The Community College Week, a publication which is touted as "the independent voice serving community, technical, and junior colleges" recently released its 2011 list of top associate degree and certificate producers.
Ogeechee Technical College was on three of the lists, claiming the 34th position among the top 50 associate degree producers in the country in the area of general sales, merchandising, and related operations. In the category of top 100 one-year certificate producers, OTC ranked at number 94, and for one-year certificates for African-American students, Ogeechee Tech was number 84 in the nation.
"We are proud of the accomplishment of being recognized as a top producer of associate degrees and certificates," said Dr. Dawn Cartee, president of Ogeechee Technical College. "We work very hard to offer relevant programs which will not only appeal to students, but which will give them marketable skills when they graduate. Each associate degree, diploma, and certificate we grant represents a potential for a successful career."
Ogeechee Tech offers over 120 different associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in an array of program areas.
Community College Week's listing of the top producers of associate degrees and certificates was accompanied by an article written by Victor M. H. Borden, professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Indiana-Bloomington. Borden notes that many two-year colleges are struggling to offer the valuable services expected of them with fewer resources.
"This has been a rocky year for higher education in the United States," Borden said.
According to Borden's article, this year's analysis of the Top 100 associate degree, one-year certificate, and two-year certificate producers examines the awards conferred during the 2009-10 academic year.
Ogeechee Tech officially serves Bulloch, Evans, and Screven counties (the service delivery area designated by the Technical College System of Georgia) but traditionally draws students from a much larger area.
"We continue to attract students from all surrounding counties, and often from greater distances as they seek some of our more unique programs that aren't found near them," Cartee said.
OTC offers Funeral Service Education, Agribusiness, and Radiology Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS), none of which are offered at any other technical college in Georgia, among other highly sought-after programs.
"The success of our students is the real validation for us, but we are honored to be recognized in a national publication for achieving the level of success this listing acknowledges," Cartee said.
The data for this analysis are collected by the National Center for Education Statistics through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Set completions survey, according to the article.
"We are constantly collecting data and assessing our processes and levels of success, but we do not always have data from other colleges with which to compare. This listing helps us gauge our standing against others institutions similar to ours," Cartee said.
Borden said, "Among associate degrees, health disciplines showed strong growth, moving up from the third-most-popular disciplinary area ten years ago to the second most popular currently."
Cartee echoes Borden's take on the increase in popularity of health-related programs, "We have more students in health programs than any other area. We are building an additional health science building to accommodate the large number of programs and students in medical related areas."
"With changes to the HOPE awards, the transition from quarters to semesters, and our impending application for SACS accreditation, we have a lot going on at Ogeechee Tech right now, but we must keep our focus on students and providing them the tools to be successful, and we are committed to doing that," said Cartee. "With all that we have going on, we are grateful to be acknowledged with recognition of this sort. It speaks well of our faculty and staff that they are doing work which ranks so high on a national list."
To see the complete list of two-year colleges and their rankings in the different categories, go to http://www.ccweek.com/news/templates/template.aspx?articleid=2578&zoneid=7 . To learn more about Ogeechee Tech's programs, visit www.ogeecheetech.edu.