Special to the Journal
Atlanta, GA — It’s official: today the University System of Georgia has 31 institutions – four fewer than one year ago. Meeting today, the Board of Regents approved the four institutions created over the past year from the consolidation of eight and appointed presidents to provide leadership.
After adopting four separate resolutions authorizing the new consolidated institutions, the regents appointed Dr. Riccardo Azziz president of Georgia Regents University, Dr. John Black as interim president of Middle Georgia State College, Dr. Virginia Carson as president of South Georgia State College and Dr. Bonita Jacobs as president of the University of North Georgia.
“The board’s actions represent the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by many individuals, both on the campuses and at the System Office,” said University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “We identified the opportunity, did our homework and then moved quickly, but thoroughly, to follow through.”
Huckaby noted that in response to the regents’ approval, celebrations on the campuses would inaugurate the new institutions as faculty, staff and students begin a new chapter in the University System’s history.
The board’s actions today follow the December 2012 required approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) of the prospectuses submitted by the four institutions.
While much work remains to be done to ensure the transition to the new institutions, all now will begin to operate under their new names and missions to provide academic programming, and to recruit and enroll students.
“First with the Technical College System of Georgia and now in the University System, Georgia has shown national leadership in our willingness to assess our structure and make major changes designed to better serve the state and students,” said Shelley Nickel, associate vice chancellor for Planning and Implementation for the University System. “In the University System, the past year has seen a tremendous amount of work as we have moved quickly and comprehensively to create new institutions for a new era.”
Nickel said the consolidations will enable the System to better use its resources to increase the scope of academic programming and options available to students in the areas served by the new consolidated institutions.
Huckaby announced his consolidation plan in Sept. of 2011 and the regents approved six principles for consolidation in Nov. of that year.
At its Jan. 2012 meeting the regents approved the recommendations to consolidate the eight institutions. Working groups on the campuses and at the system office then began the complex process of consolidation.
The regents approved new mission statements for the four new institutions and new names for two in May 2012, with the approval of the final two names occurring in Aug. 2012.
In Dec. 2012, SACS gave its approval to the four institutions created from consolidation.