GHC receives national accolades for affordability and quality

Known for its value, variety of programs and class options, Georgia Highlands College (GHC) has recently been recognized by several national publications, including having one of the “Best RN to BSN Programs for 2021” by

According to, the 2021 rankings are calculated through a unique scoring system which includes student engagement, potential return on investment and leading third-party evaluations. The website analyzed 162 schools, on a scale of 0 to 100, with only 50 making it to the final list.

The website named GHC’s Associate of Science in Nursing program “one of the most affordable in the country.”

In addition, Value Colleges ranked GHC in its listing of “Top 10 Online Associate in Political Science.”

“If you’re an adult with a family and a job, or if online learning is simple more accessible to you than classroom-based learning, then an online political science degree can help you reach your goals while providing the flexibility that you need,” the Value Colleges editors said in a press release.

In terms of overall price and value, Best Value Schools named GHC one of the “most affordable colleges in Georgia.” listed GHC as the “best online community college in Georgia.”

“We looked at every community college in the nation that offers some online degrees,” Malcolm Peralty, chief editor of Premium Schools, said. “We then sectioned them by state and compared graduation rates, as well as the average cost of attendance after financial aid was applied.”

University Headquarters (HQ) ranked GHC No. 8 in the nation for the “Best Affordable Supply Chain Management degree.” Georgia Highlands College offers a Bachelor of Business in Supply Chain Management.

According to its website, “University Headquarters has a highly specific and proprietary ranking system to determine the best, most affordable supply chain management degrees. … While the cost of a supply chain management degree is important, the University HQ team looks beyond the price tag.”

To learn more about GHC, visit

National STEM fellowship awarded to Kiersten Boley

This year, Georgia Highlands College (GHC) alumna Kiersten Boley will begin the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP). The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support including an annual stipend of $34,000 and a cost of education allowance of $12,000 to the institution.

Boley started at Georgia Highlands College. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Astronomy at The Ohio State University (OSU).

The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.

Boley said she was “beyond excited” to hear the news she had been accepted. In addition to requiring a proposal, transcripts and letters of recommendation, the application for the fellowship required a personal statement elaborating on her background, education and research efforts.

“I knew that I had put in a lot of work for the proposal and the personal statement, but I never would have imagined that I would actually be awarded the fellowship,” Boley said. “There are so many amazing people out there doing great research.”

In the fellowship, Boley will continue to do research on exoplanets as well as begin research on the work she proposed – creating a “galactic planet formation model,” which will show where in our galaxy planets are forming and when we can expect them to form.

In addition to her current educational pursuits, Boley also serves as a graduate researcher for OSU with the research topic of Planet Formation as well as a First Lieutenant, Executive Officer of a Ground Ambulance Unit for the U.S. Army Reserves. Currently, her research is devoted to understanding how metals impact planet formation by studying the oldest stars in our galaxy.

Boley stated GHC is a great place to earn a college degree.

“GHC has something that most large universities don’t: great teachers that really nurture curiosity.  I think by starting at GHC, I was set up to succeed…,” Boley said. “The personal connection that you have with the professors at GHC allow you to ask more questions and gain a deeper understanding.”



GHC names Michelle Lockett as Assistant Vice President of Academic Resources and Retention

Georgia Highlands College (GHC) has named Michelle Lockett as Assistant Vice President of Academic Resources and Retention. Lockett will supervise the Student Support Services Center, Academic Tutoring Center, Grants Administration, Office of the Registrar and the Center of Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Lockett has extensive experience in higher education, both in the public and private sectors. Prior to GHC, Lockett served as Academic Dean at the Fairburn and Stone Mountain campuses of Georgia Military College and has worked in academic institutions for over 14 years with a proven track record of student achievement and retention.

Lockett said she appreciates the “all-hands on” approach to campus processes and initiatives at GHC and plans to contribute to the continued success of the college.

“Every student matters, and it is our goal to connect each student to the support services they need to enhance, empower and aid them in this learning environment,” Lockett said. “I would like to impact GHC through increased student outreach activities, tutoring and career services initiatives and help to make GHC a household name through increased partnerships in area communities.”

For Lockett, an area of expertise she plans to bring to GHC is fostering dual enrollment partnerships with surrounding school districts.

Lockett holds a Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies, a Master of Science Administration in Human Resources Administration and is currently in the dissertation stage of earning her Doctor of Business Administration in Leadership.

In her spare time, Locket likes to read, watch Animal Planet, reflect and teach management courses.


100% of dental hygiene students pass national board exams

Every single dental hygiene student who graduated from GHC this year completed their graduation requirements and passed both the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam (NBDHE) and the Central Regional Dental Testing Services (CRDTS) clinical board examination.

Dental hygiene licensure in Georgia requires that graduates from an accredited dental hygiene program pass both board examinations.

The exams assess the candidate’s competency and ability to understand important information from basic biomedical and dental sciences and the ability to apply such information in a problem-solving context.

Dental Hygiene Program Director Regina Gupta said the goal of the program is to prepare Dental Hygiene students to be excellent clinicians, but also to pass both board examinations on the first attempt.

The Dental Hygiene program also runs a mock-CRDTS exam every spring to help prepare students for the exam.

“In the history of the program, we have only had two students who did not pass the NBDHE on the first attempt,” Gupta said. “In my opinion, this level of success reflects highly on our program, the curriculum, the faculty and the caliber of our GHC students.”

A survey of recent GHC dental hygiene graduates revealed that all students who had completed licensure are currently employed, with some working full time and others working part time while completing GHC’s online Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene.

These GHC graduates and the rest of GHC’s graduating class of 2021 join a record-breaking number of overall degrees awarded throughout the University System of Georgia for fiscal year 2021. The increase in degrees awarded sets another record for the most degrees awarded in the system’s 90-year history.

You can learn more about GHC’s dental hygiene program here.

‘Construction Dive’ highlights new bachelor’s degree at GHC

As seen on Construction Dive:

Dive Brief:

Officials at Georgia Highlands College, located in Rome, Georgia, have created a Building Information Modeling and Virtual Design and Construction program that is slated to start in the spring of 2022. Georgia Highlands will join Purdue University as one of the few schools in the country with a degree program of this kind.

The four-year curriculum will feature advanced training in BIM and VDC technology, as well as business and construction management. It will also require students to undertake a capstone project, internship or both during their final year in the program.

A college spokesperson confirmed that the degree program will not have an enrollment cap. The program will seek accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in the fall.

Dive Insight:

The use of BIM and VDC in construction, which employ advanced computer modeling to “construct” a project digitally from the ground up before shovels ever turn actual dirt at the jobsite, is on the upswing across the world. The global BIM industry is projected to have a compound annual growth rate of nearly 14%, and generate a market value over $7.7 billion by 2025, according to research firm Market Reports World.

Georgia Highlands College is collaborating with construction technology firm Trimble to design curriculum for the program. Trimble also donated BIM and VDC software and technology to the program for use. Jason Christian, interim dean for Georgia Highland’s School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics said in an email that it was the first program of its kind in Georgia, and the second nationwide.

Along with its foray into a fast-growing field, the college is also benefiting from donations by corporations focused on architecture, engineering and construction. The college partnered with SDS2, a software design company focused on construction modeling, which donated the software and technology for a learning lab at the college’s Cartersville location. The new lab features cutting-edge technology for modeling 3D steel detailing, according to a press release.

While the size and diversity of the construction market has presented challenges in the uniform rollout of BIM on projects globally, the growth in BIM is now leading governments to take notice. Around the world, countries are putting in BIM mandates on certain projects.

While the United States doesn’t have a national BIM mandate currently, some states, such as Wisconsin, require BIM on state-funded projects. And at the federal level, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has integrated BIM requirements into its contracts.

Now available: 8-week and 10-week class options at GHC

Completing a course sooner at Georgia Highlands College is made possible with 8-week and 10-week class options provided through “Late Start.” Future students and current students can choose to begin a course or add a course outside the traditional 16-week semester classes.

Deadlines for registration and class options in the 8-week and 10-week format can be found at

Learn more about Late Start classes:

What is Late Start?

GHC provides multiple options for taking classes. Late Start allows you to choose from a variety of subjects, courses, campuses and start dates. In these courses, you’ll be able to complete a semester-long class in a shorter amount of time.

Often students in Late Start classes receive additional opportunities to engage with instructors due to smaller class sizes.

Although Late Start courses condense a traditional semester into a shorter amount of time, the same amount of course material is covered with a focus on course objectives.

Why should I consider Late Start classes?

The Late Start format is a great option for current, new and non-traditional students looking to complete courses in a short amount of time.

Current students seeking to get ahead will benefit from the condensed semester courses, allowing them to quickly gain additional credit toward graduation. Adding a Late Start class that begins later in the semester to a 16-week traditional schedule helps students advance toward graduation.

A non-traditional student with a full-time job, kids or other commitments may opt to take fewer classes at a time and in a shorter amount of time.

New students who haven’t started or who would like to start later in the semester have the option to begin with Late Start classes making it an ideal way to get started on the path toward a college degree.

How do I get started?

Class options in the 8-week and 10-week format can be found at, but let our friendly admissions team help you through the process by going to and letting us know you’re ready to take a Late Start class.

If you’re a current student, reach out to an academic advisor at to help you through the process of selecting an 8-week or 10-week class to add to your current schedule that works for you.

Three generations of graduates call GHC home

Three generations of graduates call GHC home

Dunny Blankenship’s mom graduated as a registered nurse in one of the first nursing classes at Georgia Highlands College (then Floyd Junior College). Dunny followed in his mom’s footsteps by attending the same college and graduating in 1982 with an associate degree in criminal justice. In 2020, his daughter Katherine “Katy” Blankenship also graduated from GHC.

“[This college is] a great place to be,” Dunny said. “[It is] a great school and… truly affordable. [My time at GHC] wasn’t all about book work. [The professors] wanted us to understand how it all fit together. This led me to be more understanding of the world…”

Dunny said his instructors kept things interesting in the classroom, which encouraged him to continue working toward his degree and completing. He said they made lessons interesting while making sure students worked hard for their grade.

Outside of the classroom, Blankenship enjoyed competing among the college’s “Bearcats” year-round intramural sports teams, even being named “Athlete of the Year” in 1980. His passion for sports as a college student evolved into a lifelong mission of supporting others on the field.

Today, Dunny works at Model Middle School in Floyd County helping students in the classroom as a social studies teacher and in athletics as a soccer and wrestling coach.

“I’ve been coaching kids for almost 30 years. I started with high school and a few years back stepped back to middle school in order to watch my own kids more,” Dunny said.

He has been involved as a Georgia High School Association Football Official since 1979 and hasn’t missed a Friday night game as a player, coach, or official in 45 years.

“During this time, I have officiated some of the best teams in the nation, including eight Georgia High School Association State Championships and ESPN games featuring two state battles like Bartram Trail High School in Florida verses Cartersville High School when Trevor Lawrence was a student.”

Dunny stated he appreciates how his time as a student not only made an academic impact on his life, but that the college stressed life skills as well. He said he recommends GHC for anyone who is considering a college degree.

“You can stay close to home, have smaller, more personable classes, and enjoy all the benefits college students enjoy,” he said of GHC.

Dunny married Tina Presley, of Silver Creek, in 1991 and they have two children. Tina has been in banking since 1990 and is presently with River City Bank in Rome. Their daughter Katy graduated from GHC in 2020 and is presently in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Shorter University. Their son, Duncan II, received an athletic scholarship to run cross-country and to wrestle at Doane University in Crete, Neb.

More to the game: student-athletes honored with national academic awards

Sixteen of Georgia Highlands College’s (GHC) student-athletes were recently recognized for their work in the classroom in addition to their abilities on the field and basketball court by receiving National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Academic honors.

Student-athletes are eligible to earn academic honors by achieving an overall GPA of 3.60 or higher for the 2020-21 academic year. A 4.0 GPA is required for the NJCAA All-Academic First Team, a 3.80-3.99 GPA is required for the All-Academic Second Team and a 3.60-3.79 GPA is required for the All-Academic Third Team.

“These individuals not only represented GHC on the court and the field of play, but they excelled in the classroom as well,” GHC Director of Athletics David Mathis said.

Student-athletes on the All-Academic First Team are ShaoTung Lin, Women’s Basketball; Brandon Prince, Baseball; Natalia Herrera, Softball; Madalyn Morton, Softball; and Lacey Rutledge, Softball.

The All-Academic Second Team includes Caleb Carter, Baseball; Chase Townsend, Baseball; Montana Ledbetter, Softball; Maggie Schandera, Softball; and Allison Daffron, Softball.

Student-athletes on the All-Academic Third Team are Carter Lott, Baseball; Michael Moody, Baseball; Taryn Hitchcock, Softball; Isabel Marcotte, Softball; Haley Overton, Softball; and Mitchell Walker, Baseball.

Community partnership supports 15 years of Foundation Camp

For over a decade, Georgia Highlands College (GHC) and the 100 Black Men of Rome-Northwest Georgia have worked together to bring Foundation Camp to hundreds of local boys, ages 10 to 12.

The camp, which is one of several partnerships between the 100 Black Men of Rome-Northwest Georgia and GHC, is funded by generous donors and the GHC Foundation, giving students the opportunity to attend the camp free of charge, including transportation and a breakfast and lunch.

100 Black Men of Rome-Northwest Georgia President James Lee said the organization and GHC have remained committed to providing the annual free camp due to dedication to the youth in the local community.

“The kids enjoy it because we introduce them to a wide range of structured activities, which are fun, yet challenging, and continuously develop campers mentally, physically and socially,” Lee said.

While the camp features traditional activities and those that incorporate elements of science, technology, engineering and math, Lee said organizers have multiple goals for the camp, such as instilling a core of self-respect and confidence, manners and soft skills in attendees.

To help with that foundation, camp attendees are mentored by student counselors, who are required to complete University System of Georgia (USG) training prior to working with campers.

“Some of the counselors have also been mentees to some of the members in the 100, therefore, we have instilled in them our motto of ‘What they see they’ll be,’” Lee said. “Many of the counselors were once kids at Foundation camp themselves, so they want to give back to the program that helped develop them.”

Lee said the organization is grateful for its relationship with GHC and the partnership’s ability to bring activities like Foundation Camp to the Northwest Georgia region.

“The purpose and reason of hosting the camp at GHC is to introduce the kids to a college campus and college environment, in which we hope they aspire to continue their education and return as a student one day,” Lee said.