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Columbus State University

Columbus State University: Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders with Student Support Ecosystem

Today’s higher education realm demands a two-pronged approach. While academic excellence remains crucial, universities that truly stand out prioritize fostering creativity and innovation in their students. This is achieved by offering diverse programs, encouraging critical thinking and providing opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. By nurturing students’ creative potential, these institutions equip students with the knowledge they need and prepare them to become the problem-solvers and future leaders of tomorrow’s world.

Aligned with this line of philosophy, Columbus State University in Georgia is emerging as a baton of innovation and excellence. With a commitment to academic rigor and a focus on cultivating creativity, Columbus State provides students with a transformative learning experience. Offering over 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees and programs including accredited and nationally recognized programs in various fields, the university empowers students to explore their passions and pursue their academic and professional goals.

At Columbus State, education extends outside the classroom. Through hands-on learning opportunities such as internships, clinical experiences and research projects, students gain practical skills and valuable industry connections. This emphasis on real-world experiences ensures that graduates are well-prepared to navigate the challenges of today’s global economy.

Moreover, Columbus State’s dedication to fostering a culture of innovation is evident in how it embraces different perspectives and cultures represented among its student body. By promoting dialogue among students and the community, the university creates an environment where students from all backgrounds feel valued and supported. As a forward-thinking institution, Columbus State University is shaping minds but also shaping the future. By providing students with the tools they need to succeed in an advancing world, Columbus State is preparing the leaders, innovators and problem-solvers of tomorrow.

Empowering Student Success

Columbus State University offers a range of academic and career support initiatives from enrollment to graduation. Summer bridge and year-round mentoring programs aid first-year students in transitioning to college life. Advising guides students in choosing majors and courses relevant to their career goals.

Career development services assist graduating students in securing desirable employment opportunities. Students also benefit from personalized mentorship, hands-on experiences, collaborative research projects, and resume-building internships.

Advancing Careers

Columbus State University is among the University System of Georgia institutions offering nexus degree programs to help more Georgians access high-demand career fields. These degrees were created in direct response to talent demand analysis with employers in these industries.

Columbus State hosts three of these offerings—cybersecurity with an emphasis in financial technology, film production and public safety. They provide fast-tracked options for students to enter these career fields—especially for students who have never attended college, those who want to transition into a high-demand field, and current professionals who want to add targeted or complementary credentials to their previous education or training in the field.

The university is also recognized by as a top-five military-friendly institution nationwide among universities with less than 10,000 students. Its specialized Military-Connected Student Services team assists active-duty soldiers, veterans, retirees and their families with transitioning from military life to civilian learning by obtaining transfer credit for previous academic studies and military service. This helps in utilizing military-affiliated educational, financial and scholarship benefits.

The university’s unique partnerships with the U.S. Army’s Captains Career Courses and Sergeant Major Academy nationwide mean active-duty officers can easily transfer military credit toward graduate degrees in organizational leadership, public administration, or strategic communication.

Forging Futures

Columbus State University maintains close ties with local, regional and statewide employers, ensuring alignment of academic programs with industry demands. President Stuart Rayfield emphasizes “career-ready competencies” such as communication, critical thinking, problem-solving and conflict resolution. These skills are highly valued by local employers and Columbus-based Fortune 500 leaders, shaping the region’s future workforce.

Connecting Classrooms and Communities

At Columbus State University, faculty excel as educators, researchers and professionals offering valuable insights for student success. Each academic program integrates practical applications emphasizing career-ready competencies essential to employers. Students engage in co-curricular leadership activities and gain industry-specific experience during upper-level coursework.

Through partnerships with local professionals, students participate in academic-based research, internships, practicum placements and clinical experiences tailored to their majors. These opportunities extend to collaboration with corporate, nonprofit, civic and military partners in the Columbus area.

The university’s credit-bearing Servant Leadership Program empowers students to impact the community by applying academic knowledge and personal passions. Meanwhile, the Honors College provides a close-knit academic community where students delve deeper into their degrees by conducting research alongside faculty mentors and presenting their findings. These specialized experiences enhance students’ academic journey at Columbus State.

Bridging Academia and Industry

Columbus State University fosters strong connections between academic programs and industry through internship and employment networks, including its Center for Career Design. Notably, partnerships offer career pathways in high-demand fields such as teacher education, guaranteeing contracts with the local Muscogee County School District for eligible graduates. Over half of the district’s educators, counselors and administrators are Columbus State alumni.

Nursing students benefit from apprenticeships and clinical rotations in local hospitals, with up to 70% receiving job offers through these opportunities providing pathways to long-term healthcare careers. The university’s cybersecurity programs offer a direct route to technology careers, particularly in financial technology, with many students securing job offers from local employers like TSYS and Synovus before graduation.

Film production students gain internships and employment in Columbus and across Georgia’s thriving $6 billion film industry through partnerships with the Georgia Film Academy and Flat Rock Studios. Columbus State is home to Georgia’s sole bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in robotics engineering. The master’s program boasts a high employment rate. Undergraduate enrollment has increased tenfold since the program’s 2019 launch, while the master’s program has tripled in size since its 2021 inception.

Cultivating Global Citizens

Columbus State University fosters mentorship starting in small classroom settings, where students engage closely with instructors. This relationship extends through involvement in over 80 student organizations, covering various interests such as social, fraternal, service and professional groups. Students forge connections with faculty, staff, industry experts and potential employers, thereby enriching their academic journey.

The Honors College offers an intellectually stimulating environment where students collaborate with faculty on research projects that further expand their scholarly pursuits. The Servant Leadership Program transforms the community into a learning space allowing students to apply their academic knowledge to community service under mentorship from civic leaders.

Columbus State’s Center for Global Engagement provides opportunities for students to explore diverse cultures through on-campus activities and international study abroad programs. Over 250 students annually participate in these excursions, which ensures broadening their global perspective, building lasting connections and earning academic credits.

At Columbus State, the educational experience extends outside of the classroom, nurturing personal and professional growth through mentorship, community engagement and global exploration.

The Path to Success

Columbus State University is revamping its core curriculum based on input from local employers including Fortune 500, Fortune 1000 and Fortune Global 500 companies. These employers commend the university for preparing students in their fields and emphasize the importance of “career-ready competencies” necessary for today’s graduates to be marketable and successful in the global marketplace.

President Rayfield highlights these skills as highly valued by employers locally, regionally and nationally—further guiding the university in strengthening its focus on them. This collaboration ensures that Columbus State graduates are equipped with the essential skills sought after in today’s job market.

Career Readiness

Columbus State University boasts a 95% satisfaction rate among graduating undergraduate students who affirm that their degree prepares them for their first job or further education. Over 90% of seniors acknowledge the university’s role in fostering career-ready competencies such as creativity, critical thinking, leadership, professionalism, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and respect for inclusion. These findings underscore Columbus State’s commitment to equipping students with essential skills for success in their chosen paths.