TIFTON, Ga. — George Vellidis always wanted to teach, but he never anticipated he’d be the director of academic programs for the University of Georgia Tifton campus.
Vellidis assumed his new post this fall semester and is already making changes.
“The previous director left this position in excellent condition. I would like to continue his legacy and to contribute by expanding the graduate offerings on the Tifton campus,” Vellidis said.
There are currently 80 students enrolled in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UGA-Tifton. Of those students, 55 are undergraduates studying in one of four majors: agribusiness, agricultural education, agriscience and environmental systems, and biological science. The rest of the UGA-Tifton student population is made up of graduate students who are pursuing master’s degrees in either agricultural and environmental education or plant protection and pest management. These graduate students take all of their coursework at UGA-Tifton.
Additionally, up to 40 master’s and doctoral students who are enrolled in majors offered on the UGA Athens campus conduct research with faculty at UGA-Tifton. These students split their time between the Athens and Tifton campuses and take most of their courses on the Athens campus.
To make earning a graduate degree more convenient for students, Vellidis hopes to make more graduate courses available at UGA-Tifton.
He also wants to make prospective students aware of the new Double Dawgs Program that provides students the opportunity to earn their bachelors and master’s degrees in five years. It usually takes students six or more years to complete both degrees. By earning both degrees in five years, students can save time and money while enhancing their career possibilities after graduation. Several Double Dawgs Program pathways will be offered at UGA-Tifton.
“The University of Georgia is the state’s flagship university and is ranked the 16th best public university in the country (by U.S. News & World Report). We want to provide students in southern Georgia access to the university and offer them as many educational opportunities as possible,” Vellidis said. “The Double Dawgs Program is a unique opportunity that no other college in southern Georgia is able to offer.”
In his new position, Vellidis especially enjoys interacting with students outside the three courses he teaches and spending time with fellow faculty and staff.
“I’m able to interact with more people than I would just being in the classroom, and I hope to grow this campus like the previous director,” he said.
Vellidis credits CAES Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Josef Broder and CAES Assistant Dean for UGA-Tifton Joe West for having confidence in his leadership.
“This is a great opportunity and responsibility, and I thank them both for entrusting me with this position,” he said.
In addition to overseeing UGA-Tifton’s academic programs, Vellidis also maintains an active research program and still teaches classes. He teaches “Principles of Precision Agriculture,” “Water Quality” and “Advanced Topics in Precision Agriculture.”
“I love to teach and prepare the future leaders of agriculture,” Vellidis said. “It gives me great pleasure when students tell me that I have made a positive impact on their lives.”
For more information on UGA-Tifton academics, go to http://students.caes.uga.edu/campus/tifton.html.
(Julie Jernigan is an intern at UGA-Tifton.)