MACON — Mercer University’s Board of Trustees today approved a $193.4 million operating budget for next year, an $8 million, or 4.3 percent, increase over the current budget. Tuition for Mercer’s undergraduate programs will increase by 2.92 percent. Last year’s increase for Macon undergraduate programs was 3.48 percent, compared with increases of 2.9 percent in 2009, 6.5 percent in 2008, 6.8 percent in 2007 and 7 percent in 2006. Most graduate and professional programs will experience tuition increases of between 3 percent and 5.3 percent next year, and undergraduate programs for working adult students will see no tuition increase.
Mercer President William D. Underwood said the University is finding ways to operate more efficiently in order to keep tuition increases to a minimum.
“The economy, while improving, still poses challenges for many of our students and their families. We must remain sensitive to those challenges while finding innovative ways to continue delivering the high-quality programs and services that our students deserve and expect,” Underwood said.
The board also approved Mercer’s sixth Ph.D. program and the first in the School of Medicine. The five-year Ph.D. in Clinical Medical Psychology is one of only two of its kind in the United States and will prepare students to be licensed to practice clinical psychology, particularly in integrative health care settings. Graduates will also be prepared for careers in research and in higher education, especially medical education.
The Ph.D. in psychology is viewed by the American Psychological Association and state licensing agencies as the terminal degree in psychology. The program will begin in fall 2012 on the Macon campus. In order for graduates of this program to attain licensure in most states, they must be graduates of a clinical psychology program approved by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. A program cannot apply for accreditation until its first cohort has completed the first four years of class work, so the School will apply for the approval in 2016.
In addition, the board approved a new concentration for the College of Liberal Arts. The Bachelor of Arts in Social Entrepreneurship replaces the program in Leadership and Community Service. The new trans-disciplinary academic- and service-oriented program will begin in fall 2011. It will provide students with the values, academic training and skill sets necessary for the creation and management of public service organizations, including businesses that put social or environmental concerns above profit, as well as more traditional non-profits and religious organizations.
Trustees also approved a new Post-Baccalaureate Artist Diploma for the Townsend School of Music in Macon. The diploma is designed to prepare international students with bachelor’s degrees in music to become more proficient in musical performance. The two-year certificate will be individually tailored to meet the needs of each student. The diploma will be offered beginning this fall.
Changes for several Atlanta campus-based programs, including a new joint degree between the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology and the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, were also approved by the board. The joint Master of Divinity and Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program will begin this fall. The program is designed to incorporate advanced theological training with leadership and organizational studies, providing students with the essential knowledge for ministry, as well as the skills to manage today’s complex organizations. Also approved was the School of Theology’s new Non-Profit Organizational Leadership track within its existing Master of Divinity program.
The Atlanta campus will also have a new Certificate in Graduate Business Preparation program offered through the English Language Institute. It is designed to strengthen the skills of international students in order to help them enroll and succeed in a traditional Master of Business Administration program.
In other business, the board voted to award honorary doctorates to four individuals. The honorees, who will receive their degrees during May commencements, include Washington County physician and author William J. Rawlings, M.D., Doctor of Sciences; the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore, judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Doctor of Laws; Macon musician and community leader Neva Langley Fickling, Doctor of Humanities; and Alberto Ibarguen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Doctor of Humanities.
About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,200 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at four regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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