The consolidation of eight University System of Georgia colleges and universities into four new institutions took another step forward today with Board of Regents’ actions on new mission statements for all four new entities and the approval of name changes for two.
The board approved the name University of North Georgia for the new institution created through the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega and Gainesville State College.
The consolidation of Middle Georgia College in Cochran and Macon State College resulted in the board’s approval of an action plan that addresses the eventual move of the new institution from college to university status. As the first step of that plan, the regents approved the name Middle Georgia State College.
“This is another milestone in the road to full consolidation,” Shelley Nickel, associate vice chancellor for Planning and Implementation, said in presenting the proposed names and mission statements to the regents. “The mission statements are really the foundation that is essential for all future work as the consolidation moves forward. These statements will be the guide that the campus implementation teams follow in creating four new institutions focused on expanding opportunities for students and strengthening our ability to serve these students.”
The name changes were the result of work on the four campuses to solicit suggestions and feedback from faculty, staff, students, alumni and the local community. The campus implementation teams then analyzed and tabulated the feedback to determine the recommended names that should be submitted to the regents for approval, Nickel said.
“Names are critical,” said Nickel. “They establish the identity and set the tone for the new institution. As such, the names represent a tremendous amount of work and the involvement of a very broad spectrum of stakeholders. The implementation teams are to be commended for their very open and inclusive work.”
Along with the new names, mission statements for the four new institutions will be effective upon both approval and accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and Board of Regents approval in January 2013.
Name changes for the remaining two new institutions created by the consolidation of Augusta State University with Georgia Health Sciences University and that of South Georgia College in Douglas and Waycross College, will be submitted for board approval later this year.
Like the name changes, the mission statements are the result of work by the campus implementation teams and have been endorsed by the relevant campus groups and the institutional presidents. The mission statements reflect the future scope of the new institutions’ teaching and service efforts, and where appropriate, any research programs.
The mission change for the new Middle Georgia State College also includes a resolution to move the institution from its current status as a state college with a primary two-year college access mission with a limited number of bachelor’s degrees to a university offering graduate degrees. Under this resolution, the regents approved a timetable for the move to university status in June 2014. This would result in one final name change to reflect the institution’s new university status.
The consolidation process is the initiative of USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby, who envisions consolidation as an important part of his program to create greater efficiencies in the System’s operations while enhancing academic opportunities for students.
When he announced the consolidation plan in January, Huckaby said, “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.”
A full review of the mission and name changes can be accessed beginning on page 5 of the May board meeting agenda at: http://www.usg.edu/regents/documents/board_meetings/agenda_2012_05.pdf