SAVANNAH — When Dr. Kathy Love was appointed president of Savannah Technical College in January, the campus and the community held its collective breath and now, six months later, her focus on excellence has begun to pay off — in a big way.
This spring, the college boasted record enrollment; new evening programs in cosmetology and culinary arts are under way; automotive technology is being resurrected at the Liberty Campus; a long-awaited welding program is coming to the Effingham Campus; and, more new programs are in the works including neuromuscular therapy, sports medicine, barbering and court reporting.
“I have to admit, I had my doubts that we would fill an evening cosmetology program,” said Dean of Industrial and Public Service Programs Mike Patterson, “but she proved me wrong. With a little bit of advertising and a lot of perseverance we started the spring quarter with 25 students enrolled.”
This summer, automotive technology will be taught at the Liberty Campus, again, at the president’s direction.
“She’s committed to this and understands it takes consistent effort to make it happen,” said Automotive Technology Department Head Ben Rodriguez, who will teach at both the Savannah and Liberty campuses.
And at the Effingham Campus, plans are under way to teach welding beginning this summer at an industrial site — giving students an invaluable opportunity to learn in a real-world class setting.
Students have also benefited from Love’s hands on involvement—just ask Emmie Fox, a recent graduate of the Starfish Café culinary program, operated in partnership with STC, who will be receiving a scholarship when she starts classes this summer in the college’s culinary arts program.
It’s not unusual to find Love talking with students, visiting with faculty members and checking out program offerings. At a spring open house for the industrial programs, she arrived early and stayed late learning about everything from electrical construction to HVAC to drafting and automotive.
Last week, she visited the firing range for the college’s Peace Officer Academy — one of six designated programs in the Technical College System of Georgia to offer POST-certified training for police officers, and even fired a few rounds into the targets.
A champion of the Governor’s Work Ready initiative, Love is instrumental in seeing that Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty counties have the support they need to become work ready communities. With strong community support in Liberty County, the Work Ready effort is taking shape there and earned a mention when Gov. Sonny Perdue was on campus in June for a housing and business expo. The standing-room-only crowd at the Effingham Campus for the EFACEC open house two weeks ago was testament to the ongoing partnership the college is forging with the Portuguese manufacturer, located across the street from the campus.
It’s been a fast six months since Dr. Love’s arrival in Savannah and there is much work to be done in the new fiscal year, and, it will most assuredly be done in keeping with her laser focus on excellence and expectation.