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Sireno: More changes ahead for Darton

Peter Sireno

Peter Sireno

ALBANY, Ga. — Getting a bounce from the offering of the first baccalaureate degree in school history, Darton State College President Peter Sireno greeted students, faculty and staff with a message of optimism on Monday.

“As we begin this new academic year, we should recognize our accomplishments, our challenges, and the many exciting educational opportunities ahead for us, the University System of Georgia, and our nation,” Sireno said. “As many of you know, this semester will be the first time in the history of Darton State College that we will be offering the coursework for a baccalaureate degree (in nursing).

“The new degree in nursing is our first. Nineteen different programs were identified by the Comprehensive Regional Needs Assessment conducted in the spring of 2011. This past month, Darton submitted prospectuses for three additional programs — health informatics, respiratory care and online English. Plans are under way to submit prospectuses for three additional programs before the end of next month.”

Sireno said as Darton obtains the startup funding for more bachelor degree programs, people will begin to see the campus transition from a community college to a state college environment.

The president anticipates that the number of students taking coursework, participating in research and internships, and doing volunteer work — as well as the number of students participating in student clubs and organizations — will gradually increase.

“Campus Life will change even more than it did when we transitioned from a commuter campus to a residential campus,” said Sireno.

And more change is on the way, such as:

—This fall, construction will begin for Darton’s new southern road and its extension into Meadowlark Drive. Once complete, this road will open the southern portion of the campus as well as the 34-acre tract of land south of the campus owned by the Darton College Foundation.

— By early to mid-November, the college will begin Phase I of the Old Student Center Construction and Renovation Project. Approximately 6,000 square feet of new construction will house the Advisement Center, the Career Center, Counseling Offices, Disability Services and Minority Advising.

—The New Student Health Clinic being constructed on the northwest corner of the old student center and should be open to students, faculty and staff no later than early to mid-November.

“When I talk about what Darton College has accomplished or about what remains to be done, I often address you using the term ‘educators,’” Sireno said. “That term is not exclusive to faculty. Everyone who works at an institution of higher education contributes to the education of the students; therefore, all in that sense are educators.”

“You must remain connected with our students: attend their performances and athletic events, learn and use their names, listen to their questions and feedback. Show them that you personally care about them as individuals and their success.”

Comments

Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 2 years, 1 month ago

Just go ahead and move it to a four-year university and keep some of the bright Albany minds in Albany.

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rightasrain 2 years, 1 month ago

President Siren is doing what he likes to do best, blow loud! "You must remain connected with our students: attend their performances and athletic events, learn and use their names, listen to their questions and feedback. Show them that you personally care about them as individuals and their success." What a pile of garbage! Siren talks the talk, but neither he nor his "staff" come near to walking the walk. Just try to call anyone at the college and you'll either get an automated machine (forget about leaving a name and number in the "mailbox" of the person you're trying to reach because 99% of the time, you will never receive a "callback". Even with a face to face inquiry, one is shuffled from person to person as no one really wants to help. I can't begin to tell the number of times our "Darton student" had been told, "It seems we've lost your file", "We can't find your file", "I personally handed your file to "so and so". I have been in education for over twenty years and the only advice I give to students thinking about going to Darton is, (1) don't trust the advisers, most don't care what classes you take, (2) be prepared to lose credits when you transfer to a four-year college or repeat classes because they won't acknowledge the same class from Darton, (3) you'd be better off going to a four-year University straight from High School. Siren is interested in one thing period; more students which equals more government (our taxes) money.

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guardian 2 years, 1 month ago

You couldn't be more wrong! I attended Darton & graduated in 2003 and everyone that I came in contact with went out of their way to help me succeed! I may not have graduated if my faculty adviser had not, literally, pushed me into the classroom to take Algebra.

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YDoICare 2 years, 1 month ago

Guardian I would argue that your experience was the norm up until right after you graduated in 2003. It was a year or so later that the high faculty turnover began to occur. First by retirement, and those new hires most like the faculty you had starting their exodus. Unfortunately the school standards from your student days have been eroding steadily since your graduation.

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 2 years, 1 month ago

I had no such experience when I attended Darton for 2 semesters before transferring to a 4-year university. I had to visit the business office for scholarship and grant questions a few times with no problems. I had no problems with my advisor, and all of my courses were transferred without any hiccups.

The problem with the adviser situation is that no matter which college or university you attend, there will be way too many students per adviser. You need to be able to some things for yourself instead of relying on someone else to do them for you. That is, by the way, how it is in the real world.

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YDoICare 2 years, 1 month ago

Sherwood, I glad you had a positive experience and hope that the continuation of your formal education is continuing to go well. During 2 semesters, I'm guessing you probably earned about 30 hours from Darton which would be primarily in general core survey courses. From what I hear from former colleagues is that transfer and prepardness issues are prominent in the sophomore level classes. That was one of the issues in addition to transferring out of state during my last semesters in Georgia.

You make a great point about advising which is a point many of us tried to make at Darton. Because of numbers and the registration process at Darton, faculty advising for the majority of students is simply data entry. For a faculty member to advise, meaning talk of career possibilities, transfer options, scholarships at the next level, and just to chat about some of things we discovered or may have done differently if we had known at that stage of our life, really requires a student to come to our office at a time other than the "official advising period." With some departments if you did not register x number of students during the day, you were reprimanded. Other schools have the student register for courses and saving that time allows the faculty and student to actually discuss concerns and real options during advising. I have never attended and thankfully have not taught at another school that conducts registration and "official advising" in the manner of Darton.

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YDoICare 2 years, 1 month ago

Many, oh too many, years ago Darton was a solid academic institution with superior faculty who were tough yet fair. Of course one cannot blame the school for the aging process and retirements of former faculty such as Bob Carlile, Royce Shingleton, Terry Thornton, James Russell, Walter Merritt, Garry Whitehead, Barbara McLendon, and many others whose names I cannot immediately recall. New professors of the same academic credentials, professional recognitions in their disciplines, and high standards in the classroom were in fact hired to fill many of these positions. Many of those new hires were very active in the community, volunteers for various civic causes, and quite frankly the young and productive individuals with the work ethic and enthusiasm to make any area more business and family friendly. The problem is that Darton ran off many of these faculty members because they had high standards and challenged the good ole boy corruption at the school level, city, and county levels. I’m still in contact with a few, and it is a shame that all the grant money they have brought into their current institutions as well as the national and even international programs and awards they have received did not result in positive recognition for Darton, Albany, and Dougherty County.

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YDoICare 2 years, 1 month ago

Think about some of these individuals and how often they were seen and heard giving their time and energy for the good of the area and not filling their own pockets. With all of our economic issues, wouldn’t it beneficial to have input from the Singhs? How many articles did Mr. Singh write revealing aspects of local finances for the Herald? How about another take on funding of some of Albany’s “attractions” from Bob Wynegar who raised a lot of money for the area through educational programs? How much did the Etheridges contribute to the area? Political forums, local civic groups needing a speaker, both city American Legion posts, and our cable TV viewers did not just see him whenever his services were requested or needed, but saw Haydel on a regular basis and discovered an articulate bulldog minded advocate. When you did not see him working or volunteering, you could often find him walking and picking up trash thrown by litterbugs on the side of roads. Hertzog was a regular visitor to MCLB working on equipment and coordinating programs. What about the women? Pfeifer was a regular volunteer, brought true international expertise, and helped get several students admitted to highly selective schools like Duke. Grantham and Bryant personified the national efforts to get girls interested in math and science and helped pave the way for many to get accepted at Georgia Tech. This list would continue for pages and pages, and only gets sadder.

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agirl_25 2 years, 1 month ago

You forgot a wonderful English teacher too, from the very early 80's whose name I wish I could recall...(all I can remember is Bill or Bob). There was a very funny story he told as part of his creative writing course. There was a penny pinching Irishman who had to send a telegram and wanted to save as much money as he could so in order to save money he wrote this: "Erect afford"...instead of "he wrecked a Ford".....because the telegram had to be paid for per word. Oh how I wish I could remember that wonderful man's name, and the rest of the "telegram". I remember very well Dr. Shingleton, Dr. Russell, and Dr. Kennedy too.

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