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Georgia Board of Regents approves merger of Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities

Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012 1:57 PM
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012 4:58 PM
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ATLANTA — The merger of Augusta State University with Georgia Health Sciences University, along with the consolidation of six other public colleges, won unanimous approval Tuesday from the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents.

Ricardo Azziz (left), president of Georgia Health Sciences University, talks with Augusta State University President Bill Bloodworth in a hallway outside the Board of Regents meeting Tuesday. Moments before, the regents voted unanimously to merge the schools.  Walter C. Jones/Morris News Service
Walter C. Jones/Morris News Service
Ricardo Azziz (left), president of Georgia Health Sciences University, talks with Augusta State University President Bill Bloodworth in a hallway outside the Board of Regents meeting Tuesday. Moments before, the regents voted unanimously to merge the schools.

The move also combines Waycross College with South Georgia College, Gainesville State College with North Georgia College and State University, and Macon State College with Middle Georgia College.

System Chancellor Hank Huckaby said the ASU-GHSU merger follows the vision that Gov. Nathan Deal has for the combined institution.

“I think this indicates that he’s committed to there being a high-quality public medical school in this state. The citizens deserve this,” Huckaby said. “It benefits all the citizens, the community as well.”

Though some of the communities with colleges in the consolidation plan opposed it, Augusta leaders support it. They argue the combined school, with a name yet to be selected, will have the size and prestige that will make it more attractive to faculty and students and less vulnerable to future cuts.

University System officials say the goals are to expand opportunities for students and increase efficiency within the system. Combining the schools will eliminate administrative duplication, Huckaby said, and any savings would be channeled into instruction. He declined to estimate how much could be saved, and he said there was no financial analysis to quantify the benefits of merging eight schools into four.

“Part of it, quite frankly, was common sense,” he said. “... Common sense tells you that now we will need only four presidents, not eight. We will need only four chief business officers, not eight. And so it goes on and on and on.”

Implementation will start immediately and is expected to take 12-18 months. The merged Augusta schools will be led by GHSU President Dr. Ricardo Azziz.

Azziz said the process would be transparent to students, faculty and taxpayers.

“I think you’re going to see and hear a lot about it,” he said. “Everything won’t be exactly finalized by the time you hear about it. It will be a lot of work in progress.

“There’s no reason to do anything behind any closed doors.”

Meshing the cultures, faculties and procedures won’t be simple, officials acknowledge.

As an “access institution,” ASU’s focus is on providing access to higher learning to students who might not have the grades for a research university. Its professors concentrate more on teaching than research.

Often, its students are the first in their families to attend college, so the schools have to provide tutoring, guidance and motivation toward graduation that students at research schools get from their parents.

ASU President William A. Bloodworth Jr. said it’s not unusual to have different types of students at the same institution.

“At any university, you have different mission criteria for different programs,” he said. “I would imagine that the criteria for the undergraduate programs that ASU offers, they’re not going to change any, and the graduate programs that Health Sciences offers are not going to change. I think we’re going to appeal to the same students we’ve always appealed to.”

Azziz added: “And it will be to a greater degree of students. I think what the community needs to understand is that universities by nature have a heterogeneous population.”

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iLove
626
Points
iLove 01/10/12 - 02:07 pm
0
0
...and we thought this was
Unpublished

...and we thought this was not going to happen because......

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/10/12 - 02:06 pm
0
0
Augusta = Boomtown indeed

Augusta = Boomtown indeed

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 01/10/12 - 02:16 pm
0
0
Shocker. I doubt there was

Shocker.

I doubt there was even a presentation or any discussion.

It was all done behind closed doors with a predetermined outcome.

The fact that folks in Atlanta refer to ASU as "Augusta College" should show how much they know or care about Augusta.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 01/10/12 - 02:21 pm
0
0
@I.I. - iAgree! ASU =
Unpublished

@I.I. - iAgree! ASU = Augusta State College???

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 01/10/12 - 02:25 pm
0
0
If your significant other

If your significant other referred to you by a different name, would you trust that person?

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 01/10/12 - 02:48 pm
0
0
Lets hope this results in

Lets hope this results in millions of tax dollars saved. Otherwise what's the point? It's kind of odd that they aren't discussing the financial details.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 01/10/12 - 02:56 pm
0
0
The post-secondary education

The post-secondary education institution on the Hill will always be affectionately known as Augusta College. But is that even relevant? I call Ga Tech, North Ave Trade School but yet they stay in business despite it. Just my take here, but I never got the impression that the merge was for folks in Atlanta or anywhere else other than the CSRA. Did they make some announcements that don't indicate that is accurate?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 01/10/12 - 03:27 pm
0
0
I love how our government

I love how our government works....

First we vote (without any discussion), then we hold town hall meetings to get your feedback.

Some might say that is backwards.

Riverman1
89985
Points
Riverman1 01/10/12 - 03:51 pm
0
0
The merger is a huge step for

The merger is a huge step for creating a seriously superior university in Augusta. It's a huge win for Augusta.

tckr1983
365
Points
tckr1983 01/10/12 - 04:10 pm
0
0
Yea yea... BUT. Is it

Yea yea...

BUT. Is it "cool"?

Seriously though, any expansion or introducing college students to a downtown campus would do wonders.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 01/10/12 - 04:24 pm
0
0
Even if the schools are

Even if the schools are merged, the laws of physics still apply.

It's not like magically there will be more space downtown or on the Walton Way campus.

This is just smoke and mirrors. Saying this is a great thing is a conclusion, but there are no facts to back it up.

agrit
180
Points
agrit 01/10/12 - 04:40 pm
0
0
GHSU will now have claim to a

GHSU will now have claim to a championship golf team and a winning basketball team. What more could Dr. Azziz want?

my.voice
5080
Points
my.voice 01/10/12 - 04:51 pm
0
0
GHSU will invade the ASU

GHSU will invade the ASU campus and scuttle it. Azziz is all about monuments to himself. Downtown isnt as beautiful as the ASU grounds. What the heck does AZZIZ know about running a liberal arts college?

countyman
21221
Points
countyman 01/10/12 - 05:14 pm
0
0
The Summerville campus is

The Summerville campus is landlocked, and the residents don't want major growth.. ASU is building the academic building, student center, and dorms along Wrightsboro/Damascus rd... The West campus will become the main campus in the future..

GHSU owns the old Fatmans property, Kroger shopping center, Sunset aka Cherry Tree is right next door, and don't forget about the GGHF property in the CBD.

The Golf and Gardens is big enough for a multi-use facility and research/bio tech park..

cityman
-6
Points
cityman 01/10/12 - 05:30 pm
0
0
Countyman, The Harrisburg
Unpublished

Countyman, The Harrisburg Mill Village is between ASU and GHSU. Seems logical to for the universities to build there ..especially since Harrisburg property values are so depressed!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 01/10/12 - 05:46 pm
0
0
countyman, why did the Board

countyman, why did the Board of Regents veto the expansion of ASU by putting the ax to the student fee for constructing those buildings you just listed?

...point to ponder
779
Points
...point to ponder 01/10/12 - 06:24 pm
0
0
Very sad...they did not do

Very sad...they did not do this to save money.

countyman
21221
Points
countyman 01/10/12 - 06:27 pm
0
0
We don't even know how the

We don't even know how the vote went, and the issue was related to suspending(not axing) the fee.. The fee was directed to the student center, and had nothing to with the dorms or academic building.. The student center is still under the conceptual phases.. The academic building is estimated to cost $27 million, and the design was already submitted.. Both of the buildings along with the dorms will break ground in Augusta..

ASU's vice president of development said the merger will help speed up the construction of the West Campus..

Riverman1
89985
Points
Riverman1 01/10/12 - 07:19 pm
0
0
I believe the new growth of

I believe the new growth of the combined schools will now be in the city. If I were Dr. Azziz that would be what I would do. It makes sense to build in areas that both divisions will be able to utilize jointly. It could change Augusta dramatically for the better.

Hucklebuck
43
Points
Hucklebuck 01/10/12 - 08:06 pm
0
0
what will this be called?

what will this be called? Didn't Azziz just change the name of the campus?
I have some suggestions...........
1. Charles Walker University
2. Green Jacket State
3. Masters University
4. James Brown University
LOL

createyourfuture
68
Points
createyourfuture 01/10/12 - 08:21 pm
0
0
I like the name: Georgia A &

I like the name: Georgia A & M (ASU & MCG)

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 01/10/12 - 08:32 pm
0
0
This should be interesting

This should be interesting to say the least.

And Inside Information your 3:27 p.m. describes the preferred model of government doing business.

APiratesLife4Me
0
Points
APiratesLife4Me 01/10/12 - 09:11 pm
0
0
Seems to me this is the

Seems to me this is the beginning of moving GHSU to Athens....

Riverman1
89985
Points
Riverman1 01/10/12 - 09:19 pm
0
0
The doomsayers about the

The doomsayers about the merger are getting carried away to the point where it's getting to be funny. When it happens the Mayan Calendar will end and global thermonuclear war will mark the destruction of Augusta all the way to Rae's Cafe. Some believe there's going to be this big yard sale at ASU right before Armageddon.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 01/10/12 - 09:26 pm
0
0
Riverman, it's not about

Riverman, it's not about being a doomsayer. It's about the facts.

First, there will not be any savings.

Second, it will be detrimental to ASU and even more so to local families who want to send their kids there. It's a number issue. There isn't room for the students they have now. Consequently, local students will have to go away. I just HOPE parents have the money to pay the added costs of going away to school.

countyman
21221
Points
countyman 01/10/12 - 09:30 pm
0
0
190 medical students in

190 medical students in Augusta vs 40 in Athens.. The $112 million dental school opened in September, and represents the largest single investment into building in the state's history.. GHSU is ranked 71st in research according to US News.. The governor wants the university to reach the top 50, and he's recommending spending $5 million to improve the Cancer Center.. GHSU ranked 71st with 2,700 students, and imagine the future rankings with over 10k students.. The medical school is staying right here in Augusta.

Riverman1
89985
Points
Riverman1 01/10/12 - 09:32 pm
0
0
Insider Info, so you look at

Insider Info, so you look at ASU growing as a bad thing?

Riverman1
89985
Points
Riverman1 01/10/12 - 09:33 pm
0
0
Countyman, get realistic

Countyman, get realistic here. The medical school division won't say they have 10,000 students. The ASU students will be undergraduates.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 01/10/12 - 09:36 pm
0
0
RM1....what is the driver to
Unpublished

RM1....what is the driver to make ASU or GHSU grow that is not there now? What in this merger, makes the whole better than the parts? Where is the funding going to come from to create this ginamorus BOOM?

Riverman1
89985
Points
Riverman1 01/10/12 - 09:50 pm
0
0
Pu239, I was actually

Pu239, I was actually replying to InsiderInfo who said ASU wouldn't have room for more students. He is right, ASU will see an increase in students.

Just as with the U. of Toledo example that's been given, once a college merges with a medical school, the number and quality of applicants will rise. Students will come to ASU, wanting to enter the med school later. It's a big plus to stay a total of 8 years in the same place as you pursue your education.

As far as GHSU, a university working with a medical school can attract research grants easier and develop graduate programs that will bring even more students here. I mean that's only the start. There will be millions saved in administrative costs.

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