Jenny Collins, Communications Manager
229.317.6709 or 229.344.1896
Danyelle Gary, Publications Specialists
Albany State University and Darton State College
Consolidation Implementation Committee challenged to
create new university during initial meeting
The Albany State University and Darton State College Consolidation Implementation Committee was challenged to help direct and implement processes for a new university in Southwest Georgia during its initial meeting Wednesday, Jan. 27 at ASU. Art Dunning, president of ASU, and Richard Carvajal, interim president of DSC, facilitated the meeting and issued the challenge.
“This is the first time in our history that ASU and DSC have gathered in one room to vision and plan for the betterment of higher education for the students of Southwest Georgia. We are guided by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the University System of Georgia and our own aspirations,” said Dunning. “If we do nothing, the landscape of higher education will clearly not improve. However, we have an opportunity to do something great. We have one chance to do it well.”
“We have the opportunity to build one of the best universities in the country and that responsibility rests in our hands,” said Carvajal. “Our challenge is to take the best both institutions have to offer and compliment that with new, innovative programs that will build the economy and job market for Southwest Georgia. Meeting the growing demands for an educated workforce and visioning for future needs will insure the success of our students for generations to come.”
The CIC heard from David Tanner, associate director of the state services and decision support division, and Mathew Hauer, applied demographer, from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. They outlined the varied challenges and opportunities facing Southwest Georgia. They presented data on demographics: population trends, enrollment demographics, income levels and other pertinent data for the ASU and DSC market area.
“We are faced with many challenges in Southwest Georgia. The Second Congressional District ranks number one in Georgia for families in poverty. The district ranks 419 out of 435 in the entire country for poverty,” said Dr. Dunning. “The one thing that can change that plight is higher education.”
Shelly Nickel, vice chancellor of fiscal affairs and planning for University System of Georgia, presented the guiding principles for all consolidations that have occurred. The guiding principles are:
-Increase opportunities to raise education attainment levels;
-Improve accessibility, regional identity, and compatibility;
-Avoid duplication of academic programs while optimizing access to instruction;
-Create significant potential for economies of scale and scope;
-Enhance regional economic development; and
-Streamline administrative services while maintaining or improving service level and quality.
Prior to the CIC meeting, the Operational Work Group co-chairs were introduced to the process and timeline for the consolidation by Randy Stuart, associate professor of marketing and professional sales at Kennesaw State University. Stuart has led the process for two prior consolidations. In a consulting role, she provided the framework that will be used during the ASU and DSC consolidation.
“Being a part of this process is also a civic responsibility,” said Dunning. “We have a responsibility to Albany and Southwest Georgia to be a great institution.”
The consolidation website, www.consolidation.asurams.edu, will continue to be updated throughout the consolidation process.