New student life director, John Spranza, looks to bring stability to
office and do things differently
By Eric Rose
The new director of student life is Georgia Highlands College alumnus
and former Six Mile Post graphics editor John Spranza.
Although the Office of Student Life seems to have been a revolving door
in the past years, Spranza says stability is a goal.
Thats definitely a goal of mine, to get some continuity into
the office, he said.
He says that his main task is settling in and trying to get programs
and events scheduled for spring. He describes the settling in process
as a lot of files to go through, a lot of reading and a lot of research.
Spranza has been keeping contact with student organizations and organization
leaders since coming into the directors position.
Everyone seems very positive; hopefully we will get more feedback
soon, Spranza said.
Once settled, he hopes to address specific goals. Our main goal
is to get as many students involved as we can, he said.
Spranza also expressed interest in the growing population of non-traditional
The non-traditional population here is a large part of the student
population we want to get, Spranza said.
According to Spranza some sort of non-traditional student organization
is on the horizon.
Another goal is to serve the satellite campuses more thoroughly. According
to Spranza, Serving all of the campuses is a goal; we want to better
serve all of our students.
That includes students with special needs. We are going to work
in conjunction with the student development department and the disability
support center to see how we can better serve those students, he
Spranza says that the overall goal of student life has changed in recent
years from being solely a provider of activities to being a facilitator
for students getting involved.
Encouraging students to become involved by offering activities and programs
they want is the current mission of student life. Spranza hopes to find
what students want by relying on input from student leaders and from other
students as well.
You really have to rely on students who are involved. They have
their ears to the ground, he said. We also have to rely on
the other students to tell us what they want to see and whats going
to get them involved.
One way Spranza hopes to encourage students to get involved is through
the emerging leaders program created by Sue Tarpley, interim
director of student life. The program requires faculty members to find
students who are interested in leadership opportunities.
After being nominated by faculty members, students are introduced to leadership
through various programs including Extreme Orientation and the North Georgia
Spranza hopes that the program will help the office to recognize high
potential students. Spranza said the program is intended to allow students
to jump right into leadership positions on campus.
The leadership program is a work in progress. Spranza is working with
Dr. Penny Wills, vice president of Student Development, along with other
faculty and staff. The program is beginning its second year.
It is an open-ended program right now. Dr. Wills and I are working
diligently to try and finalize everything, he said.
Spranza attended Georgia Highlands College from fall 1990 to spring 1992. He then
went on to the State University of West Georgia. There he received a bachelors
degree in history and a masters degree in public administration,
with a concentration in higher education administration.
Since his time as a student at FC, Spranza has worked for the Cedartown
Standard newspaper and in the Admissions Office of the State University
of West Georgia, where he was an admissions counselor. He started counseling
high school seniors and moved on to counseling transfer students before
coming to Georgia Highlands College.
Former student life director, Ashley Wood, resigned last summer after
just one year in the position. Tarpley took her place as an interim and
served this past semester. Tarpley was formerly director of student life
at Berry College.
A search committee selected Spranza last semester. The committee consisted
of Sheryl Ballenger, director of disabilities support; Dr. Jon Hershey,
associate professor of English; Kristi Casey, accountant I in the Office
of Accounting Services; and students Al Miller and Amit Patel. In the
selection process candidates were required to give presentations to both
students and the search committee.
In his free time, Spranza enjoys spending time with his family. The
biggest thing is my family, he said. I like football and I
like reading when I have time, he added.
Since the time he attended FC, Spranza said the college has not changed
much, at least fundamentally. Floyd itself has changed a lot, in
a sense of physical changes, he said. But there are the same
friendly, welcoming people. Thats comforting, to see familiar faces.
Asked to describe his expectations for the new semester in a single word,
Spranza replied, The word different comes to mind because
it is going to be a different thing, not only for myself, but also for
Assisting Spranza in the Office of Student Life is new secretary Christy
Twilley, replacing Gail Bentley, who left to take a position with the
State University of West Georgia.