary Schools Shannon Buff said.

Any credit hours taken at college under the University System of Georgia will transfer to another state school under the transfer agreement guarantees between many colleges in the USG. However, credit transfers for any student going out of state or to schools that are not part of the USG will be accepted at the discretion of the university.

For more information, visit the GPC website at

“Simply apply to the college and classify as a dual enrollment student,” Boone said. “Then apply to the college just like anyone else. It’s not technically too late because we have a rolling acceptance date.”

Freedom Funds help three go to college

(article reprinted from the Rockdale News, June 6, 2015)

Three local Rockdale students and their families were aided in their pursuit of higher education with $1000 scholarships from the Rockdale County NAACP chapter, presented at the June 1 meeting.

Shamiiah Beaman, of Salem High’s Class of 2015, is attending Georgia Perimeter College to study criminal justice and to go into law or cosmetology as a career field. She is oldest of nine siblings, quite a few whom were adopted, and was involved with the Interact Club, a volunteer service organization. The scholarship is a definite help to her mother, Natasha Beaman. “I was really really excited for her,” said Natasha. “She’s worked really hard.”

Jamaya Booker, of Heritage High’s Class of 2015, is attending Spelman College with a goal of perhaps going into nursing. She was also a winner in the Rotary Club Laws of Life essay contest, and was active in cheerleading and the color guard. “I was really excited because I need a lot of scholarships” to attend Spelman, she said. 

Jaire Duncan, of Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology’s Class of 2015, is attending the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., with the goal of going on to Columbia University, to study computer science. His mother, Heather Duncan, said they initially learned of the scholarship from Carol Wilson at Heritage High and were happy when they heard Jaire had won. 

Tommy Plummer, chair of the Education Committee, reiterated the importance of supporting young people in their pursuits and in the importance of young people knowing how to pursue their goals. "This is going to be a start of how life is really going to be at you," said Plummer. "It depends on how much you're really willing to put into it."

Georgia aggressive in helping veterans manage college hurdles

Article reprinted from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 30, 2015:

Most people meet Wesley McReavy’s service dog, Kiah, before they meet him. And McReavy is fine with that.

A few years ago, McReavy was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Years in the military — including his last deployment to Iraq — had taken their toll, leaving the Marine and Army veteran with anxiety and uneasy feelings of being overwhelmed. Before Kiah and after a medical discharge in 2011, McReavy, 36, was content to spend most of his time at home, venturing out only when absolutely necessary.

His condition could have been a barrier to a college degree, but this year he earned one from Georgia Perimeter College. Working closely with the school’s military and disability services teams, McReavy was able to complete his psychology studies with help from Kiah, who provides body blocks between strangers and her owner, cutting the hypersensitivity that can still make McReavy uneasy in some situations.

That accommodation is one example of steps Georgia’s colleges and universities take to educate and graduate a significant part of the state’s population: veterans and their families, whose lives after the time in uniform can be difficult.

Nationally, the number of veterans who are homeless nightly is about 50,000, and the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was 6.9 percent in April, higher than the 5.4 percent national average.

The Peach State is home to about 774,000 veterans and has the nation’s fifth-largest active-duty military population. About 9 percent of the state’s population is either serving or has served in the armed forces.

Earlier this month, McReavy was among more than 800 veterans to graduate from institutions in Georgia’s public college and university system. More than 960 military-affiliated students — either active-duty, reservists or veterans and their dependents and spouses — graduated this spring from the state’s technical college system. Final graduation numbers are still being calculated, but based on last year’s numbers, about 2.8 percent and 3.5 percent of University System and tech college system graduates had some military affiliation.

Georgia has been one of the most aggressive states at helping service members and their families. A returning veterans task force was started two years ago to better coordinate services offered by various state agencies, and a service and education center is planned for Warner Robins to help veterans and their families transition to civilian careers. Georgia was the second state in the country to offer in-state tuition to recent military veterans, their spouses and dependents receiving GI Bill funding, regardless of their residency; way ahead of an Obama administration requirement for all public colleges to do so.

Colleges here also waive fees for service members using military education benefits that don’t cover those expenses, and participate in federal and state grant and scholarship programs.

Within the past two years, the state’s university and technical college systems have also hired administrators — veterans themselves — for outreach efforts including training campus faculty and staff on dealing with military students and coordinating with area military bases.

Beyond academic and logistical challenges, veterans used to the discipline of the military are sometimes not used to the “unstructured environments of college,” said Patricia Ross, a retired colonel leading military affairs for Georgia’s technical college system.

“That’s one of our biggest complaints,” said Lacey Allen, 25, an Army veteran attending the University of North Georgia in Gainesville. Typical college experiences, such as instructors straying from their syllabus for impromptu assignments or discussions, can be disconcerting. “The structure we came from, appreciation of time and how much we value it … It’s very stressful when things ‘just happen.’ For us, that’s not OK.”

Schools like UNG have started student veteran organizations so Allen and her veteran colleagues can support each other through college’s ups and downs. For Allen, just getting to college was a feat. While on a training march with her unit carrying 30 pounds of gear, Allen fell, fracturing both her hips. She had recently been cleared to return to duty after giving birth to her son for what she thought would be a full military career. Instead, Allen received a medical retirement from the military at age 23.

These days Allen suffers from chronic bursitis in both hips and uses a cane to get around the North Georgia campus. She’s working toward a psychology degree, and plans to attend dental school after receiving her undergraduate degree as early as next fall.

That kind of perseverance makes veterans the perfect employees for Larry Ellis’ company, VetConnexx. Almost all employees of the customer service, call-center company in Atlanta are veterans. State education officials are working with companies like Ellis’ to provide training for workers and jobs for veterans now in college. “Our goals are to try to improve veteran unemployment,” said Ellis, a veteran and member of the state’s board of regents. The partnerships also lead to a more educated Georgia and keep college enrollment figures up, he said.

“There is a real value in going back to school,” McReavy, the veteran and Georgia Perimeter graduate, said. “It really is possible and something I initially never thought I would do. I would tell others, just take it one semester at a time.”

McReavy is already on to his next challenge. He is enrolled at Georgia State University and working toward a bachelor’s degree. And Kiah’s still right by his side.

Georgia is home to 774,000 veterans and the nation’s fifth-largest active-duty population. Roughly 9 percent of Georgia’s population is either currently serve (Active, Guard, Reserves) or served (veterans). Georgia has been aggressive in helping service members and their families navigate the transition from military to civilian life and matriculate through state colleges and universities.

University System of Georgia by the numbers:

6,525 - Veteran students utilizing GI Bill benefits

1,478 - Eligible family members utilizing GI Bill benefits

1,256 - Members of the National Guard/Reserves utilizing VA educational funding

26 - Campuses with a student veterans organization

25 - Campuses with a dedicated veteran resource center/military outreach center

24 - Campuses with veteran/military recognition at graduation (cord, stole, tassel or uniform)

15 - Institutions named “military friendly” by GI JOBS magazine

9 - Campuses with priority registration for veterans utilizing GI Bill

5 - USG schools listed as “Best for Vets” by Military Times

Technical College System of Georgia by the numbers

2,457 - Veterans using GI bill benefits, spring 2015

1,904 - Military dependents using GI bill benefits, spring 2015

10 of 23 - Schools designated military-friendly

8 - Schools with student veteran organizations

6 - Schools with dedicated veteran centers

4 - Schools with special recognition (cord or pin) for veterans at graduation

3 - Schools included on “Best for Vets” list for 2015

Source: University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia


GPC softball program enters last home stand before Georgia State merger

(Reprinted from the Rockdale Citizen, April 2, 2015)

Freshman La’Brisha Washington pitches at the Georgia Perimeter College Newton campus as the Jaguars host Gordon State College Wednesday in their next-to-last appearance at the stadium before GPC merges with Georgia State University. After next Tuesday’s doubleheader with Abraham Baldwin College, the team will finish its season on the road, ending an era of four decades of softball at the college that began as DeKalb College in 1964.

Georgia Perimeter grads excel at Georgia State

Three Georgia Perimeter graduates are featured as success stories on the front page of Georgia State University's website. Check out the stories of Brittany Logan, Omar Rodriguez and Dr. Pamela-Leggett Robinson. The three all credit GPC with giving them the foundation to move ahead in their lives.

Merger ups the ante for Dual Enrollment students

(an opinion column reprinted from the Gwinnett Daily Post, March 12, 2015)

It’s that time of year again — time for me to write about dual enrollment. I always choose early spring, of course, because that’s when rising high school seniors and their parents need to be thinking seriously about getting a head start on college by taking classes at a local campus.

It’s also the time of year when, if students are considering dual enrollment, they should be taking the SAT (if they haven’t already) and getting in their application materials.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, dual enrollment is a program that allows qualified high school seniors (and sometimes juniors) to take college classes. Those classes count toward their high school graduation, but they also translate into college credit hours that students can take with them wherever they go.

For example, a 12th-grader who took English Composition I and Pre-Calculus at the college would receive credit for senior-level language arts and math on his or her high school transcript — but that student would also receive college credit for those courses and therefore not have to take them again as a “freshman.”

Some dual enrollment students just take a class or two, but some attend college full-time, earning up to a year or more of credit while still technically in high school. And the state covers most of the costs, although students will probably be on the hook for books and some fees.

Even so, dual enrollment might just be one of the greatest bargains in the history of education. If you can get an entire year of college out of the way for a few hundred dollars, instead of several thousand — well, why wouldn’t you?

Unfortunately, a lot of local high school students (and their parents) still aren’t aware they can take college courses at Georgia Gwinnett College or Georgia Perimeter College. In some cases, that’s because their high schools don’t want them to know. But whether your school promotes it or not, once you’ve learned about dual enrollment, you have a right to look into it and see if it’s for you.

Both GGC and GPC have excellent, thriving dual enrollment programs (because the word IS getting out, whether the high schools want it to or not). But the impending merger between GPC and Georgia State University, which I talked about in last week’s column, is a game-changer.

Assuming all goes as expected, high school students who take dual enrollment classes on a GPC campus in 2015 — 2016 will have the opportunity to become full-fledged GSU students in the fall of 2016 — right there on the same campus, if they choose.

And those who start dual enrollment classes on a Perimeter campus in the fall of 2016 will actually be attending Georgia State at that point.

That seems like a powerful incentive for rising juniors and seniors in the north and east metro area to seriously consider dual enrollment.

Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and a professor at Georgia Perimeter College. The views expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer. Email Rob at

How the GPC-GSU merger could benefit Gwinnett students

(an opinion column reprinted from the Gwinnett Daily Post, March 7, 2015)

In the two months since the planned merger between Georgia Perimeter College and Georgia State University was announced, a picture of what the new, consolidated institution might look like has begun to emerge — even if it’s still a bit fuzzy around the edges.

As a professor at GPC, I was originally skeptical of the proposal. But I’m beginning to see that it could definitely benefit students, especially those in the north and east suburbs.

According to GSU president Mark Becker, what’s now GPC will essentially become a division of Georgia State. The Perimeter College unit, as he envisions it, will continue to do what GPC has always done — offer associate degrees and provide a point of access into the University System — while also serving as a kind of outreach arm for GSU’s downtown campus.

Because, let’s face it: High school students in Atlanta’s affluent suburbs haven’t always had Georgia State at the top of their list. Perhaps they think it’s “not as good a school” as UGA or Tech. Maybe they just don’t want to drive or live downtown.

It’s hard to argue with anyone who hates driving in Atlanta. But the idea that GSU isn’t a top-notch school is a misconception, probably based on outdated information. In recent years, GSU has climbed steadily in the national rankings — it’s now rated as “highly selective” — while gaining a reputation as a leader among urban universities.

The merger with GPC means that students in the north and east metro will be able to attend this sixth-ranked “up-and-coming” institution (according to US News and World Report) without having to go downtown, if they choose. Whether all five of GPC’s current locations survive the merger remains to be seen, but I suspect most will. That potentially places thousands of students, from Alpharetta to Covington, within 20 minutes of a GSU campus.

For many students, attending a branch campus could provide financial benefits, as well. Details regarding costs have yet to be fully worked out, but I expect that tuition at the Perimeter locations will continue to be about half of what students pay at GSU’s main campus.

Meanwhile, those who apply to GSU but aren’t accepted into a four-year program will be offered admission at one of the university’s two-year Perimeter campuses, assuming they qualify. From there, if they do well, they can move downtown for their final two years — or, if they prefer, they can transfer to another institution of their choice.

This ought to be a game-changer for Gwinnett high school students, most of whom live within easy driving distance of a GPC campus in Clarkston, Dunwoody, or Alpharetta. They’ll be able to attend one of the state’s top universities, right in their own backyard, for about half the price (at least for the first two years).

Maybe that realization, once it sinks home, will move GSU to the top of some students’ lists.

Rob Jenkins is a professor at Georgia Perimeter College’s Alpharetta Campus and the author of “Building a Career in America’s Community Colleges.” Email him at


University merger discussed in public meeting

(reprinted from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on on March 9, 2015)

Information about the planned merger of Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College will be discussed during a public meeting Thursday [March 12].

Officials from the University System of Georgia will be available to provide an update on the consolidation, which was approved by the Georgia Board of Regents on Jan. 6.

The meeting, hosted by Pride Rings in Stone Mountain (PRISM) and Rep. Michele Henson, D-Stone Mountain, will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday at St. Timothy’s United Methodist Church at 5365 Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain.

GPC student newspaper and English professor “re-imagine GPC as Georgia State”

Re-imagining GPC as Georgia State, according to Portnoy

The Collegian, Feb. 18, 2015

The Georgia Perimeter College and Georgia State University consolidation came as a surprise to most people affected by the process.

As usually occurs with change, many students and faculty members at GPC are apprehensive about the consolidation and the future of GPC.

To voice his own opinions on paper, Honors Program Director Dr. Jeffrey Portnoy drafted a document detailing point-by-point overarching aspects of GPC he believes should be kept in mind during this process.

“I was interested in putting this document together because I didn’t really see the members of the GPC community having an opportunity to talk about what we think we are and what we think we can be and should be, given our consolidation with Georgia State University,” said Portnoy.

“Since I didn’t see that happening in a substantial way, I thought I would try to move us in that direction by offering what I think are the essential elements to such a re-envisioned institution so that we would have something to work with and something to negotiate for and to argue for as we move forward.”

The document was sent to GPC Interim President Rob Watts as well as other members of the GPC faculty and administration.

Portnoy says that this document reflects his personal opinion, but he believes it should be shared with the GPC community, and he hopes that the members of the Consolidation Implementation Committee agree with him.

The document states the following with further explanation on each point from Portnoy:

  • “GPC will preserve the rank and tenure of current faculty members.”

JP: At the town hall meeting, it sounded like GSU intends to preserve the rank and tenure of faculty members. But I wanted to state it here because I think it’s essential. If what you want to create is in fact an exemplary teaching institution, you have to have faculty with rank and with tenure to preserve academic integrity and academic freedom and standards. Clearly, the institutions that don’t have rank and tenure have some other issues to contend with that I think we don’t want to have here.

  • “GPC will preserve its teaching mission by continuing to hire tenured and tenure-track faculty and will not become a facility for training graduate students to teach.”

JP: Certainly, I have great respect for graduate students and teaching assistants. I was one myself for many years, but one of the trade-offs of students attending a premier research institution is that they are going to have TAs teaching some of their classes. That is not what GPC’s been about, what it’s ever been about. I think that underscores why students are getting a quality education here: they’re being taught by real faculty members.

  • “GPC faculty members will continue to receive professional development funds to attend conferences, to present at conferences, and to support their research and publication activities.”

JP: It’s important for faculty members to be involved with their disciplines and to be engaged with other scholars. While we are a teaching institution and primarily judged as faculty members on our teaching, a part of being an engaged faculty member is participating in conferences and discussions with other peers and presenting papers. All of those things are certainly a given at Georgia State, and if those opportunities are taken away from the faculty here, I think the role and place of faculty will be diminished.

The truth is university and college administrators come and go, students come and go, but faculty members remain. They’re the heart of the institution, and education is about what goes on in the classroom and the relationship between students and faculty members.

  • “The teaching load for fulltime faculty at GPC will be four-four.”

JP: Four-four refers to the number of classes that a faculty member will teach in the fall and in the spring. The typical faculty member, but not all of them, will teach four three-credit-hour classes, so that would be 12 credit hours a semester. It’s my opinion, and I think research supports this notion, that no one can sustain being an exemplary teacher while teaching five classes a semester. It’s too much. Here is a way for Georgia State and the Board of Regents to make a grand statement that teaching is primary at GPC and will be excellent and that they are giving faculty members the opportunity and the resources and the time to do an exemplary job.

  • “Class sizes at GPC will return to the levels they were before the recession and the budget crisis occurred.”

JP: Class sizes, in some instances, were smaller before the recession and before the budget crisis. And one of the problems at GPC is that we’ve always been way down on the Regents’ list in terms of monetary support despite the number of students that we have, and so one of the ways to cover the budget shortfall and the smaller resources is to raise class sizes, and I think some of them have been increased to a certain level. The nature of this institution has always been small classes. We don’t have the facilities to have large classes, large lectures like they can at Georgia State and the University of Georgia. That’s not how we do teaching here. Our students need attention and deserve attention; the class sizes should be restored to what they were. The Regents and Georgia State need to invest in GPC. This would be one way to do that that would tangible and beneficial to faculty members and to students.

  • “GPC will continue to serve the community through its professional and certification programs.”

JP: Nursing, dental hygiene, and our sign language programs: I’d hate for those programs to go away. I suspect that they won’t, but they’re a great service to the community, so I think that’s something that should be retained.

  • “Critical access programs like Learning Support and the English as a Second Language Program will continue.”

JP: I think everyone has said that we will continue to be an access institution, and if that’s true, then I think that students who need math or English Learning Support need to have that opportunity. These students are so important to the academic environment and certainly the cultural environment at all of our campuses. The ESL students here are able to take any number of courses such as math and science courses while they’re still improving their skills as writers through the ESL program. To make it harder for those students to participate would do incredible damage to our math and science departments at GPC. I strongly believe that people need access to higher education, and these are students who are vulnerable and don’t necessarily have a voice to lobby for access to education.

  • “Resources comparable to those that raised the retention and graduation rates at GSU will be allocated to GPC.”

JP: I think considerable funds were put into GSU to research what students need to continue to pursue their degrees and to do quality work and to create a support system for students. The support system here is solid, but it’s not extensive. I think that if comparable resources were put in place to help our students here, they would do as well as GSU students. I think that lower retention and graduation rates are not a function of the academic experience students are getting.

  • “GPC will continue to promote the transfer of students to a variety of four-year institutions. Obviously, transferring to GSU will become seamless, but GPC, as the major two-year college sending transfer students to other University System of Georgia institutions, will continue to perform that important function. Moreover, a mechanism will be established so that colleges and universities will have ample and appropriate access to recruiting students.”

JP: The difficulty here, it seems to me, is figuring out a way for students who aren’t planning or don’t want to go to Georgia State to move to other institutions. GPC obviously is the main transfer point for Georgia State already, for the University of Georgia, for Georgia Southern, for Clayton State. If Georgia State has a monopoly, then those institutions are going to be hurt, and our students are going to have fewer options. The difficulty is that if there is no mechanism in place for recruiters, then the consolidated institution is going to look and feel like any other four-year school, and four-year schools don’t recruit from other four-year institutions. They would be seen as poaching. Unless there is a clear mechanism, other colleges and universities aren’t going to come here looking for students.

  • “GPC’s libraries will continue to be supported and will maintain an important presence at the branch campuses.”

JP: When we have branch campuses the size of the ones that we have, I think you have to have a location for students to look at reference materials, for people to talk to reference librarians, for people to walk the stacks and see books. I don’t think that maintaining the libraries is going to warrant an incredible influx of new dollars, but I think each of the branch campuses would be a lesser place if they didn’t have a library facility.

  • “GPC will have the resources to continue to offer academic, literary, and cultural activities and events that enhance the intellectual and social milieu at all of the campuses.”

JP: I think that the branch campuses need to be able to offer academic, literary, and cultural activities so students can have those experiences, all of which are typical of college life everywhere. There need to be institutional funds and there need to be student activity funds to sponsor these events. If the campuses don’t have those things for students, then they have diminished the college experience.

  • “Students at GPC will have opportunities to participate in student governance activities and in club activities.”

JP: I’m talking about students having the opportunity to engage in student government activities, to be members of clubs and officers of clubs. All of this enhances the liberal arts educational experience, and the college experience is diminished if these things aren’t possible.

  • “GPC campuses will provide appropriate health, wellness, and recreational activities and facilities for their students, staff, and faculty.”

JP: The college obviously needs to address the intellectual life of students and lifelong learning, but students, faculty, and staff have a corporeal presence as well. To maintain well-being, people need to do physical things. There should be facilities for that. I think all of the campuses offer intramural activities, have workout facilities, and so these things need to be maintained. So it’s really just ensuring that what we do have continues.

  • “The publications and publication opportunities for students and faculty that currently exist at GPC will continue.”

JP: Students, for example, are able to publish their creative work and photographs in “Creative License,” and students and faculty members can work on “The Chattahoochee Review.” That’s a national publication that has been around for decades and decades and does wonderful work and has a great reputation, and I would hate for those things to go away. Students are able to publish their classroom work in “The Polishing Cloth,” and that too is a great thing. This is about not just the publications themselves but really about opportunities. There are also faculty members who are writing and publishing and need some support for those activities, and we don’t want to discourage them or make it harder for faculty members.

  • “Stewardship and preservation of the Georgia Perimeter College Botanical Garden, which consists of the Native Plant Garden and the Ferns of the World Garden, will continue in perpetuity, perhaps as a public trust.”

JP: I’m sad to say many students and faculty members don’t know about the Botanical Garden on the Decatur campus. It’s a beauty. I certainly hope that it won’t go away in this consolidation. It’s one of GPC’s treasures.

English course shows GSU, GPC similarities, differences before merger

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Feb. 16, 2015

The conversation moves quickly in Professor Laurah Norton’s class.

There’s talk of Star Trek, Spongebob and even rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, in lectures about writing concepts, source use and rhetoric. Norton’s second-semester English composition class of 25 students at Georgia State University is preparing to write their first paper of the semester, and their instructor is using a mixture of cultural and social references to help students understand the concepts.

Across town at Georgia Perimeter College’s Dunwoody campus, Professor Kathryn Crowther’s composition class are also preparing to write their initial papers. The conversations among her 25 students are more traditional, with questions and guidance about cohesive thesis statements, signposting and common grammar problems.

While committees from both schools take 18 months to work through issues related to combining GSU, a four-year research institution with GPC, a two-year access college, teaching and learning goes on. A closer look at the English classes shows the individuality of the two schools.

The English composition class is required in the state’s University System and must be passed with at least a C.

Crowther’s teaching style is more traditional than Norton’s. Her students’ papers will be literary analysis; Norton’s students are writing about subcultures like sugar babies, gamers and the Amish.

Both professors are animated, constantly moving, sitting only to demonstrate a point or allow students to speak; the students answer questions, volunteer comments and are engaged … most of the time.

When the merger of the two schools was announced last month, there were immediate concerns. Georgia State students wondered whether their degrees would mean less by consolidating with what is basically a community college. Georgia Perimeter students wondered whether they would have to pay more in tuition and whether the new college would have the same kind of access for students.

Presidents of both schools and University System officials have tried to reassure all sides that the longtime relationship between the two schools would make this consolidation work. About 1,200 Georgia Perimeter students each year transfer to Georgia State already, and scores of faculty and staff members have moved between the two schools during their careers, officials said. The mission of the two institutions would not change, and a tiered tuition and enrollment system would allow students to enter and pay at separate levels, similar to the existing policies, leaders said.

A tale of two classes

“GPC students have a lot of other things they are juggling — some have jobs, families, transportation challenges — but they really, really want to be here,” Crowther said after class last week. “They are motivated.”

Before coming to GPC, Peter Truitt, 26, had a preconceived notion of community colleges. “They were a place you go if you can’t get into a traditional four-year college,” he said. After a number of stops and starts at other colleges in Georgia and Denver, taking time off to work, including some hard labor jobs, he decided to give Georgia Perimeter a try. He took a semester of online courses and enrolled in traditional classes at the Dunwoody campus in January.

“It was nothing like I thought it would be,” he said. For Truitt, who graduated from Walton High in Marietta, the small class sizes, helpful teachers and low costs — he’s paying for college out-of-pocket — were key. “Since I’ve been here I’ve been very impressed with GPC. It’s a regular college like anywhere else.”

Crowther’s class typifies the makeup of Georgia Perimeter, where the average age of its overall freshman class is 23. It includes a number of international, older and nontraditional students alongside those just out of high school. Many have been through GPC’s English program, but understanding literature and reading old texts can still be challenging.

Norton’s class at Georgia State includes a melting pot of mostly fresh faces. Most know the writing concepts and styles taught in the class and can do research.

Amrut Kulkarni, 18, a Johns Creek High School graduate, came to Georgia State for its computer science department. The department “had a good reputation, but (GSU) was close enough to other colleges that I could transfer if it didn’t work out,” he said.

Kulkarni’s one of the most talkative of Norton’s class, offering comments on topics from second-life virtual gaming to Klingon weddings and Google research tools. It’s those kinds of conversations and diverse populations that have impressed the Alpharetta resident, as much as the computer science program.

Once the merger is complete, the new institution would be the largest college in Georgia with more than 54,000 students. The students in Crowther’s and Norton’s classes are optimistic about the move.

“I like the idea of being able to say I go to Georgia State University. Adding the ‘university’ to the name sounds a little better,” Truitt said. “I just hope they don’t change things too much, especially the small class sizes.”

Freshmen Facts*

Category, Georgia Perimeter College; Georgia State University

Total freshmen enrollment: 8,841; 5,082

Pell Grant recipients: 4,694; 2,935

HOPE recipients: 740; 3,065

# and % of Georgia residents: 7,743 (88%); 4,801 (94%)

# and % of international students: 1,636 (19%); 374 (7%)

Demographic makeup:

Black: 4,073; 2,098

White: 2,200; 1,196

Hispanic: 1,086; 561

Asian: 1,003; 822

Multiracial: 340; 397

Unknown: 111;

American Indian/Alaskan Native: 16; 6

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 12; 2

Students needing learning support: (GPC only): 2,265; about 26 percent of freshman enrollment

* - Freshmen are defined here as full and part-time students with less than 30 earned hours. The population does not include dual-enrolled, transient and or other special categories.

Source: GPC, GSU

See article in AJC.

GPC/Georgia State consolidation plan gets national news coverage

The planned consolidation announced Jan. 6 of Georgia Perimeter College, a two-year, associate-degree institution, with Georgia State University, one of the state's flagship research universities, has brought much media coverage. Here are links to many of the articles and websites that reported the story:

GSU to become largest college in state


Board Of Regents Approves Merger Between GSU and Georgia Perimeter


Georgia State University, Perimeter College to Merge into Single Institution


GA Perimeter will be “component” of merged GA State, president says


Going Wild on Mergers


Just Like That, 12 Campuses in Georgia Become 6


Georgia sees more college mergers: Augusta experience is given as example


GSU, Georgia Perimeter to merge, dethroning UGA as state’s largest university


Board of Regents approves proposal to merge Georgia State University, Georgia Perimeter College


Regents green light Georgia State-Georgia Perimeter merger


Board Approves Merger of Georgia State, Georgia Perimeter Colleges


Merger of GPC, GSU approved


Georgia State, Georgia Perimeter merging into one university


Another merger proposed for Georgia public colleges: Georgia State, Georgia Perimeter merge would be largest in state college system


Regents green light Georgia State-Georgia Perimeter merger


Georgia State University to merge with Georgia Perimeter College


GSU, Georgia Perimeter merger proposal approved


Georgia State University, Georgia Perimeter merger in the works


Georgia State poised to become Georgia's largest university


Report: Plans to Merge Georgia State U. With a Community College


Georgia Perimeter, Georgia State Possibly Merging


Georgia State, Georgia Perimeter may merge


Merger of GPC, GSU in works


Georgia State University / Georgia Perimeter College To Merge?


Georgia State President: Merger with Georgia Perimeter will increase GSU’s impact


Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter staffs get a more sobering view of merger


Does merging Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter make sense for GSU?


Regents approve Georgia State/Georgia Perimeter merger plan


Georgia State, Georgia Perimeter may merge


GSU, Georgia Perimeter merger proposal approved


Update: Regents approve Georgia State, Georgia Perimeter merger


Regents approve Georgia State, Georgia Perimeter merger


Merger proposed for Georgia State University, Georgia Perimeter College


Georgia State, Georgia Perimeter merging into one university


Surprise! Georgia State, Georgia Perimeter to merge


Updated: Georgia State University / Georgia Perimeter College to merge


Georgia State University to merge with Georgia Perimeter


Board approves GSU, Georgia Perimeter merger proposal


Proposed merger for Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter


Official: Georgia State Georgia Perimeter College merger to be proposed


Board approves GSU, Georgia Perimeter merger proposal


GPC, GSU merger approved


Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter College may merge


GSU, Georgia Perimeter College merger in the works


Merged colleges could be largest in Ga. if approved


College Official: Georgia State-Perimeter Merger To Be Proposed


Regents approve merger of two major GA Colleges


College official: Ga. State-Perimeter merger to be proposed


Board approves proposal to merge GSU, Georgia Perimeter


The potential problem with the proposed GPC-GSU merger


Georgia Regents May Approve Merger Creating System’s Largest College


Georgia State University merges with Georgia Perimeter


GSU, GPC Fixing to Merge; Leaves Uncertain Future for Many Georgia Students


University, College Merging into One Entity


First impressions on the GSU merger


College official: Ga. State-Perimeter merger to be proposed


Consolidation Q&A With President Mark P. Becker, Georgia State


Atlanta > Georgia State to become State's Largest School


Regents Look to Merge Ga State and Ga Perimeter


Regents approve college merger


Tony’s Thoughts: Georgia Regents Approve Sixth Merger in University System!


Board approves proposal to merge GSU, Georgia Perimeter



Inside Higher Ed article discusses college mergers

Going Wild on Mergers

Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 7, 2015

Georgia State University President Mark Becker hosted a dinner with faculty leaders Monday night to tell them about the plan to merge their up-and-coming research university with a nearby college that graduates fewer than 10 percent of its students and struggles to balance its books.

By noon on Tuesday, after months of secret discussions, Georgia higher education officials had approved that plan, which will merge Georgia State with Georgia Perimeter College, a mostly two-year institution. The combined college would bear the Georgia State University name and be the largest university in Georgia in early 2016, when the merger is to be made final.

The move is the latest and perhaps the most significant in a series of mergers backed by Hank Huckaby, the chancellor of the University System of Georgia. With this change, he'll have reduced the number of colleges in the system to 29 from 35 when he took office in 2011. The system's Board of Regents also on Tuesday finalized the merger of Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University.

System officials want Georgia State – a 32,000-student research university in Atlanta with a $750 million budget – to modernize and improve Georgia Perimeter. The suburban college has 21,000 students on five campuses around Atlanta and offers mostly two-year degrees.

Officials also hope that Georgia State will help Georgia Perimeter graduate more of its students. Right now, only 6.4 percent of its first-time students seeking a two-year degree graduate from the college within three years. Georgia State, on the other hand, has become a national model for increasing its graduation rate and graduating black and Hispanic undergraduates at the same rates as their peers.

Georgia State students and higher education observers quickly questioned the decision.

Georgia State students and alumni worry the move will devalue their degree. After all, the Georgia State University name will soon be stamped on the degrees of thousands of students who complete only two years of college.

Others fear that Georgia State will not continue Georgia Perimeter’s open-door admissions policies and will cut off access to thousands of Georgians.

Becker said he asked some of the same questions when system officials first suggested the merger, but found that the merger does make sense for everyone.

“The head-scratching on this is for people that don’t understand there is a long and established relationship here,” he said.

Georgia State accepts about 1,500 transfer students a year from Georgia Perimeter, making the community college the university’s top feeder school.

For purposes of rankings, in which Georgia State has been rising, the four-year part of the new university can be counted separately from the two-year part.

The final arrangement may also end up looking like something Becker knows. He compared the new university to Palmetto College in South Carolina, which is part of the University of South Carolina, where he was once provost. Palmetto offers associate degrees and certificates to students who could not initially get into the university and gives able students a chance to transfer to a four-year program.

Becker said the new Georgia State, likewise, will have two different doors with separate admissions standards: one for university students, another for the community college students.

While Georgia State students worry about the value of their degrees, a leading community college expert worries the students who currently aspire to Georgia Perimeter will be denied access or shortchanged.

Kay McClenney, an independent consultant working with community colleges, said the plan is fraught with hazards about where Georgia Perimeter -- essentially a community college, although Georgia doesn't call it one -- fits amid the new university’s priorities.

“I don’t think that Georgia and its students are well-served by simply making Perimeter more like Georgia State,” she said.​

Despite the good work going on at Georgia State, McClenney said history is not on the side of Georgia Perimeter’s students after the merger goes through.

"It’s also important to acknowledge that in examining at least the past five or six decades, it would be difficult to identify instances where the community college mission -- and thus, the students who typically attend community colleges -- have been well-supported within a university structure,” she said.

Instead of merging two-year colleges with universities, like Georgia, other states have taken the opposite approach. Kentucky and West Virginia, for instance, have in recent years separated their community colleges from their universities.

Josh Wyner, executive director of the college excellence program at the Aspen Institute, said that while a university-community college merger might not make sense elsewhere, if any university can make it work, it’s Georgia State.

“The bottom line,” he said in an email, “is that Georgia State has figured out as well as any higher education institution in the country how to dramatically improve student success without limiting access – precisely what virtually every community college also needs to do.”

Georgia, which has a separate system for technical colleges, seems to be gradually reducing the number of two-year colleges in its university system by combining them with each other or with four-year universities.

Belle Wheelan, the president of the regional accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, said Georgia has been going wild with its mergers, which her association has been examining.

“Georgia has gone kind of Texas-sized on mergers,” she said. “It has taken it on bigger than any other state.”

Many of the details of the Georgia State merger are yet to come. As with other recent mergers, state officials kept the plan secret from most interested parties – including faculty and students – until shortly before it was announced. The Georgia Perimeter president's office declined to comment.

One of the questions is how a new performance funding model in Georgia will be applied to the new Georgia State, said Claire Suggs, the senior education policy analyst at the left-leaning Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

Suggs wondered how Becker’s administration will manage a research institution being merged with a two-year college.

“They are different student populations and so what may be successful with students at a four-year institution may not translate easily to students at a two-year institution,” she said.

There will also be immediate budget challenges to address. The system projects that Georgia Perimeter will lose $12 million this year and nearly $10 million next year because of enrollment declines and the way the state funding formula works.

Becker said he is meeting today with Georgia Perimeter’s interim president, Rob Watts, to talk about the “budget issues” that system officials made clear will be a challenge for the merger. Watts’s predecessor, Anthony Tricoli, was forced out of his job in 2012 because of a budget shortfall that system officials blamed on his administration. Tricoli last year filed a lawsuit that accused several state higher education officials of conspiring to make him the fall guy.

An assistant to Watts decline to make him available to speak and referred questions about Georgia Perimeter’s view of the merger to the system office.

Several faculty senate leaders from both Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter did not respond to emails seeking comment.

American Association of Community Colleges takes note of consolidation plans

Ga. State-Perimeter to merge

AACC Community College Daily, Jan. 6, 2015

A proposal to merge Georgia State University with Georgia Perimeter College was approved Tuesday by the state Board of Regents. The new institution will keep the Georgia State University name as well as its president.

Earlier this week, Georgia Perimeter Interim President Rob Watts said in an email that the then-proposed merger was “an exciting prospect” and outlined steps that will be taken in the next year if the board approves the consolidation. Those include a steering committee, a website and teams formed to work through the practical and technical matters of the merger.

The consolidation would make the new school the largest within the state’s system of public colleges and universities with almost 54,000 students.

“This would create a new type of institution in the University System of Georgia: A research university that also has an access mission,” Watts wrote in the email.

“We have the opportunity in the year ahead of working with the Chancellor’s Office and our fine colleagues at Georgia State University to create a new type of institution in the USG that continues our important mission, maximizes the opportunities for student success at all levels, values the work of employees, and increases operational efficiencies,” Watts wrote.

The impending merger is historic and holds great promise for the university, Georgia State President Mark Becker said in a memo to students. The move, he said, “would create the largest university in the state and one of the largest in the nation.”

The consolidation timeline calls for the approval of the plan by the board of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges by the end of this year, followed by Board of Regents approval of the new institution in early 2016.

Georgia Perimeter, a two-year school, reported more than 21,000 students enrolled in the fall 2014 semester, with the full-time equivalent of about 15,400 students among its five campuses.

Georgia State’s main campus is in downtown Atlanta. The university offers 250 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in its eight colleges and schools, according to its website.


GPC will be ‘component’ of Georgia State, President Becker says

GA Perimeter will be ‘component’ of merged GA State, president says

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jan. 6, 2015

It will take about 18 months for the University System of Georgia to go through the process of merging Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College.

The state Board of Regents approved on Tuesday a recommendation to merge the two institutions. Under the recommendation, the combined school would be called Georgia State University and be led by current Georgia State president Mark Becker.

For students there will not be much immediate impact, Becker said.

“It’s not as if things are going to change dramatically overnight,” he said. “The downtown campus will be pretty much as it is. Perimeter campuses are going to remain what you might call the access campuses.”

Ultimately in the new consolidated institution, the downtown campus will be the “flagship campus” of Georgia State University, Becker said.

“There’s going to be greater heterogeneity of Georgia State University. Perimeter College will be a component of Georgia State. It will not be that everything that happens on the Perimeter campuses is what is going to happen downtown,” he said.

“We do not at this point intend to bring associates degrees downtown. We intend to keep the associates degrees on what would be considered satellite campuses, the campuses of Perimeter College of Georgia State.”

The merger is notable for its size: the new institution would be the largest in the state at about 54,000 students. It is also notable for combining Georgia State, a four-year research institution with Georgia Perimeter, a mostly two-year college with broad access.

The full impact on students, staffing and tuition costs is not yet known. An implementation team will work throughout the year on those issues, with an expected report due January 2016. The consolidation plan must ultimately be approved by accreditors and finalized by the Board of Regents.

Making the grade: High school students get a head start on college

Making the Grade: High school students gets a head start on college

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Dec. 30, 2014

Students who want to differentiate themselves from the crush of college applicants and, at the same time, get a bit of a break on college tuition are discovering both features in one program. Through dual enrollment, high school juniors and seniors who meet the scholastic eligibility requirements can take introductory, college-level courses offered, in some cases, in the same building where they eat lunch.

But many high schoolers don’t take advantage of the program because they aren’t aware it exists, said Jeff Meadors, the college-wide coordinator of dual enrollment at Georgia Perimeter College.

“A lot of them find us by word of mouth from other students who like the program,” he said. “But we’re out in schools marketing, letting people know we can walk them through it.”

GPC has the highest number of dual-enrollment students in the state, said Meadors, who expects this year’s number of 1,146 to top 1,200 in the spring. Out of that number, 734 are on the northside, where they take classes either at GPC’s location on Brookside Parkway in Alpharetta or at Milton, Centennial, Chattahoochee,, Alpharetta, Roswell and Dunwoody high schools.

“Most of them are taking the required, basic courses in algebra, English, economics and political science,” said Meadors. “They get college credits that do not count against their lifetime HOPE credits but do count into their HOPE GPA. The classes transfer fully, so it saves money; they don’t have to repeat them. And they have the rigor of AP (advance placement), but without having to take a test to show you’ve mastered the information.”

Other students opt for dual enrollment for the freedom it affords, Meadors said.

“They’re ready to have two days a week when they’re free to go to be in class with students from other parts of the metro area, as well as college freshmen and sophomores. For some, it’s a chance to move away from high school and into a setting where there’s less peer pressure. And they can take a course, like psychology, that may not be offered in their high school.”

Sarah Ghalayini, now a senior at the Fulton Science Academy, started in GPC’s dual enrollment program in the fall of her junior year after hearing about it through a friend.

“I also had friends already in college tell me that they wish that they had known about it and urged me to take advantage of the opportunity,” said the 17-year-old. “In my sophomore year, I took AP World History, and I was eager to do more and go beyond that.

Being in the program has given her a better understanding of college expectations, she said.

“In high school, teachers play a larger role in your learning, and they make sure you’re keeping up with assignments,” she said. “In college, not only do you have to keep track of important deadlines on your own, but you also have fewer graded assignments. These changes took a few weeks to adapt to, but students who plan on attending college need to make this same transition at one point, so the earlier they can, the smoother the remainder of their college career will be.”

Laura Whitlock, chair of the mathematics, computer science, science, business and physical education departments at GPC’s Alpharetta center, said the program is enormously popular with parents as well.

“We live in an area where parents are very involved with their children’s education, and they see the value of it,” she said. “Students automatically get college credit and don’t have to take a test to get it. The program is a nice transition from high school, and it helps students grow up a bit.”




GPC Newton addresses governor's career initiative

Georgia Perimeter College Newton Campus addresses Gov. Deal’s high-demand career initiative

Newton Citizen, Dec. 13, 2014

Gov. Nathan Deal’s recently released High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) addressed the future needs for Georgia’s workforce, and local schools have been reviewing their programs to meet these needs.

The HDCI was launched by Deal and led by the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia. It highlights the overall trends, high-demand careers and skills, challenges, recommendations and what Georgia businesses anticipate they will need in the coming years.

According to a press release from Deal’s office, the HDCI focused on the future needs of strategic industries in Georgia including agriculture, aerospace, automotive manufacturing, defense, film, television, interactive entertainment, health care, life sciences, information technology, logistics and manufacturing.

Georgia Perimeter College’s Newton Campus has programs to address these needs, including a new program—which will be announced in January. The program is expected to combine life sciences, such as chemistry and biology, and health care.

GPC Newton Dean Dr. Paulos Yohannes said that although the school currently has several science programs, it may need to alter them at the prospect of future major local employers setting up shop in Newton County.

“We have companies like Baxter who are coming out here, so we may have to improve our life sciences area,” said Yohannes.

Along with Baxter, Yohannes stated that GPC has been meeting with other major local employers such as Triple Horse Studios and SKC to talk about the needs of the future workforce and what skills are desired for future employees.

Deal’s report also indicated the value of internships and co-op programs as a method of gaining access to and training future employees. Along with the new life sciences program to meet the changing workforce needs, GPC also has Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs that find scholarships for students to do summer research, having students go to other universities and performing research in certain fields.


Dual enrollment vs. AP classes: Are Georgia high school students learning about both options?

reprinted from "Get Schooled" blog in Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Nov. 2, 2014

By Maureen Downey

Rick Diguette is a local writer and college professor.  Today, he takes up a topic of personal interest to me as a parent of two high school sophomores, dual enrollment.

My twins have to decide in the next few weeks whether to apply for their high school’s new International Baccalaureate diploma program, which locks them into six two-year courses over 11th and 12th grades. Their other option is to select a mix of IB and AP courses, which could possibly allow space for dual enrollment at a local college.

But I found out from the high school it falls on parents to pursue and enable dual enrollment. Parents whose children dual enrolled at Georgia State, Georgia Perimeter or Tech confirmed to me they spent a lot of time and energy making it happen.

Diguette says it should be easier for Georgia high school students to take courses at local college.  But he says schools often promote AP classes to their students instead.

By Rick Diguette

It is no secret that the cost of a college education is greater today than ever before. And the cost just keeps rising. That is also why the debt college seniors incur by the time they graduate has continued to rise―by an estimated 6% every year since 2008. When they finally have that diploma in hand, better than 70% of America’s college graduates have racked up almost $30,000 in student loans.

Those are the cold, hard facts that most Georgia parents must reckon with sooner or later. Even parents of a child who can take advantage of HOPE know that Georgia’s lottery-funded scholarship program isn’t nearly as lucrative as it once was, especially if their child doesn’t qualify for a Zell Miller Scholarship. 

Since there is no reason to believe that college costs will begin to fall any time soon, parents and students must be resourceful as they plan ahead. However, one low-cost option that they sometimes overlook is Dual Enrollment.

High school juniors and seniors participating in Dual Enrollment can earn college credits while satisfying their remaining high school graduation requirements at the same time. Although this 2-for-1 deal has been around a long time, the savings it can generate have never looked more attractive.

Dual Enrollment students taking two college courses each semester during their junior and senior years can graduate from high school with 24 college credits. That is almost the equivalent of freshman year. And most of the costs associated with earning those fully transferable college credits will be paid for by the Georgia Student Finance Commission.

Another Dual Enrollment option available exclusively to public high school juniors and seniors is Move On When Ready. Students participating in the program must take all of their courses at a local college, but they can still take part in team sports and other non-curricular activities at their high school. The costs associated with courses taken as a Move On When Ready student are fully funded by the Georgia Department of Education.

If all of this sounds too good to be true, rest assured it isn’t. But there is a hitch.   

According to the Georgia Department of Education, beginning in the 8th grade all Georgia students should receive information about Dual Enrollment by April 1 of each school year.  If your school’s principal supports Dual Enrollment, you and your child will hear about the program. 

But not all principals are sold on Dual Enrollment, and the same can be said for some teachers and guidance counselors. What they promote instead is Advanced Placement.

The Educational Testing Service has done a great job marketing Advanced Placement as a means of adding rigor to the high school curriculum. Teachers and guidance counselors advise parents and students that college admissions screeners look favorably on high school transcripts with a high percentage of Advanced Placement courses.

And yet in one of its very own reports, ETS acknowledges that “although most students attend a high school at which the AP program is available, few students actually take an AP exam even after taking an AP course, and only a fraction of those who do take a test score high enough to qualify for college credit or placement in the colleges and universities that offer such opportunities.” 

Participating in Dual Enrollment benefits high school students in many ways. Perhaps most important, it prepares them for the college environment which is quite different from what they’ve grown accustomed to in high school. And it also allows them to save their parents some money. 

Best of all, those 24 college credits earned by my hypothetical Dual Enrollment students are 24 college credits they won’t have to pay for with student loans.   

Homecoming: GPC style

Homecoming: GPC style

The Collegian, Oct. 22, 2014

(opinion piece by DaVail Weston)

Well it’s that time of year again. Suddenly, the campus emerges with school spirit as classmates cast votes for Homecoming King and Queen. For a whole week, we experience JAGUAR pride.

Homecoming week is fast approaching, guys and gals, and as students, we risk getting caught up in the uneventful experience that we comprise most of the time as students.

After we have studied for exams, attended activity meetings, socialized and gotten a few hours of sleep, we can find it difficult to remember why we chose to come here in the first place.

But at Homecoming, we have a chance to celebrate a common bond we share, the pride we feel to be JAGUARS at this college we attend.

This year Georgia Perimeter College takes us on a journey to “Fabulous Vegas Days and Nights.” Remember: what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

This event is sponsored by the Jaguar Activity Group, Office of Student Life, Office of Alumni Relations and the Athletic Department. Homecoming is right around the corner, so mark these dates.

Nov. 3–6 is Homecoming week, and as students we should participate to witness our Jaguar pride spread from campus to campus. Nov. 7 is the big day to strut your star-studded attire throughout the night.

Homecoming is much more than just a dance, an event and a week of activities. It’s the one time we get to show our pride/spirit for the school we attend.

It’s the best time to connect with your fellow peers from each campus and show everyone that you are proud to be a JAGUAR.

And so, without a doubt, I expect to see the venue packed with Jaguar pride.

And I promise you won’t be disappointed with what you see once you attend the festivities.

See you there, and remember to show your Jaguar pride!

GPC’s Elaine Bryan and dog Nellie volunteer in reading program

Elaine Bryan and Nellie are part of reading time weekly at Alcova Elementary School. (Gwinnett Daily Post photo and story by Keith Farner)

Nellie, a 90-pound Great Pyrenees, serves as literacy mentor at Alcova Elementary

Gwinnett Daily Post, Oct. 21, 2014

(Editor's note: view Gwinnett Daily Post video)

She moves like a 90-pound cotton ball, and with a seemingly endless supply of white fur, she sheds like a dandelion.

When she lies down, it’s like a back rest pillow for a host of elementary school students just looking for someone to listen, to lend an open ear as they read their favorite books.

She listens, too, they say, more than some adults, and follows the story of the book.

In the three years that Nellie has visited Alcova Elementary once a week, every student she’s there to read with has improved their reading level, some as many as three levels.

As a registered therapy dog, Nellie, a 9-year-old Great Pyrenees, is trained to help students develop self-confidence and provide a relaxed environment as they improve their reading. But she’s also known to pull a student out of a bad mood, comfort them after their own pet passed away or just be a friend they can pet.

“They so look forward to reading to her,” Alcova counselor Amy O’Neal said. “When she’s not here, it makes a huge difference. They’ve grown up a lot over the last couple of years.”

Known around the school and friendly to all students as she walks to and from classrooms to pick up her readers, Nellie is popular, and the school has adopted her as its pet.

Her owner, Georgia Perimeter College professor Elaine Bryan, said Wednesdays are exciting for Nellie, too. When they turn off Sugarloaf Parkway and drive toward the school, her head pops up as she realizes the school is near.

Bryan and Nellie visit Alcova as part of the READing Paws program, which is an affiliate of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, a program where therapy dogs and their owners go through special training to work with young readers.

“The students who have difficulties reading will tend to not want to read out loud, or don’t have the love of reading at home,” O’Neal said. “What that has done for our students is it has helped them increase their reading level, not to be afraid to read out loud in a small or large group setting. The good thing about it is she has established a relationship with those friends.”

One student was afraid of dogs when he met Nellie two years ago, O’Neal said. Now he leads Nellie down to the table, sits with her, pets her and reads along side of her.

“They tend to be very comfortable in a comfortable setting when they’re reading with Nellie on the floor,” she said.

Alcova fourth-grader Caleb Guy is one of those students who believes Nellie listens to him reading a book, and follows along.

“It makes me more comfortable to read around Nellie,” he said. “Because she’s more calm, and relaxes and enjoys watching us read.”

Nellie also provides an entirely different reading atmosphere for Caleb.

“It feels kind of weird when you’re doing it around other people, because I get really stage fright,” he said. “But with Nellie, I think she understands, and is more calm than she is around other people.”

Bryan, who was introduced to Alcova because she has a cousin who works in the front office, said Wednesdays are important to Nellie, too.

“It’s good to see them grow up,” Bryan said. “It’s not because of Nellie; she’s just a part of it.”

Students receive healthcare scholarships

from The Champion, Aug. 22, 2014

Ray Hill applied for 30 scholarships.

As a student at Georgia Perimeter College (GPC), he had his sights on Morehouse College after he completed his associate’s degree. He had the grades, the volunteer experience and the internships. He was only concerned about paying for it.

At GPC, Hill was hoping to channel his love of music into a degree. But sitting in his first introduction to psychology class, something clicked. He wanted to help people by using music, and psychology was the way to do it.

Time and again in his scholarship hunt he received no reply, or form letters assuring him he was a “qualified candidate” but yet didn’t get any scholarship money.

Morehouse accepted him and offered Hill a band scholarship, where he marched and played euphonium and alto saxophone in the iconic House of Funk. But one day, after a performance, Hill walked off the field and turned on his phone.

“When I opened the email I was expecting another form rejection,” he said. “But, it said I had been accepted.”

Hill was selected as part of the United Health Foundation (UHF)’s Diverse Scholars initiative. The scholarship, which is jointly sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and UHF, aims to get more multi-cultural students such as Hill into the healthcare field. The scholarship covers $8,000 per academic year and is granted to 10 students each year.

According to the UHF, while 13 percent of the American population is Black, the ethnic group represents only 4 percent of physicians, 5 percent of nurses and 5 percent of dentists. The statistics for Latinos and Native Americans are similar.

Valencia Johnson was the 2013 valedictorian of Towers High school. Since her first science class, she said, she was hooked. After volunteering in a hospital pathology department, she realized she wanted to go into forensics.

“The science and medical field has long been a field which is underrepresented by minorities,” she said in an email. “I want to do my part to help increase the number of minorities entering the science and medical fields. During the course of my career, I plan to mentor young men and women who are interested in science and health fields.”

Johnson is a rising sophomore studying biology at the University of Georgia and is another scholarship recipient. Like Hill, Johnson said getting the award was a relief.

“The Louis Stokes Health Scholars Award has been a blessing in my life,” she said. “It has allowed me to be able to concentrate on my schoolwork, and not have to worry so much about finances.”

Hill said he is also aware of the lack of diversity in the medical field. He added that diverse groups can require nuanced healthcare.

“I took an African-American Perspectives in Psychology course at Morehouse,” Hill said. “It taught me that certain groups should have psychology catered to their needs. It’s a lot of responsibility as well; you are at the forefront of the issues that are happening with that race. You have to look at everything from a general standpoint while understanding the individual standpoint as well.”

Hill is currently a psychology major at Morehouse with a minor in neuroscience. He is interested in the ways mental health impacts physical health, as well as the impact music has on mental health. He has done research on the physical changes the brain goes through as a result of Alzheimer’s disease.

Hill recently returned from a campus visit at the University of California – Los Angeles and said he will be applying to the Ph.D. programs in neuroscience at UCLA and Yale.

Johnson said she wants to intern next summer at a governmental agency, and eventually go to graduate school for a master’s in biology.

“Being a part of the program has opened my eyes,” Hill said of his scholarship. “Attending the diverse scholars forum was one of the most amazing things in my college career: networking with different students, meeting the panelists and learning their insights. It brought everything full circle. I was able to get the step-by-step process: this is how we did it and this is how we got to where we are.”

Georgia Perimeter College libraries in the spotlight!

Pictured are Barbara Disney, first library clerk at DeKalb College and retired Director of Human Resources at GPC, and Angiah Davis, one of GPC's newest librarians. Photo by Collins Foster, used by permission.

From Georgia Library Association website, Sept. 26, 2014

Barbara Disney recalled that in 1964, as assistant to librarian Beulah Cleveland, she diligently typed cards for “a few thousand” books in the brand new DeKalb College Library. The library was one of five original buildings on the Clarkston campus, “air-conditioned [and] fully-equipped” to serve 1500 students (Bulletin of DeKalb College, 1964).

For fifty years, the school now known as Georgia Perimeter College and its libraries have been transforming lives by providing low-cost access to high-quality higher education. The 1997 name change reflected GPC's “expanding mission and its service throughout the metro Atlanta area.”

Now one of the largest institutions in the University System, GPC has five campus locations, enrolls over 21,000 students and is the largest associate degree-granting college in Georgia. From humble origins, GPC now enrolls more undergraduate students each fall semester, accepts more transfer students, and sends more students on to other institutions than any other USG school. Successful GPC students and graduates make up more than one-third of all USG transfer students (GPC Fact Book, 2013).

As the college has grown, so have GPC Libraries. From one library, we are now five physical libraries and an active online library program. From a staff of two, we have increased to thirty-six full-time staff members, nineteen of whom are fully credentialed librarians. From a few thousand books and a card catalog, we now have a collection of over 300,000 physical items plus electronic access to thousands of ebooks and ejournals.

We are a net lender of resources to other schools through GIL-Express. In the last year alone, we taught 564 instruction sessions reaching nearly 9,000 students, as well as logging over 26,000 interactions at our help desks and via chat. Beyond the numbers, GPC library faculty are involved in the academic life of the college by teaching courses, helping to write open-source textbooks, serving on committees, and regularly presenting for and with other faculty.

GPC Libraries also play an integral role in the college’s activities and initiatives. GPC Reads, the college-wide book club, is one example. The libraries support the college community by loaning copies of the current selection, “Picking Cotton,” by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, providing instruction classes on related topics, and welcoming the authors to signings and receptions.

GPC Libraries will play an active role in college-wide fiftieth anniversary celebrations and programs. In support of the Sixties Symposium planned for February 2015, librarians are collaborating with faculty members to create LibGuides and displays on both broad historical themes for that turbulent decade, and specific topics such as music, art, and films. GPC Libraries and GPC Archives are also curating Throwback Thursday Facebook posts and other social media messages to share fun and poignant moments from our history using hashtags #GPC50 and #GPC1960s.

What a difference fifty years make. As we look back and celebrate our past, we also look forward to future challenges, always with the goal of providing support for success to our students. To learn more about our services and programs, visit GPC Libraries website at

Pictured are Barbara Disney, first library clerk at DeKalb College and retired Director of Human Resources at GPC, and Angiah Davis, one of GPC's newest librarians. Photo by Collins Foster, used by permission.

Written by Pat Ziebart, Scott Pieper, and Karen Viars.

Georgia Perimeter College celebrating 50 years

Georgia Perimeter College, founded in 1964 when the DeKalb Board of Education officially opened DeKalb College, has five campuses plus the University System’s largest online program.

CrossRoads News, Sept. 5, 2014

Georgia Perimeter College is turning 50 years old and Dr. Houston Davis, the University System of Georgia executive vice chancellor, was in town this week to help the college kick off its landmark anniversary celebration.

Davis was special guest speaker at the Sept. 5 Fall Convocation on the Clarkston campus. Other anniversary events include a living history project and a 1960s symposium in February and a college-wide festival in April in 2015.

During convocation, Georgia Perimeter’s interim president, Dr. Rob Watts, gave the annual state-of-the-college address, and Academic Affairs Vice President Ron Stark provided a college update.

The college was founded in 1964 when the DeKalb Board of Education officially opened DeKalb College, the first and only public two-year college in the state controlled by a local school district.

Twenty-two years later, DeKalb College joined the University System of Georgia, and in 1997, the USG Board of Regents changed its name to Georgia Perimeter College to reflect its expanding mission and its service throughout metro Atlanta.

The GPC moniker became official in fall 1998.

Today, Georgia Perimeter has five campuses – Decatur, Clarkston, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, and Newton County – plus the University System’s largest online program. It serves more than 21,000 students and during its history has helped more than 350,000 students toward their dream of earning a college degree.

Barbara Disney, 82, former college human resources director, was one of the first employees hired by the DeKalb Board of Education when the school doors opened on Sept. 28, 1964, in Clarkston.

Disney joined past and present employees at Friday’s anniversary celebration kickoff.

The celebration allows the college to honor the anniversaries of its opening, its dedication and the first graduating class in 1966. Its 2014 freshman class will be its 51st graduating class.

Collins Foster, GPC alumni director and 50th anniversary co-chair, says that acknowledging and honoring the past are very powerful exercises.

“I am excited to see the long-term impact of how celebrating GPC’s rich history will inspire the future,” said Foster, who is co-chairing the anniversary celebration with Bill Moon, GPC business professor and department chair. “Knowing where you started is the first step toward a better way forward.”

The college’s Decatur Campus, formerly known as South Campus, opened in 1972, the year the college became DeKalb Community College and students enrolled in DeKalb Area Technical School were able to enroll in dual vocational and collegiate programs.

As growth continued both for DeKalb County and the college, the Dunwoody Campus, formerly North Campus, was added and began operation in 1979.

In 1985, DeKalb Vocational-Technical School was placed under the governance of a new statewide board for vocational-technical schools with daily operations remaining under the control of the DeKalb County School System.

Students enrolled in specific Associate of Applied Science degree programs continued dual enrollment in the college, and the technical school, which is now known as Georgia Piedmont Technical College.

In 1986, when DeKalb County relinquished its support, the college was accepted by the Board of Regents as the University System of Georgia’s 34th member institution.

During spring 1993, Georgia Perimeter College in cooperation with Clayton State College, DeKalb Technical College and Rockdale County Public Schools formed the Rockdale Center for Higher Education, which offered credit and non-credit courses.

In November 1997, when the Board of Regents approved changing the name of the college to Georgia Perimeter College, the names of the campuses were changed to identify the cities in which they are located.

In December 2001, Georgia Perimeter College’s Lawrenceville Campus, along with its partners at the Gwinnett University Center, relocated from the MacCleod Industrial Park on Sugarloaf Parkway to a 177-acre campus at 1000 University Center Lane.

In 2007, Georgia Perimeter discontinued offering courses at the Lawrenceville Campus and the site became Georgia Gwinnett College, a new four-year USG institution. In summer 2007, the Rockdale Campus was relocated to a larger new campus in Newton County and renamed the Newton Campus.

GPC began offering classes in Alpharetta in a building owned by Georgia State University. Through the years, the college has expanded its class and service offerings to citizens in north Fulton County.

For more information, visit

Georgia Perimeter turns 50 years old

WABE 90.1 FM, Sept. 5, 2014

Georgia Perimeter College is turning 50. Students, faculty, and staff celebrated Friday during Fall Convocation at the Clarkston Campus.

Georgia Perimeter opened as DeKalb College in 1964, and is the state’s oldest two-year college. But the venerable institution hit a roadblock in 2012. That’s when the school’s accreditor sanctioned it for running a $25 million deficit.

“In 2012, GPC’s unrestricted net assets were a negative $6.8 million dollars,” said Ron Stark, Georgia Perimeter’s executive vice president for financial affairs. “We were technically bankrupt.”

Thanks to improved accounting practices, the sanction was lifted in 2013. This year, Stark said, Georgia Perimeter’s financial outlook has improved drastically.

The University System’s Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Houston Davis gave the keynote address. He noted 20 years ago, 28% of jobs required a post-secondary degree, but said that’s changed.

“Fast forward to 2018 and that statistic has steadily increased to where the projections are that 62% of all job opportunities that are out there for the public require them to have something beyond a high school diploma,” Davis said. “That is a significant change in a very, very short period of time.”

Georgia Perimeter has five campuses in metro Atlanta and has the state’s largest online learning program. 

Georgia Perimeter kicks off 50th anniverary year

Rockdale Citizen, Sept. 1, 2014

Concerned that not enough students in DeKalb County were able to attend college, the DeKalb County Board of Education made a historic move in 1964. In that year, the BOE officially opened DeKalb College, the first and only public two-year college in Georgia to be controlled by a local school district, with 763 students enrolled.

Twenty-two years later, DeKalb College joined the University System of Georgia; and in 1997, the USG Board of Regents changed the name of the college to Georgia Perimeter College to reflect its expanding mission and its service throughout the metro Atlanta area. The GPC moniker became official in the fall of 1998.

Today in its 50th year, Georgia Perimeter has five campuses — Alpharetta, Clarkston, Decatur, Dunwoody and Newton County — plus the state university system’s largest online program. GPC currently serves more than 21,000 students and during its history has helped more than 350,000 students toward their dream of earning a college degree.

On Friday, Sept. 5, at 10:30 a.m., GPC faculty, staff and retirees will kick off the college’s 50th anniversary celebration at Fall Convocation in the Clarkston Campus gymnasium. Special guest speaker will be Dr. Houston Davis, USG executive vice chancellor. Interim President Rob Watts will give the annual state-of-the-college address, and Academic Affairs Vice President Ron Stark will provide a college update.

The business part of the day will be followed by a picnic.

GPC teams up with local organization to offer children’s literacy camp in Jamaica

GPC students and faculty and Earl and Carolyn Glenn of the Unconditional Love for Children group pose with the children, teachers and principal from Watford Hill Primary School near Montego Bay, Jamaica. (photo courtesy of Justin Beaudrot)

Watford Hill Primary benefits from Unconditional Love summer camp

The Gleaner (Jamaica), Aug. 2, 2014

Students of the Watford Hill Primary School in Hanover were the beneficiaries of a two-week literacy summer camp which was staged by the institution in collaboration with the Georgia Perimeter College and the charitable group, Unconditional Love for Children.

According to chairman of Unconditional Love for Children, Dr. Earl Glenn, Watford Hill was the perfect school to implement a camp of this nature, due to its proximity to Montego Bay.

“We have found an ideal setting, so we plan to be here the next six, seven years. We met the chairman for Hanover Charities and we immediately formed a partnership, so we are going to work with her,” Dr. Glenn told Western Focus.

Unconditional Love for Children was founded in 2008 by Dr. Earl and Carolyn Glenn. The mission of the organisation is to provide opportunities for children from poor socio-economic backgrounds to become empowered through educational enrichment programmes, life-skills training, athletics and access to health services.

According to lecturer, Dr. Nicolette Rose of Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta, the summer camp was a part of the institution’s study-abroad programme. She said she was particularly willing to get involved with the programme from the outset as she is a Jamaican by birth.

“This is the third year that we are in partnership with Unconditional Love for Children, and this is the first year that we are at Watford Hill Primary School. Last year, we were at Chatsworth in Maroon Town and [at] Mount Zion Primary in the first year,” she said.

“The students from Georgia Perimeter are here on the study-abroad programme, so in addition to doing the service learning civic engagement activity, we are taking classes. These students are registered for college classes so they are taking courses like world literature, English composition, Caribbean literature and humanities; and all of this is built into the study-abroad programme,” Dr. Rose said.

Students’ growth

She added: “My students have loved it. They have gotten so much from this programme, and I think that as students they have really grown and they have a better idea of what service is about. And I think that they formed some real connections with the children here.”

Principal of the school, Jason Richardson, said he was extremely happy with the support provided to the school by both organisations.

“The programme has been very good. The Ministry of Education wanted to focus on literacy and numeracy from 2017. They have moved the literacy rate for the school for 2014 to 2017 for 100 percent. We have been working with Unconditional Love for Children along with Georgia Perimeter College to improve the performance of the students,” Richardson said.

“The students learned a lot. They participated in writing skills, comprehension development, along with reading skills. We are also doing a programme called Maths 24. The children learned to solve math problems using their minds, and they were very quick at solving the problems. This was something that we had a challenge with before. We had a challenge with getting the students to think critically, and the Maths 24 programme allowed them to think critically and also to use the skills that they learned to solve everyday problems,” he added.

GPC alumna proudly lists associate degree on resume

Left Off

Inside Higher Ed, June 25, 2014

(Editor’s Note: This opinion column was written by Karen Head, assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Literature, Media, and Communication and director of the Writing and Communication Program's Institute-wide Communication Center.)

As graduation season winds down, many former college students are picking up their framed diplomas to hang in new offices or homes. These diplomas are an important reminder of long years of dedicated work, but how much do the name on the diploma and the degree category actually matter? Since graduation season coincides with my annual post-semester spring cleaning, it is a question I consider each time I wipe the dust from one of my four diplomas.

In January I was one of the opening forum speakers at the annual Association of American Colleges & Universities meeting in Washington. I was there to talk about my experience teaching a massive open online course. Audience members were curious about the subject of alternative degree paths, MOOCs and competency-based programs. In my attempt to answer one question about nontraditional degree paths, I expressed concern that some programs might lack recognition or prestige. To illustrate my point, I explained that I proudly hold an associate of arts degree from DeKalb College (now Georgia Perimeter College) — the largest associate degree-granting college and the third-largest institution in the University System of Georgia. To some people in the academy, such an admission sounds like an embarrassing confession.

When I began pursuing my first college degree as a 27-year-old freshman, I was still working full-time. Frankly I wasn’t sure I could succeed in college, which is one reason I chose the local community college. By the time I graduated three years later, I was proud of my achievements, and I was confident about my ability to achieve even more academic success.  In fact it was a couple of the wonderful professors there who first talked to me about going to graduate school, and their belief in me made me want to continue my education. Without question, my associate degree was the most difficult of the four I have obtained — yes, even more difficult than my Ph.D.

Flash forward a few short years, to my graduate school experience. It was during this time that I first encountered an adviser telling me I should not include my A.A. on my C.V. When I was finishing my Ph.D., I had even more advisers tell me I should exclude that line. Even now, almost 10 years post-Ph.D., I often still get the same advice from colleagues. The amazing part is that all of the people who counseled me to omit my A.A. really seemed sincerely to believe they were helping me. When I have asked about leaving off an entire degree from my list of credentials, I am usually told that it doesn’t matter: “Your B.A. says everything you need to say.” Really? Does it say how hard it was to manage a career, a home life and college? Does it capture my anxieties about being too old, too late, too unprepared? Does it represent the immense sense of accomplishment I felt the day I first graduated from a college? No.

One thing that seems implicit, even insidious, in the act of “leaving off a degree” is the kind of self-censorship that signals another message: Recognizing an A.A. exposes me to questions about my struggle and my nontraditional path — leaving me open to the potential that others might mark me as an imposter who somehow managed to subvert the traditional path to the highest echelons of academic life. Clearly for some academics, nontraditional experiences do represent an inferior experience — one I shouldn’t share publicly. Oglethorpe University, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Nebraska — these places and the degrees I earned from them are the only ones to cite.

However, there also seems to be a problem with the degree itself. Has the A.A. joined a high school diploma as something not worth mentioning? What if you only have an A.A.? What if you only have a vocational degree? For many people the kind of work they aspire to does not require a degree or the kind of the work they aspire to is in fact certified by an A.A., and Ph.D.s like me pay plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and the like, very well for the skills they have. 

The problem of name recognition and traditional credentialing is not limited to the academic world. Degree names and categories are like brands, and your brand matters. Consequently, I have to wonder about the current focus on the future of alternative degrees and about how those degrees will be judged. Is name recognition so important that it is another indication of why MOOC platform providers began by limiting courses to those associated with prestigious universities? Just a week ago Starbucks announced a new employee college program with Arizona State University, a program that replaces a current one with Strayer University. Name recognition, anyone? Perhaps there were other more compelling reasons for the change, but I am suspicious that branding might be a factor — if not for the benefit of the employee-students, perhaps for enhancing the reputation of Starbucks.

Questions about the reputations of certain institutions (and by extension questions about the legitimacy of their degrees) happen — even questions regarding community colleges that are part of well-respected university systems in many states. Educators and policy makers must begin asking questions about whether there will be equal recognition for students pursuing alternative degrees or competency-based certificate programs. I also feel strongly that a variety of constituencies (educators, policy-makers, business leaders, parents, and non-degreed professionals) must begin asking questions about how to better promote the lifelong success of people who choose not to attend college.

If we are to sincerely promote new paths toward lifelong success, we must also acknowledge the consideration individuals will have to make when choosing what may or may not be the correct path for them — a path that could very much be about the name recognition of the college they list on their resume or the decision not to pursue a degree at all.

And that’s why, when I offer my biography or C.V. or any public summary of myself, I proudly include my A.A.

Keeping pace with the big institutions

Walton Tribune “Visions,” April 2014

By Stephen Milligan

When the word “college” comes to mind, most people think of a football-happy party school or a stuffy Ivy League university — both expensive, elitist schools that fit only a small portion of the prospective students looking for post-secondary education.

In Walton County, where many people looking for a college degree don’t have the time or money to attend a big, expensive school outside the county, whether that’s the University of Georgia or Yale University, that can particularly be a problem.

But the area has a few options designed to help such students, as schools such as Athens Technical College and Georgia Perimeter College offer other choices to people.

Georgia Perimeter College, which has a campus just outside Social Circle, enrolls more than 21,000 students, representing the largest in-state population of non-traditional students and dual enrollment students among all 31 schools in the University System of Georgia.

The school is also the No. 1 transfer institution in Georgia, sending thousands of students to other colleges and universities after they’ve earned two-year degrees from GPC.

While enrollment has dropped somewhat—GPC had 23,000 students in 2012—the school has kept pace with the university system, which had a similar drop from 314,000 to 309,000 between 2012 and now.

It’s come to represent the perfect home for students such as Josiah Palusky, of Social Circle, a sophomore majoring in computer science at GPC.

Palusky, who was homeschooled until his senior year of high school, plans to transfer to the Georgia Institute of Technology next year but said GPC had been the best place to start.

“I initially enrolled at GPC because of its convenience and good reputation, but I quickly gained a personal respect for the college,” he said. “At GPC, I have a good relationship with many of my professors, and due to smaller class sizes, I have been able to have a highly interactive classroom experience.”

Palusky said the school’s success for him was typified in its teaching staff.

“The professors at GPC are amazing,” he added. “They are here to teach students, rather than make a name for themselves. For this reason, many professors at GPC are humble, responding to questions that have obvious answers with patience and respect for their students. 

“When I talk to my professors about their subjects they light up, and are excited to share their knowledge with me. For many professors at GPC, students are the fruit of their labor and they live to see them gain a passion for learning.”

Palusky said GPC was also excellent for the bond between students there.

“The students at GPC form a community,” he said. “There’s the group of guys who always play Frisbee on the lawn, the people who wear trench coats and play cards by the cafeteria and the people who study in the atrium. Because I have been here at GPC for a while, I know many people in these groups, and can quickly fit in if I feel like taking part in a game of Ultimate Frisbee, etcetera.

“My sister began college at GPC, studying computer science as well, and has since moved on to UGA. Since transferring, she has told me that she misses being at Perimeter, where she saw many of the same students each day, and got to know the professors over the years.”

Palusky said he’d recommend GPC to other students looking for a good start in post-secondary education.

“My advice to anyone who is considering going to college is this: two year colleges are a great place to start, in practically all respects,” he said. “You learn to study hard and manage your time while still being able to interact with your professor during class, while avoiding the extra stress and expense that comes from diving straight into a larger university.”

Every kind of help for every kind of student

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 27, 2013

By Laura Raines

Would you go back to college if you had help with math or writing a paper? How about if you could speak better English? Or if you just had access to a laptop or understood how to use a T1-84 graphing calculator? What if you had back-up with online classes, understood financial aid, or just knew where to start?

Are you out of excuses yet? Good, because many colleges offer exactly the kind of help you need to get into college, manage your classes and graduate.

Tutoring offers help and hope for college students

Georgia Perimeter College, the state’s largest associate-degree granting college with five campuses and more than 21,000 students, has a Learning and Tutoring Center on every campus.

“There is help available seven days a week. The services are free, and we encourage students to use them,” said Alan Craig, interim director of GPC Learning and Tutoring Centers. “Offering students better access to education and helping them succeed is the only reason I’m in this business. Research tells us that students who use tutoring when they need it do better in class. They are also more likely to stay in school and to graduate.”

About 11,000 individual students made over 90,000 collective visits to GPC’s Learning and Tutoring Centers in 2012. “Their needs were as diverse as our student body and that’s what makes this job more challenging, interesting and fun,” said Craig.

Tutors helped students with math, science and English as a second language. They found computers with software on a variety of subjects, handouts and workshops on time management, how to study, computer skills, grammar, how to use a T1-84 calculator and test preparation for the COMPASS and TEAS exams.

The learning centers usually score 90 percent or higher on student satisfaction surveys, but Craig takes greatest satisfaction in hearing the individual success stories. “We just had a student make a B in his Calculus 1 class. That’s a major accomplishment since he couldn’t add fractions when he started coming here. Our tutors have helped him through progressively harder math courses,” said Craig. “Non-traditional students often fear going back to school, but they find that with a little help, they can do it.”

TRIO Student Support Services removes barriers to higher education

Anita Williams hadn’t been in a classroom for more than 30 years, but when her job as a loan officer was eliminated three years ago, she knew she needed to earn a degree.

Williams discovered that she qualified for TRIO Student Support Services, a federally-funded program on US campuses to help low-income, disabled or first-generation college students enter college and graduate.

“It was difficult going back to school, but TRIO advisors have been a tremendous support,” she said. She was able to borrow a laptop and other technology from the college. “I’ve made friends through the cultural and social activities planned by TRIO,” she said. “This is a great community for non-traditional students.”

Williams has an internship with the marketing and public relations department, and is on track to graduate with associate degrees in American Sign Language and Business Administration this May. Her goal is an online four-year business degree from Georgia Southwestern State University, which will improve her job prospects and her jewelry business.

Military outreach services help veterans

After 10 years in the Navy as a corpsman and surgical technician, Michael Spradling worked for the post office, started a successful limousine service and owned a care maintenance facility. But when he dissolved his last business in 2010, he couldn’t find a job.

“I applied for 143 jobs between September 2010 and March 2012. Despite my skills and experience, employers wanted to see a degree past high school,” said Spradling. “I knew I needed a formal education. Clark Howard said that it would cost less to earn a four-year degree by starting at a community college.” He contacted the VA about benefits and enrolled at Georgia Perimeter in the spring of 2012.

“I’m older than my classmates and most of my professors, but it doesn’t matter because I’ve made friends with other vets, formed study groups and received great advising at the Military Outreach Center on the Clarkston campus,” he said.

At present GPC is serving about 700 veterans through its military outreach program, and would like to serve more, said Mark Eister, director of military outreach, GPC. “We know that it’s challenging for people to come out of the structured environment of a military background and transition to college where there is less structure. Our job is to help them connect the dots and get them to the right places.” His staff works directly with career services, tutoring, the disability office and other campus departments to help veterans get the most from their education.

The Military Outreach Center offers students computers, snacks, one-on-one counseling, and a place to study and relax with friends between classes. It’s sponsored in part by community donations. “It’s good for everyone to help this generation of vets to better education and employment options after their service,” said Eister.

Spradling plans to graduate in May 2015 with a political science degree, transfer to Georgia State for his bachelor’s degree and eventually go to law school. He’s up at 4:30 a.m. to study, attend class, coach recreation football and be a husband to his wife and dad to his two sons. “I’m not sure what sleep is,” he said. “I know I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am without the resources provided by this program. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to set an example for my two boys. We compete for grades.”

(Read full article.)

McDonald's, Dollar General to be built near Newton Campus

Dollar General, McDonald’s coming to Ga. Hwy 11

Newton Citizen, May 21, 2014

Residents near the Ga. Highway 11 and Interstate 20 corridor can expect two new businesses to be built near Georgia Perimeter College.

A 9,100-square-foot store will be constructed to become a Dollar General. The company has worked with the county to comply with the future Brick Store overlay district standards including downcast lighting in the parking lot and separate block letters for the store’s signage.

The store will also be a brick front design to comply with the higher standards when commercial properties are developed in the future.

(Read full story.)


Miss Ghana USA finalist and GPC student featured in Ghana publication

Up Close with: Miss Ghana USA 2014 Finalist Whitney Appeanimaa Osei

Reprinted from Modern Ghana, May 7, 2014

As the excitement for the grand-finale of Miss Ghana USA 2014 beauty pageant grows daily, it is only natural that fanatics of the covetous contest and the general public get to know who some of the contestants really are. Today, Whitney Appeanimaa Osei – one of the intelligent, bold and beautiful finalists for this year’s beauty pageant is profiled.

Whitney Appeanimaa Osei hails from the Akyim-Abuakwah capital Kibi, located in the southern part of the Eastern Region of Ghana. Growing up Whitney was always outspoken and ambitious, proving herself to be a leader at a very young age. After spending the first six years of her youth in Ghana, Whitney migrated to the United States where she lived in Maryland briefly before relocating to Atlanta, Georgia, where she presently resides.

As a young adult, Whitney faced many obstacles which only fueled her hunger to achieve success. She relied on her ambition and determination for inspiring creativity and innovation across the African Diaspora to persevere through her toughest challenges.

Whitney is currently a student at Georgia Perimeter College in Dunwoody, Ga., majoring in Business Administration. She will be completing a Bachelor of Science degree at Georgia State University in Managerial Science, concentrating on Business Operations Management. Upon the completion of her BS, Whitney plans to complete an MBA in International Business at Emory University before settling in Ghana, so that she can effectively utilize her skills and resources as an educational mechanism to help young entrepreneurs in Ghana.

In 2011, Whitney represented Ghana in the Miss West Africa USA scholastic beauty pageant and was crowned First Runner-Up. During her reign, Whitney developed Influence Africa: a social media platform that allows young Africans across the Diaspora to shed light on current projects and innovative achievements as well as network and share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating the next generation of African leaders and decision-makers.

Amid an annual visit to Accra in 2012, Whitney discovered a common problem that most Ghanaians faced: an abundance of skill, knowledge and ideas but a lack of opportunity and effective implementation. Though many Ghanaians were extraordinarily gifted in various crafts, very few were employed. This realization inspired Whitney to begin work on her platform initiative: decreasing poverty in Africa through education, empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Currently, 26% of Ghana’s population lives below the national poverty line. Of those rural, uneducated subsistence agricultural farmers (entrepreneurs) and unemployed adults are among the poorest socio-economic groups in Ghana. As Miss Ghana USA 2014, Whitney will work to decrease the national poverty rate and increase economic development within Africa (focusing on Ghana initially) through The 3 E Initiative: Education, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship. With education Ghanaians will become better equipped with the tools, knowledge and technology necessary to start and grow businesses effectively and efficiently both in the United States and Ghana. Through empowerment and entrepreneurship, an emphasis will be placed on women who play a very essential role in Ghana’s economic development and should be empowered to become leaders and entrepreneurs in their communities. Connecting and sharing insight on essential business fundamentals will be extremely crucial as it will generate an open, mutual partnership for coaching mentorships between executives, leaders and dreamers alike on the two continents (Africa and North America) .

Whitney is actively working on her platform through the start-up of her fashion brand Julie A. Julie A. seeks to employ African artisans as manufacturers, supplementing in depth production training and income which enable them to become financially self-sustainable. Whitney also plans to establish a garment factory in Ghana in the near future to provide further career opportunities for qualified Ghanaians.

In her leisure time, Whitney enjoys any activity that allows her to give back to her community. A list of organizations that she has worked with and continues to works with is: Books for Africa, AIDS Atlanta, CARE USA, Back to Work Atlanta, The PerVita Foundation (Ghana) and the Ghana International Chamber of Commerce- Atlanta Chapter. She commends the opportunity that the Miss Ghana USA organization gives to young women – a pedestal to apply their ingenuity constructively in changing the negative perspectives surrounding Africa. Such an executive position demands an individual of Whitney’s grandeur who is poised, intelligent, ambitious and professionally qualified with a genuine passion to identify social issues and work collectively with leaders to regulate and sustain solutions. She is a true representation of the modern Ghanaian woman.


Tara Crosby Wins PNG 2014 YN Scholarship

Coin Update, April 21, 2014

Tara Crosby, a 20-year-old college student from Alpharetta, Georgia, is the recipient of the Professional Numismatists Guild 2014 Young Numismatist Scholarship. She will have the opportunity to attend one of the two week-long American Numismatic Association 2014 Summer Seminar sessions courtesy of PNG.

Crosby was introduced to coins by her family at an early age with gifts of proof sets. She began working part-time earlier this year for PNG Member-Dealer John B. Hamrick in Alpharetta while continuing her studies in communications at Georgia Perimeter College.

“To be able to travel to coin shows and meet so many ‘legends’ in numismatics in person has been a wonderful experience. John (Hamrick) has been so patient teaching me and helping me learn about this fascinating world of coins,” explained Crosby.

(Read the full story.)


How are you going to pay for college?

Covington News, March 14, 2014

Why do we hear horror stories about college students graduating with tens of thousands of dollars of debt and without good job prospects? And what can college students and their parents do to avoid falling into that debt trap? The answer is financial literacy — education geared at successfully handling one’s finances and making wise decisions.

This is the time of year when college seniors receive acceptance letters and decide where to attend college. Many factors are involved in this important decision, but for the majority of families the most important factor is affordability. …

Mary Johnson, who is a financial literacy expert at Higher One, Inc. and a former associate commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Higher Education, shared invaluable information with me about how to choose the correct college, how to pay for it, and how to avoid unmanageable debt. She offered this advice for high school seniors:

• Families should sit down together and discuss expectations of who will pay for what. A family emergency or an unforeseen financial difficulty like major car trouble could dash your dreams of a college degree.

• Students should carefully evaluate their financial aid packages before selecting a college. Student should know that they do not need to accept all the loan money that is offered to them. For example, if they are offered $3,000 a month for housing and other living expenses, they might be able to live on far less, thus entering into much less debt during college.

• Debit cards are often better ideas than credit cards for students. If you must enter into credit-card agreements, be careful about debt that can mount quickly with high interest rates. Keep your balance low and inform the credit card company you do not want your credit limit raised.

• Know what your required loan payment will be after graduation and compare this amount to what you can expect to earn with your college degree. The benchmark figure of manageable debt is 10 percent—a person’s debt, excluding a mortgage, should not exceed 10 percent of his/her income.

• Is a pricey college worth the investment? It may depend on a student’s career aspirations. During the first two years of college every college student must complete general education requirements. These courses are pretty much the same regardless of the school, so there is little reason to pay big bucks for college during the first two years, she says. Johnson especially likes the idea of a student starting out at a two-year college like the one where I teach, Georgia Perimeter College.

• Two-year colleges are generally very affordable choices, and at under $85 a credit hour, Georgia Perimeter College is a great value.

Read full story at


Going to college still worth it, if you play it smart

Newton Citizen, March 21, 2014

The age-old notion that college is the doorway to a high-paying career has been taking it on the chin lately, as more and more young people ask, “Is it worth it?”

Certainly the cost of tuition continues to rise each year, due mostly to declines in state support. Across the country, state appropriations have fallen sharply over the last decade, leaving students and their families to cover the balance.

We also hear horror stories about college grads who can’t get a job. But it turns out those tales might be exaggerated. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the latest generation of graduates “earns more than the ones that came before it,” while wages for those without degrees continue to decline.

So yes, going to college is still very much worth it. You just have to go about it the right way.

Go local. You can save a lot of money simply by starting at a nearby community college or regional university. Not only will tuition be much less than you would pay at a major university, but you can live at home, commute and hold down a part-time job.

I know that doesn’t sound glamorous. When people think of “going to college,” they picture weekend football games, sorority parties and sweatshirts emblazoned with a famous school logo.

All those things are great—if you can afford them. If not, going local is better than not going to college at all, and a lot better than mortgaging your future just to say you attended Prestigious U.

Curb your borrowing. For most people, it’s just about impossible to get through college without taking out any loans. That’s fine. Just remember this simple rule of thumb: Don’t borrow more to finance your education, in total, than you can expect to make in your first year of work.

Want to be a teacher? Terrific. Just don’t borrow $100,000 to get an education degree. Teachers start out at around $40,000 a year. Borrow much more than that and you’ll never be able to pay it back.

Instead, think about attending a less expensive school, working part-time to help cover costs and applying for scholarships.

Apply, apply, apply. If you qualify for the Hope Scholarship, great. Study hard to keep it. But also consider applying for other scholarships, such as those offered by the PTA or Rotary Club. Your high school or college counselor probably has a list.

And don’t forget about the federal Pell Grant. A lot of people don’t bother to apply, assuming their family makes too much money. You might be surprised. It’s worth the hour it takes to submit the form online, anyway.

By following this simple advice, you can earn a college degree that will be worth tens of thousands of dollars in income over your lifetime — without having to sell your soul at age 18.

Rob Jenkins is a professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College and a local freelance writer and the author of Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility, available at Books for Less and on Amazon. E-mail Rob at or follow him on Twitter @FamilyManRob.

College student tackles fleeing DUI crash suspect

WSB-TV, Jan. 14, 2014

A Georgia Perimeter College student said his cross country running skills kicked into gear when he chased and tackled a suspected drunken driver running from the scene of a single-car crash.

“He just booked it. And I just chased him down the street,” Brandon Morales told Channel 2’s Tom Regan.

Morales said he was driving with his mother along Dunwoody Club Drive on Saturday afternoon when a car heading in the wrong direction nearly struck his car and another car ahead of him. The oncoming driver lost control and crashed into trees on a residential property.

Morales said the driver initially said someone else was behind the wheel of the car and then ran off.

“In that moment, I just felt it was the right thing to get him,” Morales said. The student said he chased the man into a neighborhood off Dunwoody Club Drive.

“It was just like a football tackle. I just threw him down on the ground. I put his hand behind his back so he couldn’t move,” Morales told Regan.

Police arrived at the scene and arrested Daniel Hoover, 25. He was charged with DUI and other traffic offenses.

(See full story with video.)

GPC announces increase in dual enrollment students

Newton Citizen, Jan. 15. 2014

The number of high school students taking advantage of dual enrollment at Georgia Perimeter College is continuing to increase. According to information from GPC Dual Enrollment officer Jeff Meadors, the total number of dual enrollment students at Georgia Perimeter College has increased from 1,031 in the fall to 1,045 this semester. …

GPC has campuses in Newton County, Alpharetta, Clarkston, Decatur and Dunwoody, as well as online. The college also has several other centers and sites around metro Atlanta. There 272 dual enrollment students at the Newton Campus.

Dual Enrollment students are high school students who take college-level courses alongside their high school classes. …

Meadors, who is also a Newton County Board of Education member, said that dual enrollment students differ from Advanced Placement students in that DE students take courses that focus on preparing for college, while AP students take courses specifically geared toward passing AP exams.

Dual enrollment students have a 97.5 percent pass rate on average each semester, and the Georgia AP pass rate hovers around 52 percent, Meadors said. He said most DE students earn grades of A and B, even though earning a C is required to pass the college-level courses.

(Read full story.)

GPC dental hygiene students work across metro area

Dunwoody Crier, Jan. 7, 2014

It’s 1 p.m. on a Wednesday, and Georgia Perimeter College dental hygiene students are gearing up for a busy afternoon of patients, preparing instruments and reviewing patient charts. They’re working at the Faith in Serving Humanity Clinic—better known as the FISH dental clinic—in Monroe. …

The clinic serves those who cannot afford dental care and attracts many patients who have never set foot in a dental clinic, says Cherie Rainwater, chair of the college’s dental hygiene program. …

For students Teresa Hartnett and Cecille Jones, both of whom live in Dunwoody, working at the FISH clinic offers a gratifying facet to their dental hygiene education at GPC.

“It’s very rewarding. The people who come here are low income patients. They really express how grateful they are,” says Jones. Says Harnett, “We talk about community involvement, but until you do it, you don’t really appreciate the difference you can make.”

That difference was amplified recently by the Walton County Health Care Foundation, which donated $15,000 to the program. …

Providing free dental care for underserved patients is a hallmark of the education of GPC dental hygiene students. In addition to their work in the college’s community clinic on the Dunwoody Campus, students volunteer at clinics across Atlanta as part of their training, including the Good Samaritan Clinic and the Ben Massell Dental Clinic in Atlanta.

“Going to clinics for the underserved populations does not allow the students to spend much time getting to know the patients and building a relationship,” notes Rainwater. “But there is a very different reward for the students here. We feel the gratitude that patients have immediately. Helping others is always more rewarding to the giver than the receiver.”

(Read full story.)

Today’s nontraditional students: Adults who are back in school

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dec. 12, 2013

Think you’re too old to get a postsecondary education? Think again. … Getting a postsecondary education is no longer only for recent high school graduates. A college education can be beneficial at 18, 24, 35, 50 or beyond. …

Michael Washington, 52, is a busy man. He works three or four nights a week at C.R. Bard, a medical technologies company. He has a wife and three children. He takes classes at Georgia Perimeter College’s Newton Campus, where he also participates in the college's honors program and student government. …

“I have a good job, but my wife just got her master’s degree, and my daughter just graduated from Georgia State (University). Both are in accounting, and I thought, ‘If they can do it, so can I,’” he said. …

He hopes to graduate from Georgia Perimeter College this summer and plans to enroll at Georgia State, Georgia Tech or the University of Georgia to earn a bachelor’s degree in business/accounting.

“It’s been a challenge. I’m working hard and always studying,” Washington said. “English was always my worst subject. It takes me forever to write a paper, but I was proud to get a B in that course.”

When he first enrolled, Washington expected most of his classmates to be recent high school graduates, but he has found more nontraditional students than he had anticipated. … Despite all the demands on his time, Washington carries a 3.9 GPA and is looking ahead.

“My goal is to get my bachelor’s degree and my employer has said they’ll find something for me when I do,” he said. “I’ll keep working as hard as I can. The education is so valuable and it makes me feel good.”

(Read full story.)