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Dr. Edgens to serve as dean of external programs at BPC
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MOUNT VERNON - Dr. Jeff Edgens began his first full day as Dean of External Programs Aug. 1; however, he's already been making changes at the college since his hire June 30. He worked with BPC three days a week while he finished a teaching contract with Georgia Military College, where he previously served as Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs.
"The biggest challenge will be to increase enrollment, not only quickly but meaningfully at the external sites," Edgens said. BPC has six external learning centers around the state of Georgia: Baxley, Glennville, Liberty County, Newnan, Norman Park and Savannah. "We need to make sure we continue to bring quality academic programs to the sites. If it means innovations in our programs, than weíll make changes."
Edgens currently is looking for a way to increase the enrollment specifically at the Baxley Center, which recently relocated to the new Consolation Baptist Association headquarters building off Highway 341 just north of the city. The BPC center first opened in 1971 and was the first extension center offered by the college based in Mount Vernon. Edgens hopes to build the program back to its beginning numbers by offering students a chance to coordinate classes through the Baxley and Glennville centers.
"Together, those locations offer students in Tattnall, Jeff Davis and Appling counties a perfect way to complete an associateís of arts degree and transition into a four-year degree with BPC," Edgens said.
"We are blessed to have Dr. Edgens," said Dr. Cindy L. Skaruppa, vice president for enrollment services. "Based on his previous experience and successes in extension campuses, we expect he will lead our external sites into achieving higher enrollment and increased retention rates."
The former assistant dean for academic affairs at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville would also like to see the external site directors to create more connections within the local communities they serve.
"I see our directors as ambassadors to the college, the frontline leaders of the college," said Dr. Edgens. "It is important for them to be active in the community in their service regions. I would like to see the creation of an advisory board from alumni, dignitaries and politicians and local businessmen and women in the area of each external site. It's not a decision-making board, but it would help identify needs like new facilities and expansions of the program based on community needs and challenges."
The Rome native has more than a decade of teaching experience in the area of conservation, resource management and land planning and development. He has more than six years of experience working with higher education institutions' external campuses, including three years as the Director of Morehead State University at Jackson (K.Y.). He takes over the position at BPC from Dr. Bill Faw, who will remain with the college in a part-time capacity.
Edgens' writing has been published in many journals, magazines and newsletters. He holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University and an master's from the University of West Florida. He and his wife, Karen, have two children. They reside in Irwinton.
"I'm excited to be here," added Dr. Edgens. "Everybody's been very friendly and supportive. I got my undergraduate degree from Presbyterian College (Clinton, S.C.) so I understand and enjoy the private, Christian liberal arts college community."

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