Albany State University and Darton State College to merge under Albany name

In the continued trend to consolidation, the Georgia Board of Regents today announced:

Albany State University and Darton State College will consolidate to form one institution under a new dynamic vision for public higher education. Today, the Board of Regents approved a proposal from Chancellor Hank Huckaby to consolidate the two institutions to increase education attainment levels and transform how the University System impacts southwest Georgia. Today’s action marks the fourth round of consolidation within the University System.

The new institution will be named Albany State University, and the Board named Albany State Interim President Art Dunning as the permanent president of the new institution to lead this bold new effort.

Today, the Regents announced the merger of Albany State and Darton.

Today, the Regents announced the merger of Albany State University and Darton State College.

“The consolidation of Albany State University and Darton State College is a historic milestone for these institutions, our university system, the Albany community and our state,” said Chairman Neil Pruitt. “We are creating an institution of nearly 9,000 students, which would be the largest institution of higher education in Southwest Georgia. We have the opportunity to transform how we serve the community and the region.”

“The consolidated institution, Albany State University, will continue to serve the HBCU mission and build on its mission and that of Darton State to serve students, the community and region,” said Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “We respect the passion the community, students and alumni hold for these institutions. The new Albany State University will blend the strengths and values of each institution to strengthen the community and region more deliberately.”

The decision to consolidate the two institutions, whose combined enrollment this fall is nearly 9,000 students, follows the six guiding principles for consolidation approved by the board in Nov. 2011.

An implementation team with representatives from both institutions will soon be formed and charged with the responsiblity to work out the many details associated with consolidating the two universities. A website will be created and dedicated to providing information and updates about the consolidation to both campuses and the Albany community.

The University System, Albany State and Darton State will hold campus and community listening sessions in the coming months to seek and hear input on ways to best design the new institution to serve Albany, the region and the state.

Albany State University, a state university in the Unviersity System of Georgia, fosters the growth and development of Southwest Georgia and the state through teaching/learning, research, creative expression and public service. Through its teaching, research and service, and collaboration with other institutions, the University anticipates and responds to the needs of its constituents; and enhances the quality of life of its publics through advocacy of educational, cultural, artistic and social development in the region. Both traditional and non-traditional students make up the more than 3,000 students who attend Albany State. The university offers more than 30 undergraduate degree programs, the Board of Regents’ engineering transfer program, a dual degree program in engineering with Georgia Tech and six advanced degrees.

Darton State College is a state college in the University System of Georgia. Its principal mission is to provide educational programs, services, and opportunities in southwest Georgia. Over 5,4000 traditional and non-traditional students attend Darton State College. The college offers a challenging array of associate-degree programs and limited bachelor’s degree programs as well as online degrees. As the nursing and allied health education center for southwest Georgia, Darton offers 13 allied health programs to serve the needs of the health-care industry in the region.

Also today, the Regents named Dr. Paul Jones president of Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia. Dr. Paul Jones will assume his new position on December 15.

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33 comments
anothercomment
anothercomment

Those from Darton may be getting the raw end of this deal. One of my biggest failures as a manager was the hiring mistake I made who was a graduate of Albany State. I and others on my staff believe they taught how to write a boastful resume of accomplishments someone else has ( but you don't ). How to BS an interview and claim you know the latest jargon in management principals, computer programs even if you don't have a clue. Then of course, the biggest thing one must learn is that the GPA of a HBCU has zero relevance to a GPA of say what a student at Georgia Tech or Auburn would have or even LSU. (What I am basically saying is it is just like some of the APS High Schools where the Valdictorians can't score a 20 on the ACT. As an employer you don't see someone's SAT or ACT, score and as a naive person trying to hire EEO blind I found out that a 3. + from Albany State would have been less than 1.5 at KSU. This individual would have never made it through GT or Auburn. My folks from LSU and Southern Tech still complain today.

I received a trumped up great reference from a major employer, who was probably doing handsprings that they were getting rid of this dud.

I had another employee who attended an HBCU but they had a prominent Catholic High School first. She told me that attending the HBCU was the biggest mistake of her life and it was a big name HBCU. She said it was not challenging and the students were underprepared. She told me she was greatful that her parents sent her to a Catholic High school.

We need to stop wasting taxpayer money on HBCU's they do not benefit anyone but administration who skim jobs. It's is time to phase this relic out and demand the same standards of all students.

newsphile
newsphile

Two year colleges fill a great need in our state.  Students go there to get a more affordable entry to college, to work their low GPAs up for admission to a four year college, to get training that requires only two years of study; older students go back to college there while working or for training for a second career; people go there for many other valid reasons. What happens to these students who don't meet requirements for a four year college or for other reasons don't fit the mold?  What is the plan for these displaced students?  If the plan is to transfer these programs into technical schools, I think the plan needs to be revisited.  Taxpayers dollars should be spent on educating students instead of building larger technical school facilities to replace perfectly good facilities we already have on our two year college campuses.  We've spent billions of dollars on these two year school facilities in recent years; many of them are relatively new or recently renovated.  Decisions such as the Albany State and Darton merger and the second renaming of the Augusta colleges in such a short timespan give taxpayers cause for concern.  The Board of Regents should be forthcoming with the rest of their plans.  We as taxpayers deserve to know where they plan to spend our money BEFORE the train leaves the station.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@newsphile 

Maybe the Regents are "testing the waters" to see what happens politically... here, it's the first consolidation of one of our public HBCUs with a HWI. As I've posted, I think this is the first but not the last. 

I fully agree with your comments about the need for the 2-year "access colleges." That was why I posted earlier about GSU's apparent plans to try to keep as much of GPC's "access mission" as they can...which Albany State might also consider.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@xxxzzz @OriginalProf @newsphile 

No, it's a 4-year University. "Access mission" is a specific term the Regents use to refer to its 2-year colleges, of which Darton State is one. They only offer  Associate degrees, which will allow their graduates to "access" a 4-year state University by transferring.

newsphile
newsphile

Darton is in a much better place than Albany State. While I'm aware that not all students who attend two year colleges do so because they can't get into four year colleges, many of them do.  Darton appears to have been doing a good job of helping those students grow into successful students who can them transfer to a good four year college.  Albany State continues to have many, many issues, one of the latest being the Financial Aid employees who misappropriated/stole more than a quarter of a million dollars.  I'm sorry for the Dalton faculty, staff, and students and for this "merger":.  You've done a great job, Darton.

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

The USG is proactive in facing this situation, unlike many of the private HBCUs. Take the Atlanta University Center, for example. Morris Brown, a former member, is moribund. Enrollment is dropping at both Clark Atlanta and Morehouse and their finances are increasingly tenuous. Only Spelman appears to be thriving. I suspect some of these institutions will be closed and the others merged to form one viable unit.

Starik
Starik

According to Wiki, Albany State is ranked 34th of 36 HBCUs by US News. Darton State is a racially integrated institution, with about a 50/50 racial balance. Will Albany State cease being a black college and become just another State college? I, for one think this is a good thing.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Starik 

Let us, also, put into our perceptions the fact that some of the black students at Albany State and Darton State are, no doubt (based on my decades of internal reading testing, grades 1 through 12 - entire grade populations), reading above the grade level of some of the white students at Darton State College (and vice versa).  However, both are located in south Georgia. A vibrant Reading Center through the new Albany State University would help to make all students of all races and ethnic groups more homogeneous in academic standing in that university. 

"Let us not simply look at the way things ARE; let us have the courage to dream of things that CAN BE and ask, 'Why not? ' "  - George Bernard Shaw, restated by John F. Kennedy, and concepts developed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

ATLnative72
ATLnative72

East Georgia (Swainsboro) and Georgia Southern (Statesboro) would actually make a ton of sense. This merger, not so much.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Here is some analysis.  As 2 year state colleges are combined with 4 year state colleges or universities, students who are many grade levels behind their peers in reading skills will be part of the 4 year college/university campuses in Georgia.  Educational administrators can either acknowledge that fact or they will end up having more students drop out of 4 year college programs altogether or these students will extend the number of years that they will take to receive their degrees. 

Enhancing students' reading skills, even in college, is a sound instructional method to implement to ensure the success of all students, the universities themselves, and the caliber of future citizens in Georgia.  It is a well-known fact that a legislative goal in Georgia is to ensure a higher percentage of college or technical degrees achieved by Georgians in the next few decades.  Wise educators will not drop the teaching of higher level reading skills, but they will increase their opportunity in colleges and universities across Georgia (and the same applies to reading programs for grades 1 - 12 in Georgia).


You serve the population you have in reality, not the population based on generalized perceptions.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@MaryElizabethSings 

Consolidation of these colleges and universities is not easy on either population.

I gather that the 2-year GPC has already raised its admission standards, I presume in preparation for its consolidation with 4-year (and up) GSU. 

Georgia State is deciding how their consolidation with GPC will be implemented. Georgia State offers doctorates, and GPC a 2 years' Associate degree. They've made some preliminary  decisions about changes.


GPC will be one of many colleges in GSU, like Business or Education. So it will have its own rules. Its academic departments (such as English or History) will remain separate from those in GSU. GSU's overall University Guidelines on Faculty Tenure and Promotion will be revised to account for GPC's "access college" mission. And GPC students will have to apply for admission to GSU like other external students.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@MaryElizabethSings 

I should add that these are final recommendations of the Implementation Committee, still to be approved by the Regents. But I assume pretty final.

WhiteRabbit
WhiteRabbit

Maybe I'm missing something, but where is the analysis in this article?  Response from stakeholders?  Realistic projections?  Oh, never mind--it's the AJC.

HeyThere
HeyThere

Sounds like a good idea. I'd never even heard of Darton State this will provide better name recognition for students at that college and hopefully save costs. Next up they need to merge Ogeechee Tech and East Georgia under the Georgia Southern umbrella. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

I am convinced that USG consolidations of other HBCUs with HWIs (Historically White Institutions,as they're known) are ahead, most likely Savannah State and Fort Valley with nearby USG schools. The argument about the inviolability of HBCU "mission" has always been insurmountable before this. But if they can consolidate GSU (an urban research university whose president has been ambitious to make it equal to Boston University) and GPC (a 2-year "access college" with a very different identity and student body), then they can consolidate ANY schools without much thought.

ErnestB
ErnestB

@OriginalProf


It will be especially interesting to see how Savannah State and Armstrong Atlantic approach consolidation.  Though it makes 'business sense' to consolidate, there are deep seated fears and concerns regarding how this will be handled with these two institutions, given both are four year universities now.  Armstrong Atlantic started out as a two year college however with support from the legislature, has evolved over the years.

HeyThere
HeyThere

@OriginalProf Please. Georgia State has always been a commuter school where students either live with their mom in McDonough or are a mom in McDonough. They acknowledged it with the GPC merger.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@ErnestB @OriginalProf 

Yes, I was thinking of those two consolidating. Both are strong schools. I do think that consolidation for them is inevitable.

ErnestB
ErnestB

@OriginalProf @ErnestB


If they renamed the combined school the University of Georgia at Savannah, it might work.  There is a LOT of history with Savannah State and their alumni probably wouldn't go for that.  Their alumni would probably want the same solution as Albany and Darton.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@ErnestB @OriginalProf 

Then the school would have to be a branch of UGA at Savannah!  One problem with consolidation is that Savannah State and Armstrong Atlantic have definite---but very different--histories. "Savannah Atlantic University"? I just don't know.

liberal4life
liberal4life

"Over 5,4000 traditional and non-traditional students attend Darton State College." Really?

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@liberal4life 

 This appraisal of Georgia State is about 35 years behind. A "commuter school" is not going to be a "research university" in the USG system like Georgia State, and on a par thus with UGA, GT, and Georgia Regents U. Really ridiculous.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

One suggestion:  Since Darton College had offered Associate Degrees (2 year degrees), incorporate remedial classes (for no credit) on the newly formed Albany State University campus, especially in the area of reading skills' development.  Having this program will ensure that more students will be able to graduate from the university.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@MaryElizabethSings 

The general tendency of USG schools over the last 5-10 years has been to phase out the schools' remedial programs. Remedial courses, as you note, have no credit, so the students have to pay for them but get no further toward their degrees, which means longer graduation rates. Accompanying this, the USG "access" institutions  (2-year colleges) have been raising their entrance standards so that such students usually aren't admitted and the schools' graduation rates improve.


I can imagine your livid response to this, but that's the reality. An incentive probably is the fact that the state legislature now bases funding on the school's 6-year graduation rate, not on its enrollment.