Dr. Tina Anderson Takes the Reins at Wiregrass

Barbara Kieker

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

On July 1st, Dr. Tina Anderson became president of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, after serving as president of Moultrie Technical College for 10 years. It's not her first experience in Valdosta, though. In 2006, Anderson served for six months as interim president of Valdosta Technical College. Valdosta Tech merged with East Central Technical College in 2010 to form Wiregrass.

"My husband and I love this area and we were happy to consider returning to Valdosta," Anderson said.

In her first month on the job, Anderson has visited the school's four campuses, meeting with faculty and staff. She has also been learning the details of the school's budget and getting ready for the start of the fall semester on August 20.

"It takes time to get to know everyone and it's important to me that people know me and what I'm about. I've been so impressed by the really great faculty here. They are experts in their fields whether it's welding, criminal justice or automotive technology, and many have been entrepreneurs."

Anderson replaced Dr. Ray Perren who left Wiregrass in May to become president of Lanier Technical College in Oakwood, Ga. In 2012, Wiregrass enrolled more than 7,500 students in credit programs and delivered more than 121,000 credit hours of instruction. The school serves 11 counties in south central Georgia.

Measures of Success
Anderson cites her priorities for her first year as Wiregrass president as increasing enrollment and increasing graduation and retention rates.

"We're focused right now on growing our foundations so we can create more scholarship opportunities for our students," Anderson said.

Wiregrass is supported by two solid foundations: Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Foundation North, serving Atkinson, Ben Hill, Coffee, Irwin and Wilcox counties and the Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Foundation South, serving Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Lanier and Lowndes counties. The foundations provide scholarships and other financial assistance for students as well as funds for program expansions and equipment.

Anderson also wants to give students the tools they need to succeed at Wiregrass and in the workforce. The school's retention rate is "good" now, according to Anderson, but she would like to achieve a 60 to 70 percent retention rate and increase the graduation rate with that.

"It's difficult to achieve high retention rates with a population that is so fluid, but we are committed to our students," she said.

A Commitment to Workforce Development
Wiregrass defines its mission as promoting "community, educational and economic development by providing a highly trained workforce for South Central Georgia." The school partners with many four-year colleges and universities to enable students to continue their education.

"I love our mission in workforce development," Anderson said. "It makes it clear why we exist. And if there are local business leaders who need workforce training or new hires, I would hope they would look to Wiregrass."

Wiregrass also provides adult education to help students earn a GED or learn English as a second language.

"Whatever a student's dream or goal, we're here to help them achieve it," Anderson said.

More information on Wiregrass is available at www.wiregrass.edu.

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.