- Associated Press - Saturday, April 15, 2017

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Georgia Southern University President Jaimie Hebert has been fielding questions about the impending consolidation of the school with Armstrong State University.

By next year, the schools will combine as a multi-campus institution that keeps Georgia Southern’s name and president, The Savannah Morning News reported (https://bit.ly/2ogvMZP).

It’s a move mandated by the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents.

Armstrong State, in Savannah, has about 7,000 students.

Georgia Southern, in Statesboro, has about 20,000 students.



In Savannah, the consolidation, which has already led to the loss of Armstrong’s sports program and rattled many of its local alumni, has been especially contentious, the newspaper reported.

At a recent forum in Savannah, Hebert said the combined school’s health sciences college will be centered at Savannah, and its engineering college will be centered in Statesboro.

Some programs from each of those colleges will be offered at both campuses.

“We have a wonderful nursing program in Statesboro,” Hebert said. “That program is not going anywhere.”

However, he said that most nursing students at Georgia Southern wind up commuting to Savannah for clinical work, and Armstrong’s variety of health sciences programs make it ideal to serve as an “epicenter” for such programs.

Cameron Coates, the director of Armstrong’s engineering program, wondered whether engineering options would expand in Savannah, even though the program will be centered in Statesboro.

Armstrong currently offers a two-year transfer program in engineering, and Georgia Southern offers several bachelors and masters degrees in the field. Hebert said that decision will be data driven, and that it was not off the table.

“The epicenter will be in Statesboro, but there may be some opportunity to bring some engineering here if there are workforce needs and if there are student demands for those programs,” he said.

All academic programs currently offered at both universities will continue through spring 2022, and planning on curricula will continue after the schools formally consolidate in January.

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Information from: Savannah Morning News, https://www.savannahnow.com

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