Thursday, January 5, 2012

Merge of ASU & GHSU Approved

UPDATE -  The merge into four will take place under action after the State Board of Regents approved on 1-10-2012.

Eight existing University System of Georgia colleges will merge into four. None of the colleges will close, but officials warn of some administrative and staff layoffs. Here are the affected schools:

Augusta Richmond County Commission 2-21-12

-- Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities. Augusta State enrolls about 6,740 students and its president was already prepared to retire June 30. Georgia Health Sciences is the state's only public medical college and enrolls about 2,950 students. The colleges are about three miles apart.

-- Waycross College and South Georgia College in Douglas. Waycross offers two-year degrees and with just 965 students is the smallest of the 35 existing colleges. The college has had an interim president since July. South Georgia offers four-year degrees and enrolls about 2,270 students. The colleges are about 40 miles apart.

-- Macon State and Middle Georgia colleges. Macon enrolls about 5,700 students and Middle Georgia in Cochran teaches about 3,425 students. The schools are about 50 miles apart.

-- Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University. Gainesville enrolls about 8,570 students and the college president is due to retire June 30. North Georgia, which is based in Dahlonega, teaches about 6,060 students and is one of only six senior military colleges in the U.S. The campuses are about 30 miles apart.

Atlanta - 1-5-12 - University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby is recommending to the Board of Regents that eight of the System’s 35 colleges and universities be consolidated. The Board will act upon the recommendation at its Jan. 10-11 meeting.

The recommended consolidations are: Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University (Dahlonega); Middle Georgia College (Cochran) and Macon State College; Waycross College and South Georgia College (Douglas); and Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University. Augusta is the only recommendation in which both institutions are located in the same community, although the four recommendations build upon existing partnerships among the eight institutions.
If the regents approve the recommendations, Huckaby said that the consolidation process would begin immediately, with a target date for full integration by fall 2013.
“Georgia needs more of its citizens completing some level of postsecondary education. But we have to achieve this goal by considering some different approaches – approaches that put the needs of our students and the imperative to reach this goal first and foremost,” Huckaby said. These proposed consolidations are the right approach for us to take at the right time in the System and the State’s history.”
“Our goal is a more educated Georgia, with a network of institutions that offer a range of needed degrees for 21st century demands,” Huckaby said. “We are going to fulfill our mission within the limited resources available.”
Students in the institutions to be consolidated will see an increase of educational offerings, through traditional classroom delivery and the increased use of distance learning.
Huckaby said that as part of the System’s plans to meet the targets of the “Complete College Georgia” plan, new system initiatives are being developed to increase and strengthen distance education. Students and faculty in the consolidated institutions will be strongly encouraged to bridge geographic distances with the use of distance education.
The recommended consolidations also will create opportunities for new research and service efforts to strengthen the educational experience of both students and faculty, Huckaby said.
Other benefits of consolidation, Huckaby said, are increased administrative efficiencies and greater economies of scale through the creation of larger institutions better able to serve students. While a reduction in administrative costs and functions is a goal, Huckaby said the process will not be quick, but would take 12-18 months. The savings realized will be reinvested into the instructional mission to serve students.
If approved, all existing campuses will remain open although there potentially will be some workforce reductions at the eight institutions. Decisions regarding the names of the four institutions remaining after consolidation would be made during the course of implementation. Consolidation will begin with the formation of implementation working groups, which reflect a diverse constituent base on each campus. Any policy or other decisions related to consolidations will be made by the Regents’ Special Committee on Consolidation and approved by the Board of Regents.


Meanwhile at Fort Gordon continue an array of construction projects, including a more than $31 million expansion to the Post Exchange. The building, which acts as a Walmart-style general store, will nearly double in size from 98,000 to 177,000 square feet.

A new three-phase, 1,500-person capacity battalion complex with seven new buildings is among the other projects. People should expect construction projects to continue until at least the next decade. Other projects include ongoing barracks renovations and an area billed as "Downtown Fort Gordon," which will re-create a small-town atmosphere on post by tying together the schools, playgrounds, a new chapel and restaurant in a pedestrian-friendly area. It will be located near Freedom Park Elementary School.

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