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      Albany State looks to add a few new hires

      A University System of Georgia budget allocation of $1 million will make it possible to increase the faculty pool at Albany State University by fall 2012. / From file


      A University System of Georgia budget allocation of $1 million will make it possible to increase the faculty pool at Albany State University by fall 2012, according to the ASU Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Abiodun Ojemakinde.

      These dollars support ongoing work by Georgia's public colleges and universities to increase college completion rates, which are getting a boost in the upcoming year with $72.5 million in new funds. Gov. Nathan Deal and the General Assembly fully funded the University System's enrollment formula, and as a result, all 35 institutions will receive new funding to strengthen programs serving the system's almost 320,000 students.

      Albany State's new funds will help increase retention and graduation rates for the purpose of closing the gap between residents with college degrees and others without a degree.

      "The priority is to provide more personalized service in the ASU academic setting. To help our unique population of 'first generation' college students, we believe that smaller class sizes and faculty mentoring are key factors in successful matriculation," Ojemakinde said.

      More faculty members will shrink class sizes at ASU. Presently, the faculty to student ratio is 1 to 25; but will change to 1 instructor teaching a class of 20 students.

      "Our students require more personal attention that large institutions cannot offer," Ojemakinde added. More individualized teaching, faculty interaction, research opportunities and a greater variety of course offerings are anticipated outcomes of new funding; also new faculty will ensure that accreditation standards of ASU's professional programs are maintained.

      New faculty positions in the sciences, mathematics, music, business, health care management, education, social work, logistics and modern languages, including speech communications will be advertised this summer and fall. The plan is to hire the new employees by the beginning of the new school year and no later than spring 2013.

      Gov. Deal started the "Complete College Georgia Initiative" in February. The program identifies strategies for the state's public and private colleges to add an additional 250,000 college graduates to the workforce by 2020 â" whether through a one-year certificate, an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree.

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