The following is a compilation of answers to questions submitted by faculty, staff and students as well as general questions about the consolidation. We will continue to post answers to questions as they become available. Click on + after each section name below to review questions and answers.
UPDATED 8/17/2017: New Academic Plan FAQ
Who were the decision-makers?
The presidents were the lead decision-makers in consultation with institutional and University System academic leadership.
How were the college locations and degree programs decided?
The key consideration was current and future students and how to better serve them through increased educational opportunities. The academic plan for the new Georgia Southern University provides this expanded programming. The academic plan also benefits Savannah and the region by strategically linking academic colleges and programs to regional workforce and economic development needs.
Where will different degree programs be offered?
As noted previously, the majority of academic programs offered by both institutions will continue to be offered. A full listing can be found here. Programs currently delivered on a specific campus will continue to be delivered at that campus through at least Spring 2022. The campus location of a college does not indicate where degree programs will be offered but rather, indicates the college’s administrative headquarters.
Additionally, we were able to partner with our sister USG institution, Savannah State University, to expand academic opportunities for students consistent with regional needs.
How will college location affect department location?
Programs will be offered on both campuses, requiring faculty and staff support. The expectation is to have appropriate levels of administration on each campus to oversee and support the work of faculty and staff. The process for determining departmental administrators will follow the previously outlined recruitment plan for faculty and staff positions in the new Georgia Southern University. Faculty representation from the current institutions will be engaged in the interview process for these departmental administrators.
When will expanded program offerings begin?
The academic leadership in the new Georgia Southern University will evaluate what resources are needed to deliver these programs. It is anticipated that most of the expanded programs will start in a Fall 2018 to Fall 2019 timeframe.
Additional FAQs below:
|What are the benefits of the consolidation? What is the principal goal of the merger?||Creating the new Georgia Southern University will combine the best of both institutions, which are just an hour apart and ultimately serve many of the same students. Georgia Southern is already the number-one transfer choice for Armstrong students, and both institutions are among top destinations for students seeking public higher education from Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty counties. The principal goal is to serve students better and provide increased opportunities for students while increasing efficiency and boosting economic development in the region.|
|What's the timeline for decisions to be made about structure and is there a timeline for transition milestones or expected action items on the transition list to take place and will those be published?||The general timeline for past consolidations is 12-18 months. Guided by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the prospectus should be submitted in September for review at their December 2017 board meeting. Should SACSCOC approve the prospectus, the Board of Regents is expected to take up final review of the proposed new university. The Consolidation Implementation Committee (CIC) will provide updates on the recommendations proposed and their status.|
|What process does the University System of Georgia (USG) use when considering which institutions to consolidate and how long has the USG considered the possibility of consolidating these two institutions?||In October 2011, then-Chancellor Hank Huckaby recommended the initial four consolidations among eight University System of Georgia institutions. At its November 2011 meeting, the Board of Regents adopted six “Principles for Consolidation” to assess, guide and shape potential consolidation opportunities. Since late 2011, the Board has been assessing and considering institutions systemwide for potential campus consolidations.|
|What evidence is available to demonstrate that consolidations are in the best interest of students?||The primary driver behind consolidation is to serve students better. Consolidation also enables the University System to reallocate current revenues, about $24 million to date, to the classroom to invest in faculty and students. Through consolidation, institutions have been able to offer more academic programs, such as bachelor's degrees, expand student support services, such as advising and tutoring, and in the case of Middle Georgia evolve from a college to a state university. We also have seen evidence of improvement to student first-year persistence rates for consolidated institutions. (Persistence refers to students maintaining enrollment past their first year of college.)|
|When were the institutions notified of the consolidation?||Armstrong and Georgia Southern were notified on Jan. 5, 2017, that Chancellor Wrigley would recommend the consolidation of both institutions at the Board of Regents meeting on Jan. 11, 2017.|
|Why wasn't the input of administrators, faculty, staff and students sought before announcing the recommendation for consolidation?||The Board of Regents is charged with the governance of the University System, and the decision to consolidate institutions is the responsibility of the Board.|
|Why did the Board of Regents not take into account the views and concerns of parents at the respective schools before making such a decision? The decision appears to offer only a financial savings over the good of those truly affected?||Our overriding focus when pursuing consolidation is to benefit students - current and future. Savings are reinvested at the institution to further support students but is not the primary motivation for pursuing consolidation. The Board of Regents must constantly assess the entire public higher education system in Georgia to ensure the state has a structure that provides the most effective system of institutions offering the proper range of degrees, services and opportunities for students and faculty.|
|Who is really benefiting from the consolidation, Georgia Southern or Armstrong? Why does Armstrong have to lose its name and school culture?||The primary driver behind consolidation is to better serve students from both institutions. Meanwhile, the culture of the new university will be influenced and shaped by each of the campuses. In addition, the Armstrong name will be preserved in a significant manner after consultation with alumni, students, and others. The Consolidation Implementation Committee will address the question of how best to preserve Armstrong's name and legacy.|
|Do you anticipate this consolidation process will proceed in ways similar to those already completed?||Yes, the University System is optimistic this consolidation process should be similar to previous consolidations within the System. As with earlier consolidations, the priority focus is on creating the best possible new university to serve students better, which may require more time and/or expanded working groups and a community advisory group.|
|Who are the decision-makers at this point in the consolidation process?||The presidents are the lead decision-makers in consultation with the CIC and University System staff.|
|Why is this initiative called a consolidation? Or is it really a merger or an acquisition?||This is a consolidation and not a merger or acquisition. It is called a consolidation because the strengths of both institutions are being combined to create an even stronger university.|
|Will the Consolidation Implementation Committee's working groups be empowered to make decisions with President Hebert or only recommendations to President Hebert?||Many of the decisions will effectively be made at the working group or CIC level, while some decisions will remain with the presidents, the Chancellor or the Board of Regents.|
|Who will head Armstrong's Consolidation Implementation Committee when President Bleicken retires June 30?||The Consolidation Implementation Committee is one committee with members from both institutions and a representative from Savannah State University. The committee is co-led by Georgia Southern President Jaimie Hebert and Armstrong President Linda Bleicken. Upon Dr. Bleicken's retirement, Armstrong Interim President Jennifer Frum will co-lead with Dr. Hebert.|
|Out of the eight consolidations that the University System of Georgia has done, what is the average number of administration positions that were cut?||Each consolidation has been different for a variety of reasons, including size of the institutions. For example, one consolidation resulted in the elimination of 8 positions, while another consolidation eliminated 91 positions.|
|Will there be any results released from studies about the Armstrong - Georgia Southern consolidation?||The presentation to the Board recommending the consolidation can be found here (USG Consolidations: Phase V).|
|Can the Board of Regents decision be reversed?||The Board of Regents is charged with the governance of the University System, and the decision to consolidate institutions is the responsibility of the Board. Should SACSCOC approve the prospectus, the Board of Regents will likely take up final review of the proposed new university by January 2018.|
|Will the consolidated university be classified by the Board as a comprehensive or state university?||The consolidated institution will be a comprehensive university.|
|What's the difference between a comprehensive and state university?||The Board of Regents has established four sectors for the University System of Georgia's institutions: research universities, comprehensive universities, state universities and state colleges. Comprehensive universities offer a number of undergraduate and master's level programs with some doctoral programs. Research is emphasized but not to the extensive scope as with research universities. State universities offer bachelor's and master's degrees and some associate-level degrees. Limited doctoral programs also are offered by some institutions in this sector.|
|Will the merger affect community activities that are hosted at Armstrong, such as Savannah Winds or Savannah Youth Orchestra?||Campus and community listening sessions will be held to seek and hear input on the ways to best design the new institution to serve students and the region and to build on what is best in both institutions. We expect that community partnerships will not only be maintained, but we hope they will grow during this process|
|To what extent will programs and departments be involved in the decision-making process?||Will units on all campuses have input? Programs and departments will be involved in the decision-making process. There will be a number of working groups that pair Georgia Southern and Armstrong counterparts to determine the most strategic ways to combine strengths. All units will have the opportunity to offer input throughout the consolidation process.|
|How can stakeholders have a voice in the process unfolding or the decision making?||Throughout the process, the universities will be calling on many people to contribute and have a voice in the process. There will be nearly 30 initial working groups and many conversations related to the changes that will take place. All of this input will have an impact on the new university.|
|How can students be made to feel more comfortable with the consolidation?||The primary driver of consolidation is to serve students better. This is a guiding principle for the Consolidation Implementation Committee in its review and decision making. Students also are represented on the CIC and will have roles in various working groups.|
|How is the representation of the consolidation committees and their sub-committees determined? What proportions of Armstrong representatives to Georgia Southern representatives will exist on these committees?||The Consolidation Implementation Committee includes an equal number of Georgia Southern and Armstrong representatives. The Committee includes a wide representation of faculty, staff, administrators and students from both institutions.|
|Will the purpose and goals of the CIC working groups be made in the spirit of forming a more perfect union of two identities or in the spirit of one quantitatively larger identity absorbing a smaller identity?||The working groups will focus on how best to strategically combine the strengths of Georgia Southern and Armstrong to create an even more effective, more efficient university focused on supporting student success.|
|How much money is expected to be saved by this consolidation? Will the university be able to capture these saved funds or will they simply be moved to the general state budget?||The exact amount of money to be saved by this consolidation is unknown at this time, but any funds saved will be re-allocated to support student success within the new university.|
|Will anyone be required to travel to Savannah from Statesboro or vice versa during or after the transition other than those on the transition team?||Travel will be required by the Consolidation Implementation Committee, but much of the communication can be done online, by phone and by using other technologies. Over the course of years ahead, it is possible that certain programs may be offered exclusively at one particular campus as programs are added, changed, and terminated as is the case on every campus within the University System. However, any change to remove a specific program from a specific campus would only take place after a "teach out"period during which current students are provided the opportunity to complete the program in place. We expect minimal reductions of current programs at any of the new Georgia Southern locations. Even so, any potential minimal change would not take effect until Fall 2022 at a minimum so as to avoid any potential negative impact on current students.|
|Why wasn't the consolidation done with Savannah State or East Georgia College?||The Board of Regents carefully assessed the benefits of consolidating Georgia Southern University and Armstrong State University and determined that consolidating these two institutions was the right approach in creating a new university to support student success, boost economic development and increase efficiency.|
CAMPUSES AND FACILITIES
|Will the consolidation and the loss of the name make Armstrong State University's degrees meaningless?||Absolutely not. Armstrong degrees will retain their value throughout the consolidation process and beyond. As an accredited university, Armstrong grants degrees to students who have met high academic standards.|
|Will the Hinesville campus also become a part of Georgia Southern?||Yes|
|Will there be more classes offered at the Armstrong Liberty Center and online?||The Consolidation Implementation Committee will review the level and type of classes offered at the Armstrong Liberty Center and online in order to offer the best mix of options for students.|
|Will this consolidation affect the $22 million in construction funding for the new College of Health Professions?||No, however, it is important to note the $22 million is currently in the requested budget but is not final. The $22 million is pending legislative approval in the Georgia General Assembly.|
|Once the consolidation is complete, will the Savannah campus location continue or will it eventually be closed?||The Savannah campus will stay open and will be a vital part of the new Georgia Southern University.|
|How will consolidation affect each office on the Hinesville/Savannah/Statesboro campuses? Will leadership on the different campuses change? Will there be a competitive process to select the best candidate?||An organizational chart will be created for the new university to determine what positions will be needed and where those positions will be needed. Positions within the new institution will be filled through a combination of national searches, internal searches and appointments. Candidates from within both institutions will have the opportunity to apply for those positions filled through a search process.|
|Will Armstrong's master plan be implemented (all or parts) or will it go to the wayside?||A new master plan for the new university will be created.|
|Will parking decals be valid on all campuses for faculty, students and staff?||This will be determined by operational working groups charged with making recommendations about the consolidation.|
FACULTY AND STAFF
|Will faculty searches and/or staff searches currently underway at Armstrong and Georgia Southern continue this year? Will the Provost search at Georgia Southern continue?||Searches underway for faculty positions will continue. Searches for administrative positions will be considered on a case-by-case basis until such time as the new administrative structure is determined. The Provost search will be revised to reflect the needs of the new Georgia Southern, and the search committee will be restructured to include representatives from the Armstrong campus.|
|Will there be layoffs?||A decrease in the number of positions will likely occur, but until details are worked out it is not possible to know how many or which ones. Certain administrative functions will be combined, resulting in the need for fewer positions over time.|
|Will diversity among students, faculty and staff be a priority consideration during the consolidation process? What will be done to encourage diversity in the new Georgia Southern University and to make students from all backgrounds feel welcome?||Diversity will be a priority throughout the consolidation process and will be the focus of one of the Operational Working Groups. The Consolidation Implementation Committee will make recommendations designed to continue to foster diversity and inclusion. The Consolidation Implementation Committee will make recommendations on issues related to diversity in order to promote the safety, protection and inclusion of all members of the new university community, including recommendations for enhancing existing programming from each institution.|
|How can morale of Armstrong faculty, staff and students be addressed and improved?||Institution and system leadership understands and respects that uncertainty and change can impact morale. Institution and system leadership is committed to listening to and engaging faculty, staff and students in the consolidation journey. The creation of the new university will take time and require everyone's input.|
|Will tenure-track faculty be evaluated in conjunction with the standards of a comprehensive university or a state university?||There will be new standards for tenure and promotion at the new institution as driven by the new mission. Faculty will be evaluated on their current home institution criteria for Academic Year 2017. In the near future, the two faculty senates will begin the critical work of establishing a new Georgia Southern faculty governance senate, timelines, policies, processes, and procedures. This work will take time and often isn't completed until the end of the consolidation to ensure faculty involvement and approval.|
|Will Armstrong faculty on the tenure-track but not yet tenured be grandfathered into the current tenure and promotion guidelines that they fall under — especially those faculty who submitted tenure and promotion papers in August 2018? For faculty positions currently being searched, what information can be shared regarding tenure and promotion guidelines?||There is no grandfathering policy of faculty on tenure track but not yet tenured in Board of Regents Policy - Academic Affairs. For Armstrong State University faculty who are submitting their formal tenure and promotion papers in August 2018, they will follow current tenure and promotion guidelines as well as established timelines. In regards to current faculty searches, copies of both institutions tenure and promotion guidelines can be shared. Meanwhile, the new Georgia Southern guidelines will be under development over the next 12 months.|
|How will the consolidation affect grant submissions?||The consolidations will not affect grant submissions.|
|As per USG human resource policy, as well as policy used in past consolidations, when there are multiple matches or no clear match for one position because of consolidation, will a competitive selection process be utilized to hire the best candidate?||Positions will be filled through a combination of national searches, USG/institution searches and direct appointment.|
|Will current Armstrong faculty still be able to conduct undergraduate research in the new Georgia Southern?||Faculty at the new Georgia Southern will be able to conduct undergraduate research. One of the strengths of both institutions is its commitment to undergraduate research. As a comprehensive institution in the USG, research will continue to be emphasized and valued at the new Georgia Southern University.|
|NEW: What will happen to the Student Athletic fee at Armstrong for the 2017-18 academic year?||In April the Board of Regents approved all athletic fees for University System of Georgia institutions for the 2017-18 academic year. The athletic fee at Armstrong will support student access to all Georgia Southern athletic events as well as transportation from the Armstrong campus to major Georgia Southern athletic events in Statesboro. The fee will support enhancements to the Recreation and Club sports, athletic facilities and the master plan for all athletic facilities at Armstrong. The fee also supports the Armstrong student-athletes who remain on a University grant and athletics staff who will remain at Armstrong through December 2017. The Armstrong student fee committee, comprised of representatives from the student body, will continue to be closely engaged for advice and feedback regarding expenditures for Recreation and Club sports, Armstrong campus athletic facilities or related future expenses.|
|Can we pick which campus where we want to attend classes?||Yes. Students will have the opportunity to choose whichever campus meets their needs at the new Georgia Southern.|
|Will all my credits transfer from Armstrong to Georgia Southern?||Yes.|
|How will the consolidation affect tuition rates and fees? How can we be sure that our tuition and fees will not be drastically increased? Will there be an increase in tuition for current Armstrong students?||The University System of Georgia is committed to college affordability. In previous consolidations, the University System has worked closely with both institutions to determine the appropriate tuition and fees for the new institution with an emphasis on affordability. In the development of the new university, the University System will maintain college affordability as a guiding principle in the development of the appropriate tuition and fee structure.|
|How will residents of on-campus housing be affected?||On-campus residential students should not be affected by the consolidation. We will continue to offer extensive housing choices for students in Statesboro and in Savannah.|
|Will the faculty-student ratio change? Will class size increase?||There should not be a significant change in the faculty-student ratio or significantly larger classes. Currently, the student-faculty ratios at each university are similar (Armstrong: 19:1, Georgia Southern: 21:1).|
|My child is planning to apply to the nursing program at Georgia Southern in August to begin in January 2018. What will be done to ensure that students do not get caught up in a transition that leads to new requirements being imposed upon them after they begin the program?||Current degree requirements for existing students will be honored. Institutions will be given flexibility to matriculate students already enrolled in specific academic programs.|
|Will students who have been accepted to Armstrong have to reapply to Georgia Southern?||No. Armstrong State and Georgia Southern will be a part of the new Georgia Southern. The acceptance status of students that have already applied to either institution will not change.|
|Are students going to be admitted under the Georgia Southern or Armstrong admissions requirements? When will admissions requirements be established for the new university?||The Consolidation Implementation Committee and the University System Office will be working on the admissions process and requirements for the new university with a target time tentatively set for Fall semester 2018.|
|What thought has been given to recruitment efforts for Fall 2018 students?||Recruitment efforts for new students entering the Fall of 2018 will focus on the new Georgia Southern, pending review and approval by the SACSCOC, along with final review and approval by the Board of Regents.|
|Will transportation be provided between the Savannah and Statesboro campuses?||This should be addressed by the Consolidation Implementation Committee. However, we anticipate that students will be able to complete their degree requirements at the campus location where they started thereby reducing the need for transportation between campuses.|
|How will prospective students make a decision about whether to apply, and, if accepted, commit to one of the two institutions if they don't know what program degrees will be offered or where they will be offered?||The majority of academic programs offered by both institutions will continued to be offered. Programs currently delivered on a specific campus will continue to be delivered at that campus through at least Spring 2022 in order to allow students starting on a particular campus in Fall 2017 to remain on that particular campus.|
|What will happen for Armstrong State students who receive financial aid? How will they receive foundation scholarships that are specific to Armstrong?||All students will continue to receive financial aid, as long as they continue to meet the federal requirements for financial aid. Regarding scholarships, those scholarships designated for students on a particular campus will remain for students on that campus.|
|Will the consolidation reduce or grow the number of students who commute between Statesboro and Savannah?||It is too early to tell at this time. However, there is great sensitivity to the challenges of commuting and trying to limit the need for commuting. The issue of commuting will likely be addressed by the Consolidation Implementation Committee.|
|What happens to Armstrong students who are residents of Alabama, Florida and South Carolina receiving out-of-state tuition waivers? If these waivers are not continued at the new Georgia Southern, will students admitted with the waivers be "grandfathered" in to continue?||Students from Florida, South Carolina and Alabama who are currently receiving out-of-state tuition waivers to attend Armstrong will continue to receive those waivers to attend the Armstrong and Liberty Campuses.|
|How will consolidation affect international students?||The consolidation should not impact international students.|
|How will students be able to use their meal plans in the future? For example, could a Georgia Southern student use the Eagle Express in Savannah?||This will be determined by operational working groups charged with making recommendations about the consolidation.|
Last updated: 8/17/2017