PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS – April 30, 2013 • It has been a little over 100 days since we consolidated January 8th of this year to create Georgia Regents University… • A university that now has nine colleges, and the state’s only public academic health center… with more than 9,500 students, almost 10,000 staff, and over 1,500 faculty… an enterprise with a greater than a one billion dollar budget… • A university with continuing preeminence and leadership in the health sciences and the health professions, and with growing recognition in the liberal arts and STEM disciplines, in business and in education… • In a 1933 radio address to the nation, President Franklin Roosevelt coined the phrase “first hundred days.” • He was referring to the work of the 73rd Congress and the amazing amount of legislation that was passed early in his presidency • Legislation that formed the foundation of the New Deal … a series of economic programs that were intended to address the devastating impact… the Great Depression had on the American economy. • 113 days have passed since the University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved the consolidation of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University.
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• I think all of you would agree that we hit the ground running on January 8th with more than a year of work already behind us… as we prepared for SACS approval… and the Board’s official endorsement of the consolidation. • A year during which we began to address many fundamental issues: o How do we mesh two apparently divergent institutional missions and cultures? o How do we ensure local student access while building a research university with a statewide mission? o How do we improve the baccalaureate experience while continuing to excel in graduate education? o How do we expand non-health science offerings while ensuring the continued preeminence of our health and life sciences programs? o How do we transform an undergraduate commuter-oriented campus into a residential destination? o How do we keep tuition affordable while meeting the needs of the university? o How do we stay nimble while maintaining staff alignment? o How do we ensure communication in a diverse and expanding university? o How do we build and grow in a very recessive and challenging environment?
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• A year during which we deconstructed the university and closely examined our component elements … so that we could address these types of foundational issues • And a year that followed, in turn,… another year during which extensive efforts to create our health system were successfully undertaken… • To ensure alignment and administrative integration between our clinical enterprise and our university • Over our first 100 days, we knew we needed to kick start these conversations … we also knew that we needed to begin to: o Build stronger and more abiding partnerships… o While continuing to ensure our preeminence in the health sciences… o And to embrace innovate solutions to existing and new challenges… o While taking a closer look at our organizational DNA, better defining who we are and what we believe in… o And … to articulate a clear vision… o While formulating a plan for getting there • So let’s review what our first 100 days have looked like • We have completed a strategic plan – Transition Forward – for our consolidated university… • As Transformation 2020 is the strategic plan for our health system
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• A strategic plan that maps out our mission, vision, values, and our strategic priorities, serving as the overall university’s roadmap to the future. • I want thank all of you who made valuable contributions and suggestions in the development of this future-oriented plan. • During our first 100 days, we initiated a Departmental Listening Tour, and completed visits to all our non-health sciences departments, and are now continuing with our remaining faculty… to begin to understand and create dialogue around the concerns and needs of our faculty… • And we will continue this dialogue, understanding the high need for communication in our transforming environment. • During our first 100 days, we identified and begun building a sustainable and differentiating brand … • A brand that tells the story of two universities and cultures coming together. • With new marks, identities and names for the entities that comprise our enterprise, our communications and branding efforts are now managed and marketed under new university and health system guidelines… • And we have established a trademark licensing program that already has commitments from 21 licensed vendors to produce GRU and Jaguar apparel and other items. • Together we wrote and approved new sets of academic and student affairs policies… as well as GRU faculty governance and promotion guidelines, laws and statutes….
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• During our first 100 days, the Board of Regents approved 4 new bachelor’s degree programs, which we will launch this fall: o A Bachelor of Science in Applied Information Systems & Technologies… in the Hull College of Business o A Bachelor of Arts with a major in Anthropology… in the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences o And Bachelors of Science with major in Cell and Molecular Biology and another with a major in Ecology… in the College of Science and Mathematics • Each of these degree programs provides exciting academic opportunities for our students and are areas in high demand for employment over the next decade • And as a benefit of our consolidation we are able to offer new joint degree programs to our students. For example, we will be launching an accelerated BS to MD program this Fall • During our first 100 days, we expanded our comprehensive…, state-wide undergraduate student recruitment and enrollment effort – • And will reach close to 10,000 highly capable students in both existing and many new market areas. • Efforts intended to educate a myriad of parents,… school administrators,… and students about the great programs we have at our university…
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• Of the opportunities existent not only in our liberal arts, in our business, and in our education programs…, but also for those students who are interested in the life sciences and in the health professions. • For we continue to be… despite our continuing transformation… the state leader in the education and training of those students interested in the health sciences. • Of course, we are also focusing on developing programs and services that not only attract… but also retain students who enroll here… • So we have developed a first year experience for all incoming freshman which will create a rich environment of fellowship and community, and intellectual stimulus and creativity, for these students. • As part of our academic enrichment program for undergraduate students we are emphasizing our honors program, and our study abroad programs… • While expanding opportunities for undergraduate research and scholarly activity through the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship…. • And by increasing the opportunities of undergraduates to experience life in an academic health center. • And because access and cost should not be a deterrent to a high quality education, we proposed a tuition plan that will increase rates slowly over six years to match the lowest rate of other public research universities in the state, while working hard to keep to ensure that our current and incoming students are ‘held harmless’ from inordinately high tuition and fee increases. • And because we believe that our best and brightest should not be deterred from attending our university…
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• I am proud to report that we have created the Presidential Scholarship Program for incoming high potential freshman students… • Starting this fall with 5 awards, gradually increasing to at least 20, these scholarships will provide up to 4 years of full support to our most promising undergraduate students. • And to ensure continued access for many of our local students, we also launched the Augusta Gateway Program,… focused on continuing to provide access to local area students through high quality, structured… and supported higher education. • And developed plans to support Complete College Georgia, an initiative undertaken by our University System and strongly supported by our Governor… • Focused on ensuring that students not only attend our university, but also complete and graduate with a marketable degree • An initiative that is also focused on helping students understand the value of completing their degree in four years…. Because time is the enemy of college completion… • By providing better peer support, developing remediation programs and learning networks, a bachelor’s degree can be achieved in 4 years and 120 credits. • During our first 100 days, we completed phase 1 of an Athletics strategic plan that will guide our decision making and implementation of current and future intercollegiate sports at our University… • And which we hope will allow us to roll out two new sports in the Fall of 2014 Page 7 of 22
• We have created opportunities for all our graduate students to develop and strengthen their teaching skills by expanding the number of Graduate Teaching Assistantships. • Guided and supported by experienced faculty, graduate students will have the opportunity to teach undergraduate students in areas such as freshman biology…, elementary statistics... and college algebra… and grow in their understanding and appreciation of the art of effective teaching and communication. • With internal resources we are investing in ourselves, through a newly created Strategic Academic Research and Service or the StARS Development Fund… focused on funding new growth in our educational, training, and research programs… supporting new faculty recruitment and programmatic development… and the provision of new services and support. • During our first 100 days, we expanded our support of scholarly activity and research in all our disciplines…, by, for example,… creating new intramural grants programs to fund larger collaborative research efforts and program grant applications…, and other awards programs to support travel…and provide seed grants and bridge funding… • And we have begun to invest in faculty and leadership development, a core tenement of a successful organization. • We have set aside funds to invest in existing faculty through the creation of a Faculty Development Coordinator position, … appointing Dr. Deborah Richardson of our faculty, as interim Director and developing a five year plan for the office…, which will focus on coordinating and providing faculty support
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in their roles as educators, scholars, practitioners, and in the development of their careers. • And we have initiated an enterprise-wide Georgia Regents Leadership Academy, of which you will shortly hear more details, to offer a wide variety of strategically aligned leadership and management development opportunities. • And we should not forget that the Health System not only provides extraordinary health care to our community and to our state, and is the site for much of the training of our health professions students… • But it also provides over 40% of the Medical College of Georgia’s budget, and significant other financial support to the rest of the university…. The health of the Health System is critical to the health of our entire university. • And so, while Health System,.. Medical Center… and Medical Associates administrators, clinicians and staff remain focused on providing high quality patient and family centered care to the state’s most complex cases, … they are also working hard on managing the financial challenges of our time…. • And we continue to make strides in providing high quality care to our patients. • Just two months ago the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations designated Georgia Regents Medical Center…. as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center,… making it the only hospital in GA and one of less than 20 hospitals nationwide to achieve this designation. • The Georgia Hospital Association also recognized the Georgia Regents Medical Center as a leader in patient safety for 2012, naming the medical center to the GHA Chairman’s Circle for improving patient care.
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• And the Medical Center earned the Josh Nahum Special Achievement Award for Infection Prevention and Control… from the Partnership for Health and Accountability,… • And we are making strides to enhance our access to our health care services internally. For example, we created an employee pharmacy that provides easier access and lower cost to health system staff and family members…, and our goal is to extend this benefit to all GRU faculty and staff. • During our first 100 days, we continued to refine our conceptual facilities plan for our campuses…emphasizing our existing and growing need for better infrastructure…, including education, research, student life and housing facilities • We broke ground on our new Education Commons Building… with crane and footing now in place! • And as you have already heard, our visionary Mayor, Deke Copenhaver,… the City of Augusta Commissioners… and the Augusta Regional Collaboration Project …have suggested an expansion plan for the university as part of a larger downtown and citywide development plan… • Plans that include proposals to redevelop the historic Sibley and King textile mills into possible campus space… and other downtown real estate into cultural space. • The city has hired an urban economist to work through financing and property issues… and USG will be working with a campus planner to understand the opportunities for academic growth at the “Mills” property.
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• While there is still much study and work to be done, this is an exciting, and potentially game-changing, opportunity for our university… and no less for the city of Augusta. • Close to 1,000 alumni and visitors came to our Augusta campuses this past weekend for a host of programs and events as part of Alumni Weekend. This was a great opportunity for them to re-connect with us and us with them. • Similarly, I have been touring the state,… and listening to our alumni as part of an organized Alumni Listening Tour… • Our alums are eager to learn about the activities and accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff, and other alums, and so in advance of our Alumni Weekend widely distributed a new magazine,… GRAVITY,… directed to our alumni and friends. • Our alumni and friends are important to us, no more demonstrated than in the giving of their time, energy and financial support to benefit our students and our patients…. • And so we created a GRU Advocates program,… with more than 300 alumni from around the state who now regularly receive updates on key legislation… and advocate with their local legislators the importance of funding for higher education, health care programs and services, and GRU. • And we continue to pursue our philanthropic efforts,… developing the platform for our first major capital campaign,… completing fund-raising for the new Education Commons,… and beginning to fund raise for our new cancer research building….
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• And we are celebrating a most generous gift from an MCG alumni,… on the heels of having achieved a banner year in fund-raising last year … • An extraordinary gift from Dr. Harold Harrison… who has bequeathed over $66 million dollars… to fund scholarships and endowed chairs to the school … the largest gift of its kind ever received by the university and possibly by the University System of Georgia. • A gift obtained through the good work of the Medical College of Georgia Foundation, and the good will of Dr. Harrison’s family… • A gift reflecting his confidence in the future of the school and of the university. • For it was Dr. Harrison who also provided $10 million dollars in support of the Education Commons Building…, which now holds his name,… a project that ensured he knew that this university would deliver on its commitment to him and to other donors... • And lest you think this is only about the Medical College of Georgia, we should remember that support of this kind for our nationally recognized medical school allows us to focus on building the same kind of support for our other colleges and institutes. • It is truly a moment of celebration…. • During our first 100 days the Georgia General Assembly wrapped up its 2013 session,… and we are happy to note that official signing of the budget by Governor Deal will take place on our campus next week, Tuesday, May 7… • This session was very important for us and our communities as there are several items that will impact higher education and health care… Page 12 of 22
• I thank the legislators and the Governor for their ongoing support of our university and health system.... • We obtained important cancer research funding and bio-repository funding,…as well as support for our continued research efforts in cardiovascular disease and hypertension. • Perhaps there is no greater testament to our role as one of only four public research universities in the state… and as the state’s academic health system… than the $64 million in additional funding included in the University System of Georgia’s proposed 2014 budget for our university • Additional support which includes: o $10 million for our cancer research, in addition to another $2.5 million in support of the Cancer Biorepository thru the Georgia Research Alliance… o $45 million for the construction of a new Georgia Regents University Cancer Center research building, which will become part of a larger contiguous state-of-the-art Cancer Center Complex…. o Construction that will free up laboratory space for other non-cancer research activities on our health sciences campus. o Because of course, our research and care is not only about cancer…. It’s about our recognized excellence in the neurosciences, behavioral and mental health, and stroke prevention and care Our leadership in cardiovascular biology Our drive to address public and preventive health. Page 13 of 22
Our focus on furthering genomic, molecular and personalized medicine Our pediatric excellence And our emerging strengths in digestive diseases and regenerative medicine, And it’s about the richness of our scholarship, in fostering undergraduate research,… in the arts and humanities,… in business & management, and in the educational sciences o And so we received $3 million during the legislative session to continue to support the growth of our excellent cardiovascular research programs… o We also received $5 million for equipment for the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons Building… and…. o $2 million to support our ongoing medical school expansion efforts. o And we were granted $1.8 million to support faculty and staff recruitment to allow us to continue to expand of our dental medicine training programs… o We received almost $800 thousand to support our Complete College Georgia efforts… o And over $2 million to support growth and faculty recruitment in existing and in new academic programs… many in the non-health science areas.
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• An extraordinary outcome… testament to the energized future of our institution… and the hard work of our Government relations team. • We have done a lot over these past 100 days … and we have a lot to celebrate. • We are growing as a student-centered research university,… and a patient and family-centered academic health care center, … with recognized excellence in the health sciences and health professions… and strong liberal arts, business, and education programs… • Preparing individuals to succeed in tomorrow's global environment by emphasizing discovery, creativity and innovation… • And our values remain: o Collegiality o Compassion o Excellence o Inclusivity o Integrity, and… o Leadership. • But as we focus on these early days of consolidation,… I don’t want to lose sight of what so many of you accomplished well before there was a Georgia Regents University…. • Accomplishments that are impacting individuals in our community, state, nation and beyond. Page 15 of 22
• Just a few examples of our many past accomplishments include: o Dr. Robert G. Ellison Sr… a 1943 MCG alumnus and Chief of the Section of Cardiothoracic Surgery from 1947–87… performing Georgia's first open-heart operation using bypass in 1956. o And in 2012, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Augusta State University… earned the title of Best Battalion at the Spring Joint Field Training Exercise at Fort Benning. o Last year ASU was also designated as one of the nation’s Top Military Friendly Colleges and Universities … by the journal Military Advanced Education. o The Children’s Hospital of Georgia,… a pioneer in extra corporeal membrane oxygenation technology,… introduced the Southeast’s first ECMO program for children in 1985. o This artificial heart/lung bypass machine has administered life-saving support to more than 500 patients since then… and is one of only two ECMO programs in Georgia o And the ASU men’s golf team became a two-time back-to-back NCAA Division I National Champions in 2010 and 2011 – a feat only accomplished by six other teams in the history of the competition. o In 2003 our Health System launched the REACH program,…a hub-andspoke telemedicine system that allows our neurologists to provide expert stroke consultations to multiple rural hospitals without actually being on-site. Page 16 of 22
o And today, nearly 20 hospitals are REACH partners with Georgia Regents Medical Center, and over 140 hospitals nationwide use our system. o And the National Science Foundation award of a $1.1 million grant to ASU,… which provides about $15,000 a year to 18 students who enter a new five-year integrated program… a program that combines a bachelor’s degree in science education… with a master’s degree in teaching… through the PRESTIGE program. • It is this rich history … this legacy … that provides the very strong foundation for the work at hand today. • So thank you … for what you’ve done, for what you’re doing, and for what you will in the days ahead as we build our new university….. • We also know change is hard… Very hard… • President Woodrow Wilson, who spent the majority of his childhood in Augusta, where his father was minister of the First Presbyterian Church, reminded us that… o “If you want to make enemies, try making changes” • But I know we all recognize that change is the price we pay to ensure our continuing relevance and competitiveness, and to build a better and more stable future for our students, families and ourselves. • Despite having discovered some interesting historic texts on the consolidation of other universities, I can assure you there is no playbook for what we are doing … Page 17 of 22
• We are making our way through uncharted territory. • There’s much to be learned by all of us as we position ourselves to be more competitive on the national and global stage. • But again to quote FDR: o “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is... fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance” • As hard as it is, and as much as we would like to reverse the clock…. Time marches on… as do our competitors… and as do the innovations and technologies that are changing , as we speak, our place in society and the needs of our students. • I recognize and appreciate the need for robust dialogue around our future… a future we are crafting it together… but we must avoid allowing paralyzing fear and vitriol. • We have still many challenges to face: • Ensuring timely, comprehensible, accurate and consistent communication throughout the university and health system…. to ensure accountability and engagement of our internal stakeholders… o Yet we know that communicating in a complex environment such as ours is like throwing a pebble into a tar pit… o And so, all of us must accept responsibility for keeping ourselves wellinformed….
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o And two new ways of doing this are by reading the weekly GReport and by regularly visiting our new intranet, the Portal and Web Services (or PAWS). • Our economy, although beginning to improve is still very depressed, with persistently high unemployment and incremental slow growth… with the additive impact of the sequester and reductions to key federal programs such as the NIH and Medicare funding,… and continued reductions in state support. o Conditions that continue to challenge our ability to expand our educational and research programs,… and maintain the health of our critical health system. o And so growing in a recessive environment will require both new resources and the careful and thoughtful reprioritization of our existing investments. • The differing cultures of our consolidated universities… although we should recognize that all large comprehensive universities are quite heterogeneous in the culture of their faculty and students… although we should strive to ensure that the staff and administrative cultures are much more homogenous… and striving always to excellence o We so must learn to honor and maintain the traditions and histories of the institutions, colleges and people that bond our students, faculty, staff and alumni to our university… while also beginning to build new traditions and celebrations that bind us together as the GRU community.
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• And we must leverage all our resources….of time, people and facilities by collaborating with our colleagues and with external organizations and institutions • We must continue to focus on all those fronts which we must execute in order to succeed. Colleges, departments, units and individual’s priorities, strategies and tactics must support the enterprise’s mission, vision and address the university’s four major priorities: o Strategic student enrollment growth o Improvement in student success o Growth of research and scholarship… and… o Enhanced self-sustainability. • .And while we know what many of the challenges are … Many others are unknown. • There is no playbook for what we are doing … we are making our way through uncharted territory. • But I am confident that together we’ll figure out how to navigate our way through these challenges. • And the ones we don’t yet know about? Well, I am confident that we are building an organization that is creative enough… and nimble enough.. to circumvent them when they emerge from the shadows.
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• Our vision is to be a top-tier university that is a destination of choice for education, health care, discovery, creativity, and innovation • What does that mean? What does that look like? • It means that we are linking the strengths of two established universities to generate an increasingly greater impact on the state of Georgia and beyond. • It means we are producing some of the best and brightest,… from business leaders and entrepreneurs… to social scientists,… artists,… educators,… humanitarians… and healthcare and life sciences professionals – innovators who are driven to discover, driven to succeed. • It means that in communities throughout the state, across disciplines, and on a global stage, members of the GRU community are making things happen. • It means that we believe in an environment with collaboration at its core … one that unites teaching AND practice, art AND application, humanity AND health sciences. • And it means that at the heart of our mission is a profound belief that the greatness in all of us lies in discovery … discovering opportunities in ourselves,… in our classrooms,… on our athletic fields,… in our neighborhoods,… and in how we are uniquely positioned to serve the world. • We are Georgia Regents University and our vision is to be one of the top-tier universities in our nation. • Forward-thinking educational programs,… high impact research,… cutting edge and patient-focused clinical expertise,... nationally recognized athletics,… Page 21 of 22
• And an abiding commitment to the arts,… humanities,… social sciences,… business,… education… and the health and life sciences combine here to benefits our University community,.. Augusta,… the state of Georgia,... the nation… and the world. • By 2030 our legacy will be entrenched in the progress we are making in creating the next great American university. Please enjoy this short video • [VIDEO] • I hope you enjoyed this very graphical representation of what our university might look like in 2030…, if we all pull together to make it happen,… the faculty and staff, alumni and local community, state and national stakeholders… • For the good of our students, our patients, and our future….Thank you for all you do • Be proud… Proud of who we are,… of what we are accomplishing,… and where we are heading • Thank you
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Published on May 1, 2013