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Board of Regents to merge Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta State; Azziz to lead school

Jackie Riccardi/ Staff
Board of Regents Vice Chairman William "Dink" H. NeSmith Jr. (from front left), University of Georgia System Chancellor Hank Huckaby, Augusta State President Bill Bloodworth (from back left), and Regents Chairman Ben J. Tarbutton III leave a meeting at Augusta State.
Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012 9:33 AM
Last updated Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 5:35 PM
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The Georgia Board of Regents plans to merge Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities, creating a new comprehensive research university with GHSU President Ricardo Azziz at the helm, University System of Georgia officials said Thursday.

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William "Dink" H. NeSmith Jr. (from left),  Hank Huckaby, Bill Bloodworth and Ben J. Tarbutton III leave a meeting Thursday morning at Augusta State.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
William "Dink" H. NeSmith Jr. (from left), Hank Huckaby, Bill Bloodworth and Ben J. Tarbutton III leave a meeting Thursday morning at Augusta State.
Steve Crawford
Columbia County News Times Publisher
Twitter: @scrawfordccnt
E-mail | 706-868-1222

University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby discussed the merger in a 45-minute closed-door meeting Thursday morning in an upstairs conference room in the ASU student center. Also in attendance were Azziz, Board of Regents Chairman Ben J. Tarbutton III, board Vice Chairman William “Dink” H. NeSmith Jr., ASU President Bill Bloodworth, Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, state Sen. Hardie Davis, and state Reps. Quincy Murphy, Ernie Smith and Barbara Sims.

“The purpose of this morning’s meeting was to inform this group of a formal proposal involving the consolidation of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University.” Huckaby said. “Not much more can be said until the board acts.”

Huckaby confirmed that the merger was one of four across the state that will be proposed at Tuesday’s Board of Regents meeting in Atlanta. Other consolidations include merging Waycross and South Georgia colleges; Gainesville State College and North Georgia College and State University; and Middle Georgia and Macon State colleges.

If the proposal meets regents approval as expected, the consolidation process will begin immediately with a target date for full integration by fall 2013, according to a statement from GHSU. Next, an implementation committee will be formed, with representatives recommended by the respective presidents and approved by the chancellor. That committee will make recommendations for final approval by the Board of Regents, the statement says.

Huckaby said work on the mergers began more than two months ago and had gained broad support with local and state officials, including Gov. Nathan Deal.

Although the two schools have divergent missions and dissimilar student bodies and staffs, combining ASU and GHSU makes sense because it will allow the university system to create a “comprehensive university” in Augusta.

Tarbutton said the result will make both schools stronger educational institutions.

The mergers will reduce administrative costs at the institutions and help the University System recover some of the $1 billion in state funding cuts that have been made in the past four years, Huckaby told The Associated Press. He said he is unsure how much money could be saved with the changes.

“Our goal is a more educated Georgia, with a network of institutions that offer a range of needed degrees for 21st-century demands,” Huckaby said. “We are going to fulfill our mission within the limited resources available.”

Comments (42) Add comment
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augusta citizen
10453
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augusta citizen 01/05/12 - 09:44 am
0
0
Wow, well guess this is going

Wow, well guess this is going to be a done deal.

Bonk
8
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Bonk 01/05/12 - 09:55 am
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I have always loved ASU

I have always loved ASU basketball. Is USC Aiken going to laugh at us when they see Georgia Health Sciences on their schedule?

willie7
1047
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willie7 01/05/12 - 09:59 am
0
0
An announcement will be made
Unpublished

An announcement will be made tomorrow.

Little Lamb
51802
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Little Lamb 01/05/12 - 10:09 am
0
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I guess they had the mayor

I guess they had the mayor there to help plan the ribbon cutting ceremony.

kiwiinamerica
1031
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kiwiinamerica 01/05/12 - 10:16 am
0
0
All you need to know is that
Unpublished

All you need to know is that Azziz and Huckerby were there. Copenhaver and the local legislators were presented with the done deed by the aforementioned two and nodded their heads in agreement. Bloodworth is a lame duck who's already quit and is now a nonfactor. He smiled and shook hands at the beginning of the meeting then became a spectator.

Game sat and match to "El Presidente".

Riverman1
103414
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Riverman1 01/05/12 - 10:19 am
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I wonder about them asking

I wonder about them asking the reporter to leave.

Austin Rhodes
3121
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Austin Rhodes 01/05/12 - 10:22 am
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0
We might not like it, but

We might not like it, but these particular individuals are under NO obligation to disclose and/or open such meetings to the press or public.

kiwiinamerica
1031
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kiwiinamerica 01/05/12 - 10:32 am
0
0
Other than the fact that we
Unpublished

Other than the fact that we pay their salaries.

willyb
0
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willyb 01/05/12 - 10:33 am
0
0
It's a done deal - Azziz will

It's a done deal - Azziz will be president starting July 1.

prov227
3774
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prov227 01/05/12 - 11:00 am
0
0
The University of Georgia at

The University of Georgia at Augusta? The University of Augusta? GHSU and State University?

Riverman1
103414
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Riverman1 01/05/12 - 11:30 am
0
0
Who is the old boy wearing

Who is the old boy wearing the fedora?

LemonJello
19
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LemonJello 01/05/12 - 11:37 am
0
0
Augusta State University and

Augusta State University and Health Sciences.

agrit
180
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agrit 01/05/12 - 12:31 pm
0
0
RM ... that's the Chancellor

RM ... that's the Chancellor

bleedsgreenandgold
0
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bleedsgreenandgold 01/05/12 - 12:34 pm
0
0
Augusta State Medical

Augusta State Medical University?

bleedsgreenandgold
0
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bleedsgreenandgold 01/05/12 - 12:37 pm
0
0
Medical University of

Medical University of Georgia? (MUG)

agrit
180
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agrit 01/05/12 - 12:35 pm
0
0
The group that is pushing

The group that is pushing this must be the "anti" UGA people. Otherwise it would have made sense to combine UGA, GHSU and ASU. Look at University of Tennessee or University of Alabama. So now we will have the combined university of GHSU and ASU fighting with UGA and the medical school there on funds, students, positions, faculty. It's a no win situation for all.

bleedsgreenandgold
0
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bleedsgreenandgold 01/05/12 - 12:36 pm
0
0
Augusta State Liberal Arts,

Augusta State Liberal Arts, Science, and Medical University (ASLASMU for short)

agrit
180
Points
agrit 01/05/12 - 12:38 pm
0
0
Also, "medical" will never be

Also, "medical" will never be back in the name again. That was an issue with the name to begin with ... the insitution is more than just an overgrown medical school.

Riverman1
103414
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Riverman1 01/05/12 - 01:15 pm
0
0
Thanks for the inside info,

Thanks for the inside info, Agrit.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 01/05/12 - 01:15 pm
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0
Perhaps they could also

Perhaps they could also combine with the Augusta State Medical Prison to create Augusta State Medical School and Prison.

By the way, do we even have a local member on the Board of Regents?

Little Lamb
51802
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Little Lamb 01/05/12 - 01:23 pm
0
0
Agrit is wise. We have

Agrit is wise. We have UA–Birmingham, USC–Aiken, UT–Chattanooga. So it would make good sense to rename the combined school UGA–Augusta.

Little Lamb
51802
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Little Lamb 01/05/12 - 01:40 pm
0
0
Taking a cue from

Taking a cue from bleedsgreenandgold and then nodding to the wisdom of agrit regarding the word "medical," the name could be Augusta State Liberal Arts, Natural and Physical and Health Sciences University:

ASLANAPAHSU

Rob Pavey
560
Points
Rob Pavey 01/05/12 - 02:03 pm
0
0
great photo, jackie - they

great photo, jackie - they even smiled for you!

NrthAugustaSam
505
Points
NrthAugustaSam 01/05/12 - 03:14 pm
0
0
Half cocked idea from a bunch

Half cocked idea from a bunch of people having no idea how to manage even a Kool-aid stand. You can merge a dirt bike and a dump truck but it won't necessarily get better gas mileage. This is all politics. We need better leaders.

my.voice
5675
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my.voice 01/05/12 - 03:30 pm
0
0
Azziz will scuttle ASU.

Azziz will scuttle ASU.

socks99
250
Points
socks99 01/05/12 - 03:42 pm
0
0
The public needn't expect

The public needn't expect that GA's higher education system will become more effective as the result either of this proposal or indeed, further 'governance' by an utterly failed Board of Regent's system. If the past is an indicator, look simply for a consolidation of power and control, and a re-directing of money towards which ever units happen to have the most alumni sitting on the Board of Regents.

MCG's NAME was changed in order to dilute and retard the influence of its many alumni when the UGA med school idea got rolling along.* That ought to tell you something about the high-handed and contemptuous efforts this variously gullible and led-by-the-nose Regent portend. (How many of the sitting Regents are presently tainted by a purposeful threat of 'graft' simply to make them easier to control by Regents' insiders?)

Any member of the public can look and see that the Regents, for years, have sat by and delivered inflation-busting tuition increases while being controlled by insiders at the Atlanta office.

The best hope for GA's system of higher education might involve reorganizing the governance of individual units so that regional authorities both appropriate funding and govern regional systems.

As is, the current Chancellor is out to put a few more eggs in the same basket. No one should ever think he'd admit he was wrong and he'll never say he was sorry. If it takes removing the governor or another authority from office to do it, so be it: GA needs desperately to take higher ed out of the hands of unelected PC liberal technocrats and place it back into the hands of local and regional authorities.

*But isn't the UGA satellite campus a good idea when the need for physicians is growing? Maybe, or maybe not. If MCG, proper, could have produced more graduates at smaller costs, then it was a very bad idea and it will result in fewer physicians, not more. In other words, rather than run the higher education system in a way that would benefit most Georgian's, the Regent's system remains mired in political cronyism in the same way that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started out as good ideas, then became politically corrupt and finally had to be nationalized.

Riverman1
103414
Points
Riverman1 01/05/12 - 03:35 pm
0
0
I bet one of the gentlemen in

I bet one of the gentlemen in the photo is bald headed.

willyb
0
Points
willyb 01/05/12 - 03:36 pm
0
0
I think this could be a great

I think this could be a great opportunity to improve ASU. Azziz has shown he's got what it takes to get rid of the lazy, unnecessary or incompetent - and ASU has more than its fair share of those. Bloodworth has spent far too long pandering to the faculty telling always them what a great job they do. No they don't - the stats speak for themselves - one of the worst retention rates in the state, falling enrollment, etc. He will give you a list of excuses why this is the case rather than growing a pair and doing something about it. The place is too incestuous - the Dean of Arts and Sciences is the only position at that level or above where someone outside has been brought in in the past 8 years or so. Rather than constantly promoting incompetent people from within, fire those that can’t and bring those that can. I hope Azziz shakes things up a bit.

Riverman1
103414
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Riverman1 01/05/12 - 03:54 pm
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Rob Pavey said, "great photo,

Rob Pavey said, "great photo, jackie - they even smiled for you!"

I don't know who Jackie is, but I agree considering the story says they wouldn't allow a reporter to accompany them to the meeting.

Sean Moores
740
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Sean Moores 01/05/12 - 03:56 pm
0
0
Photographer Jackie

Photographer Jackie Ricciardi.

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