On Wednesday, Dr. Stuart Rayfield penned and published a letter to the community following the announcement that the Bainbridge State College/ABAC Merger was official. Dr. Rayfield has served as the interim president of Bainbridge State since June 2016. Below you will find the letter along with a photo of Dr. Rayfield with a gift that was presented to her by the faculty at Bainbridge State.
Dr. Rayfield’s Letter to the Community
It is with mixed emotions that I write this letter to the communities that Bainbridge State College serves. Yesterday, the Board of Regents gave the final approval for the consolidation of Bainbridge State College and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, effective January 1, 2018. A lot of hard work went into the plan that our accreditation organization, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, approved on December 5, 2017 and now the BoR has approved. As we wind down for 2017, I want to highlight a few items that happened in this year, while also pointing to the future and the exciting things you can expect to see in Bainbridge in the near future!
As a reminder, on January 8, 2017, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the recommendation from the Chancellor to consolidate Bainbridge State College and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC), with Dr. David Bridges, president of ABAC, continuing to serve as president. At the same time, the announcement was made that during the consolidation BSC would work with the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) to ensure that the technical programs would continue to be delivered on the Bainbridge campus. I was thrilled to learn that Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) would be our partner in the acquisition of technical programs, led by Dr. Craig Wentworth. Both Dr. Bridges and Dr. Wentworth are highly regarded throughout the state and it truly has been a great joy for me to get to work with them both during this time of transition.
We are working collaboratively with both institutions, their respective governing boards and system offices to ensure a smooth transition during 2018. I am pleased with our progress. Here are some highlights of what we have accomplished:
- ABAC will offer two new academic programs on the Bainbridge campus beginning fall 2018 – the Associate of Science and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN).
- SRTC is already supporting workforce development needs in Decatur County.
- All staff employed by Bainbridge State College at the end of 2017 will have a place at either ABAC or SRTC going forward.
- Faculty at the Bainbridge campus have been engaged in more faculty development during the fall semester 2017 than they have in many years.
- Early consolidation of services between ABAC and BSC have enabled the college to save a significant amount of money already.
- New positions focused on career development, student engagement, and student success have been hired on the Bainbridge campus.
It is exciting to sit in the consolidation meetings and see the plans for the campus develop. I am optimistic that the hard work that is going on at BSC, ABAC, and SRTC will result in an improved academic experience on the Bainbridge campus that connects our students, regardless of which program they are in, to workforce needs within our communities.
As part of this letter, I want to thank each of you for your warm welcome to Bainbridge State College and for your continued support over the past year and half. It has been the greatest pleasure of my professional career to have spent this time in Bainbridge. The campus is in good hands not only with the two presidents who will be leading the institutions but also with the local leadership who will remain. I will be cheering everyone on during the continuation of the consolidation process and I look forward to celebrating the successes along the way. It has been a gift to have spent time on this campus and in this community and I will forever be grateful for it.
All of my best,