The Next Generation of Georgia's Leaders
A one-of-a-kind partnership between Georgia College and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the GEM Program prepares the next generation of Georgia's leaders for the public good. A mentorship and leadership program, GEM matches students with senior state leaders for a yearlong partnership that creates mutual benefit between Georgia College and its partners. In addition to frequent meetings and exchanges with their mentors, students enjoy individual consultations, classroom-based learning, and statewide site visits. Central to the program is the belief that effective leadership must come from all sectors of our society—spanning private enterprise, public affairs, and civic life. Across nearly two decades, the program has graduated more than 500 students, who serve as leaders across the state, providing advocacy, service, and thought leadership.
Across their year in the program, GEM students participate in the program’s opening reception and closing dinner, leadership conferences, luncheons with state leaders, meetings at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Georgia State Capitol, and leadership forums with visiting executives. They benefit from direct consultation with faculty and staff members who challenge them to integrate their GEM experiences with the principles of leadership they have studied at Georgia College.
GEM offers a model for collaborative relationships between higher education and the community engagement. Established in 2002 and piloted by a grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, GEM emerged from the mutual recognition that Georgia College students could benefit from relationships with the state’s top leaders and that members of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce could benefit from directly investing in the next generation. A strong Georgia—a Georgia with successful businesses and thriving, prosperous communities—needs capable leaders prepared to meet current and future challenges. Employers often identify skills gaps in entry-level graduates—from leadership and creative problem-solving to intercultural understanding and willingness to engage with new ideas. The GEM Program, which provides for intentional discussions of those skills, helps to prepare students for the leadership roles they will soon adopt within Georgia and the world.
Application deadlines are March 1st for admission. To qualify for application to the GEM Program, students must:
- Have completed at least sixty credit hours by the anticipated start of their program experience.
- Be a returning Georgia College student, having successfully completed at minimum the previous fall and spring academic term at GC.
- Hold a minimum grade-point average of 3.0.
- Be willing and able to enroll in the program's required course, "Georgia Education Mentorship" (LEAD 2100) in both the fall and spring term of their participation, and complete all program requirements.
- Maintain Good Academic Standing, as defined by the University Registrar, and abide by the Georgia College Honor Code.
- Hold a valid driver’s license and have reliable access to transportation.
On behalf of the Office of Leadership programs, the director of leadership programs will invite qualified students to accept admission into the program and will register them for LEAD 2100.
Applicants will be notified by May 1st of their admission status.