Group debates Southern Poly, KSU program consolidation
by Rachel Gray
January 13, 2014 11:30 PM | 9223 views | 11 11 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Kennesaw State University President Dr. Daniel Papp, opens the floor for discussion Monday at the school’s KSU Center, as a meeting of the implementation team gets together to iron out the details of the merger of KSU and Southern Polytechnic State University. SPSU President Lisa Rossbacher is pictured at the meeting also. 
<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Kennesaw State University President Dr. Daniel Papp, opens the floor for discussion Monday at the school’s KSU Center, as a meeting of the implementation team gets together to iron out the details of the merger of KSU and Southern Polytechnic State University. SPSU President Lisa Rossbacher is pictured at the meeting also.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
KENNESAW — A group overseeing the merger of Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State universities will decide if consolidating 14 separate college programs down to 13 is enough to satisfy the Board of Regents.

The group of 40 faculty and administrators met Monday to discuss which colleges will be given the Southern Poly brand name within the KSU system.

The merger committee has been under pressure from SPSU students, faculty and alumni to preserve the Southern Polytechnic moniker for engineering degrees.

The Board of Regents voted in November to merge KSU and Southern Poly as part of an ongoing cost-saving plan that could eventually include other mergers.

Kennesaw State President Dan Papp said after the consolidation there will be “zero threat” of closing down a degree program because of lack of interest or low graduation rates.

KSU presented Monday a “preliminary draft of a possible college structure,” which gave the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology the Southern Polytechnic moniker.

The list of the possible 13 colleges did not break down the physical location of each program, meaning which schools will host classes on the main KSU campus or the SPSU satellite campus.

SPSU faculty asked Monday why all the fields offered at the Marietta campus, like software engineering, architecture and construction management, were not given the Southern Polytechnic distinction.

Ken Harmon, vice president for academic affairs for KSU, said the civil engineering and engineering technology is the “best known” and “most prominent” curriculum at SPSU.

An associate professor of SPSU’s Civil and Construction Engineering program, Sonny Kim, asked Harmon why the list had two schools of engineering separated into computing and engineering technology.

“I think it makes sense to have all the engineering under one umbrella,” Kim said.

Papp said the proposed structure is similar to the course distinctions and naming offered at Georgia Tech.

Areas broken down into groups

For nearly two hours, the group met for the first time at the KSU Center on Busbee Drive off Chastain Road to hash out details.

Although a core implementation committee of 28 members has already met a few times, this was the first meeting for an expanded group, which included more faculty ranging from administrative staff, department chairs and deans from both schools.

The expanded group met Monday afternoon to start finalizing the merged vision and mission statements, as well as the organization structure for the consolidated university.

Next meeting set for Jan. 22

SPSU President Lisa Rossbacher said the expanded group will meet five times over the next five weeks, with the next meeting Jan. 22 at 10:30 a.m.

“This group has a focused agenda,” Rossbacher said.

The target date to complete necessary documents is Feb. 14, said Papp, in order to get the proposed pieces on the Board of Regents agenda in April.

“Is this fast? Yes,” Papp said about the deadline.

Rossbacher said the Board of Regents has advised the committees to make decisions by consensus instead of voting. No votes or final decisions were made at Monday’s meeting.

To help move quickly down the consolidation path, the implementation team has created 81 “operational work groups,” which need eight to 10 members each and must begin meeting no later than Jan. 30.

Issues still to be resolved by small groups include the library system, faculty promotions and pay, student financial aid, donor relations, community engagement, tuition and fees, a combined budget, student organizations, housing and sports programs.

Papp said work groups can have external participation, such as alumni.

Further opportunities for consolidation

At Monday’s meeting, Associate Vice Chancellor Shelley Nickel, who has led the consolidation of eight University System of Georgia institutions into four, advised the group about being transparent and getting information to both campus bodies.

Rossbacher agreed everyone at SPSU and KSU needs to get current and consistent information.

“Something that has been clear to me from the very beginning is communication,” Rossbacher said.

On Monday, Rossbacher said information about the merger has been handled well. But, when she faced students moments after the announcement was made Nov. 1, Rossbacher said, “I was not consulted on this, I found out yesterday.”

Nickels also said it was a benefit to have the Board of Regents decide on the consolidated name of Kennesaw State University. She admitted, however, “the people from Southern Polytechnic have angst about that.”

In the past, Nickels said having a consolidation team pick a merged name “created havoc.”

Nickel also reminded the group Monday that one of the reasons for the consolidation is to reduce costs by operating KSU more efficiently.

Nickel advised making the list of schools smaller than the 13 presented Monday to combine administrative resources even further. For instance, the College of Arts and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences could be consolidated into the College of Liberal Arts.

Papp said the two smallest colleges on the proposed list, the College of Arts and College of Architecture and Construction Management, each have 1,100 students.

KSU and SPSU will submit written plans for the merger to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in October. The process of combining the schools is expected to be complete by August 2015, although if the plan is approved, both schools will operate under the KSU name starting January 2015.

‘Preliminary draft of possible college structure’

* College of the Arts

* College of Architecture and Construction Management

* Michael J. Coles College of Business

* College of Computing and Software Engineering

* College of Continuing and Professional Education

* Leland and Clarice C. Bagwell College of Education

* Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology

* Graduate College

* WellStar College of Health and Human Services

* Honors College

* College of Humanities and Social Sciences

* College of Science and Mathematics University College

Comments-icon Post a Comment
January 30, 2014
The merger will cost more money than it saves. The only money that will be generated will be by the football team since it enters another division size.

I suspect the Board of Regents is doing this for personal gain. There are Federal Dollars in both institutions. I DEMAND A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION IN TO THE BOARD OF REGENTS to ensure they are not making back door deals.
March 02, 2014
The merger will of course cost more. Southern Polytechnic's infrastructure cannot handle its current growth. My accounting professor seems to think this merger could cost 1-2 Billion dollars in the long run.

New building must be built for Kennesaw students. Aging technology architecture must be redone. banner web must be merged which failed to be properly merged in passed mergers. New parking lots and parking decks will have to be added. A trolley to must be added going both campuses.

Maintenance to noncritical campus infrastructure was stopped by the state.

Kennesaw needs to open up their hearts and their extremely deep wallets to fiance the billions of dollars of repairs the new Kennesaw South campus will need. Good luck.

BTW Kennesaw it cost 4 to 5 times as much to educate a student in the STEM field get ready for higher tuition, SPSU will loose many companies that donate to it which keeps that cost down.
KSU Employee
January 14, 2014
"* College of Science and Mathematics University College"

Should be listed separately as part of the 13 proposed colleges referenced in the letter from Dr. Papp.

College of Science and Mathematics

University College

Bob Bummer
January 14, 2014
After this merger is complete KSU will probably then gobble up Chattahoochee Tech. These mergers are not just about saving money for taxpayers but about eliminating good state government jobs with pensions that baby boomers have held for decades and that republicans despise. Eventually state run higher education will be sold off to for profit corporations and the state of Georgia will be out of the higher education business. "University of Phoenix and KSU" anyone? Good luck 30 somethings living in your parents' basements the times are a changing.
Jessica Simpson
January 20, 2014 Actually Chattahoochee Tech gobbled up a few smaller community colleges, such as North Metro Tech in the first wave of planned consolidations several years ago. The mergers received little attention because fewer people feel attached to 2 year schools.

There is also talk of merging counties...somehow I think Cobb will survive. In light of this matter I am not happy to see the 99th ranked school in ROI be consumed by he 756th ranked school in ROI:

Southern Tech Proud
January 14, 2014
If the name "SPSU School of Engineering" does not appear on a diploma, then the SPSU graduate will not get the recognition needed to land a job. Who ever heard of KSU engineering? And yes it does matter!

Software Engineering or anything "engineering" related that is offered at KSU should come under the engineering SPSU title. After all, look what SPSU will be giving up- EVERY other department at SPSU will be consolidated into a KSU department. So if KSU really wants to be correct and honest they will structure the schools that way. Of course, KSU wants to concede nothing, even the departments they have no expertise in!

Finally, speaking to Chancellor Nickel's statement about the name changes...Having been involved in the forced change from Southern Tech to SPSU, many wanted the name to be the Southern Institute of Technology. Of course the Georgia Institute of Technology nixed that option and the committee had no choice but to choose another name. Yes Chancellor Nickel, GT "created havoc".

As a Southern Tech grad we have been kicked around for years. Our degree is respected more outside the state of GA than in it. And I for one have really had enough! One of the best things that can happen to KSU is to take over SPSU, but I it is one of the worse things that can happen to a Southern Tech/SPSU grad. If SPSU had been given the funds and recognition we deserved and not had to fight every UGA & GT grad for funding, this merger would not be happening.
Another Grad
January 14, 2014
You are right on Southern Tech Proud. My future alumni contributions will only go to the SPSU College of Engineering. We worked hard and have deserved better treatment from the Board of Regents for a long, long time. We never got it. Technology is what the world is about now. That is where the jobs are and where new areas of employment are created.

Southern Tech was created before Kennesaw Junior College was created. Many wanted Southern Tech to be expanded with business and liberal arts, but many years ago the politicians and business people in Cobb and ATL were not engineers and if they graduated college it was UGA. So they could not relate to an engineering school. Thus Kennesaw Junior was created. And the people in the GA legislature, who control the money bags for the GA university system, have continued that way of funding and thinking.

So SPSU has been gobbled up into something to which politicians can relate. Hopefully, SPSU will not be ignored even more, but I am not hopeful given the track record.
January 18, 2014
Unfortunately, some of the employers who have hired Southern Tech graduates in the past will not bother to interview a KSU engineering grad. These employers will be going to Auburn, Clemson, and Tennessee for their engineering talent. Georgia Tech and UGA engineering will maintain their elitist status and not educate engineers for the practical world.

Many Southern Tech alumni and corporations that have made financial contributions to the school in the past will cease that practice.

In all likelihood, one of the most important elements that makes Southern Tech such an important school will be one of the first remnants of SPSU to be dismissed by KSU. Most engineering and technology faculty at Southern Tech are required to have pertinent industrial experience. This will have little bearing in a liberal arts environment where publishing and academia in a capsule are the order of the day.

If one's life work is designing aircraft or tall skyscrapers, one had better know his business. Life and limb depend upon this. Remembering lines from Chaucer or Bacon twenty years from now, while good, does not bear such a burden. You cannot compromise engineering. Southern Tech likely will be compromised to the point of being unrecognizable.

It is hoped that KSU doesn't spend tax dollars soliciting donations from Southern Tech alumni. I will not contribute to KSU or hire KSU engineers.
Mike In Smyrna
January 14, 2014
" WellStar College of Health and Human Services"

What did the naming rights cost? WellStar is a nonprofit, it should be public knowledge.
January 14, 2014
WellStar partnered with Kennesaw
May 27, 2014
Porschephile, does P stand for prejudice?

Wow, you won't hire a person because of where they may graduate from. (KSU engineers) A person of excellent skills, knowledge and ethics would not be hired by you because you think that they are lessor than you. These future grads that would have the same degree with a different name would not be hired because of prejudice. How immature. You don't sound like a person that anyone that is not prejudice should work for. Good luck P.
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