KSU/SPSU merger not likely to have a major effect on Georgia Highlands

Interim President of Georgia Highlands College Renva Watterson has confirmed that the merger of Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) and Kennesaw State University (KSU) will not affect the day-to-day operations of GHC’s Marietta site, which is located on the SPSU campus.

Georga Highlands is currently in a three-year contract with SPSU headed into the third year. According to Watterson, there will not be any immediate changes to GHC’s Marietta site.

In November 2013, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted to approve merging the two universities. The first class of the merged institutions is expected to begin fall 2015.

Dan Papp, Kennesaw State University President, will serve as the president of the consolidated school. An implementation team has been put in place by the Board to oversee the consolidation.

According to SPSU President Lisa Rossbacher, there will be a limited impact on the students. However, she does agree with the Georgia Board of Regents that the consolidation is necessary to increase educational opportunities. “I expect that nearly all of the academic programs that already exist at SPSU will continue, and some of them will grow significantly,” said Rossbacher.

There were numerous SPSU protests in regard to this merge. Some SPSU students believe that the merger will change the value of their engineering degrees.

GHC students seem less affected by the news. “A lot of SPSU students are worried about the programs being changed. They have to get used to that. This will bring more recommendation to both schools,” said Desmond Battle, GHC biology major at the Marietta campus.

Watterson and the GHC leadership team members met with Papp on Thursday, Dec. 12, to discuss collaborative work. This meeting was scheduled before the consolidation was being considered. “I reaffirmed then that KSU intends for us to stay at the Marietta campus,” said Watterson. According to Watterson, KSU made reference to the ongoing relationship they intend to have with GHC during a previous town hall meeting.

Ken Reaves, dean of GHC’s Marietta site, believes this merger will be an asset to GHC. “This merger will strengthen our relationship with KSU,” he said.

The KSU presence on GHC’s Paulding campus has served as a steppingstone for the growing relationship of the two institutions.

Watterson stated that a work group will be put together from GHC that will be directly involved with the implementation team. Rossbacher believes that SPSU has committed the space to GHC and will continue to offer it. “We will continue to work collegially to share the available space most efficiently and to educate students as well,” she said.