The possibility of merging Armstrong State University, which has a satellite campus in Hinesville, and Georgia Southern University is being considered by the state Board of Regents.
According to a press release posted on the University System of Georgia’s website, USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley plans to recommend two consolidations to the Board of Regents: Georgia Southern and Armstrong, and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Bainbridge State College. The board is expected to act upon the recommendations at a meeting Wednesday.
If approved, the two new institutions will be named Georgia Southern University, led by President Jaimie Hebert, and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, led by President David Bridges.
In explaining the benefit of the GSU merger Wrigley said, "Creating the new Georgia Southern University will combine the best of both institutions, which are just an hour apart and ultimately serving many of the same students."
According to the release Georgia Southern is already the number-one transfer choice for Armstrong students, and both institutions are among the top destinations for students seeking public higher education from Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty counties.
Initial opportunities from consolidating Georgia Southern and Armstrong include:
• Creates an institution of more than 27,000 students, making it the fourth largest public university in Georgia.
• Creates a more comprehensive university that serves the needs of the region with a range of degree programs for high demand careers, such as engineering and health care.
• Expands upon Armstrong’s expertise as the University System’s largest producer of undergraduate health professionals.
• Creates opportunities for raising graduation rates for students with Georgia Southern’s best practices.
• Builds on Armstrong’s nationally recognized leadership in supporting student veterans and active-duty military, which will enable the new institution to reach a much larger student population.
• Reinvests savings from administrative efficiencies into programs.
If the Board approves the recommendation, implementation teams with representatives from the campuses will be formed for the two consolidations. The two, separate implementation teams will be charged with the responsibility to work out the many details associated with each consolidation.
The University System and the four institutions will hold campus and community listening sessions in the coming months to seek and hear input on ways to best design the new institutions to serve their respective regions and the state.