What students need to know about the Armstrong Task Force

What students need to know about the Armstrong Task Force

SAVANNAH- Armstrong Task Force (ATF) committee members held a listening session on Feb. 24 at the Fine Arts Auditorium to explain future plans.

As the Armstrong Task Force enters its next work phase, committee members have embarked on an Armstrong Listening tour.

Scott Taylor, Assistant Provost for Student Success and (ATF) Committee member, stated that the task force is “charged with developing short and long-term goals aligned with strategic priorities to ensure the future success of the Armstrong Campus.”

Since the merger, the Armstrong campus has undergone significant changes. The task force is seeking to expand Armstrong’s marketability and address the preexisting issues from before consolidation and the problems that have come from the major changes.


One of the most pertinent issues is the consistent decrease in enrollment. From 2015 to 2021, degree-seeking undergraduate enrollment at Armstrong decreased by 26% (1,534 students), while all other campuses increased.

  • Online +26%
  • Liberty +9%
  • Statesboro +2%

From the five years prior to the consolidation, Armstrong saw a 4.5% drop in enrollment.

The university as a whole has seen a 5.9% drop in enrollment from fall 2021 to fall 2022. Surrounding university Savannah State has seen a 12.8 decrease in enrollment. This is despite the ever-growing population of Savannah, with a 13% 10-year population growth rate, more than double the U.S. growth rate.

“You can get a job out of high school making $35,000, $45,000, or even $50,000 a year now so, the most significant competition I’ve ever had in my 27 years in higher education is the employment market, Georgia Southern President Kyle Marrero said.”

Armstrong Task Force’s progress

The task force ended phase one on Nov. 16, 2022, with the following updates:

  • A new undergraduate program in sustainability science and two new graduate degrees in environmental science.
  • Expansion of the nursing cohort size
  • A partnership with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System to promote higher education as a pathway to success through stackable credentials and professional development activities.

As for the structure of the task force, there are 26 members split into eight teams.
The duties of the teams are listed below:

  • Academic Programs Development Team: Identifying academic programs that (1) demonstrate regional labor market and student demand and (2) have capacity for expansion on the Armstrong Campus
  • Marketing and Recruitment Team: Developing strategies for marketing and recruitment for the Armstrong Campus as well as identified academic programs for expansion
  • Student Engagement Team: Developing additional opportunities for student engagement on the Armstrong Campus and enhanced marketing strategies for all offered activities
  • Enrollment Operations Team: Identifying barriers to enrollment on the Armstrong Campus and recommend solutions to overcome these barriers
  • Data Analysis Team: Utilizing institutional data to formulate data-informed decisions for the Armstrong Task Force
  • Culture Analysis and Implications Team: Identifying cultural aspects and potential implications that influence decisions on the Armstrong Campus
  • Implementation Team: Develop overarching and collaborative strategies to implement Armstrong Task Force recommendations
  • Facilities Team: Identify improvements to enhance the functional and aesthetic aspects of the Armstrong Campus

What’s next?

“Phase Two of the ATF is our way of identifying strategies that we can move forward in the next one to three years,” Dr. Amy Ballagh, Interim Vice President for the Division of Enrollment Management, said. “Our long-term strategies are reflected in what we have termed as phase three as they include initiatives that will take a longer time to accomplish, tentatively, the next three to five years.”

During an SEC meeting, the university announced hiring Alejandra C. Sosa Pieroni in a newly created Executive Vice President position with oversight of enrollment, marketing, student services and other areas. President Marrero said there were no new resources needed to make the hire.

For summer 2023, enrollment is down 4.69% so far. However, according to the university, fall 2023 looks more promising, with increased admissions, housing applications and financial aid applications compared to fall 2021. In addition, the retention rate is strong for the current first-year class.

Students, Faculty and staff are encouraged to make suggestions to the (ATF). “Please go to the Armstrong website, go to the suggestion page, even if you just come up with one simple thing, just from your vantage point for what your job is, or just something that you notice that has nothing to do with your job,” Taylor said.

The specific goals for the (ATF) are on the website. Be sure to check our website for more updates on the Armstrong Task Force and the university.