AMERICUS (Oct. 9, 2013)—Located on opposite ends of the state, Georgia Southwestern State University and East Georgia State College in Swainsboro are on the same page in their efforts to improve college readiness for high school graduates. 

East Meets West: East Georgia State College, GSW hosting conference aimed at improving college readiness

AMERICUS (Oct. 9, 2013)—Located on opposite ends of the state, Georgia Southwestern State University and East Georgia State College in Swainsboro are on the same page in their efforts to improve college readiness for high school graduates. The two schools will co-host a conference on college readiness Oct. 17 and 18 at GSW called “East Meets West: Addressing the Challenge of College Readiness in Rural Georgia.”

This conference is designed to bring together educators from the public schools, technical colleges, and University System of Georgia institutions to explore ways of ensuring that high school graduates, especially those from the rural parts of the state, are prepared to succeed in college. Both located in rural areas of the state, leaders at GSW and EGSC felt like this conference could provide helpful insights to educators in their respective regions.

The keynote speaker is Gail Wells, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and provost at Northern Kentucky University. Wells was on an American Association of State Colleges and Universities task force that wrote a report last year concluding that much of the responsibility for high school graduate college readiness in the future lies with colleges and universities and their willingness to work with public schools.

GSW President Kendall Blanchard attended the AASCU meeting where the report was presented, and he brought the discussion back to Southwestern’s campus. Blanchard asked Kelly McCoy, Ph.D., dean of GSW’s College of Arts and Sciences, to carry the conversation forward. McCoy, who is planning the event, was pleased Wells agreed to headline the conference. He believes she is the perfect choice.

“Northern Kentucky is probably at the forefront nationally of this movement for higher education to work with public schools,” said McCoy. “They have several collaborative programs that help improve college readiness of high school graduates and students planning to attend college.”

EGSC President Bob Boehmer shares Blanchard and McCoy’s confidence in Wells. “We are fortunate to have Dr. Wells here to set the tone for this productive step in improving college readiness in Georgia,” he stated.

The conference begins Thursday, Oct. 17 with lunch and the keynote address from Wells. Most of the conference will feature break-out sessions from schools in the state that are tackling the issue of college readiness with innovative programs. Dalton State College will provide insights on its successful summer bridge program; Gordon State College in Barnesville, Ga., will discuss a project that aligns high school English courses with expectations of college composition courses; and Mark Peevy, executive director of secondary education initiatives for the Technical College System of Georgia, will present on the systems extensive K-12 outreach program.

College readiness and the gap in expectations is indeed a pivotal issue. A recent report by ACT stated that only 28 percent of students that took the ACT exam were college ready based on minimum scores on all areas of the exam. Roughly two-thirds of the students were ready in at least one area.

“One advantage to the conference is that we don’t have to convince anyone that there is a need to improve college readiness,” McCoy said. “The need is obvious. Our colleagues in higher education realize that this is an issue. The key is to actually get started on some sort of an action plan.”

Georgia Southwestern and East Georgia reached out to high schools and higher education institution throughout Georgia to be a part of the conference. Approximately 100 people are expected to participate.

For additional information, please call (229) 931-2322 or email or Elizabeth Gilmer at EGSC, (478) 289-2037,

 - GSW –

 GEORGIA SOUTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY, located in Americus, Ga., is a public, four-year unit of the University System of Georgia with 3,000 students. Georgia Southwestern offers outstanding professional programs of study as well as degrees in the arts, humanities, sciences and graduate programs in business, computer science, education, English, and nursing. Founded in 1906, Georgia Southwestern is recognized as one of the best colleges in the South. Visit for more information.


EAST GEORGIA STATE COLLEGE provides access to higher education through Associate of Art degrees and a new Bachelor of Science in Biology degree that support the University System of Georgia’s focus on increasing college graduates for future workforce needs. East Georgia State College students are prepared for 21st century success and benefit from fully accredited face-to-face and on-line programs of study with global transferability, low tuition rates, financial aid assistance, small classes, on-campus apartments and Bobcat athletics.  The College also continuously engages the communities it serves through public service and cultural enrichment.For more information, visit