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GPC picks new academic dean in Newton
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Ronald A. Key has been named the new dean of academic affairs and services for the Newton campus of Georgia Perimeter College (GPC), the campus's top academic officer.

He will also serve as the dean of humanities and fine arts for all of GPC.

Key comes from Tidewater Community College's Virginia Beach campus, where he was the academic dean for the division of languages and speech since the fall of 2008. He replaces Alan Jackson, who was named the GPC's vice president of academic affairs.

The position is a step up for Key, who said he took the job because he likes the culture and climate of the Atlanta region. His wife is involved in medical research and Atlanta also provides several options in that field.

"My forte is growing things, getting out in the community," he said Thursday. "I've met a lot of people in the community, and I've never met finer people with a truer passion for a school."

A group of citizens helped bring GPC to Newton County in 2006 by raising $2.5 million to pay for electronic aids and educational tools.

Key said he'd like to grow the campuses' program base and help it become more active in the community. One idea he'd like to explore is partnering with the Newton County Arts Association to increase local opportunities in drama and other programs.

The college could always use more science labs, he said.
The school is currently building a very advanced technology lab that it hopes to roll out next year.
Finally, Key said the Newton campus is going to be introducing a new nursing program in the spring for students who want to transition from LPN status to RN status.

Key has worked in higher education for nearly 40 years, including stints at the University of South Florida, Okefenokee Community and Technical College, Clark State Community College, Manatee Community College and Cuyahoga Community College.