AUGUSTA , Ga. – A recommendation to consolidate Augusta State University (ASU) and Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU)—two public institutions in Augusta, Ga.—will be on the agenda of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia when it convenes for its monthly meeting Tuesday, Jan. 10, in Atlanta.
The recommendation incorporates the six principles for consolidation previously adopted by the Regents at their November meeting http://www.usg.edu/news/release/regents_approve_principles_for_consolidation_of_institutions and is one of four consolidations being proposed. Other consolidations include merging Waycross College and South Georgia College ; Gainesville State College and North Georgia College and State University ; and Middle Georgia College and Macon State College.
If approved, the ASU-GHSU consolidation process will begin immediately with a target date for full integration by fall 2013. Next steps include the appointment of a broad-based implementation committee, with representatives recommended by the respective presidents and approved by the Chancellor. That committee will make recommendations for final approval by Board of Regents. Further discussions with the campus and broader community regarding the consolidation will occur next week.
The consolidation will create a new comprehensive research university in Georgia that builds on the strengths of both institutions to increase degree offerings, provide greater service level to students, enhance education attainment rates, expand distance learning options and create economies of scale.
“Our goal is a more educated Georgia, with a network of institutions that offer a range of needed degrees for 21st century demands,” said Hank Huckaby, Chancellor of the University System of Georgia. “We are going to fulfill our mission within the limited resources available.”
ASU President William A. Bloodworth, Jr., who previously announced his decision to retire from the presidency after serving almost 19 years, pledged his support and assistance for the consolidation. Plans are that GHSU President Ricardo Azziz will become president of the new university.
“The consolidation will present some challenges; however Chancellor Huckaby, Board Chair Benjamin Tarbutton and, especially, Dr. Azziz are fully committed to ASU’s focus on student learning, access and the value of the liberal arts and sciences,” said Bloodworth.
Increasing efficiencies is also a goal of the consolidation. It is anticipated that it will take at least 12 to 18 months to implement the consolidation and to properly calculate savings attained by the action. Realized savings will be reinvested into the instructional mission to serve students, said Huckaby.
“I am very excited about the recommendation from the Chancellor and USG staff to create a larger comprehensive university benefiting our students, faculty and staff through collaborative research, greater educational offerings and enhanced economic impact for the community and State of Georgia,” said GHSU President Ricardo Azziz.
The direct economic impact of both institutions combined is nearly 2.5 billion dollars. A consolidated institution would help increase that impact to the state and local community.
For more information, visit the USG Consolidation Web site, http://www.usg.edu/consolidation/.
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