From the ASU Report
The presidents of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University met with the campus communities of each institution in four town hall meetings Jan. 12 to answer questions and share their joint vision for the future.
The vision for a comprehensive research university is “historic” with “each university bringing a unique culture to the collaboration,” said President William A. Bloodworth, Jr.
“It’s a consolidation that creates a much better whole than the sum of its parts,” said GHSU President Ricardo Azziz, adding, “It’s about expanding the programs and offerings—about creating a new university, a true university.
“It’s not about growing a large medical university.”
The consolidation that the presidents call “bold” and “unique” is one of four proposed in the University System of Georgia, but it’s the only one where the institutions do not compete. Nursing is the only program that is offered at both institutions.
Azziz said the growth in programs and in undergraduates will primarily take place on the campus of ASU. “It’s not about minimizing the liberal arts, but about growing the programs. “The opportunities that students have will increase. We are complementary.”
Azziz said that the consolidation will not change the access mission of Augusta State nor will it change the environment of intimacy and personal attention that ASU provides students.
The consolidation will create a student body of about 10,000 at the new comprehensive research university.
While both presidents agree there are advantages to the consolidation, they also say there will be challenges and issues; however, each said these will be surmounted.
“It won’t be ‘us and them’—it will be a ‘we’—We will work it out,” said Azziz.
ASU’s value of collegiality was mentioned by both presidents. “We have a strong sense of family here…. That feeling is one of the things we can bring to the merger,” said Bloodworth. “The task ahead is what we can learn and the examples that we have to show to keep as much of the value of collegiality that defines us—that of taking care of the entire family.”
The consolidation process may take up to 18 months, with fall 2013 as the full consolidation target date. The next step will be to create an implementation working group of faculty, staff, and students from each institution to oversee the process and to make recommendations to the Board of Regents. The process will be transparent and collaborative, said the presidents.
“When ASU and GHSU faculty and staff sit down together, you’ll find that you’re facing many of the same issues,” Azziz said, adding, “We will be listening to what you have to say.”
“Will this be difficult? Absolutely,” Azziz said to the town hall attendees. “Will the future be incredible? Absolutely.”
To watch the campus meetings held at ASU, go to http://www.aug.edu/streams/streams.html
To watch the campus meetings held at GHSU, go to