Chancellor Huckaby visits with BSC students, staff and faculty

Published 3:17 pm Thursday, October 9, 2014

On Tuesday, Chancellor Henry “Hank” Huckaby, the University System of Georgia’s twelfth chancellor, visited Bainbridge State College’s main campus and talked with students, faculty and staff about their concerns. While on campus, Huckaby also made remarks during the groundbreaking for the BSC Nursing Facility.

This week Huckaby will be visiting college campuses throughout the state. According to him, his favorite part of the visits are meeting and talking with the students.

During the student forum at BSC, Dr. Rodney Carr, Vice President for Student Affairs, introduced Huckaby to the students.

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Huckaby told students, “You are what it’s all about. What you are doing right now with your education is the most important thing you’ll do in your life. I encourage you to finish your college degree because everything depends on it.”

Students presented Huckaby with questions based on concerns for their college education.

One student asked the chancellor about his steps towards success.

“I took learning seriously and worked very hard,” replied Huckaby. “My advice to students is that they learn to communicate well, both written and oral. And also learn to work well in groups and to think critically.”

After meeting with the students, Huckaby addressed the Bainbridge Rotary Club where he was introduced by Dr. Richard Carvajal, BSC President.

Huckaby is currently a member of the Oconee chapter of the Rotary Club.

The chancellor stressed the importance of BSC to the University System to provide college access to students while they work with Dr. Richard Carvajal to ensure the institution is prepared to not only admit students, but help them either earn a certificate, associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year institution.

“Working with the Board and presidents has initiated major changes in how the system is structured and operated,” said Huckaby. “We are changing because the new normal demands we change and evolve and we must if we are to meet ambitious college completion goals through the Complete College Georgia (CCG) initiative set up by Gov. Nathan Deal. But above all, we are changing because we have to in order to serve students better.”

Huckaby also addressed how the system is exploring other ways to make a difference in college completion, such as reforming remedial education, opening up new pathways, online education, encouraging students to take 15 credit hours to finish on time, military outreach and also the group of Georgians who start college but never finish.

He said, “Approximately 35.8 million working-age adults nationwide have attended college for some time, but did not earn a degree. An estimated 22 percent of Georgians fall into this category. The ‘Go Back. Move Ahead’ campaign launched in August is specifically aimed at assisting Georgia residents who did not finish college to return and earn a one-year certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree.”

The chancellor concluded his message to the Rotarians by thanking them for the opportunity and encouraging them to support local education.

He said, “We must take this responsibility seriously for future decades and for the future of our state.”

Huckaby’s visit ended with the Health Sciences Center Ground Breaking Ceremony and Library Addition Tour.

President Carvajal welcomed everyone to the ceremony and introduced guests that made remarks about the upcoming addition to BSC. Guest speakers included Sen. Dean Burke, Rep. Darlene Taylor, Keith Barrett with Altman & Barrett Architects, Erwin Harrell with Southern Triad Construction, Patricia Scott, a BSC Nursing Student; and Chancellor Hank M. Huckaby.

According to the chancellor, it was a pleasure to be at BSC to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new nursing facility.

As he addressed the audience, he acknowledged Regent Doreen Poitevint and the strong support of the General Assembly.

With recruiting and retaining nurses in rural areas being a difficult task, Huckaby pointed out that by training nurses locally; BSC will create a “grow your own” approach to meeting community needs.

“Bainbridge State plays a vital role in providing an educated, prepared healthcare workforce to the southwest Georgia region,” said Huckaby. “You have done an extraordinary job with the facilities you currently have with an above average board passage rate and a 100 percent job placement rate for practical nursing. I know that with this new facility you will undoubtedly do even more.”

According to the Georgia Nursing Association, there is a potential shortage of 50,000 nurses by 2030.

Huckaby claimed that nursing education is critical for Georgia and the University System is committed to attracting, educating and graduating certified nurses.

He concluded, “We are grateful for the contributions made by Bainbridge State and its faculty and staff.”