ALBANY, Ga. -- Four of the University System of Georgia's current two-year colleges, including Darton College, are set to offer limited bachelor's degree programs, following approval by the Board of Regents to change their institutional mission to that of a "state college."
In addition to Darton, Georgia Highlands College in Rome, and in metropolitan Atlanta both Atlanta Metropolitan College and Georgia Perimeter College, will also be offering limited bachelor's programs in the fall.
The name change is a result of Darton's addition of a four-year nursing degree program.
"The board's actions reflect the evolving role of our access institutions as we identify specific job-related and economic development needs throughout the state," Rob Watts, chief operating officer for the University System, said in a news release. "Officials at these institutions have made a strong and data-driven case to the board for the mission change and for the needs in these communities for specific baccalaureate degree programs."
The state college sector was established in 1998 and categorizes two-year, associate's degree-granting institutions that have been authorized by the Board of Regents to offer a limited number of four-year baccalaureate degree programs. With the regents' actions, there are now 12 University System institutions in the state college sector.
Two of the mission changes -- at Darton and Georgia Highlands -- reflect the regents' ongoing focus on meeting the growing need and ongoing shortages of health care professionals in the state, specifically in nursing.
Both institutions currently offer associate's-level nursing programs. The board's approval will allow the institutions to offer bachelor of science in nursing degrees, targeting existing holders of a registered nursing license and associate's degrees who wish to complete a bachelor's degree.
The start date for the five new bachelor's degree programs at the four institutions will vary, dependent upon review and approval from relevant accrediting organizations.