By Johnny Jackson
Griffin Technical College will merge this year with Flint River Technical College in Thomaston to create the state's fifth-largest technical college.
Recent revenue shortfalls in the Georgia's budget prompted officials to consider merging some of the state's 13 technical colleges, which include Flint River and Griffin.
The newly-merged technical colleges, which will be known as Southern Crescent Technical College, will serve a 10-county area consisting of 500,000 residents in south-metro Atlanta, including Butts, Fayette, Henry, Jasper, Lamar, Pike, Spalding, Upson, Talbot and Taylor counties.
The college will be a flagship technical college for the state, and is expected to have a combined student body of more than 5,000 students each quarter, according to Southern Crescent Technical College spokeswoman Anna Taylor. The college will serve an additional 2,500 students in adult education and continuing education programs each quarter.
"The emersion of Southern Crescent Technical College is certain to be a winner for students, offering a myriad of new opportunities for students from both current colleges," said Robert Arnold, current president of Griffin Tech.
Arnold was named the president of the new school in December 2008.
Over the next year, Arnold and other administrators at the two technical colleges will complete their merger.
Arnold's staff will include Provost Jim Wheeless; Vice President for Academic Affairs Brent Mayes; Deans for Academic Affairs Steve Cromer, Hazel Struby, Rebecca Johnson, John Pope, and Karen Williams; Dean for Online Learning Michael Whitehurst; Director of Library and Media Services Wendy Wilmoth; Bookstore Manager Melissa Jinks; Director of Accounting Carolyn Robinson; Director of Facilities and Operations Jim Brown; Director of Human Resources Christi Ellington; Vice President for Advancement Barbara Jo Cook; Director of Institutional Effectiveness David Bunnell; Marketing Specialist Kimberly DeWinter; Director of Career Services Teri Kinard; Director of Institutional Advancement Kay Williamson; Vice President for Economic Development Mark Andrews; Executive Director of Adult Education Len Moore; Dean of Adult Education Janice Tarleton
and Dean of Adult Education Melissa Gordon.
"We are enthused about the merger and the expanded opportunities it will afford current and future students, as well as local business and industry," Arnold said. "Above all, we are committed to making this unique educational process a win-win for everyone."
Other members of Arnold's new transition team are Director of Marketing and Public Relations Anna Taylor; Director of Economic Development Wayne Brown; Director of Continuing Education Steve Hendrix; Dual Enrollment Coordinator Mia Collier; Director of Satellite Operations Cherryl Gilbert; Dean of Adult Education Melissa Gordon; Vice President for Administrative Services Miriam Byrd; Director of Administrative Services Wayne Sandefur; Vice President for Student Affairs Lynn Futral; Director of Student Affairs Xenia Johns; Student Affairs Coordinator Kathy Neely; Registrar Kathlyn Burden; IT Systems Administrator George Flowers; Recruiter Ashley Stout; and Special Populations/Needs Coordinator Toni Doaty.
"Dr. Arnold is an effective college leader with a strong track record of success, including increased enrollment, improved student retention and graduation rates, and equally high job placement rates," said Ron Jackson, commissioner for the Technical College System of Georgia. "Combine his long history of success as a president with a highly talented leadership team from both of the merged colleges, and there's outstanding potential for the students and the communities that are served by the new Southern Crescent Technical College."
On the net:
Southern Crescent Technical College: www.griffintech.edu/southerncrescent.htm