By Dan Hayes, News Editor
Just over six months into his new job as president of Georgia Southern University, Dr. Jaimie Hebert learned that his university would soon grow into three campuses. This January campuses in Savannah and Hinesville joined their mother campus in Statesboro to become the consolidated Georgia Southern University. In between his busy schedule running a triplet of campuses Dr. Hebert took some time to answer questions we thought were relevant to the students of the Armstrong campus.
Inkwell: “What changes can Armstrong students expect to encounter over the semester?”
President Hebert: “Academically, we have made this as seamless a transition as possible for students. Current students can continue and finish their degree programs on the campus on which they started. Much of the consolidation work now is administrative and will not impede the ability of our students to complete their studies.”
Academic policies also will remain the same this semester.
Georgia Southern University and the University System of Georgia (USG) have undertaken extensive measures to successfully minimize the impact on faculty and staff throughout the consolidation process. Each existing faculty member has a position in the consolidated University.
Inkwell: “What is the identity of Georgia Southern and why should Armstrong students be proud to assume it?”
President Hebert: “To consolidate two universities, by definition, means to bring them together, unite, solidify and strengthen them. As such, Georgia Southern University is built upon the principles and traditions of two very strong institutions. Traditions of the two Universities will be reflected across all three of Georgia Southern’s campuses — the Armstrong Campus in Savannah, the Statesboro Campus and the Liberty Campus in Hinesville.
Some aspects of both universities, including faculty and staff who are actively invested in our students’ success and who continue to be accessible for personal interactions and provide students with hands-on learning experiences, remain the same and are only strengthened by additional resources and opportunities. We are also committed to upholding the longstanding traditions of supporting our veteran and military students through benefits, scholarships and resources.
Although some changes have taken place, University students, faculty and staff are continuing and growing events and traditions that have become an important part of the university experience while also preserving the history of the two institutions.
Former Georgia Southern and Armstrong students are all part of a new University, and one that serves as the cultural, educational and technical leader in our region — coastal and southeastern Georgia — the State of Georgia and beyond. Our values of civility, kindness, integrity, respect, sustainability and social responsibility make the Georgia Southern community exceptionally unique. These are things we can all be proud to be a part of.”
Inkwell: “How does the University plan to utilize the robust athletic facilities on the Armstrong campus?”
President Hebert: “An assessment of the athletic facilities on the Armstrong Campus has been conducted for which a final report is currently in process.”
Inkwell: “Will there be any Division-1 athletic events occurring on the Armstrong campus this semester?”
President Hebert: “The assessment of the the athletic facilities on the Armstrong Campus will also determine which facilities meet NCAA Division 1 standards. When the final report is available, we will be able to make a decision regarding the best use of each facility. Currently, there are no games scheduled to take place on the Armstrong Campus this semester.”
Inkwell: “How do you, as president, plan to manage a University of three far-flung campuses?”
President Hebert: “The distance between Georgia Southern’s campuses is not an impediment as we are all working toward one goal – the success of our students. I spend time on each of the campuses meeting and working with students, faculty and staff as well as staying involved with the community. The University’s entire leadership team also will have a regular presence on all three campuses.”
Inkwell: “Do you consider Savannah and Hinesville to be satellite campuses of Georgia Southern?”
President Hebert: “Georgia Southern is one university with three dynamic campuses, none of which are considered to be satellite campuses. Each of the three campuses are student-centered environments essential to fulfilling the University’s mission and focus on our highest priority – student success. We are now taking a bold approach to our programs and education in order to ensure student success, and to ensure that we have a real impact on our region and our state.”