Dr. Gary McGaha stands as a leader in the field of academics. The president of Atlanta Metropolitan State College has found innovative ways to lead the institution. Atlanta Metropolitan State College currently stands as the leading institution in Georgia with first-generation students. This has allowed the institution to transform lives while giving a boost to others who are looking to advance themselves in the workforce.
Dr. McGaha recently sat down with our publication to discuss Atlanta Metropolitan State College’s achievements and his vision for the future.
Atlanta Metropolitan State College started as an institution which offered a two-year degree. It now offers a four-year degree. Why was it important to offer both?
We wanted to make the institution an impact institution. Atlanta is the educational mecca with the AUC, Georgia State, and Georgia Tech, but there was a void. Atlanta Metropolitan State College fills a much-needed void by offering two and four-year programs. I pushed it to make it a four-year institution. We now have seven baccalaureate programs.
How does Atlanta Metropolitan State College give opportunities to students in the South Atlanta community?
Atlanta is a tale of two cities where an opportunity divide exists. And this school is the bridge that most people use to close the divide between the have and have-nots. The average black family has a median income of $29k while a caucasian family is $86k. That’s the widest household income gap in the nation. We are a vehicle to close that gap. We have a lot of programs and we’re growing to encourage kids to come here while they are in high school. We now have kids who graduate high school with Associate Degrees.
Why should students consider Atlanta Metropolitan State College?
There is not always parity between the aptitude of the student and the high school transcript they bring in. We have developed bridges for students. We give an inviting attention to young students who come that’s personal. They can’t get lost here. We have a nurturing environment. We have alerts to get students to where they need to be. We also have an adult learning program for people who did not continue their education earlier in life. Our environment allows students to have personal relationships with educators and be motivated. It allows us to collectively reach a wider group.