External Affairs Division

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.

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