In July 2009 Southeastern Technical College and Swainsboro Technical College consolidated operations to form a new institution called Southeastern Technical College. The merger was one of several designed to reduce administrative costs and improve student access to programs within the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). The mergers integrated the colleges’ administrations and their local boards of directors, with all campus locations remaining open. The main campus of one college within each merger was designated as the administrative campus, serving as the home of the president’s office, and a provost was assigned to oversee daily operations at the other campus(es).
The administrative campus of Southeastern Tech is located in Vidalia, in Toombs County. Cathryn T. Mitchell, the former president of Southeastern Tech, was named president of the new college, and William L. “Larry” Calhoun, the former president of Swainsboro Tech, was named provost of the Swainsboro campus, in Emanuel County.
Southeastern Tech’s service delivery area includes Candler, Emanuel, Jenkins, Johnson, Montgomery, Tattnall, Toombs, and Treutlen counties. In 2009 Southeastern Tech offered around 120 programs to its student body of approximately 2,800 students; the college also participates in dual enrollment programs with local high schools.
As with other technical colleges governed by the TCSG, admission to Southeastern Tech relies on eligibility and academic criteria: candidates must be at least sixteen years old (older for some programs). A high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) diploma is required for entry into most programs, except designated diploma and certificate programs. Most diploma and certificate programs require a high school diploma or GED prior to graduation from Southeastern Tech. Once all requirements are met, students can earn an associate degree, an expanded program of study that facilitates career mobility and continuing education at the baccalaureate level; a traditional diploma; or a technical certificate of credit, a short-term targeted program that prepares students for specific jobs.
History of Southeastern Technical College
Groundbreaking for Southeastern Tech, initially called Southeastern Technical Institute, took place in Vidalia in 1988. In 1989 Southeastern Tech came under the governance of the Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE; later TCSG), and Larry Siefferman was appointed president; the school opened to students the following year. Offerings included accounting, cosmetology, information and office technology, and practical nursing. The school expanded in 1992 with the addition of a campus in Glennville, in Tattnall County, featuring a technology center used for adult literacy training, business and industry training, and continuing education.
In 1997 Cathryn T. Meehan (later Cathryn T. Mitchell) was appointed as president. Between 1998 and 2000 the school had a 257 percent increase in its continuing education department, and between 1999 and 2000 enrollment increased by 43 percent. Due to legislation (Georgia House Bill 1187) that allowed technical institutes offering associate degrees to be called colleges, Southeastern Tech officially acquired the name Southeastern Technical College in 2000.
In 2001 the Reidsville–Tattnall County Adult Literacy Center opened. After the opening of the Montgomery County Adult Literacy Center in 2002, literacy classes were available at four locations in the college’s delivery area. The college’s economic development center, also home to regional operations for the TCSG, opened in Vidalia in 2002, and its commercial truck driving facility opened in Vidalia the following year.
Southeastern Tech’s medical technology building opened in 2004, and in 2008 the college opened a new health science annex to house its dental hygiene program. Southeastern Tech also received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 2008. In addition to its dual enrollment program with area high schools, the college initiated a ten-week program called CHAMPS (Career Heightened Awareness and Motivation for Professional Success), giving Hispanic students at Toombs County High School the opportunity to learn computer skills and prepare for the job market.
According to the TCSG’s 2008 annual report, 1,684 students were enrolled at Southeastern Tech.
History of Swainsboro Technical College
Swainsboro Tech opened in Swainsboro, the seat of Emanuel County, in 1963 to provide technical and vocational education across a service area of twenty Georgia counties—one of the largest regions ever to be served by a state technical school. Sixteen diploma programs were offered by 1978, when a major expansion of the main campus began.
In 1987 the school, then known as Swainsboro Technical Institute, converted to state governance and in 1988 joined the newly formed DTAE. The college’s child development center opened in 1989, and the following year Swainsboro Tech began coordinating adult basic skills education in six counties. With the passage of Georgia House Bill 1187 in 2000, Swainsboro Tech officially became Swainsboro Technical College.
Glenn Deibert was appointed president in 2003 and was succeeded in 2007 by Larry Calhoun. A 20,000-square-foot health sciences facility in Vidalia was built to accommodate high enrollment in the college’s health sciences program, including a new dental assisting program that began in 2007. At the time of the merger in 2009, the college administered a center in each county within its service delivery area, which included Candler, Emanuel, Jenkins, Johnson, and Treutlen counties, as well as the Workforce Development Center in Soperton, the seat of Treutlen County.
A collaboration between Swainsboro Tech’s forestry programs and International Paper Company (formerly Union Camp) created the only timber harvesting and heavy equipment operation technical certificate in the state. The college also became home to the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency of East Central Georgia and partnered with Quick Start, a nationally recognized program that develops training for new and existing industries in Georgia, to provide training for such area businesses as JABO Metal Fabrication, Milco Building Products, and ZCorum, an Internet service provider.
According to the TCSG’s 2008 annual report, 1,182 students were enrolled at Swainsboro Tech.