New University System chancellor visits Georgia Gwinnett College

LAWRENCEVILLE - The new chancellor of the University System of Georgia emphasized the importance of technological innovations in teaching Friday in his first visit to Georgia Gwinnett College.

Errol Davis Jr., who became the 11th chancellor Monday, said he saw online courses as being imperative for the development of state colleges and universities.

In answering questions from faculty, administrators and the press, Davis also spoke about reaching out to Georgia schools to help produce graduates more ready for college-level work. He said he wants to see more students performing at a higher level, rather than having to take remedial


"If education is to be effective, it has to be effective for everyone. I think that's the key to a vibrant middle class," Davis said.

Earlier this week, Davis addressed the Board of Regents for the first time. He outlined his plan to visit all 35 public colleges and universities to get to know their presidents, faculty and students. His first stop was Georgia Gwinnett College, the state's newest college, which will start enrolling students this August.

"I will use such visits as data-gathering opportunities to help formulate my vision and plans for the system," he told the Board of Regents. "I want to better understand our system, its current performance and the needs and issues on our campuses."

During his visit, Davis echoed goals Dan Kaufman has been voicing since he was selected as the first president of Georgia Gwinnett. The new college will offer many hybrid and online classes, which Kaufman said are ideal for today's students.

"These youngsters are confident with technology. They've had to learn digitally," Kaufman said. "We're going to bring the professors to them through podcasts, through other technology."

Davis said one of the greatest challenges of the next few years will be the growth of the university system. He hopes to continue to accommodate Georgia's students, and ensure a college education is affordable for them.

After a lunch meeting with Kaufman, Davis toured the campus of Georgia Gwinnett College. He said he was impressed with what he saw.

"My idea is that when we open the doors here, not only will students flock to it, but educators across the country," Davis said.

Davis served as the president, CEO and chairman of the board for Alliant Energy Corporation. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of Wisconsin Power and Light Holdings Inc. for eight years. He has also held executive positions at Xerox Corporation and Ford Motor Company.

Though he has an extensive business background, Davis is no stranger to academia. He is the former chair of the board of trustees for Carnegie-Mellon University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science. And he serves on the board of trustees for the University of Chicago, where he received his master's degree in business administration.

Kaufman said he is looking forward to working with Davis, another new college administrator in the University System of Georgia.

"What we need is a mutual understanding society; I need to understand his challenges as a new chancellor, and vice versa, as we grow together in these positions," Kaufman said.

For more information on Georgia Gwinnett College, visit www.ggc.usg.edu.