Becoming the University of North Georgia
A tremendous amount of work has occurred across our campuses in the short time since the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia voted to consolidate North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College. Throughout the planning process, we have been conscious that each of our institutions has its own mission, culture and traditions. While change can be challenging, we are all making adjustments to achieve our common goal of providing increased educational opportunities for students. In the end, the University of North Georgia will be greater than the sum of its parts. Below are some notes about recent milestones in our journey.
Our faculty and administrators have worked extensively to determine the most effective organizational structure for our consolidated institution. This has likely been one of the most challenging aspects of consolidation, as it so closely impacts the daily work of our faculty and staff. However, it also offers great potential for our students. As we combine our talented faculty and complementary student services, we will strengthen current and future programs.
Most notably, the university’s academic units will be structured into five colleges: the College of Education, the Mike Cottrell College of Business, the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Science and Mathematics, and the College of Health Professions. For details on the consolidated university structure, please see the organizational charts on the consolidation website.
The deanship of the College of Health Professions has not yet been determined, and Dr. Bob Michael will serve as interim dean of this new college until a search can be conducted to fill this important new position. Similarly, upon consolidation, Dr. Dick Mullendore, a consultant who is working with North Georgia’s enrollment management team this semester, will serve as Interim Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management with the anticipation that we will conduct a national search to fill that position in July 2013.
SACS Prospectus Submitted
Part of the consolidation process required development of a prospectus that outlines our implementation plans. This plan has now been submitted to our accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. That group will review the prospectus over the next several weeks and vote on its approval in December. Then, they will visit the university at a later date to monitor our progress. I greatly appreciate the work by Dr. Denise Young, of North Georgia, and Betsy Cantrell, of Gainesville State, and their staffs for their leadership in developing the prospectus, which will be a guiding document for our future. For your reference, the prospectus is available for review online.
It seems one of the most discussed issues involved in consolidation is that of our mascot. Both institutions have their own mascots, which are used to support a wide range of student activities and programs. A new, common mascot is one way to unite our schools and build community as the University of North Georgia.
Our process to date has solicited broad input from our campuses, alumni and community supporters. There were more than 9,000 responses to the initial survey and more than 750 different suggestions. A work group focused on this topic narrowed those suggestions and submitted its suggestions to the Consolidation Implementation Committee, which narrowed the suggestions to three options – the Golden Eagles, the Nighthawks or the Warriors – and elected to have students vote on the final selection. The schools’ existing mascots were not on the list of suggestions in the initial survey, as we felt that would be detrimental to the intent to unite our communities. However, the committee did acknowledge and consider the interest in using the existing mascots in its deliberations. To minimize the costs associated with a mascot change, we will focus on ways to phase-in changes, such as through the routine replacement of uniforms.
This consolidation is a historic initiative for the University System of Georgia and our institutions. President Randy Pierce and I are excited about the great progress we have seen, the collegial spirit that is developing throughout our campuses, and the positive opportunities we see developing for the future of the University of North Georgia to serve its students and communities.