BPC Retools for the future: Board approves ‘academic diet’
MOUNT VERNON—Brewton-Parker College’s Board of Trustees voted to approve several measures at the Oct. 15 meeting that would help the college become “leaner and stronger” in the coming months, reports Dr. David R. Smith, BPC president.
While the national economy is on everyone’s mind, the College has also had to face some difficult facts financially. The private, Christian college is on the verge of its once a decade reaffirmation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACS). The Board’s decisions are slated to help the college retain accreditation and financial health when it entertains an On-Site Review Committee from SACS in November 2010.
“What we are trying to do by mandate of our Board of Trustees is increase the efficiency of our institutional program,” said Dr. Smith. “Like every other institution in America, BPC’s financial situation has significantly eroded over the last 12 months. Nationally, the value of endowments has shrunk as much as 30 percent for many institutions, including Harvard and Yale. But Brewton-Parker’s endowments, though much less than Harvard or Yale, have experienced a less significant decline.”
“When I look in a mirror, I am very aware I need to go on a diet to become healthier,” said Smith. “Our Trustees are putting us on an academic diet to make us healthier and viable for generations to come.”
The College will retrench in both programs and personnel this semester. The BPC Board mandated an increase to the student-to-faculty ratio following an internal analysis of planning and operations of the College. BPC will reduce its academic majors by about 50 percent at the close of the Fall 2009 semester. It will also close most of its external campuses, including Norman Park and Liberty County campuses. Some non-faculty employees will be laid off in the next two weeks. Majors that are not being retained only serve 10 percent of the college’s enrollment.
Students impacted by these reductions will be offered assistance in the following ways: Advisement into a similarly retained major; academic support for students near graduation; and, assistance in building agreements to complete their programs through other regional or online institutions.
Students affected by these decisions are encouraged to contact their academic advisor for assistance.
Among the majors retained by BPC are BS in early childhood education, BBA in general business, BA in general studies, Associate of Arts, BA in psychology, BA in human services, BA in sport and fitness, BA in Christian studies, BBA in management, BA in communication, BA in sociology, Bachelor of Ministry, BS in middle grades education, BBA in accounting, BS in biology, BA in history, BA in English, and BBA in information systems.
The College will continue to serve students with individual attention in a more specified curriculum, and will also continue to develop online educational options to replace the physical external locations.
Other items approved or addressed by the Board include:
- Approval of renaming the Athletic fundraising board to the Baron Club. The first quarterly luncheon of the Baron Club will be held Thursday, Oct. 29 at noon at Captain’s Corner in Vidalia. Cost is $7. Door prizes will be awarded.
- Certificates of appreciation were awarded to outgoing board members: Gary Campbell, Carmel Biggers, Jonathan Jones and Art Hall.
- The College’s new strategic plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees in August, will be submitted for SACS Compliance Review in spring 2010.
Brewton-Parker College is the only accredited four-year Christian college in south Georgia.