Georgia Board of Regents adopt bold strategic plan for its public university system

August 14, 2013


Georgia Board of Regents adopt bold strategic plan for its public university system
Public agenda will reshape university system in an era of change

Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

Atlanta — August 14, 2013

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia adopted today a bold Strategic Plan for the System that acknowledges a new environment for public higher education and positions the state’s 31 public colleges and universities to meet changing needs and new expectations.

“We are in a ‘new normal’ when it comes to public higher education,” Chancellor Hank Huckaby said. “The old days and old ways of structuring, funding and advancing higher education are gone and will not return. Our responsibility as higher education leaders in Georgia is to seize the day and ensure the University System is structured and focused in ways that serve state needs and above all, serves students well.”

As stated in the plan, “public higher education has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Concerns about affordability are greater than ever, and pressures on quality continue to increase.” The document notes that while some have questioned the value of a college degree, data continue to show future jobs will require higher levels of education.

“As a board, we are committed to ensuring the University System is ready and able to change to meet the demands of a new era,” said Board Chair Dink NeSmith. “We are going to accelerate our commitment to educational attainment, accountability, partnerships, performance, value and global competitiveness.”

The plan notes that other large industrial nations are threatening the United State’s “long-held leadership position in higher education and number of college graduates.” As a result, the plan calls for actions that help raise educational attainment levels of Georgians in order to ensure the state can compete in a global economy.

The cornerstone of the new plan, which has the subtitle “A Public Agenda,” is Governor Nathan Deal’s and the System’s Complete College Georgia initiative, which has a goal of increasing by 2020 the percentage of Georgians completing college from 42 to 60 percent.

“We are using the theme of a public agenda because the University System exists to serve the citizens of Georgia,” said Houston Davis, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the USG. “We want parents, students, businesspeople, elected officials and others to know that the plans’ goals are really their goals and intended to help the state prosper and grow, educationally, economically, culturally and civically.”

The Plan has three “strategic imperatives” that help organize the Board and System’s efforts around the college completion effort, as well as other key goals of the regents. These imperatives are:

One: Academic Excellence and Degree Completion with actions focused on strengthening educational partnerships, increasing access and maintaining affordability, providing flexible degree options, increasing student support and ensuring the quality of learning.

Two: Economic Development and World Class Research with actions targeted on enlarging the scope of the System’s contributions to economic development, building community partnerships, expanding research efforts and graduate education and increasing international education efforts and programs.

Three: Accountability, Efficiency and Innovation with actions to develop and utilize measures of performance and accountability, seeking out new operational efficiencies, and a review of both existing and proposed programs to ensure relevance and encourage innovation.

The plan’s strategic imperatives and action steps reflect the new environment that has seen a decline in state support and a shift in who pays the bulk of the cost of college from the general public through state funding to students and families through tuition. As Huckaby has noted, the reality is state support will not return to levels matching those of years past. The plan thus focuses on how to provide a quality education and access by making significant changes in the way institutions operate.

For example, one action step under strategic imperative one calls for controlling overall costs to students by developing new affordable degree options and strengthening a cost effective, access tier of colleges. Davis said this includes minimizing some of the amenities that increasingly define, but also increase the cost of a college education.

Another action step under the second strategic imperative will direct the USG to manage its current physical space more effectively, build fewer new buildings and invest in repurposing current facilities to serve the needs of modern students.

Overall the new plan acknowledges that the pace of change in society and within higher education is increasing and thus holds the potential for significant disruptions in the current higher education model. Language in the new plan sets a clear expectation that University System leaders need to “think critically about current strategies and position the system for the challenges and opportunities that will come in the next decade.”

Davis said, “We must remain proactive to stay abreast of the rapidly changing world of public higher education, as evidenced in the fast rise of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) movement. This new strategic plan positions us well to not just stay abreast of change, but help shape and direct it in ways that serve our students well and protect the public’s investment in public higher education here in Georgia.”


Regents Policy Aligns Colleges and Universities Missions with System Goals

Atlanta — August 14, 2013

As part of its effort to reshape the University System of Georgia to better serve students and the needs of the state, the Board of Regents approved today a new “Institutional Function and Mission Policy” that will have a significant and long-term effect on the types of programs and services offered by all 31 public colleges and universities in Georgia.

The new policy goes into effect with today’s approval.

Institutions will be required to develop programs and plans that support the mission of the institution and the sector in which it is placed, as determined by the regents as part of overall system goals.

“Given the size of the system and the demands and expectations placed upon it as well as the reality resources are finite, we need to have a structure that clearly defines what institutions do and the types of programs and areas that are appropriate,” said Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “The Board’s new Strategic Plan, along with our Complete College Georgia work, requires that we be focused and use our resources wisely. This new policy supports our work in both areas, particularly as we seek to significantly increase the number of Georgians completing college.”

Under the new policy, the regents will look at four areas in determining both the mission and sector of the 31 institutions. These are:

• The institution’s current academic programs of study

• Access and admissions selectivity

• Geographic area of responsibility and

• Emphasis on research, teaching and service

One of the goals of the new policy is to ensure that individual missions and functions of the institutions are in sync with the USG’s and Board’s overall mission.

“If we are going to meet the higher education needs of the state and particularly Georgia’s economic development needs, we have to make sure we are all on the same page and that everyone understands how they support these strategic goals,” said Houston Davis, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer.

The board has established four sectors for the System’s institutions: research universities, comprehensive universities, state universities and state colleges. The state college sector has two subsectors.

Research Universities offer a broad array of undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, offer doctoral degrees and have high or very high research activity.

Comprehensive Universities offer a number of undergraduate and master’s-level programs with some doctoral programs. Typically, associate degrees are not offered at comprehensive universities. Research is emphasized but not as heavily as with Research Universities.

State Universities offer bachelors and masters degrees and limited associate-level degrees. Limited doctoral programs also are offered by this sector. They conduct some basic research, but it is typically focused on institutional and/or applied research.

Category I State Colleges offer general education courses, a balanced number of associate and bachelor’s degree programs that are focused on demonstrated local need and no graduate programs. Teaching and service are emphasized with a limited focus on research.

Category II State Colleges offer general education, associate-level degree programs and limited and specialized and workforce-focused bachelor’s programs. Teaching and service are emphasized with limited focus on research.

The new policy is the first hard look the regents have taken at institutional missions since the mid 1990’s, when it adopted a policy to prohibit any changes to the names and missions of the System’s then 34 institutions.

The Board rescinded that policy in 2004 and this action set the stage for a 2010 Board action that set forth conditions for mission changes. This revision provided parameters for identifying the purpose and function of each USG institution.


Strategic Plan and Public Agenda
University System of Georgia
2013 – 2018

The University System of Georgia will create a more educated Georgia that is prepared for the global, knowledge economy by increasing degree completion, ensuring academic excellence, spurring research and creativity, driving business creation, and making effective and efficient use of resources.
See link


An annual study of the University System of Georgia’s economic impact on the State records a 7.4 percent increase from fiscal year 2011 to 2012. In cash, that is a jump of $980 million, from $13.2 billion to a new high of $14.1 billion of direct and indirect spending fueling the regions served by the System’s 31 colleges and universities.

To calculate the economic impact for FY12, the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business analyzed data collected between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012. The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents and the study is conducted by Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center.

The first study in the series calculated the USG’s impact at $7.2 billion in FY1999. The latest $14.1 billion represents a $7.0 billion increase since FY 1999 – or 98 percent growth in the system’s economic impact on Georgia’s communities. That gain far outstrips inflation, which was only 38 percent over this same time period, Humphreys said.

Since the “Great Recession” (Dec. 2007-June 2009), the USG’s institutions really proved their economic worth, with their economic impact rising by $2 billion – from $12.1 billion in FY 2008 to $14.1 billion in FY 2012.

Source: Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia


University System of Georgia 

Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
University of Georgia (UGA)
Georgia College and State University
Southern Polytechnic State University
University of North Georgia
Georgia Southern University

Kennesaw State University
Georgia State University
Armstrong Atlantic State University
Valdosta State University

Columbus State University
Georgia Southwestern State University
Augusta State University
University of West Georgia
Clayton State University
Albany State University
Savannah State University
Fort Valley State University

8 institutions were merged into 4 in 2013

Gainesville State College merged with North Georgia College and State University merged to form University of North Georgia

Augusta State University merged with Georgia Health Sciences University to form Georgia Regents University

Waycross College merged with South Georgia College to form South Georgia State College

Macon State College merged with Middle Georgia College to form Middle Georgia State College

In addition, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography was merged into the University of Georgia

University of Georgia -Athens 
University of Georgia

Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Institute of Technology

Savannah State University
Savannah State University

Albany State University
Albany State University

Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University

Valdosta State University
Valdosta State University

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