PROPOSED CONSOLIDATION OF 2 MIDSTATE COLLEGES
*** Media: Please see note at bottom of the release
Macon State College and Middle Georgia College are among a number of University System of Georgia institutions that have been proposed for consolidation, according to a recommendation made to the Board of Regents (BOR) by the Chancellor of the USG.
Earlier today, Chancellor Hank Huckaby released recommendations to consolidate eight USG colleges into four institutions. In addition to the consolidation of Macon State and Middle Georgia, he recommended the consolidations of Gainesville State College (in Gainesville) and North Georgia College and State University (Dahlonega); Waycross College (Waycross) and South Georgia College (Douglas); and Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University (both in Augusta).
Huckaby’s recommendations will be reviewed by the Board of Regents next week. The final decision on whether the plan goes forward rests with the board.
Middle Georgia College is headquartered in Cochran with a campus in Dublin and the Georgia Aviation Campus in Eastman. Macon State College is headquartered in Macon with additional campuses in Warner Robins and on Robins Air Force Base. Macon State, which had an enrollment last fall of 5,702 students, offers 18 bachelor’s degree programs and a limited number of associate’s degrees. Middle Georgia College, with a fall enrollment of 3,424 students, is approved to offer six baccalaureate degrees and a large number of associate degrees and certificates.
The chancellor said the consolidations are part of a statewide effort to increase college completion and to make post-secondary education more accessible to all Georgians. No campuses would be closed under the chancellor’s recommendations.
The USG said in a statement that consolidating campuses would allow for increased educational opportunities, increased administrative efficiencies and would improve overall effectiveness. The consolidations would enhance education attainment rates, expand distance learning opportunities and create larger institutions which can provide greater service levels to students.
Huckaby said reducing administrative costs and functions is a goal of the consolidation proposal, though it will not be a quick process. It is anticipated the consolidations would take at least 12-18 months to implement and properly calculate savings, but that all consolidations would be complete no later than the fall of 2013. Huckaby said a decrease in the number of jobs will likely occur, but he has no estimates on where or when that will happen.
The chancellor said Dr. Jeff Allbritten, president of Macon State, would be president of the consolidated institution. Both campuses will be equally involved with the consolidation process.
If the recommendations are approved by the BOR, the next step would be for the chancellor to begin the implementation process, and the planning would start immediately. It’s anticipated an implementation working group would be formed with representatives from both Macon State and Middle Georgia College. The consolidated institution, with nearly 10,000 students, could take on a new name, which has not yet been decided.
Huckaby noted aligning Middle Georgia’s aviation mission with Macon State’s strong military partnership with Robins Air Force Base will help meet the region’s economic development needs. For Middle Georgia College, the merger would bring more workforce-oriented baccalaureate degrees to the area, such as health and public services, which would meet regional needs. For Macon State, the consolidation could bring the introduction of intercollegiate athletics programs, which are already offered at Middle Georgia.
Dr. Allbritten said, “We are looking forward to working with our colleagues at Middle Georgia in the search for new ways to serve the needs of students in our region.”
Dr. Michael Stoy, president of Middle Georgia College, said, “We view this as an excellent opportunity to expand educational programs while continuing to provide access to all citizens in the Middle Georgia region.”
Additional information about the chancellor’s consolidation plan is posted at: http://www.usg.edu/consolidation/
(NOTE TO MEDIA: No one from either institution will be making additional statements or granting interview requests until after the Board of Regents acts next week. Requests for additional information or comments from the chancellor should be directed to John Millsaps, Associate Vice Chancellor for Media and Publications, in Atlanta (phone 404-656-2251 or email email@example.com.)