HBCU news: Albany State University expands by consolidating

100515, studio headshot of Art Dunning from UA Systems Office, shot 05-06-10
Albany State University president Art Dunning (Photo Credit: University System of Georgia)

On Friday, Dec. 9, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) granted final approval for the creation of the new Albany State University from the consolidation of Albany State University (ASU) and Darton State College (DSC).

The board approved a resolution consolidating ASU and DSC effective January 1, 2017. The board recognizes the many strengths both institutions bring to the new ASU. The new ASU builds upon the HBCU mission to serve an increasingly diverse student population and community and will continue to serve the access mission, offering workforce related degrees. Both institutions were key business and community partners; the new ASU will expand on those partnerships for the benefit of the region and state.

“The University System of Georgia is committed to the Albany community and to serving southwest Georgia,” USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby said in a statement. “The new Albany State University represents a long-term investment to better serve students, faculty and staff through public higher education focused on the needs and opportunities for today and well into the future.”

Dr. Arthur Dunning, current president of Albany State, will serve as president of the newly consolidated Albany State University.

“This is a joyous occasion. The combined strengths of Albany State University and Darton State College support the university’s vision of being a world-class institution,” Dunning says. “Our mission is to prepare current and future students to be effective contributors to a globally diverse society, and we are confident in our ability to do that as we move toward a bright and promising future.”

The board’s action today follows the required approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of the Albany State consolidation plans, which happened earlier this week. With the Board action, Albany State begins operating as the new institution with an expanded mission and degree offerings.

Huckaby announced his recommendation for the Albany State consolidation in November 2015, which the Board of Regents approved.

“As the System’s seventh consolidation, this one presents unique opportunities to greatly impact the region,” USG Executive Vice Chancellor for Strategy and Fiscal Affairs Shelley Nickel, says in a press statement. “This consolidation is truly focused on doing what’s best for the citizens of the region, both educationally and economically.”

USG Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness John Fuchko adds, “We are especially thankful to the ASU/DSC Consolidation Implementation Committee and the Operational Working Groups that did the heavy lifting by ensuring that the best of both campuses was brought together to form the new university.”

With the completion of the Albany State University consolidation, the University System of Georgia is now comprised of 28 institutions.

On Albany State University’s website, Dunning writes:

I find something wonderfully energizing about change. Change forces us out of our comfort zones, which isn’t always easy. It challenges us to be more adaptable and allows us to achieve bigger and better dreams. We become our best selves through development and change.

Today, Albany State University experienced the completion of the final step in the process of its greatest change. The Board of Regents granted approval for the development of the new Albany State University from the consolidation of Albany State University and Darton State College.

Collectively, I know that we will stay true to our mission of providing a world-class education to our students and serving as a powerful catalyst for economic development in Southwest Georgia. Together, we will ensure that this is a holistic learning environment that empowers students to be great decision makers in every facet of life. We will do our part in helping to improve the quality of life for the citizens of this region by meeting unmet needs. The now seamless transition from associate’s to bachelor’s to graduate programs will provide greater opportunities for students to flourish through higher education.

Undoubtedly, 2017 will be a pivotal year for Albany State. The university’s growth is deeply tied to the hopes and expectations we set for ourselves as students, professors, staff and administrators – as Golden Rams. Join me in celebrating the new Albany State University. Our future is truly full of possibility.

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