Providing an Advantage: UGA Double Dawgs

Friday, February 24, 2017

(PDF)A few months ago, I shared my discussions with the top employers of UGA graduates about what key skills they look for when recruiting new talent. Hands down, they want graduates with “T-skills” — students who have global perspectives, strong communication skills, and the ability to be experts in a specific skill while obtaining broader skills and knowledge in related applications. More and more companies are requiring students to have broader bases of knowledge across disciplines, while also being experts in their fields. To this end, we have worked closely with the Graduate School to help students achieve higher levels of knowledge and skills. We hope this will allow students to be more marketable while having a higher earning potential at significantly lower costs. Some research suggests that students who earn a master’s degree or higher will earn at least 20% more money over a career than those with just a bachelor’s degree.

The UGA Advantage: Double Dawgs Program, which Provost Pamela Whitten announced last month, provides a structured pathway for students to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree. Students are able to take courses that count toward a graduate degree while pursuing a bachelor’s degree. This will allow students to complete a graduate degree in less time while also reducing the overall cost of a college education. The advanced skills and knowledge developed through such programs will provide students with a competitive advantage after graduation.

UGA currently has 12 Double Dawgs pathway programs, many of which have been available for students for several years. Honors students have also long benefited from the ability to pursue dual bachelor/graduate degrees. Our goal is to develop more of these pathways and make them available for more students. We also hope to offer more dual degree programs that provide an interdisciplinary experience, whether it be two programs within one school or college in two different disciplines, or two programs in two completely different colleges. For instance, the College of Engineering has partnered with the Terry College to offer a BSBE in Biological Engineering with an MBA. Such academic training could not only improve a graduate’s starting salary, but also improve the ability of our graduates to make meaningful contributions in industry, business and the workplace.

Our Curriculum Systems staff have already been working with several faculty who are interested in creating a Double Dawgs pathway program. An AB/MA and BBA/MA non-thesis option in Economics from the Terry College of Business is the most recent approved pathway that will  be ready for launch this fall.

For those of you who have questions about the process or requirements of the program, we are developing a list of FAQs on the Double Dawgs website. In addition, the Graduate School and the Office of Curriculum Systems, are hosting a Double Dawgs forum on Mar. 1 at 1:30 p.m. in MLC 213. Graduate School Dean Suzanne Barbour and Assistant Vice President Fiona Liken from Curriculum Systems will be on hand to answer any questions for faculty interested in developing a Double Dawgs pathway.

I encourage you to look at your current undergraduate programs and think about how you might combine programs with an advanced degree to prepare students for real-world applications. Think about the all possibilities we could offer our students in their pathways to success.

If you have any other ideas to help our students be better prepared for the workforce, please send me a note at ovpi@uga.edu.

Sincerely,

Rahul Shrivastav
Vice President for Instruction