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3.4 All Educational Programs

Comprehensive Standard:

3.4.2 The institution's continuing education, outreach, and service programs are consistent with the institution's mission. (Continuing education/service programs)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The University of West Georgia commitment to continuing education, outreach, and service programs is directly referenced in the University's mission statement and strategic plan.  The University Mission Statement notes that the University will provide: "…Opportunities for intellectual and personal development … through quality teaching, scholarly inquiry, creative endeavor, and service for the public good …" [1]. This statement subsequently indicates that an Essential Activity of the University is to provide: "broad range of public service activities and proactive partnerships that promote more effective utilization of human and natural resources; contribute to economic, social and technical development; and enhance the quality of life within the University’s scope of influence" [1].       

Moreover, the University of West Georgia mission is evidenced in the current Strategic Plan.  For example, Goal 12 (Community Relations) of Guiding Principle 4 of the Strategic Plan specifies that: "the University will engage the local community educationally, culturally and recreationally..." [2].

Such activities reflect alignment with the University System of Georgia’s commitment to provide continuing education and economic development to serve the needs of Georgians [3].  

The primary entity responsible for developing and offering programs in this area is the Department of Continuing Education. An excerpt from the department's website specifies to the activities central to the department.  Thus:

"The Department of Continuing Education provides support to the West Georgia community, advancing the University's commitment to learning through public programming. The department's primary activities include assessing, developing, and implementing a comprehensive set of non-degree programs" [4].

The specific programs offered by UWG Continuing Education are dynamic and they reflect the changing market needs of the broad geographic region the University serves. For example, from 2011-2012, the Department offered over two hundred programs that served more than 2,500 participants.  These programs ranged from personal interest (e.g., Ballroom Dancing) to career specific training (e.g., Certified Nursing Assistant co-sponsored with the School of Nursing, CompTIA certificate preparation) and professional development programs (e.g., Leadership and Management, Fundamentals of Employment Law).

Additionally, the Continuing Education Department supports a variety of programs throughout the year to provide enrichment experiences and camps for children.  These included the highly successful IMPACT program (Improving Motivation Performance and Attitudes of Children and Teachers).  This program was a collaborative effort between the University of West Georgia College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Education, which offers a wide range of weekend and summer sessions for K-12 students and their teachers [5].  A complete list of programming offered through Continuing Education during the 2011-2012 year is provided in the document "List of Continuing Education Programs" [6].

Another noteworthy outreach activity offered by the University of West Georgia is the Advanced Academy of Georgia [7].  The Advanced Academy of Georgia is a full-time, residential program for high school students. As explained on the program webpage:

"The Advanced Academy of Georgia is a residential, early entrance to college program for high ability high school-aged students who are interested in accelerating their academic careers. One of only a few programs in the country that offers students the opportunity to earn concurrent high school and college credit in a residential setting, the Academy provides a supportive environment among like-minded peers who value academic achievement. Many of our students go on to pursue advanced degrees in medicine, law, engineering or liberal arts" [7].

Most, but not all, of the Advanced Academy students continue to be dually-enrolled at their local high school and at the University of West Georgia.  The coursework Academy students complete at the University of West Georgia serves to fulfill high school graduation requirements.  Classes are taken exclusively at the college level, but the high school diploma is issued by the local high school.

Formal outreach and service programs are also offered by many of the Colleges within the University of West georgia. Examples of these programs include:

Also, many of the colleges or departments encourage students to become involved in meaningful service projects sponsored by student organizations or clubs. Some examples include:

•   The American Chemical Society (ACS) Club organizes the annual 6 x 1023 Day which features demonstrations to an audience of local and regional high school students [8].

•   The University Theatre Department’s Omicron Kappa chapter of Alpha Psi Omega (the national theatre honor society) routinely conducts fundraising projects that benefit the local food pantry and the organization Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS.

•   The SPARK (Supporting People at Risk) Program engages Education students in structured mentoring relationships with youth between the ages of 8 and 16 who have appeared at least once in the Carroll County juvenile courts [9].

•   The Music Department provides piano lessons to local children and adults offered by UWG Piano Pedagogy students.

•   Students in the MIS program are offered the opportunity to help emerging businesses in the area address technology-related issues that they identify.

The service opportunities discussed above are in addition to the wide range of athletic, cultural, and recreational events and programs at the University of West Georgia, which are open to the public.  The scope of outreach, continuing education, and service programs offered by the University of West Georgia is wide, and each of these activities whether they are formally organized such as the SPARK Program, or informally available such as attendance at a sports event, is clearly coordinate with the University of West Georgia Mission.

It should be noted as well that the report for Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1.5 discusses community/public service within the institution’s mission and how UWG assesses it.   

Supporting Documentation: