August 7, 2002
02-335

VSU receives higher education 'Enhancing Access' funding

Valdosta State University's College of Education has been awarded $220,000 as part of the University System of Georgia's $1.9 'Enhancing Access' funding initiative, recommended by Gov. Roy E. Barnes and approved by the Georgia General Assembly. The statewide effort is aimed at bringing high-demand, four-year degree programs to two-year campuses.

Daniel S. Papp, Board of Regent's Senior Vice-Chancellor for Academics and Fiscal Affairs, said nine different four-year USG institutions will collaborate with 10 two-year colleges and three satellite centers in the statewide initiative.

For many years VSU has worked in collaboration with two-year colleges in South Georgia, including Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, South Georgia College and Waycross College, to increase educational opportunities in the region.

Last year VSU re-established a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education program at Waycross College and 30 students completed their junior year, with an additional 30 students preparing to begin the program this fall.

Funding from the Enhancing Access program will allow VSU to continue the program at Waycross and expand its outreach to ABAC this fall and South Georgia College in January 2003, with an increased focus on recruiting non-traditional and underrepresented groups into the field of teaching.

According to Dr. Albert Gibbs, department head for Early Childhood Education, this program provides flexibility to the students in the region and renews the university's commitment to provide upper-level curriculum on the campus of these two-year schools.

"Many potential students have work, financial, family and or commuting concerns that prevent them from attending the on campus program," Gibbs said. "This program removes some of these obstacles and allows students to take early childhood education courses closer to home."

"A real strength of this program is the collaboration that has developed between the administration and faculties at each participating institution in meeting the needs of these students," said Dr. Tom Reed, acting dean of the College of Education.

This program is designed for students who have completed requirements for an associate degree at the two-year institutions and then remain at the same location to complete a bachelor's degree in early childhood education.