Darton State College
|Motto||A Better Beginning|
|Campus||Urban, 186.1 acres (0.753 km²)|
|Colors||Red and Black|
Darton State College (now known as Albany State University WEST Campus) was a two-year state college unit of the University System of Georgia, located in Albany, Georgia, United States. Prior to consolidation the college had 84 two-year transfer and career associate degrees and 49 certificate programs.
The institution was founded as Albany Junior College in 1963 and offered its first classes in 1966. In 1987, a committee of faculty, staff, students and community members chose the name Darton College. "Darton" is an Old English word probably meaning "town by the (River) Dearne," which refers to Albany's location on the Flint River. In November 2015, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia announced the consolidation of Albany State University and Darton State College. The board also appointed Dr. Arthur Dunning as President of the University. The new combined institutions assumed the name and branding of Albany State University. The combining of the two institutions has greatly decreased the combined enrollment. Fall 2013 enrollments were 6,195 for Darton State College and 4,260 for Albany State University. Whereas Fall 2017 enrollments for the new combined Albany State University is 6,615. This represents a 27% decrease over that period.
The 186 acre campus on Albany's western edge includes a 470-seat theater, library, fitness center, computer labs, and sports facilities such as tennis and racquetball courts, indoor swimming pool, indoor bowling alley and climbing wall, with surrounding nature trails, soccer fields, ball fields, and pecan trees.
Darton College enrolls more than half of the area's high school graduates and approximately 45% of the students are from Dougherty County. (The population of the MSA was 162,800 in 2004.) Approximately 1% of students are from out-of-state and about 100 are from other countries.
About 57% of Darton's students are under age 24. Approximately 45% are non-Hispanic black, and 50% are non-Hispanic white — no other group constitutes more than 3% (self-reported).
Full-time enrollment is approximately 47%.
In August, 2013, President Sireno stated that "Darton State College has seen a 90.5 percent enrollment increase over the past decade."
Since 1966, Darton State College has been a leader in providing quality educational opportunities and services to Southwest Georgia. Darton offers a variety of programs, including three bachelors of science and one bachelor of arts degree, four associate degrees, 10 career associate degrees and 15 certificates. With a strong tradition of academic excellence, Darton prepares students to enter the workforce or continue their education at another four-year institution. Darton State College, a public institution, is part of the University System of Georgia and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
To increase access to a college education, Darton offers 39 fully online degrees, 10 partially online degrees, 13 fully online certificate programs, and over 96 individual distance learning courses over the Internet, through local Channel 19 telecasts, GVNS video-conferencing, and at sites off the main campus: Cordele, Thomasville, Colquitt, Rome, Barnesville, Columbus, Valdosta, Waycross, Sandersville, Swainsboro, and Atlanta, Georgia. Darton College has a strong presence in state distance learning initiatives, and its core curriculum courses in many programs are available online.
Darton's Nursing Division provides education for many of southwest Georgia's nurses — including 70% of all Registered Nurses (RNs) in Albany hospitals and 30% of all RNs in 38 southwest Georgia counties. As of spring 2005, the college had awarded 2,259 nursing degrees. In 2009, there were 177 graduates from the nursing program and 25 faculty members.
The division has satellite programs in Cordele, Sandersville, Swainsboro and Thomasville. Darton College received a $2.48 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in 2005 to develop an online nursing program. In 2010, a new 25,800 square foot Nursing Building opened on the main campus in Albany.
Students completing the five-semester nursing program earn an Associate of Science in Nursing degree and they are eligible to take licensure exams. In May 2011, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved Darton's change to State College status so that a four-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing could be developed. The program is intended for RNs with an associate degree in Nursing. Darton is expected to offer the program beginning in fall 2013.
Allied Health Division
The Allied Health Division offers degrees in cardiovascular technology, dental hygiene, diagnostic medical sonography, emergency medical services, health information technology, medical laboratory technology, histology technology, medical laboratory technology, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapy assistant, and respiratory care.
Darton is a leader in educational technology use. It has been named a “Most-Wired Campus” by Yahoo, and a “Leader in Digital Technology” by the American Association of Community Colleges. In addition to its huge variety of online course offerings, Darton makes increasing use of technologies such as Wimba Classroom, streaming media, and motion capture technology.
Extracurricular activities include groups such as the Cultural Exchange Club, Book Talk and the Darton Association of Nursing Students, as well as intramural athletics, pecan picking, league tournament athletics, community service associations and honor societies.
Students are encouraged to participate in an array of Georgia Junior College Athletic Association/National Junior College Athletic Association intercollegiate athletics, including women's soccer, golf, women's softball and basketball, and men's baseball.
Darton received the 2005–06 Trophy Cup from the GJCAA for having the top two-year athletic program in the state. Four of the college's teams went to nationals in 2006. The Men's Golf Team won the NJCAA National Championship for the second year in a row in 2006. Darton College men's golf team won the national title in 2005, 2006, 2007 and came runners up in 2008. The women's soccer team came national runners up in 2005 and have since been ranked highly in the NJCAA.
Darton's men and women swimming programs placed 3rd overall at the 2007 NJCAA National Championships with virtually every member on the competing roster securing All-American Honors. In addition, two of the swimmers won their events, making them national champions.
Darton College women's soccer team went all the way to the NJCAA National Championship game again in 2008 but lost 3-2. They finished ranked second in the nation. Their record was 23-1-1, an incredible achievement and something the community is very proud of.
- "Semester Enrollment Report" (PDF). Office of Research and Policy Analysis. University System of Georgia. 2007-11-12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Darton College Academics Page".
- "About Darton College".
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Lewis, Terry (August 12, 2013). "Darton's Sireno: Embrace changes from growth". The Albany Herald. Albany, Georgia: Southern Community Newspapers, Inc. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- Darton Unveils New Nursing Building During Ceremony
- New Georgia Encyclopedia
- University System of Georgia press release
- Atlanta Journal Constitution
- Darton College Division of Nursing
- Darton College of Nursing Programs