Georgia Highlands College (Georgia Highlands or GHC) is a public college in northwest Georgia. It has locations in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Dallas, and Douglasville, and serves the northwest parts of Georgia, as well as parts of east Alabama and southeast Tennessee. A member of the University System of Georgia, the college was originally a community college but has since expanded to also offer bachelor degrees in nursing and dental hygiene. Roughly 5,700 students were enrolled during the Spring 2018 semester representing 49 different countries.
Established in 1968 and opened in 1970 as Floyd Junior College, the school was originally named for Floyd County, of which Rome is the county seat, which was in turn named after John Floyd. It was later shortened to just Floyd College in 1987. In April 2005, the Georgia Board of Regents voted to change the school's name, and on August 1, 2005, the institution officially became Georgia Highlands College to reflect the regional nature of the population it serves. The college has expanded its service area by opening new instructional sites in 1994, 2005, 2009, and 2010.
Georgia Highlands College currently offers Associate degrees, Bachelor of Science degrees, and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees. The college provides eight Associate pathways and two Bachelor programs entirely online.Georgia Highlands College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. GHC's Associate of Science in Nursing degree and its Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and the Associate of Science in Nursing is approved by the Georgia Board of Nursing.
GHC's full-time faculty is 57% female and 87% white. 73.2% of the GHC faculty are full-time and ranked Assistant, Associate, or full Professor, while 26.8% have the rank of Instructor. As of Fall 2016, 51% of the full-time faculty had tenure, 22% were on track for tenure, and 26.8% were not on the tenure track. All full-time faculty had a master's degree as required by SACS, and 30% additionally had a terminal degree such as a doctorate The full-time faculty to student ratio at GHC is 21:1.
Students can earn an associate degree at Georgia Highlands College for less than $8,000 and a bachelor's degree for $16,000. An initiative begun in 2015 to expand Open Educational Resources (OER) and provide free or low cost textbooks has led to saving GHC students more than $6 million on course resources.
Georgia Highlands College offers courses and services at the original campus and at five additional instructional sites.
GHC was founded as Floyd Junior College in 1970 in Rome, Georgia. The campus includes Bishop Observatory, a library, the Lakeview Auditorium building, the McCorkle and Walraven academic buildings, a tennis court, and fields for soccer, softball, and baseball. This site includes Paris Lake and has access to a 20-acre tract behind the campus that has been set aside as a protected natural wetland ecosystem, which includes a 1,200-foot boardwalk and two observation platforms.
In 2015, the Floyd campus began housing a new Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC), offering training for law enforcement officers.
Cartersville Instructional Site
GHC began offering classes in a small space in downtown Cartersville, Georgia in the 1980s. The current Cartersville location was opened in 2005. The site includes a 55,000-square-foot student center designed with a mountain lodge feel that matches the original classroom building and has a two-story stone fireplace in the open-air student lounge as its centerpiece. Along with the campus bookstore, the center houses a small café, a game room, a weight and cardio room, two volleyball/basketball courts, and a suspended indoor running track.In 2017, the University System of Georgia approved $17.7 million in funds to construct a new STEAM building at the Cartersville site. The building, which features new classrooms and lab rooms, is expected to open to students in Spring 2019.
Heritage Hall Instructional Site
The James D. Maddox Heritage Hall Instructional Site, in downtown Rome, Georgia, has been in operation by GHC since 1994 and houses the college's Division of Health Sciences nursing and dental hygiene programs. Heritage Hall also houses digital media services and GHTV, GHC's local cable television station. The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program is also housed at the site.
Marietta Instructional Site
The Marietta site opened in 2005. This location became GHC's third site, opening for classes on the campus of Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU), now Kennesaw State University (KSU). GHC students at the Marietta site have access to KSU dorms, student clubs, intramurals, and collegiate sporting events.
GHC administrative and faculty offices are housed in Norton Hall on the KSU Marietta campus. GHC courses are regularly offered in the Atrium building, Engineering Lab Building, and Mathematics building. GHC students at the Marietta site have access privileges at the KSU Lawrence Johnson library.
Douglasville Instructional Site
The Douglasville location began using space donated by Chapel Hill High school while the renovation of the Stewart Parkway building was underway. The building, in partnership with The University of West Georgia, opened to students in 2010. It includes classrooms, an auditorium, science labs, a student lounge, and offices. A branch library was added to the site in 2015. In 2018, UWG and GHC announced a new partnership program in Mass Communications with a focus on Public Relations, with future program partnerships in development.
Paulding Instructional Site
The Paulding location in Dallas was opened in 2009. Administrative offices, classrooms, and the library are located in the Bagby building and the Winn building in the Dallas Town Square. Kennesaw State University and GHC have several active partnership programs available at the Paulding site, including degrees in Psychology, Elementary & Early Childhood Education, and Integrative Studies.In 2018, the University System of Georgia approved $4.1 million in funds to renovate the buildings at the Paulding site. The renovations will provide space for further course offerings, allowing more complete degrees at the Paulding site.
The student body at Georgia Highlands College is relatively diverse. Over 60% of students are female, and 24% are non-traditional age students (24–65 years old). The median student age is 23. 69% of students are white/Caucasian, 17% are black/African American, and 8% are Hispanic/Latino.
GHC has an active veteran cohort of students, and was ranked a “Top School for Veterans” by Military Advanced Education in 2012, and from 2014-2018.
Clubs and organizations
The largest club at the college, Brother 2 Brother (B2B), encourages excellence among minority male students. B2B began as part of the Georgia Highlands African-American & Minority Male Excellence program (GHAME) in 2008. GHC B2B won outstanding chapter of the year several times at the 300+ member national Student African American Brotherhood Conference. GHC's chapter of the national academic organization Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) was recognized as Regional Top Distinguished Chapter Overall in 2016, 2017, and 2018.The Six Mile Post, GHC's student newspaper, consistently wins awards for student articles, artwork, editing, photography, and advertising at the Southern Regional Press Institute and the Georgia College Press Association. For four decades, the college has published Old Red Kimono, an annual book of student artwork, poetry, and short stories. Since 2010, students at GHC can compete in a public speaking competition funded in part by the Rome Area Council for the Arts.Student clubs and GHC Student Support Services began offering food panty services in partnership with the Atlanta Food Bank in 2017 to students that are food insecure. Since 2005, the college has hosted Foundation Summer Camp, a free service for boys that includes STEAM and athletic activities.Since 1997, GHC has offered geology field credit for summer trips to Wyoming. GHC partners with KSU to offer semester abroad trips with credit courses in Montepulciano, Italy. GHC regularly offers biology credit trips to Costa Rica and culture/business credit trips to European countries.
Georgia Highlands College, nicknamed the Chargers, is a Division I member of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) and Region XVII of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Men's sports include basketball and baseball. Women's sports include basketball and softball. The athletics program began play in the 2012-13 season with men's and women's basketball, and added baseball and softball the following year (2014). The men's basketball team has won Regional Championships in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The women's basketball team won a regional title in 2016 and the women's baseball team won a regional title in 2017.
The Charger mascot is named “Bolt”.