Georgia Military College has selected Augusta and three other campuses statewide to be the first to offer a bachelor’s degree, but the system’s president said the new program does not suggest that the junior college will become a full-fledged four-year institution.
Pending approval of its accrediting agency, GMC is targeting August 2015 to begin offering its new Bachelor of Applied Science degree at its Augusta, Milledgeville, Columbus, and Fayetteville campuses.
The new program comes after Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation in April authorizing the move, and since then, GMC officials have been working with local technical schools to design the Applied Science curriculum, the junior college said in a news release.
“GMC is committed to supporting Governor Deal’s ‘Complete College Georgia’ initiative, which aims to increase the number of college graduates by 250,000 by the year 2020,” Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV, GMC president, said in the release. “Our new Bachelor of Applied Science degree will allow us to contribute even more significantly to Governor Deal’s goal, and position GMC to support technical college graduates seeking to earn four-year degrees.”
In addition to attracting recent technical school grads, the program is expected to appeal to people who already hold associate degrees in applied science and technology and want to advance their careers in construction management and computer programing, but cannot uproot their jobs and families to relocate, said Dr. Mike Holmes, GMC vice president for academic affairs.
“Unlike several years ago, many of the leadership positions in those fields now require a four-year bachelor’s degree,” Holmes said. “Our BAS in supervision and management will offer these students an avenue for advancing their careers across a wide range of technical fields.”
The Bachelor of Applied Science degree is only offered at eight colleges statewide and a 2012 GMC survey found two-thirds of technical college students had an interest in pursuing a four-year degree program at the two-year college.
“None of the four-year institutions currently offering the BAS degree are in the same geographic areas, so we are most definitely filling a void,” Holmes said. “And GMC will continue to work with the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to avoid duplication of programs in close proximity to one another.”
Caldwell reiterated though that GMC will not become a full-fledged four-year institution as the concept applies to sports, ROTC or other extra curricular programs.
“We are one of only five Junior Military Colleges in the United States — also serving a large civilian student population — and we intend to maintain that status,” she said.