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Georgia Southern University, Armstrong merger talks continue

POSTED: April 20, 2017 4:10 p.m.

University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley has approved a new organizational chart for the top leadership of the new three-campus Georgia Southern University being formed by the merger with Armstrong State University.

The chart shows that the university will have at least five vice president posts, down from eight vice presidents currently at the two universities. But a new leadership position, which may or may not carry a vice presidential title, will be created for oversight of the Armstrong campus in Savannah and the Liberty campus in Hinesville.

“I think once we have a mission statement, we have our senior-level administration, and then out of the academic operational working groups, once we have the college structure, that will really give us the mechanisms through which we can gain some traction and then really start bringing this new institution to life,” said Georgia Southern University President Jaimie Hebert.

Answering the “college structure” question will mean deciding what subject-area colleges, headed by deans, will exist after the merger, and on which campuses.

Georgia Southern currently has seven subject-area colleges. Armstrong has four. Its College of Education, College of Health Professions, College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Technology all have counterparts or areas of overlap among the colleges on the Statesboro campus.

Those decisions remain to be made. But Wrigley confirmed the organizational chart for the “new” university’s executive leadership team in a letter Hebert received April 6.

After taking office as Georgia Southern’s president last July, Hebert had downsized his cabinet from seven vice president posts to four by not refilling vacancies.

The new chart splits the role of vice president for student affairs and enrollment management into two separate vice presidential posts.

Enrollment services includes recruiting, admissions, financial aid, registration and programs that keep students in school and help them find careers, “the whole gamut,” Hebert said.

Armstrong previously had mission and vision statements, of one sentence each, totaling fewer than 50 words. Georgia Southern’s current statement runs to 263 words.

The proposed statement for the consolidated university consists of 156 words. It retains a sentence about embracing “the values of integrity, civility, kindness, respect, sustainability, citizenship, and social responsibility,” which Hebert has repeatedly cited as the core purpose of a public university.

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