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Augusta State, Georgia Health Sciences universities' officials talk academic affairs at consolidation forum

Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 3:42 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 4:59 AM
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The public forum Monday at Augusta State University about its consolidation with Georgia Health Sciences University took a different tone from the previous town hall meetings aimed at collecting community input.

Georgia Health Sciences President Ricardo Azziz (center) chats with Augusta State's vice president of academic affairs, Carol Rychly (right), and GHSUProvost Gretchen Caughman at the ASU presentation.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Georgia Health Sciences President Ricardo Azziz (center) chats with Augusta State's vice president of academic affairs, Carol Rychly (right), and GHSUProvost Gretchen Caughman at the ASU presentation.

Instead of a one-hour question-and-answer session with the universities’ presidents, two officials from the schools gave a presentation on the future of academic affairs, leaving time for one question at the end. A later forum at GHSU left time for four people to comment or ask questions.

Previous forums have been filled with audience members hounding GHSU Presi­dent Ricardo Azziz over the chosen name for the new institution, Georgia Regents University.

With less than three months from consolidation being official, GHSU’s director of media relations, Christen Carter, said officials wanted to use the remaining forums to inform people about academic programs, facilities, parking and other logistics.

“One of the great things about the community is their ability to get involved and rally behind a cause,” Carter said. “We kind of wanted to transition the focus back to what we’re doing – to the basics of consolidation.”

GHSU’s provost, Gretchen Caugh­man, and ASU’s vice president of academic affairs, Carol Rychly, explained the goals and challenges related to academic programs at the new university to about 100 people at ASU and about 50 at GHSU.

A major priority is to increase the academic programs the new university will offer so it can compete. It will have 111 programs, less than Geor­gia Tech’s 180, Georgia State Uni­versity’s 271 and the
Uni­versity of Georgia’s 474.

The most immediate plans are to develop a Ph.D. program in education and bachelor’s degrees in anthropology, cellular and molecular biology, and applied information systems and technologies, among others.

After initially balking at allowing the new school to pursue multiple new degree programs, University System of Georgia employees
have been won over, Rychly said.

The school plans to increase enrollment to 12,000 by 2019 and facilitate greater student success through increased monitoring and tutoring. Because enrollment at ASU has dropped over the past several years, Rychly said, recruiting students is key.

ASU has a dismal graduation rate of 8 percent of students earning a diploma in four years and 28 percent in six. To address those issues, officials hope to create an honors college, use their Complete College Georgia plans and create a system that notifies students when they are slipping academically.

The efforts will take money, Caughman said. The new programs will require more faculty, and higher enrollment will mean more student housing, dining halls and recreation areas.

Caughman said there will be a gradual tuition increase, but the goal is not to place all the burden on students. She said she hopes growth can come with philanthropic support, tuition from a
larger number of students and federal assistance, assuming the state will continue to slash funding for Georgia schools.

“We’ve taken significant cuts from a state appropriations basis,” Caughman said. “But the fact is we cannot grow our way out either through enrollment or tuition increases on the backs of the students. That’s simply not possible relative to what our mission is.”

With minutes left for one public comment, ASU Alumni Association member Cath­erine Rutland said officials should prevent unnecessary legal costs by avoiding a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Virginia’s Regent University.

“Do we have enough money to spend on a lawsuit that we don’t have to go through by making a simple name change?” Rutland asked.

ASU history junior Daniel Porter said he was surprised by the forum’s format but was glad he could get information besides hearing the protests over the Georgia Regents name. Porter’s main concerns are about parking fees, access to facilities and development of more degrees, but he said the consolidation is something to be excited about.

“Every single person I’ve talked to in respect to the name hate it, but that aside, they’re very excited for the research, the program, just being able to do more,” he said.

At the GHSU forum, retired Medical College of Geor­gia faculty member Gus Etersque said he likes the new plans but thinks Augusta should be part of the name to play on the city’s worldwide reputation from the Masters Tournament.

“I don’t see anything wrong with piggybacking on existing fame,” he said.

Caughman told him the name was a Board of Regents decision, then announced that time was up.

Etersque said that was about the response he had expected.

“The hierarchy here wants to treat it as a dead issue that can’t be changed,” he said of GHSU. “I don’t agree. I think there is something more that can be done.”

Comments (14) Add comment
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Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 10/15/12 - 03:56 pm
5
0
Pipe Dream

What are they smoking?

They are talking about adding programs, degrees, parking, faculty, recreation, dining halls, dorms, a space station, life-size recreation of the Statute of Liberty and a theme park...

Yet, currently, they don't have the money to run all of the fountains on campus, temperatures are uncomfortable to save money and we are in the midst of a recession.

Academics are not realists.

pointstoponder
181
Points
pointstoponder 10/15/12 - 04:20 pm
9
0
Save the A, lose the zziz.

Save the A, lose the zziz.

ClaraBell
8
Points
ClaraBell 10/15/12 - 05:41 pm
6
0
COMPETE with other universities in the state?

"A major priority is to increase the academic programs GRU will offer so it can compete with other universities in the state."

How is it responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars when our state universities make it a "major priority" to compete with each other, rather than COMPLEMENT each other?

Little Lamb
46392
Points
Little Lamb 10/15/12 - 07:53 pm
3
0
Q&A

From the story:

With minutes left for one public comment at a forum Monday, ASU Alumni Association member Catherine Rutland said officials should prevent unnecessary legal costs by avoiding the pending trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Virginia’s Regent University. “Do we have enough money to spend on a lawsuit that we don’t have to go through by making a simple name change?” Rutland asked.

We are the taxpayers of the state of Georgia. We have plenty of money. If Azziz and the members of the board of regents want to fight this lawsuit, the governor should tell them to fork up their own money.

I'm sure you read the story where the grandmother's pro bono attorney stared down the property owners' association over the pink playhouse and the POA dropped the lawsuit. that won't happen here because the state has deep pockets and Azziz is a narcissist.

The POA was spending their own money. Azziz is spending yours and mine.

scoopdedoop64
2395
Points
scoopdedoop64 10/15/12 - 08:08 pm
3
0
Be Aggressive and Don't Give Up

The will of the people is greater than any institution that can be set up. We just have to be willing to be aggressive without breaking the law and don't give up.

AugustaBorn.too
10
Points
AugustaBorn.too 10/15/12 - 10:02 pm
3
0
New slogan?

I agree with Pointstoponder...he has an excellent new slogan:

"Save the A, lose the zziz..."

That should go on letters and postcards to the board of Regents!

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 10/16/12 - 05:05 am
2
0
Lawsuit

That's it, they are going forward with the lawsuit? They are going to waste taxpayers money on this?

Nothing from Gov Deal? All the phone calls and emails to the BOR and Gov Deal people did when this started up because of the way it was handled - moreso than just the name itself.

Then you have the Save the A campaign and still nothing? Have I missed it?

OnTheHill1
345
Points
OnTheHill1 10/16/12 - 08:38 am
1
0
The Community's Ability to Rally Behind a Cause

From the story Christen Carter was quoted:

“One of the great things about the community is their ability to get involved and rally behind a cause. We kind of wanted to transition the focus back to what we’re doing – to the basics of consolidation.”

Azziz has now assumed an incommunicado role, other than to his sycophants, delegating his administration's agenda to subordinates. They have been ordered to repress any and all questions or comments related to the new U name, i.e. Gretchen Caugh­man's abrupt closing of the GHSU "forum" after Gus Etersque's question.

Oh ... and with this new format, the meeting label needs to be changed as the definition of "Forum" is a meeting or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged. Better label might be "Harangue", defined as a lengthy and aggressively critical speech.

How effective can Azziz be in his new role, hiding behind the twin gables columns of his state owned home, vilified by the community? Augusta has rallied behind the cause of rejecting his tyranny at GHSU, to establish some boundaries of accountability.

Remember the name selection is the symptom; the problem is Azziz's dishonesty and lack of integrity in admitting that GRU was his personal choice, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The community's ability to rally behind a cause is palpable and must continue until the emperor has been told he has no clothes!

Little Lamb
46392
Points
Little Lamb 10/16/12 - 08:55 am
1
0
Indoctrination Meeting

Good comment, OTH. The meetings are no longer forums — maybe Indoctrination Meeting would be a more accurate moniker.

One of your paragraphs bears highlighting:

Remember the name selection is the symptom; the problem is Azziz's dishonesty and lack of integrity in admitting that GRU was his personal choice, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

We need to remember that the word "regents" in the name is a constant reminder of the egotism, arrogance, narcissism, and vanity of the trustees of the board of regents and of Azziz himself (who perhaps sees himself on that very board someday).

wmstrickland1
3
Points
wmstrickland1 10/16/12 - 09:50 am
1
0
I Love it!

If someone would now print up "Save the A - loss the zziz" on t-shirts or bumper stickers, I'd for sure buy them. Keep up the good work Save the A group. You make me proud to call myself an Augustian.

Cynical old woman
1108
Points
Cynical old woman 10/16/12 - 10:48 am
1
0
Love Love Love

Save the A lose the zziz.

I, too, would like signs, bumper stickers, t shirts, etc!!

bentman
455
Points
bentman 10/18/12 - 06:28 pm
0
0
Georgia Regents University.

Georgia Regents University. Isn't that one of those mail-order-degree colleges?

OnTheHill1
345
Points
OnTheHill1 10/19/12 - 05:33 pm
0
0
Board of Visitors Information

Azziz has a board that advises him, the one that Billy Morris and Nick Evans resigned from, called the Board of Visitors.

What they are supposed to do and their responsibilities are: http://www.georgiahealth.edu/bov/.

The membership and term of the 13 members (the board is short 3) is: http://www.georgiahealth.edu/bov/membership.html.

Each of the 13 member's bios are: http://www.georgiahealth.edu/bov/member-bios.html.

Just in case any of you would like to contact these advisors...

OnTheHill1
345
Points
OnTheHill1 10/19/12 - 06:04 pm
0
0
Recent Azziz Videos

Since there were very few viewers, and few or no comments, of these recent Azziz videos, here are the links:

EXCLUSIVE ON 6: George Eskola Talks "Save The A" With Dr. Ricardo Azziz: http://www2.wjbf.com/news/2012/oct/18/3/exclusive-6-george-eskola-talks-.... Good for Eskola for refuting Azziz's statement, "just a few have..."

News 12's Chris Thomas (WRDW-TV) interviews of Dr. Ricardo Azziz:

1. Dr. Azziz on 'Cool Factor' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTWoS98RNyc

2. Dr. Azziz talks family, city of Augusta - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PZ461SAD5M

3. Dr. Azziz on family at ASU - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQbdysMPOzk

4. Dr. Azziz on 'Jag Nation' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CePnDXHqY7Q

5. Dr. Azziz on the rate of change - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDjAtTmjCvE

6. Dr. Azziz talks 'Save the A' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oNvjHuEUcY

7. Dr. Azziz grades his time in office - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j98yonHEbnQ

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