January deadline to merge colleges

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 2:29 PM
Last updated Wednesday, March 14, 2012 5:07 AM
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ATLANTA — Eight public colleges – including Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University – are on pace to combine into four Jan. 8, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents learned Tuesday.

To reach the January target to streamline administrations and cut costs, the eight schools have several steps:

• In May, they’ll ask the regents to approve their mission statements for the combined schools.

• In August or September, they’ll submit three names for each merged school for the regents’ blessing.

• By October, they’ll have an organizational chart showing who will work where and what those jobs will be. University System officials have said some jobs will be eliminated, which ones could be clear then.

• Also in October, the accrediting agencies will get detailed plans on how the new schools will work.

• The agencies will vote on those blueprints in December, before the regents’ final go-ahead the next month.

The plan also will consolidate Waycross College with South Georgia College in Douglas; Middle Georgia College with Macon State College; and Gainesville State College with North Georgia College & State University.

Nailing down a mission statement is the next major milestone ahead, according to Associate Vice Chancellor Shelley Nickel.

“We realized that the mission statement really drives a lot of the other decisions that have to be made in a consolidation,” she told the regents.

Nickel said the planning has gone well so far at each of the schools involved. She acknowledged that some community leaders were initially concerned, including Waycross residents who attended last January’s meeting when the regents put the merger process in gear.

Now that the process is in motion, Nickel acknowledges that getting the people to work together as a team at each of the combined schools will be tricky.

“The challenge is more cultural than the bricks and mortar and the technology,” she said.

Dr. Ricardo Azziz, GHSU’s president and the designated head of the combined entity, said he is pleased with the process so far.

“People are starting to understand the potential benefits to Augusta and the state from the combined institution,” he said.

Nickel agrees.

“In Augusta, that one is going to be a full-fledged research university, and really it has the opportunity to change the face of that region of the state,” she said.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 03/13/12 - 02:38 pm
How hard can it be? Just

How hard can it be? Just staple the course catalogs together and retire one of the presidents.

Old Timmer
Old Timmer 03/13/12 - 03:56 pm
Money saved? No matter how

Money saved? No matter how many times they drag out that line you guys still bite the hook. There is no savings. Every dime saved by cuts or staff elimination goes toward the new VPs and their additional staffs - "areas of growth". It is a real pain in the buttocks to not be one of those special areas.

freespeach 03/13/12 - 04:54 pm
Good example of bureaucrats

Good example of bureaucrats at work. Make major changes to universities in the middle of an academic year. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
Augusta State University is going to get screwed in this merger deal. Unnecessary to begin with.
Bad idea getting worse.

Sweet son
Sweet son 03/13/12 - 05:54 pm
@ Old Timmer, you have it

@ Old Timmer, you have it exactly right. Higher ups have gotten raises and upgrades when the staffers have gone without any raises for many years. It will all be interesting to watch over the next nine months!

bentman 03/14/12 - 08:42 am
There will be multiple

There will be multiple retirements/resignations. those people will be replaced with newbies straight out of their doctoral program, rather than maintaining the current eve of competence.

This is a power grab for someone.

Riverman1 03/14/12 - 08:47 am
If you want to tell the

If you want to tell the truth, about half the colleges in the state should be done away with. It's asinine what we do by pushing kids to go to college when they have no business there. College is dumbed down to levels where the street sweeper has a degree now with a fancy name.

What's cruel about this scam that keeps educators in jobs is the monumental student debts, government and private, that these misguided young people incur.

They get out of college with a worthless degree, can't find a decent job and spend the rest of their lives paying off the debt to keep these charlatan, con artist professors and administrators figuring out ways to get more of these naive kids to sign their lives away.

so-he-said 03/14/12 - 08:58 am
you r right Bentman, it will

you r right Bentman, it will get a lot worse before any "better" is seen.

kiwiinamerica 03/14/12 - 12:12 pm
The government also bears a

The government also bears a great deal of guilt for the "education scam". Specifically, the provision of cheap student loans to anyone who can fog a mirror and importantly, the ruling that these loans can NOT be discharged in bankruptcy.

The provision of cheap loans has resulted in a greatly increased demand for a commodity (education) whose supply has remained relatively constant, which in turn has caused the price of education to skyrocket, as per the law of supply and demand. Student loans MUST be dischargeable in bankruptcy. If this was the case, you would see an immediate and significant change in lending practices by the folks who parcel out these loans. The likelihood of them taking a severe haircut due to defaults on student loans would lead them to become much more discriminating in the way they provide loans and this in turn would lead to a dramatic drop in demand for college.

Once demand for college drops significantly, you will see the education establishment crooks who currently charge outlandish prices for college education, suddenly find savings out of nowhere, in order to make college education more affordable and attractive and as a result prices will drop substantially.

Student loans are at the heart of the problem.

Sweet son
Sweet son 03/14/12 - 05:01 pm
Power struggles will be

Power struggles will be rampant. The first things that come to my mind are support staff. Human resources, physical plant, public safety and the list is endless. Maybe a buyout will be offered like it was in 2000. If you have 25 we will give you 5 and say goodbye. I am sure in the present economy the Teachers Retirement Systen or the Legislature will not be able to fund another pie-in-the-sky deal like this.

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