East Georgia State College’s Statesboro campus will return to the Georgia Southern University campus.
Leadership at the two schools are working through the details of relocating East Georgia’s campus with a goal of having the full transition complete by Spring 2020. The plan consists of renovating GSU’s Continuing Education Center in the NeSmith-Lane Building to house East Georgia. Once that move is complete, Georgia Southern’s Continuing Education Center will move to the current East Georgia campus on Highway 301 South, near Ogeechee Technical College.
“This is not a consolidation, instead this is really more about physically moving EGSC onto the GSU campus and two institutions working together seamlessly,” said Dr. Carl Reiber, GSU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “East Georgia does a remarkable job of getting students college ready. GSU can benefit by using their support services between a student’s senior year of high school and first year of college. Our goal is to provide students with every opportunity to advance their education in every way, as affordably and as seamlessly as possible.”
This move is more of a homecoming of sorts for East Georgia. They began a relationship as a feeder school for GSU in 1997 and were housed in the Harvey House on the GSU campus with 101 students enrolled. In 2007, they moved to Southward Plaza on Fair Road and then in 2011 they moved into their current facility on 301 South. Since the beginning, EGSC has offered classes in their own facility as well as on the GSU campus. East Georgia currently has more than 1,100 students enrolled at the Statesboro campus.
“EGSC is one of the top five feeder institutions for GSU and our students do as well as or better than those students who initially enroll at GSU,” said Deborah Vess, Ph.D., vice president for Academic and Student Affairs at East Georgia. “The proposed new EGSC facility on the Georgia Southern campus will facilitate student success by reducing the travel time between our two institutions. Our presence on the GSU campus will allow our students to be more integrated into the Georgia Southern community, and so to be better prepared for transfer when they are ready.”
The idea to move East Georgia’s Statesboro campus was presented to GSU and the University System of Georgia initially by Dr. Robert “Bob” Boehmer, president of East Georgia State College. Dr. Boehmer said he saw the move as a way to dramatically increase the access of EGSC students to GSU services, which will enhance academic success.
The move also will integrate the East Georgia students earlier into the life of the Georgia Southern community, making their likelihood of success greater.
“As EGSC discussed the ideal way to make this happen with Georgia Southern University, both institutions were guided by the question "what is in the best interest of these deserving students?" Boehmer said. “It became clear that locating EGSC Statesboro on the Georgia Southern University campus would meet this standard. It is indeed exciting and rewarding to see the commitment of Georgia Southern University to making this great community even greater.”
EGSC is an open access institution, whose primary goal is to enable students to successfully enter college and complete a college degree. Their work with Georgia Southern removes barriers for students who are not prepared for admission to GSU as freshmen. East Georgia provides in-depth support services in a learning-centered atmosphere to enable students to transfer to GSU and to complete a bachelors or higher degree.
Even though not directly affected with the move, Ogeechee Technical College is another potential path of entry into the university system. By locating Continuing Education in proximity to the OTC campus, some unique opportunities to enhance the synergy of the two schools will be created. Dr. Reiber and Dr. Boehmer both mentioned the enthusiastic support from OTC’s president for the move.
“We are very happy to be a part of the higher education community in Statesboro, Bulloch County and this region,” said Lori Durden, president of Ogeechee Technical College. “Our goal, along with that of the other institutions here, is to educate students, create meaningful career opportunities, and meet the workforce needs of our area. Ogeechee Technical College will continue to do just that, even with the evolving educational landscape.”
The hope is that the changes create a greater opportunity for students by knocking down as many barriers as possible to foster an environment for success in the University System.