UWG May Become Regional University

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The University of West Georgia is excited to share the news that the current draft of the University System of Georgia Policy of Institutional Function and Mission classifies UWG as a Regional University – currently, it is classified as a State University. This draft policy, discussed by the Board of Regents at the April meeting, has not yet been approved by vote. It will come before the Board at a later meeting for approval.

The Regional University category is the second-highest of a six-tier identification system. It currently includes only Georgia Southern and Valdosta State University. UWG was named to the newly created Robust Tier of universities in 2006, along with these two universities and Kennesaw State University, which is also being considered for Regional University status. The top tier schools are identified as Research Universities, a classification that includes Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, Georgia Regents University, and University of Georgia.

The University System of Georgia has identified five characteristics of Regional Universities:

  • a commitment to excellence and responsiveness within a scope of influence defined by the needs of a specific region of the state, and by particularly outstanding programs or distinctive characteristics that have a magnet effect even beyond the region;

  • a commitment to a teaching/learning environment, both inside and outside the classroom, that sustains instructional excellence, serves a diverse and well-prepared student body, promotes high levels of student achievement, offers academic assistance, and provides developmental studies programs for a limited student cohort;

  • a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary academic programming at the baccalaureate and masters levels, as well as a range of professional programs at the baccalaureate and post baccalaureate levels, including a limited number of professionally-oriented doctoral level programs;

  • a commitment to public service, continuing education, technical assistance, and economic development activities that address the needs, improve the quality of life, and raise the educational level within the university’s scope of influence;

  • a commitment to scholarly and creative work to enhance instructional effectiveness and to encourage faculty scholarly pursuits, and a commitment to research in selected areas of institutional strength and focused on regional need.

“Designation as a Regional University would indicate that the USG both recognizes these characteristics in UWG and values UWG’s educational and societal impact on the local area, the region, and the state. This would be a significant point of pride, not only for the university, but also for the surrounding community,” said President Beheruz N. Sethna; “Given how difficult it is to get into institutions such as UGA and Tech, it would also help retain great students in Georgia by giving them additional opportunities to go to a recognized first-class regional university closer to home.”

At this time, the Board of Regents is accepting feedback from other institutions as well as community members, groups, and businesses. On behalf of the university and the west Georgia region, UWG will continue to seek support for this proposal to become reality.