Gov. Perdue wants UGA engineering plans placed on hold

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

Gov. Sonny Perdue has strongly advised the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to hold off deciding on the University of Georgia's proposal to offer new engineering degrees.

Perdue reminded the regents - all of whom he appointed or re-appointed - that while they are a governing board, they must check in regularly with him and the Legislature before making any decisions that have significant implications for the system. Engineering is the second- most-expensive degree program to offer and Georgia is suffering financially because of the recession.

"With this UGA engineering decision, sadly I'm a little late to the party," Perdue said. "This process has been wrong. And I frankly cannot tell if that has been by design or simple omission."

UGA President Michael Adams submitted requests to offer degrees in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering -- disciplines dominated by Georgia Tech. Each college has argued any expansion should occur on its campus.

The regents are scheduled to discuss the plans later this afternoon and vote on the issue Wednesday.

Adams wrote that allowing UGA to expand its engineering offerings would give students options, provide the state with more workers and let the university compete for additional grants. But Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson expressed concerns over UGA's costs estimates and the state's need for more engineers.