Jennifer Frum, President
On challenges faced with merger
Rather than challenges, I see the consolidation as a process that is opening up great opportunities to create a regional comprehensive powerhouse institution. I admire and appreciate the passion for Armstrong. I truly believe we can channel that passion to develop in Savannah, Statesboro, and Hinesville an institution that is providing even greater educational opportunities for students.
Of course, one of the greatest challenges in merging two institutions is typically weaving cultures together. Yet, if I took a snapshot of how I hope the future consolidated University would appear, it would look like this:
A scene of individuals across departments, positions and campuses working together in small, focused groups. These groups work daily on the seemingly mundane items in front of them and tackle the more complex issues ahead for others in the future. Voices are heard, opinions weighed with respect for others, and when debate arises, the individuals push through the conflict to find resolution. Success found through problem solving, collaboration, team work, work ethic, difficult decision making and other leadership skills is felt by all those involved. And the reverberations of their success spread to the outside world.
This is not an image I dreamed up. It is an actual account of what I witnessed when I arrived this summer as the consolidation work groups comprised of faculty, staff and students from both Universities continued their work. Where I expected conflict, I experienced collaboration.
On goals for my term
During my time at Armstrong, I will advocate for what’s best for students. My goal is to ensure the future success of Armstrong students by creating vibrant learning environments that foster a student-centered culture of engagement. This we currently do on the Armstrong campus, but with Georgia Southern University we can do even more. Through consolidation, we must provide more resources, opportunities, and options for students.
Going beyond our campus, we can be a part of an effort to build regional and statewide partnerships in technological innovation, scientific advancement, education, health services, artistic creativity, and cultural enrichment. The future of the consolidated institution is inextricably linked to the region’s future. I will engage with business and community leaders to determine how we can best meet workforce needs locally and nationally.
Georgia needs educational institutions that are equipping students to succeed in the rapidly changing 21st century global economy. I will work to ensure that the consolidated institution is transformational in this regard.
On ideal transition for Armstrong through consolidation
As your President during this transition, my goal is to instill a framework that will provide transformational learning opportunities to meet the needs of a diverse student population while retaining our commitment to academic excellence and personal attention.
Where students may have concerns about joining a larger institution, I am here to tell you we are doing everything in our power to create an environment that fosters the success of the individual and maintains the culture of learning that attracted you to Armstrong.
On my experience thus far at the University
Prior to arriving on this campus, I was the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia. I represented that institution around the state in outreach, engagement and economic development. I have spoken with many employers, non-profits, community leaders and decision-makers across the state. Over these past months, in my new position I have concentrated my efforts in the Savannah region.
Through this engagement, I know more about the world beyond our campus, the economy, workforce, community and quality of life for which we need to prepare you. But, more importantly, I know more about Armstrong, and the culture that nurtures the individual through commitment and dedication to a shared success.
If Armstrong students are successful, the community is successful. The University aims to enhance the quality of life and drive economic development in the Coastal Georgia region, the State of Georgia and beyond.
On a message for new students (and all students for that matter)
As your President, it is incumbent on me to think through not only the years you are with us, but those years beyond graduation and the decades to come. Our aim is to equip you to have a positive impact on the world around you.
You are not only students, you are future leaders in the field of your choice. Through the new Georgia Southern University, we aim to give you the skills needed by providing access to more academic programs, resources and degree offerings.
Your future is bright!