Updates on ASU and GSU consolidation; interim president named

Lucy Stone, News Editor

Dr. Jennifer Frum was named interim president of Armstrong February 15th, 2017 (USG.gov).

Last week, multiple updates were announced regarding the Armstrong and Georgia Southern consolidation—including the appointment of an interim president of Armstrong.

University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Steve Wrigley named Dr. Jennifer Frum the interim president of Armstrong State University, effective July 1, 2017. Frum currently serves as the vice president for public service and outreach at the University of Georgia in Athens.

While several questions were addressed at the last Consolidation Forum held Feb. 16 in the Ogeechee Theatre, many are still left unanswered as the consolidation committee teams prepare to tackle the merge of the two universities.

At the forum, updates on the Consolidation Implementation Committee’s (CIC) decisions were announced. So far, we know that any changes in academic programs at either Armstrong, the Liberty Center or Georgia Southern campuses will not occur until spring 2022.

An academic mission statement for the new Georgia Southern was not provided at the forum but will be written and submitted to the USG for approval in April.

Preserving the Armstrong name among the creation of the new Georgia Southern is also a trying task. Armstrong’s Alumni Association has proposed a way to honor the Armstrong name, which will be announced in the coming weeks.

Student athletes will retain their scholarships while attending Armstrong.

Lisa Sweany, director of athletics at Armstrong and member of the athletics working group, commented that “President Hebert would like to see some form of athletics on [Armstrong’s] campus. And so we’re trying to filter through what that’s going to look like.”

President Bleicken explained that athletics is “a work in progress” but that both directors of athletics at ASU and GSU are “in the process of finalizing some recommendations.”

Functional Area co-chairs have also been created for 26 specific areas on campus that include Public Safety, Athletics and Housing. For a full list of these functional areas and its representatives, visit TheInkwellOnline.com.

Operational Working Groups are also being formed. In an email from Dr. Bleicken, she explained that these groups “will unite Armstrong faculty and staff with their counterparts at Georgia Southern to develop plans to combine various departments and divisions.” They will undergo training with USG representatives on Feb. 22.

In an email from interim associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, Andrew Dies, “student-specific forums” will be provided throughout this semester, the summer and fall on the ASU and GSU consolidation.

Forums this semester will be held Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. in the Ogeechee Theatre; March 22 at 12 p.m. in Ballroom A; April 21 at 12 p.m. in the Science Center 1405; May 1 at 6 p.m. in the Ballrooms.

Leadership within the Vice President for Student Affairs Office will be present, as well as members of some of the different operational work groups that are being established,” Dies said.  

The CIC met Feb. 22 on Armstrong’s campus and will release new information as more decisions are decided.

GSU President Jaimie Herbert will be visiting Armstrong again March 2 to meet with small groups of students, faculty and staff. Armstrong plans to hold a larger forum with Herbert that will be open to all.