TIFTON—When Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College President David Bridges began looking for a person to serve as the top administrator for ABAC at Bainbridge, he wanted someone who had a background in higher education and was familiar with Southwest Georgia. Dr. Michael Kirkland certainly fits the bill on both counts.
Bridges said Kirkland, a faculty member at Bainbridge State College since 2003, will serve as the Executive Director of the ABAC operation in Bainbridge as well as for instructional sites in Donalsonville and Blakely.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the prospectus for the merger of Bainbridge State and ABAC on Dec. 12. Coupled with the approval of the prospectus by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) on Dec. 5, all BSC students became ABAC students on Jan. 1.
“Michael grew up in Bainbridge, he’s an alumnus of Bainbridge State, and he lives in Iron City,” Bridges said. “He has a solid background in the classroom, and he has had administrative experience both in student affairs and academics. I believe he will do a great job in this position.”
During his time at Bainbridge State, Kirkland served as interim vice president for student affairs, dean of arts and sciences, assistant vice president for academic affairs, and interim vice president for academic affairs. He maintained a constant presence in the classroom during the entire time he served as an administrator.
“I am excited about the opportunity,” Kirkland said. “ABAC does a lot of things well. I am looking forward to ABAC bringing that excellence to Bainbridge so that we can do things ‘The ABAC Way.’”
Kirkland believes Southwest Georgia citizens will benefit in a tremendous way this fall when ABAC plans to make components of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree available at the Bainbridge instructional site.
“That is a degree that this area really needs,” Kirkland said. “In the future, I would certainly like to be able to offer more bachelor’s degrees here. I have been working with a lot of people from ABAC, and I can tell you that ABAC has a deep bench with a lot of talent.”
A 1992 graduate of Bainbridge High School, Kirkland received his associate degree from Bainbridge College, his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Georgia, his master’s degree in history from Valdosta State University, and his Ph.D. in Humanities from Florida State University.
Active in the community, Kirkland serves on the Seminole County School Board and the board of the Seminole County Department of Family and Children Services. He and his wife, Katina, and their children, Gracen, Landon, and Anna Kate, attend Iron City Baptist Church.