Q&A With President Mellichamp: What’s next for the Athens campus?

By ELISE GIEGER

Contributing Writer

 

Q: Why did Piedmont College decide to establish an Athens Campus?

A: Many colleges and universities have, in the last 15 to 20  years, seen the importance of opening branch/ satellite campuses so that students in other areas are able to attend those institutions. The reason we went…[to Athens] is because we have a long-standing tradition here of offering course studies to those non-traditional students, working adults, and in Athens-Clarke County there was only one four-year institution, UGA. UGA has no night or weekend classes for working adults. We saw this as a real need.

Q: Do you think the Athens campus will turn into a campus like Demorest? Will more courses be offered? How do you see this happening?

A: The biggest mistake Piedmont could make would be to allow Athens to be a mirror image of Demorest. By that, I mean we need to offer courses and programs in Athens that appeal to a different segment of students. We would never offer fine arts, theatre or lab sciences like chemistry and biology at the Athens campus.

Instead, what I’ve challenged the faculty and leadership team to think about is identifying majors that we don’t offer in Demorest that we think there will be a demand for in the future, and let’s examine how we might roll those out at the Athens campus.

Q: If Piedmont College did expand in Athens, are there resources available?

A: We aren’t at capacity in Athens, so we can easily accommodate another 500-1,000 students. We can maximize the existing space for the next few years and maybe even beyond that. We are going to have to look at the possibilities of how that campus will grow, how it will need to grow.

Q: Do you think more students are going to want to go to the Athens campus because of the environment?

A: UGA had 16,000 apply for fall and only admitted 4,000. The other students would be good, strong students anywhere. I think we are going to see an increase in students wanting to take classes in Athens simply because of that atmosphere. We would never introduce intercollegiate athletics in Athens. Those are only available in Demorest due to financial reasons. I think we’ve got the best of both worlds.

Q: Do you ever foresee a mode of transportation for students and faculty who are commuting from the Athens area to the Demorest campus?

A: Only if the state of Georgia decides to build a light railroad. We would have to pass the cost of that along to the students.

 Listen to the full interview here: https://www.piedmontroar.com/2013/09/23/whats-up-with-the-athens-campus/