TIFTON—History has shown that businesses that adapt to changing times are the ones that last the longest. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College President David Bridges subscribes to that train of thought.
“Like it or not, change is a fact of life,” Bridges said. “At ABAC, we’re facing some of the biggest changes we have ever faced in the 112 years we have been providing a quality education for our student body.”
Those changes are a direct result of the pandemic, which forced ABAC to change to online classes for the final weeks of the spring semester and the complete summer term. Now Bridges is ready to charge ahead with the sweeping changes necessary when ABAC returns to face-to-face instruction for the fall semester on Aug. 12.
“Our modified class schedule will ensure smaller class sizes, will provide greater distance between students, and will provide hybrid and online options that can reduce the amount of time students spend in the classroom,” Bridges said. “I know that parents are concerned about the health of their students, and we have expanded our custodial and public health measures to protect students, faculty, and staff.”
ABAC usually houses more than 1,300 students each year in ABAC Place and ABAC Lakeside. Due to new guidelines, fewer than 1,200 students will live on campus this fall, and each of those students will have a private bedroom in ABAC’s state-of-the-art on-campus apartment complexes.
“One of the great advantages of living on campus at ABAC is that we are self-contained,” Bridges, a 1978 ABAC graduate who lived on campus, said. “Students live here, go to class here, eat in the dining hall, and exercise in the Thrash Wellness Center.
“Students who live in Lakeside have a waterfront view of Lake Baldwin. We are not a luxury resort, but we do have spectacular scenery for those who live on campus. ABAC also has a well-equipped health clinic operated by a physician, and nurse practitioners to care for our students.”
Most students are constantly looking for ways to fund their college educations, and ABAC students are no exception. Bridges has a solution.
“Thanks to the ABAC Foundation, we have an unprecedented amount of private grant/scholarship funding to support students with financial need,” Bridges said. “ABAC is affordable. Our cost for tuition and fees is one of the lowest among the 26 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia.”
Bridges recently announced a compressed ABAC fall semester class schedule that will wind down on Nov. 19 instead of Dec. 3. When students go home for the Thanksgiving holidays after the completion of final exams on Nov. 24, they will be finished until the spring semester begins on Jan. 11.
“We are doing everything we can do to prevent a spread of the pandemic at ABAC,” Bridges said. “When our students go home for the holidays, we figured out a way for them to stay home until the spring term begins. That extra time in December will also give our cleaning crews more time to disinfect the entire campus.”
Most ABAC students choose to major in one of the 12 bachelor’s degree programs which include biology, agribusiness, history and government, agriculture, nursing, agricultural communication, writing and communication, agricultural education, business, natural resource management, rural community development, and environmental horticulture.
Beyond the classroom, ABAC offers a comprehensive student engagement program that gives students opportunities for internships, study abroad, and mentored research.
“These programs prepare students for the real world,” Bridges, the longest-serving president in the University System, said. “Our faculty is well-educated, experienced, and committed to working with these students so that they are ready for the job market.”
For more information about the fall semester at ABAC, interested persons can visit the ABAC website at www.abac.edu.