A Curriculum Expansion Task Force formed at Georgia Gwinnett College is currently exploring the addition of graduate programs in the School of Business and other departments in an effort to bolster and support the educational objectives of GGC undergrads. Courses are expected to be offered as early as Fall of 2022 if the plans are adopted soon.
Dr. Jason Delaney, Assistant Dean for Faculty Development at the School of Business and Associate Professor of Economics, discussed the School of Business’s graduate program plans with The Globe, citing a particular interest in developing a Master of Accountancy degree from students.
“A lot of accounting students get their degree, and then they need an additional number of credits within their accounting course work to take the CPA exam,” Dr. Delaney said.
“At present, a lot of students stick around to take post-baccalaureate courses after having graduated to fulfill those credit requirements, and others leave to seek a Masters of Accountancy at another school, so it feels like a missed opportunity for us.”
The focus on a Master of Accountancy for GGC business students highlights the approach the Curriculum Expansion Task Force is taking as it reviews which graduate programs to integrate, centering the needs and interests specific to GGC students.
“My job is to listen to the students, and advocate for what the students want,” Dr. Delaney said. “The students are why we’re here as an organization, so if students are saying they want a graduate degree at GGC, we are committed to getting students what they need to be successful to fulfill their educational goals.”
Interest in developing graduate programs at GGC was largely propelled by student feedback through input from students on the Dean-Student Advisory Board and survey responses.
The Student Advisory Board is made up of students from across concentrations and clubs, with the purpose of providing students the opportunity to provide feedback to the dean and administrative staff on ideas and developments proposed by the School of Business. Dr. Delaney encountered an enthusiastic response from the Student Advisory Board on the graduate program plans.
Students expressed similar interest in graduate programs in a Spring 2021 SBA Student Survey that was emailed out to business students in mid-February. The email read:
“What if I told you that the School of Business is exploring the addition of Master’s Programs and Graduate Certifications? That’s right… Georgia Gwinnett College could become a University.”
In the survey, when asked if students would consider GGC for graduate studies, 83% of the students responded “yes.” According to Dr. Delaney, student survey responses also indicated interest in a business administration degree, a technical degree in business analytics, and courses on human resources. More than 200 students participated in the survey.
“We want to stay on the cutting edge of what student need and student demand is, and if that means additional graduate programs in the future, we’ll continue to explore new options,” Dr. Delaney said.
While there may be several graduate certifications that are being considered by the School of Business and other departments at GGC, Dr. Delaney stressed that the task force is focused on analyzing select programs that may not be adequately offered elsewhere.
“Our goal is not to be everything to everybody. Our goal is to meet the needs of our students as effective and efficient as we can,” Dr. Delaney said.
Graduate programs at GGC present the community and students with a unique opportunity for higher education if tuition rates are comparable to GGC’s existing undergraduate tuition rates. GGC prides itself in making higher education accessible by providing one of the most affordable rates in metro-Atlanta from a 4-year institution.
Dr. Delany assured that GGC remained committed to centering affordability, accessibility, and student engagement, saying, “We’re looking at schedules that will help students—especially students who at that point will have a 4-year degree and will probably be working full-time. So we’re thinking about how to make this into something that integrates into the lifestyle of a student at that level, and that includes cost and scheduling.”
The Curriculum Expansion Task Force is expected to present a set of recommended graduate programs deemed feasible to the school sometime this fall. The School of Business is still interested in hearing input from students. Students who did not participate in the past survey and would like to communicate feedback can email the School of Business at email@example.com or email Dr. Delaney at firstname.lastname@example.org.