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Chancellor’s “State of the System” Address

Chancellor “State of the System” - a strong system that is a wise investment for Georgia, but one facing challenges of academic preparation, faculty salaries, missions, access vs. quality and public support.

In his State of the System address, Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. noted that in tough economic times, it was important to send the message that the University System of Georgia (USG) is not a cost to, but an investment in, the state of Georgia and its future.

Davis noted a number of strengths, including strong leadership at the board and presidential level, outstanding faculty and staff and a growing student enrollment, which hit a record high of 283,000 in fall 2008. He cited both Georgia Tech’s and the University of Georgia’s continuing presence on U.S. News and World Report’s annual list of the top 20 public universities in the nation and growing recognition of the USG’s other institutions as independent measures of the excellence of leadership, faculty and students in the System.

But Davis also noted that the System’s strengths are being tested as never before citing five key challenges: the academic preparation of entering students, faculty salaries, institutional missions, access versus quality, and public support.

Davis said, too many students still enroll who are academically unprepared for college. He cited USG figures that show a steadily increasing percentage of incoming freshmen require learning support. He acknowledged that although the challenge of aligning guidelines and requirements between the University System and the State Department of Education to better prepare K-12 students for college is a long term process, hard times do not absolve us from our responsibility to plan for the future.

Another challenge Davis cited is to remain competitive regionally and nationally in terms of recruiting and retaining needed faculty.

Georgia ranks 8th among the 16 SREB states in average faculty salaries for four-year institutions, falling from 6th place in Fiscal Year 2007, and the state ranks 10th in faculty salaries at two-year colleges, the lowest level since data started being collected in 1989.

With respect to calls for mergers of some USG institutions Davis pointed out that all System institutions do not look alike and have distinct missions. Achieving greater efficiencies through efforts like the USG Shared Services project, which is combining back office operations throughout the System, is preferable to blurring the missions of distinct institutions.

One of the biggest challenges to the System is maintaining the balance between access and quality, Davis said. To date enrollment caps have not been needed in order to preserve academic quality, thanks in large part to the strong stewardship of college and university presidents. However, Davis warned that a continuing trend of rising enrollment and falling resources would challenge the System’s ability to continue to maintain both access and quality.

Davis turned to the general attitudes concerning the overall benefit and value of public higher education. He noted the increase throughout the nation in those who question whether higher education is a public good worthy of public support. Davis, warning against the danger of sacrificing the important for the urgent, said that the University System and its supporters must be vocal in countering fears given credence by tight budgets that public higher education is a private gain and thus public support should be reduced.

Shared Services Project Gets Permanent Home

The board approved Sandersville as the location for a “shared services center” for the University System of Georgia’s 35 degree-granting institutions. The shared services concept was initially approved by the regents in June 2008 and is designed to unify and consolidate the System’s separate business functions throughout its colleges and universities. The concept supports the Board of Regents’ strategic goal of having the USG operate more efficiently while providing greater risk management of the state’s assets and dollars.

Board Sets Institutional Fund-Raising Targets

The board approves the Task Force on Philanthropy’s plan to invigorate the System’s fundraising efforts by green-lighting the task force’s plan for improvements, including setting philanthropic targets for USG campuses.

Presidential Appointments

The board announces the permanent appointments of Dr. Valerie Hepburn as president of the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, where she has served as interim president since July 1, 2008, and Dr. Virginia Carson as president of South Georgia College in Douglas where she has served as interim president since March 1, 2008.


USG Research Hits a Record $906 Million

USG research funding hits a record $906.5 million in FY08.

A new USG report indicates that the system is on track to increase research funding, one of the regents’ strategic goals. Extramural funding increased 7.8 percent in fiscal year 2008 over the previous fiscal year, to $906,534,509, an increase of $65,914,281.

Regents Approve MOU between MCG and UGA on Medical Expansion

The board approves a memorandum of understanding formalizing the partnership between the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) and the University of Georgia (UGA) to expand medical education into Athens. The MOU states that the joint MCG-UGA campus in Athens will be operational no later than 2010 and that MCG appoints the campus dean with the concurrence of UGA’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Georgia Tech President Named

The board announces the appointment of Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson, chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder, as the eleventh president of the Georgia Institute of Technology.


USG Foundation Gala Honors Governor Sonny Perdue

The University System of Georgia Foundation honors Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his service to higher education in Georgia. The Fifth Annual Regents Awards for Excellence in Education Celebration also recognizes outstanding USG faculty and alumni. The USG Foundation raised more than $1 million and awarded 38 President’s Choice Scholarships and 12 Foundation Scholarships for this year’s awards.

USG Associate Vice Chancellor of Internal Audit Accepts Position in Saudi Arabia

Ron Stark, chief audit officer and associate vice chancellor of Internal Audit announces that he will accept a similar position at the King Abdulla University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Stark served the University System in that capacity since 1998.

Presidential Resignation Announced

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees announce the appointment of Dr. Daniel W. Rahn as the next chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Little Rock, Ark. Rahn, who has served as president of the Medical College of Georgia since 2001, is expected to assume the post sometime before Jan. 1, 2010.


ICAPP Economic Impact Study Released

The University System of Georgia (USG) had a $12.1 billion economic impact on the state’s economy during fiscal year 2008.

Together, the 35 institutions of the University System of Georgia (USG) had a $12.1 billion economic impact on the state’s economy during fiscal year 2008. The Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP), an initiative of the Board of Regents’ Office of Economic Development, commissioned the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business to analyze data collected between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008, to calculate the University System’s FY08 economic impact. This work updates a similar study conducted on FY2007 data that placed the University System’s economic impact at $11 billion. The first such study calculated the USG’s impact at $7.7 billion in FY99. The latest $12.1 billion thus is a $4.4 billion increase since FY 1999 – or a growth of 57 percent in the system’s economic impact on Georgia’s communities. In addition to the $ 12.1 billion in total impact generated by the University System in FY08, the study determined that Georgia’s public higher education system is responsible for 108,405 full- and part-time jobs – 2.6 percent of all the jobs in the state – while approximately 39 percent of these positions are on-campus jobs, a majority – 61 percent – are positions in the private or public sectors that exist because of the presence in the community of USG institutions.

USG Spring Enrollment Jumps

Spring 2009 semester enrollment in the USG’s 35 colleges and universities jumped 5.8 percent over spring 2008, increasing 14,896 students to a total of 272,910 students. The jump follows an increase of 3.2 percent from spring 2007 to spring 2008, and USG officials indicate this is part of an overall trend of rising enrollment in Georgia’s public higher education system.

BOR Ends Tuition Guarantee

The board votes to end the tuition guarantee for incoming freshmen, as part of the approval of an overall package of tuition and fees. Tuition for Fall 2009 freshmen was set at the same per-credit-hour rate charged last year, but will be subject to future tuition increases. USG students who enrolled prior to the start of the guaranteed tuition plan in fall 2006 or who come off the guarantee in fall 2009 also will pay the fall 2008 per-credit-hour rate. The board also set the full-time tuition rate at 15 credit hours instead of the current 12 hours. Students on the guaranteed tuition plan are not affected by the change, honoring the commitments made to them under the plan that began in fall 2006.

BOR Accepts Governor’s Charge to Lead Planning for Fort McPherson

The board approves a resolution in which the regents formally accepted Gov. Sonny Perdue’s charge to the board to lead “state efforts in the creation of a world-class research park at Fort McPherson to provide significant economic development for the State of Georgia for decades to come.” The proposed plans to redevelop part of the base into a new research park with a focus on bioscience and healthcare research is in line with one of six goals in the regents’ current strategic plan – enhancing research. The research park will help Georgia’s public and private research universities expand research activities and generate employment opportunities.


Presidential Appointment

The board announces the appointment of Dr. Linda Bleicken, former provost and vice president for academic affairs at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, as the seventh president of Armstrong Atlantic State University.

BOR Approves Furlough Authority for Presidents

The Board approves a plan that gives University System of Georgia presidents the authority to furlough any and all employees, including faculty, should the need arise. The regents’ action provides presidents another tool that could be used in meeting any future budget reductions.

Regents Updated on USG Teacher Production Efforts

The USG produced 4,236 teachers in 2008, an increase of 11 percent over 2007. The number of minority teachers in those ranks also increased by 31 percent during the same period.

The Regent’s Academic Affairs Committee receives an update on USG efforts to produce teachers to work in Georgia’s K-12 schools. Despite budget constraints, the USG produced 4,236 teachers in 2008, an increase of 11 percent over 2007. The number of minority teachers in those ranks also increased by 31 percent during the same period.


Regents Elect New Leadership

The Board of Regents elects Regent Robert F. Hatcher to a one-year term (July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010) as the Board’s chairperson. The board elects Regent Willis J. Potts Jr. to a one-year term (July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010) as the board’s vice chair.

Repair and Renovation Projects Approved

The Board approves 236 projects on the System’s 35 campuses slated for repair and renovation. Funds totaling $57,493,596 were allocated for projects ranging from replacing aging roofs and upgrading fire safety systems to energy efficiency improvements such as window replacement and the installation of occupancy sensors for classroom lighting.

Regents Updated on College Access Grant Implementation

The board receives an update on implementation of the College Access Challenge Grant. The U.S. Department of Education grant — $2 million per year for up to two years — places the University System in a partnership with the Governor’s Office, community and business groups across the state, as well as the Alliance of Education Agency Heads in an effort to target the two-thirds of adult Georgians who do not hold a college degree. Strategies were outlined that focus specifically on low-income families as well as people who started but failed to complete work on their college degrees.


Board Names Presidential Search Committee for Medical College

The Medical College of Georgia Presidential Search Committee is named. Members of committee, chaired by Regent James Bishop, include Regents William Cleveland, Robert Hatcher, Mansfield Jennings, Don Leebern, Kessel Stelling and Ben Tarbutton and others representing both the MCG and the Augusta community.


Regents Approve FY11 Budget Request

The regents approved a request for $140.7 million in new dollars. This includes $107.8 million for student enrollment increases in fall 2008.

The Board of Regents approve a FY 2011 budget request for the University System of Georgia (USG) that includes dollars to support new students as well as the regents’ strategic thrust to expand medical education. The budget request totals $2.2 billion, a 6.8 percent increase, or $140.7 million, over the original FY 2010 base budget of $2.08 billion. Separately from the request for new dollars, the board also took action to approve measures to meet ongoing budget reductions including employee furloughs and changes to employee health benefit plans to help meet a five percent withholding by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) of the System’s FY10 state cash allotments, which totals $115 million. Along with all other state agencies, the USG was instructed by OPB to include with its budget request three reduction plans of four, six and eight percent. The three reduction plans total $94 million at the four percent level, $134 million at the six percent level and $176 million at the eight percent level. Looking in detail at the FY11 budget request, the regents approved a request for $140.7 million in new dollars. This includes $107.8 million for student enrollment increases in fall 2008, $5.7 million in funds for the operation of new building space in the system, $21.3 million for increases in the employer share of health insurance premiums, $4.4 million in benefit costs for USG retirees, $900,000 to continue the Regents’ continued two-year-old effort to expand medical education, and $625,000 in new dollars for the Georgia Public Library Service. The FY2011 request will be submitted to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget for consideration and inclusion in the Governor’s FY2011 budget recommendations to the General Assembly.


Board Appoints MCG Interim President

James N. Thompson, M.D., an otolaryngologist and former medical school dean who has served as chief executive officer of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is appointed to serve as interim president of the Medical College of Georgia (MCG), Augusta. A national search is underway to select a new president at MCG, following the departure of its current president, Dr. Daniel W. Rahn.

USG Receives Funding for Energy Conservation Improvements

The USG receives funding under the State Facilities Retrofit Program to fund 71 energy-conservation measures totaling $27.3 million at 25 colleges and universities across the state. The Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) is providing the funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The energy-conservation measures to be funded consist of lighting retrofits, mechanical/HVAC upgrades and installation of control systems in classrooms, libraries, science buildings and other state-owned facilities. Sub-metering and re-commissioning are also key components of the program.


Board Approves Revised Core Curriculum

Core curriculum revised to help students complete their majors in a timely way and boost the assessment of student learning.

The board approves a revised core curriculum, the basic courses all students must take in order to earn a degree, in order to help students complete their majors in a timely way, strengthen the focus on liberal arts, preserve the ability of students to transfer courses across institutions, and boost the assessment of student learning. The new core curriculum, which will go into effect in the fall of 2011, is designed to:

  • give all students a broad liberal arts education;
  • mandate more assessment of student learning than ever before in the USG’s history;
  • enable students to finish their majors/degrees in a more timely fashion;
  • protect the already-strong within-USG transfer between institutions; and
  • give USG institutions the flexibility to create unique core curricula that give students a powerful, shared, intellectual experience and allow students to choose an institution that fits their needs and interests.

Regents Receive Online Course Enrollment Update

The regents receive an update that enrollment in online courses offered by the USG has risen 35 percent in the past year. In the two years since launching Georgia ONmyLINE, the original 35 programs and 1,600 courses offered online have expanded to 169 programs and nearly 2,870 courses. The Georgia ONmyLINE website has been visited by more than 90,000 visitors from 50 states and 140 countries. The number of students who are taking at least one online course from a USG institution in any given semester now stands at 43,000, a little less than 15 percent of the nearly 300,000 students enrolled at System institutions.

BOR Files Lawsuit Against MCG Foundation

The board files a lawsuit against the Medical College of Georgia Foundation after many months of attempting to resolve its differences with the Foundation. The regents terminated the Cooperative Organization status of the Foundation in 2008. The suit contends that the Foundation has refused to cease using the name Medical College of Georgia as it was contractually bound to do and also required to do under the trademark laws of the United States and the State of Georgia. Additionally, the Foundation is alleged to have violated its fiduciary responsibilities to the Medical College under its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws; has failed and refused to align its fundraising priorities and efforts with those of the Medical College and the Board of Regents; has refused to furnish, in a timely manner, financial information necessary for MCG’s budgeting and planning purposes; has violated Georgia’s Unfair Trade Practices Act; and otherwise has acted in a manner contrary to the best interests of the Medical College as required by the Foundation’s articles.

Presidential Appointment

The board announces the appointment of Dr. Brooks A. Keel, vice chancellor for research and economic development and professor of biological sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, as the 12th president of Georgia Southern University, Statesboro.


Board Approves Budget Reduction Adjustment Plans

The Board of Regents approve plans to adjust the System’s budget from a six percent reduction ($135 million) to an eight percent reduction level, ($176 million) for the current fiscal year (FY2010). The Board’s actions call for new reductions to the System’s 35 public colleges and universities as well as implementing an increase to the mandatory student fee first approved in Dec. 2008. The increase in the mandatory fee for all USG students, scheduled to become effective for the spring 2010 semester, was set at $100 at research universities and six other universities, $75 at most comprehensive universities, and $50 at two-year and state colleges. This increase brings the total mandatory fee to $200/$150/$100, respectively by institutional sector. In addition to the fee, the board approved a moratorium on student fee increases for FY 2011 and a sunset date of June 30, 2012 for the total mandatory student fee increase. The lone exceptions to the moratorium are fees for public/private venture projects, such as residence halls, student-financed recreation centers and other facilities with a revenue stream or fees required under extraordinary circumstances and with significant student support.

USG Enrollment Hits Record High

A record 301,892 students enrolled in fall 2009 in the USG’s 35 public colleges and universities, an increase of 18,914 students over fall 2008.

Chancellor Davis announced the latest enrollment numbers in a report to the board. A record 301,892 students enrolled in fall 2009 in the USG’s 35 public colleges and universities, an increase of 18,914 students over fall 2008. The numbers represent a 6.7 percent increase from fall 2008 to fall 2009, well above the 4.8 percent growth in enrollment from fall 2007 to fall 2008. Since fall 2006, enrollment in the USG has grown 16 percent, or by 41,947 students. The fall 2009 Semester Enrollment Report shows enrollment gains across the board. Thirty-four USG institutions posted a record high enrollment this fall. The University System continues to be a diverse system, as evidenced by the numbers in the Enrollment Report, and minority enrollment saw the largest percentage increase from fall 2008 to fall 2009.

  • African American enrollment increased from fall 2008 to fall 2009 by 10,205 students, or 14.6 percent.
  • Hispanic enrollment increased from fall 2008 to fall 2009 by 2,860 students, or 29 percent.
  • Asian enrollment increased from fall 2008 to fall 2009 by 1,451 students, or 8.1 percent.


Fuchko Named New Chief Audit Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor of Internal Audit

Chancellor Davis appointed John M. Fuchko III as chief audit officer and associate vice chancellor of Internal Audit for the (USG). Fuchko has been serving in the office’s lead position on an interim basis since it was vacated last spring by former Chief Auditor Ron Stark, who accepted a position at a university in Saudi Arabia.

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