Plans unveiled to increase graduates

Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan to increase the number of Georgia students earning postgraduate degrees by 250,000 over the next nine years will be fulfilled through implementation of the Complete College Georgia (CCG) initiative of August 2011.

Just around the time of the CCG’s one-year birthday, Tech plans to fulfill the goals required by this policy have now been released to the public.

“Each [postgraduate institution] was charged with designing a plan for its own campus,” said Dr. Steven Girardot, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and leader of Tech’s five-representative team sent to discuss the initiative at a two day summit. “The idea is for each institute to align with CCG’s goals by progressing individually.”

One facet of Tech’s CCG plan is to provide the resources necessary for all matriculated students to graduate. Some of these available resources include the CULC’s academic services, GT1000, living learning programs, athletics, honors, co-ops/internships and research.

According to Dr. Girardot, the best way students can support Tech’s portion of CCG is to channel the desire to attain that prestigious Tech degree by learning of these resources and taking advantage of them. In the end, each student accepted to Tech should have the complete potential to succeed so long as he/she also possesses the desire.

Currently, Tech is able to boast statistics such as 95 percent freshmen retention and 79 percent six-year graduation rates. However, to remain comparable to current peer institutions like MIT, Stanford and Johns Hopkins, Tech seeks to maintain at least an 80 percent six-year graduation rate that will escalate to 85 percent in the five years to come.

“There will never be 100 percent graduation and retention rates because the school just may not be the right fit,” Girardot said.

Dr. Donna Llewellyn, director of the Center for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and a Co-PI for Tech to Teaching, agreed with Girardot, saying that realistically, an institute of technology cannot serve the spectrum of careers and cannot best support those who change career paths from a STEM-related major to nursing.

Besides these internal platforms to help fulfill the matriculation rate requirements demanded by CCG, Tech will also expand the work it does outside of its campus. One of the ways it will foster this relationship is by continuing to strengthen its partnership with K-12 school levels through numerous organizations such as Tech to Teaching and Tech for Georgia.

Llewellyn explained that Tech graduates are positioning themselves in K-12 in order to solidify the pipeline into post-secondary STEM education through the leadership and technical expertise of these teachers with Tech degrees.

In turn, this program attracts many students to attend Tech in the future once they experience the campus and its atmosphere through the various kid clubs and summer programs that are offered.

The outlook on campus is that CCG will have a visibly positive impact.

“[CCG] brings together all the good work Tech is already doing,” Girardot said.