Message from the President

You wouldn’t know it by the temperature outside, but it’s already time for the fall 2018 semester at the University of West Georgia! I am so excited about the opportunities that lay just past the horizon in this academic year.

As we get ready for crisper weather, donning our UWG gear and attending Wolves football games, let’s reflect on what we’ve accomplished and look toward the future of what this semester will hold.

Congratulations are in order for our Early Childhood Education Program (ECED), which has won the 2018 Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award for Departments and Programs! Receiving this recognition affirms to our students and faculty that our educator preparation programs are among the best in the state and that our commitment to innovation and excellence in teaching is valued and recognized.

In the 2017-18 academic year, we conferred a record number of degrees – 2,659 – meaning more students than ever before have earned degrees transforming their lives through educational obtainment and completion. We continued to set record four and five-year graduation rates and look forward to another year of record enrollment this fall, topping last year’s enrollment of 13,520 students, thanks to our commitment to expanding program offerings that are relevant, marketable and transformative.

To that end, three new degrees will offer opportunities for students — an Ed.D. in higher education administration, B.S. in interdisciplinary studies, and B.S. in social and behavioral health. The new doctorate in education — UWG’s fourth Ed.D. and fifth doctoral program overall — allows future-oriented administrators in colleges and universities (or non-academic sectors) to advance their careers with the program’s engaging and relevant leadership curriculum. A new bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral health provides students the opportunity to study the cultural, social behavioral and mental aspects of health with a variety of employment options. And the Interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree will serve as a liberal arts grounded program with multiple specializations aligned with workforce needs such as technical writing.

The physical footprint of our campus has also transformed over the summer, with several construction projects running simultaneously to provide state-of-the-art facilities for our students. The new Biology Building will offer technology-enhanced learning spaces and research labs that will serve 70 percent of our students and educate the scientists, researchers, nurses, educators and innovators of tomorrow. Additionally, the new Student Health Center is deep into its construction progress in the Tyus Hall parking lot near the intersection of Maple Street and Forrest Drive, with a completion and readiness date of January 2019. This project represents a true commitment to public-private and community partnerships with the Tanner Health System – and is designed to provide quality healthcare services for our students.

We’re grateful to Gov. Nathan Deal and our state legislature, who approved design funding for the new building that will house the Richards College of Business. We’ve entered the design phase of that new facility, which will be situated near the intersection of Maple Street and University Drive at the current location of Watson Hall. We’re also greatly appreciative of the more than $5.65 million we’ve received in gifts and pledges, including the largest gift in institutional history naming the new building. This support represents the philanthropic interests in providing a place where future business leaders are formed and where business gets done.

We have all of these new offerings and facility upgrades, but we’re pleased to not see a tuition increase for our students for this academic year as a result of our enhancements. Our mission has been, and will continue to be, to provide students with a transformational college experience at a reasonable cost. A zero percent increase in tuition ensures UWG remains a cost-competitive option for students interested in attending a top-tier Regional Comprehensive University.

The third annual Education Collaborative Regional Summit was an incredibly engaging two days of sharing innovative educational approaches and maintaining relationships with our community partners. I was so proud to see such a wide array of stakeholders who are passionate about coming together to focus on student success and finding solutions, and we’re excited to see the Education Collaborative model implemented in communities throughout West Georgia.

Our Department of Health Services earned a $312,000 grant from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to enhance and expand services offered to students who have been affected by sexual violence. Our tenacious, strategic focus on crime prevention and safety education ensures our campus remains secure, and this grant represents a tremendous complement to our comprehensive safety efforts.

Our beautiful campus has been named a Tree Campus USA honoree for the seventh year in a row, thanks to the dedication of some key staff members who truly care for UWG’s tree canopy. Everyone who works to help the oak, hickory and magnolia trees that cover our campus survive and thrive have a passion for their work to be the best stewards for our environment, and it’s great validation to earn this honor every year for the past seven years.

We also celebrated some milestone anniversaries at UWG earlier this year, with Irvine S. Ingram Library marking 50 years of operation and the Antonio J. Waring Jr. Archaeological Lab in our Department of Anthropology celebrating 25 years of digging up history. Our celebration of the library anniversary also included the announcement of Dr. Beth Sheppard as our new dean of Ingram Library, who started in her role July 1. Welcome aboard, Dr. Sheppard!

This fall, we’ll see an unprecedented week of excitement on our campus as we celebrate Homecoming and host our annual “A Day” giving campaign! “A Day to Give West” – the largest giving campaign to UWG’s Annual Fund – will take place Thursday, Oct. 18. Visit giving.westga.edu to join the global community of West Georgians for an exciting day of giving back!

That same weekend, from Oct. 18-20, our campus will come alive with Homecoming events from a glow-in-the-dark skating party to the “Enchanted Evening” Presidential Scholarship Gala Oct. 20, which supports need-based scholarships to support a “happily ever after” for all our students. I’m also excited to host – and participate in! – the Presidential 5K on Friday, Oct. 19, the day before our big game with West Alabama! To find out about all the events we have planned and to sign up for select events, visit westga.edu/homecoming.

As we continue to build momentum and reach historical pinnacles at a remarkable rate, I invite you to visit our beautiful campus in Carrollton and satellite centers in Newnan and Douglasville and discover what it means to Go West!

Together, we will embrace and meet every opportunity or challenge as we transform lives and cultivate student success and life-changing outcomes. I am honored to share the journey with you as we work to become the best comprehensive university in America, sought after as the best place to work, learn, and succeed!

Dr. Kyle Marrero
UWG President