Dalton State, Wright School of Business recognized by U.S. News & World Report

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At Dalton State College, faculty members' primary focus is on the students, college officials said. It's a commitment that has earned the college a spot on the U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges List.

Dalton State ranked 15 on the list of Best Undergraduate Teaching programs among 124 in regional colleges in the South. Also, the Wright School of Business was listed in the Best Undergraduate Business Programs rankings. The lists are compiled based on responses to surveys distributed to peer groups.

"While Dalton State does not pursue such rankings, I am pleased to see the broader community recognize the value that Dalton State offers our region, our state and our country," said Margaret Venable, president of Dalton State. "The high quality of our academic programs is not new. But it is wonderful to know our peers are noticing."

The Best Undergraduate Teaching programs list is for schools with a strong commitment to teaching students instead of a focus on conducting graduate-level research, according to U.S. News & World Report.

"Dalton State has long been known locally for its rigorous academic programs and for our emphasis on undergraduate teaching," Venable said. "In more recent years, we have added degree programs needed by our local employers and sought after by our students while ensuring we are using modern pedagogical methods and technological tools to prepare our students for the work environment."

The college's student to faculty ratio is 19:1, meaning students can receive more individualized attention.

"Our graduates who are hired to work in local school systems and industry are the best indicators of the quality programs we provide," said Jodi Johnson, Dalton State vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. "As a teaching institution our faculty work directly with students and mentor them throughout their academic careers, and in some cases, after graduation. In a recent survey, our graduates overwhelmingly indicated faculty took an interest in their academic performance and career path. When compared with peers from similar institutions, our graduates reported significantly higher levels of faculty engagement and support."

Dalton State's enrollment is approximately 5,000 students. An institution of the University System of Georgia, Dalton State provides access to 25 bachelor's degrees, as well as associate degrees and career certificate programs. Dalton State is Georgia's first and only Hispanic-Serving Institution and attracts students from 42 countries worldwide.

"Being recognized by the U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Colleges for Undergraduate Teaching in our region is well overdue," said Adrian Epps, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. "Many community members and colleagues throughout the region have long recognized there is something special at Dalton State. The commitment of faculty, with the support of administration and staff, work diligently to delivery high quality, engaging curriculum that prepares students to transition successfully into the workforce or pursue graduate-level coursework. Employers and graduate schools across the country often recruit our students because of the terrific preparation they received while matriculating through our programs."

Wright School of Business

The Wright School of Business has strong partnerships with community and international educational organizations to ensure students gain first hand, real-world experience before graduation through participation in internships, research-related conferences and team case competitions.

Thanks to a recent gift by C. Lamar and Ann Wright, the Wright School of Business is now housed in the newly renovated and expanded Gignilliat Memorial Hall, and features modern technology, collaborative workspaces and hands-on labs.

The Business Advisory Council, comprised of business leaders from the region, ensures students are learning the latest industry software, technology and methods. In addition to courses taught by expert faculty, several are taught by corporate community leaders.

"It shows we're being recognized for great value and the excellence of our business program," said Marilyn Helms, dean of the Wright School of Business. "We have a strong group of dedicated and qualified faculty. On a recent afternoon when there were no classes in session, I saw a professor working through classwork with three of his students. Our faculty want students to succeed in their professional careers.

"Our business students are highly sought after by area employers, even as early as the beginning of their junior year, for internships and job placements," she said. "We start placing freshmen and sophomores in job shadowing experiences. This way students choose the right major for their interests. Then we work closely with students through advising and make sure they stay on the academic path that's right for them and help them choose a business minor to differentiate them in the job market."

The Wright School of Business offers six majors and 11 minors. This year, the school celebrates 20 years offering bachelor's degrees. The Wright School of Business has earned an accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which is held by fewer than 5% of business schools globally and has been accredited since 2010.

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