The following information was released today by the University System:
ATLANTA – Four University System of Georgia colleges and universities that will result from the consolidation of eight existing institutions are one step further on the road to reality. Today the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) gave its approval to plans to create Georgia Regents University, Middle Georgia State College, South Georgia State College and the University of North Georgia.
Officials from SACS, the Southeast’s accrediting organization for higher education, announced the approval of the prospectuses submitted by the four institutions during the SACS annual meeting held in Dallas. This represents the final step needed for the Board of Regents to grant its authorization for the institutions to begin to operate and to appoint presidents. This action is scheduled for the January 8 Board of Regents meeting.
“Many individuals have worked countless hours to bring us to this point in our consolidation effort,” said University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “At the outset, our goal with consolidation was to broaden opportunity for more students and to do so more efficiently. The approval by SACs of our plan represents a tremendous milestone and validates the hard work of the past year.”
The four institutions will have new missions, academic programs and direction as they work to serve students. They are being formed through consolidation of North Georgia College and State University with Gainesville State College, Augusta State University with Georgia Health Sciences University, Waycross College with South Georgia College, and Macon State College with Middle Georgia College.
The plan reduces the number of USG institutions from 35 to 31.
Huckaby announced his consolidation plan in August of 2011 and the regents approved six principles for consolidation in November of that year.
At its January 2012 meeting the regents approved the recommendations to consolidate the eight institutions. Working groups on the campuses and at the system office then began the complex process of consolidation.
The regents approved new mission statements for the four new institutions and new names for two in May, with the approval of the final two names occurring in August.
Macon State and Middle Georgia colleges have sought outside assistance to study one of the more complicated aspects of consolidation — salary and workload disparities at the two institutions.
As the two institutions prepare to consolidate, which is expected in January, one of the tasks that needs to be undertaken is to calculate the impact of combining two sets of faculty and staff who may have similar titles but different salaries or responsibilities.
Macon State and Middle Georgia colleges have contracted with the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government (CVIOG) to conduct a workload/compensation study, which will review responsibilities of all personnel, both faculty and staff, and benchmark salaries against state and regional salaries at peer higher education institutions.
One of the purposes of this study is to identify salaries that are out of line with comparable positions and to adjust those salaries as funding allows. Administrators have said that while some salaries may need to be adjusted upward or frozen at current levels for a period of time, no salaries will be adjusted downward as a result of the study.
Faculty at each professional level (professor, associate professor, assistant professor, and lecturer) will be able to compare their salaries to the salaries of equal rank at institutions of similar size and mission. For administrators and staff, the study will result in a compensation system with pay grades and steps or ranges within each grade to provide a more equitable and competitive wage package.
As one of the first steps in the study, questionnaires are being distributed to employees, who are being asked to describe their position and current responsibilities. These will be reviewed and verified by supervisors and turned in to CVIOG. The process will continue with such things as faculty and staff interviews, forums, the collection of salary survey data, etc.
A final report is scheduled to be presented in June 2013. Implementation of the study’s salary recommendations may need to be phased in over several budget cycles.
The design of the new Knights mascot logo for Middle Georgia State College has been selected by students.
In voting that occurred Monday and Tuesday, nearly 91 percent of students who voted were in favor of the image shown on this page. It was one of two from which students were asked to choose. Both images were developed by the Joe Bosack Graphic Design Co. with input from students, staff and faculty at the two colleges.
The voting at the two institutions was nearly identical. A total of 583 students voted — 264 students at Macon State and 266 students at Middle Georgia voted for this image, leaving only 24 at Macon State and 29 at Middle Georgia in support of the alternative. A total of 295 students voted at Middle Georgia, while 288 voted at Macon State.
Although students were given no rationale for the design of either alternative, it’s likely that many recognized that this image includes symbols from both of the existing mascots at the two colleges. The current Middle Georgia College mascot is a script version of the word Warriors – a character that was likened to a knight – while the current Macon State mascot is the Blue Storm, which includes an image of a horse.
Bosack now will further develop additional images based on the new mascot logo, including word marks that will be based on all or part of this logo design. The images will be used for a variety of purposes, but chiefly as the images for sports and athletic teams at the new college. The images also will be reproduced on a variety of apparel and commercial items.
This was the third time students at the two colleges had been asked to select significant symbols for the new college. Students previously had selected Knights as the mascot character, and they picked the new school colors of purple, black, silver and gray.
The last major image yet to be developed for the new college is an institutional logo, which will represent the new educational institution. The current Macon State institutional logo features a seven-pointed star and the full name of the college; the current Middle Georgia institutional logo is a seal with a depiction of Sanford Hall. (Both of the current institutional logos are shown at the top of this page.) Development of the new institutional logo is currently underway.