As the University of North Georgia (UNG) commemorates three full years of consolidation UNG President Bonita Jacobs reflects on the impact the institution has achieved as one of Georgia’s largest public universities and steward of academic excellence and student success.
"We have shaped a new institution that has a bigger voice and presence in the state, and the value of a UNG degree continues to grow as we expand opportunities to make students regionally and globally competitive," Jacobs said.
UNG is experiencing high demand for its programs across its five campuses. With 17,289 students currently enrolled, UNG had the second-highest percentage of enrollment growth in the University System of Georgia (USG) for fall semester 2015. The university offers more than 100 programs of study ranging from certificates and associate degrees to professional doctoral programs. UNG’s five campuses are located across the northeast Georgia region in Blue Ridge, Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee County.
"With a strong focus on increasing opportunities for students and responding to the needs of northeast Georgia and the state, UNG has experienced incredible progress these past few years. Our mission, scope and regional footprint have grown, and we have retained our student-centered focus on academic excellence and leadership development," Jacobs explained.
George Danns, professor of sociology at UNG, serves as the president of the Faculty Senate and describes the university’s emergence from its consolidation origins as promising.
"Faculty view the institution as a source of professional pride for many reasons, including the larger and far more diverse faculty and student body that has emerged, and the resulting larger comprehensive university with more political clout in the USG system than either of its legacy institutions," Danns said.
"Far more academic programs are currently available to students at both undergraduate and graduate levels than previously existed and faculty welcomed the opportunity to teach more advanced courses," he added.
Some highlights of the past 36 months include:
- Opening of a new campus in Blue Ridge in fall 2015.
- Increased academic opportunities with a new four-year film and digital media program and expansion of the Bachelor of Science in nursing and Master of Business Administration programs to the Gainesville Campus.
- Currently ranked 16th among public regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report; also ranked as the third-most efficient regional university in the South.
- Annual scholarship fundraising increased from under $500,000 to nearly $2.5 million.
- Financial support from alumni has increased each year, and the endowment will exceed $50 million in fiscal year 2016.
- Several students recognized nationally for competitive scholarships including Fulbright, Udall, NIH, Gilman and Jack Kent Cooke Scholars.
- The UNG softball team won the NCAA Division II national championship.
- From more than 5,500 Army ROTC cadets in the United States, cadets from UNG ranked as number 8 in 2015 and number 1 in 2014.
- UNG’s annual regional economic impact increased from $401 million to $434 million.
- Faculty and staff merit pay increases and equity salary adjustments, and 131 new positions added since July 2014.
"I am very grateful to each of the faculty and staff members and the advances we have made, and I look forward to working together to create further opportunities for students and UNG," Jacobs said.
UNG was formed through the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College, two of the top-performing schools in the University System of Georgia, in January 2013. UNG provides a culture of academic excellence in a student-focused environment that prepares students to become civic, professional and military leaders who serve communities locally and globally.
UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the United States and its residential ROTC program on the Dahlonega Campus consistently ranks among the best in the country. UNG competes in the NCAA Division II Peach Belt Conference. Additionally, the university offers the community a variety of continuing education programs and cultural opportunities, including the award-winning Gainesville Theatre Alliance.