February 9, 1998

VSU Graduate School looking to future growth

Dr. Ernestine Clark is spreading the word throughout South Georgia�the Valdosta State University Graduate School is gearing up for growth and program expansion.

The dean of the Graduate School says 1,254 graduate students were enrolled at VSU during the Fall 1997, and she hopes enrollment will be up 10 percent by Fall 1998.

Clark said 439 master's degrees were conferred for the 1996-97 academic year, an all-time record for Valdosta State.

Clark and two new additions to her staff, Dr. Lynn Corbin, associate dean and retired Lt. Col. Chuck Hudson, assistant to the dean for recruitment and retention, are making the rounds to area civic clubs and education groups, talking about the future.

"We want to be user friendly and provide good customer service," Clark said.

To those ends, Corbin joined the office in November to fill the vacancy left by Dr. Nolan Argyle's move across campus. Argyle became coordinator of the Master of Public Administration program and dean of faculty at Kings Bay Naval Base. Previously, Corbin was an associate professor in the Department of Music.

Hudson returned to VSU in January after serving as director of the campus Air Force ROTC unit from 1992-95. His primary responsibility is to ensure that as many people as possible become aware of graduate opportunities at VSU. "We'll visit as many people as we can within VSU's 41-county service area," Hudson said. "We want to let them know what we have to offer."

And currently, the Graduate School offers a range of educational opportunities in more than 40 areas, with additional degrees in the planning stages.

In June of 1997, Clark said the school graduated its first class of students completing the Master of Social Work degree. Candidates in the first Doctor of Education class have finished their course work and taken written exams�now, they're working on dissertations. Clark said another set of doctoral students is

currently being selected in three areas:

Educational Leadership

Curriculum and Instruction

Adult and Vocational Education

For Fall 1997, the Graduate School added Educational Specialist in Instructional Technology and Master of Accountancy degrees. Clark added that, in the Fall 1998, the Master of Business Administration program currently in place is expected to begin accepting students every semester rather than every two years.

According to Clark, several other programs are in the developmental stages, including master's degrees in information studies, family therapy and physical therapy. A certification program in gerontology is also being discussed, along with a doctorate in public administration.

Clark said a Master of Science in Criminal Justice is also being added for 1998, pending Board of Regents approval.

Meanwhile, the Graduate School recently published its first research journal, Perspectives on Research. The 64-page full color magazine highlights the research of several faculty members and students, including Dr. Kenneth Rumstay's efforts to map the galaxy and writer-in-residence Janice Daugharty's latest literary accomplishments. It also presents research on day-to-day issues, like the ethical implications of targeting children as toy consumers and the ongoing debate surrounding the Georgia flag.

The annual magazine's inaugural publication was edited by Argyle, and future issues will be supervised by Corbin.

"This journal brings research articles into the mainstream and makes them accessible," Corbin said. "These are real people doing real work that applies to real life."

Clark agrees.

"We have dreamed of publishing a journal for years and years," Clark said. "We're trying to showcase the types of research being done at Valdosta State. It's applied research�where the focus is on finding to solutions to real-world problems."

Clark said "Perspectives on Research" will also serve as a recruitment tool, with copies being sent to all public schools within VSU's service area.

"As people are making decisions about graduate school, we hope this journal will influence them," Clark said.

And as the Graduate School focuses on the future, Clark believes there are many bright days ahead for the school and the students it serves. More and more working professionals are finding that an advanced degree is becoming a very valuable plus on a r�sum�.

"Our Graduate School gives people in this area an educational opportunity they wouldn't normally have," Clark said. "We want to provide a nurturing atmosphere for learning."

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