Georgia Highlands College is reorganizing this fall into five schools, each devoted to a specific field of study.

The idea, according to Chief Academic Officer Dana Nichols, is to group its offerings under larger umbrellas that give students more flexibility in choosing their paths.

“The realignment of academic disciplines that came with the move from divisions to schools provides for greater opportunities to spread ideas and increase undergraduate research possibilities,” Nichols said.

The schools structure, she said, will allow for more rapid and innovative curriculum design that meets workforce needs and prepares students for continuing their studies even into graduate school.

The announcement follows the addition of several new programs — in sports management, film production, graphic design — and the ability to earn a bachelor’s in health science at the college.

As of fall semester, GHC will oversee five schools: the School of Business and Professional Studies, the School of Health Sciences, the School of Humanities, the School of Social Sciences and Education and the School of STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

Nichols said an academic school represents a grouping of related disciplines with dean-level leadership. The deans will be able to coordinate multidisciplinary studies that previously wouldn’t have been as easy to organize.

“When I arrived at GHC in 2018, Academic Affairs was organized into five large teaching divisions with deans but no division chairs,” Nichols said.

The deans had to focus on scheduling and other operations, she said, rather than specifically targeting curriculum. GHC added division chairs last August as a first step toward creating the schools.

“Now, the division chairs can assume some of the critical operational functions such as scheduling, and free the deans up to focus on the big picture and long-term goals for their areas,” Nichols said.

The college serves more than 6,000 students in Northwest Georgia across its five locations in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Dallas, and Douglasville.

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