Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State Universities are one step closer to consolidation following a decision today from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The regional accrediting body voted to approve the consolidation at its annual meeting in Dallas. The consolidated university will be named Georgia Regents University.
“Today marks an important milestone for both universities,” said GHSU President Ricardo Azziz, who will oversee GRU. “I am grateful to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for its endorsement of our new university and to all the faculty, staff, students and alumni who have worked tirelessly to get us to this point. There is still much work to be done as we combine these two great institutions.”
University officials submitted a prospectus, describing the consolidated university’s major features, including learning and physical resources, financial support, organizational structure and number of faculty and academic programs, to the accrediting body in October. Submission and approval of a prospectus is required for accredited universities planning significant operational changes or expansions.
“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,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby.
The accrediting body will make a site visit in the fall to ensure the new university is complying with accreditation principles and standards. Prior to the visit, university officials are expected to produce a self-study, or an assessment of the school and its operations.
The consolidation will be official following approval from The University System of Georgia Board of Regents in January 2013. The inaugural class of GRU will enroll next fall.