Students show optimism at BSC-ABAC Town Hall Meeting

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2017

By Susan Reynolds

Special to The Post-Searchlight

Following the announcement of consolidation, Bainbridge State College hosted a town hall meeting on Monday, Jan. 23, at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center auditorium.

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BSC faculty, staff, students and community members made up the audience. The meeting was held as a Q&A session, with questions being collected prior to the session. The panel consisted of interim BSC President, Dr. Stuart Rayfield; ABAC President Dr. David Bridges; and University System of Georgia Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness John Fuchko.

Although many of the questions could not be answered because the process of consolidation is not far enough along yet, the panel was able to answer many of the 40 pre-submitted questions. The consolidation process is estimated to take approximately 12-18 months based on past consolidations.

Rayfield said, “ABAC has experienced tremendous success over the last ten years under Dr. Bridge’s leadership. Our institution will be the beneficiary of his visionary leadership during this time where enrollment in South Georgia colleges and universities has steadily declined. ABAC’s enrollment has risen.”

Topics covered during the meeting were as follows: facilities, employees, students/student life, programs/academics, community/alumni/donor, visual identity/marketing and consolidation committee.

After the town hall meeting, students and employees began weighing in on the consolidation. Carley Cranford of Bainbridge, a 19-year old student at BSC, thinks the consolidation is going to “broaden opportunities for the students.” She stated, “It will give the students more options for travel in the study abroad program, and as far the community goes, I believe it may attract more people to the College.”

BSC student, Haley Chandler of Colquitt, claims students will have a completely different experience when BSC consolidates with ABAC.

“I think it will give us the experience of going to a large university while maintaining a small-town feel,” she said. “I also think it will bring new faces to Bainbridge, and people will desire to be part of our great school.”

Lauren Harrell, the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, wants students to understand what is happening with the consolidation and know that more opportunities will be the result.

She said, “I’m so excited for what it means for our students, and for the chance to combine Foundations and group scholarship programs. The future is going to be exciting because there is so much passion behind what’s happening here.”

Leslie Judkins, Director of Accounting at BSC, reiterated the belief that both the students and community will benefit from the consolidation. “It will offer our students more opportunities in different educational fields,” she said. “I feel that enrollment will increase because of this and in turn it will help our community. I’m looking forward to these new opportunities.”

Please visit the consolidation webpage located on the BSC homepage, for more information.