KSU-SPSU merger makes no sense
November 04, 2013 11:48 PM | 5182 views | 13 13 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR: The decision to consolidate Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University makes no more sense that consolidating UGA and Georgia Tech.

If any consolidation makes any kind of sense at all it would be to consolidate SPSU back into Georgia Tech, as it was when I attended SPSU, which by the way had some problems associated as well. SPSU has prospered into the institution it is because its leaders have totally focused on SPSU.

The KSU and SPSU consolidation might be a positive thing for empire-building KSU President Dr. Papp, but I can assure you that there is nothing positive of any kind for anyone associated with SPSU. This includes the current students, faculty, alumni, employers who seek to hire SPSU graduates, the city of Marietta and the state of Georgia. A degree from KSU in Mechanical Engineering or Computer Science will be worth virtually nothing without the reputation that SPSU has built over the past 60 years.

I attended SPSU in the latter part of the 1970s (BSMET, 1978) and at that time the enrollment was virtually the same as KSU and we were a division of Georgia Tech, by the way.

Since then, SPSU has grown at a controlled pace with a single-minded commitment to quality, while KSU seems to have a single-minded commitment to becoming bigger and bigger.

While this merger might seem to make some sense to the Board of Regents simply because SPSU and KSU happen to be located within 10 miles of each other and they can save a few dollars by eliminating the very administration that has created the reputation that SPSU enjoys, the overall cost of this decision far outweighs any financial benefit.

SPSU as we know it today will cease to exist as a result of this move. Current and future students will look for a technical education from an institution with a reputation that gives them a competitive advantage in the job market. Does anyone think for a second that such a degree from KSU will be any kind of competitive advantage?

It is well documented that we are facing a growing shortage of engineers and scientists in the United States.

To make any kind of decision that diminishes SPSU in any way will just contribute to this shortage. SPSU and Georgia Tech have been huge attractions to companies considering relocating to Georgia.

Someone from the Board of Regents needs to go ask Lockheed Martin how they feel about this move. Lockheed Martin has been a very significant corporate partner and employer of SPSU graduates for 60 years.

SPSU is a gem and will be destroyed under the tutelage of KSU. Starting now with this letter it is my intention to do whatever I possibly can to stop this absurd action and I strongly recommend that all the aforementioned stakeholders do the same.

I can think of a dozen other ways for the Board of Regents to save some money, starting with closing some of the liberal arts institutions that are graduating multitudes who cannot find work, and stop trying to penalize an institution who makes such a significant contribution to the betterment of society and our community.

Allen Williams

Six Sigma Master Black Belt

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Southern Tech Alum
November 05, 2013
Maybe there are some limited "upsides" to merging but the downsides would seem to greatly outweigh the positives. Particularly for SPSU. This seems to be a one-sided takeover, not a merger that was handled behind close doors without any public discussion.

To completely erase the legacy 60 years of Southern Tech and just become the school of engineering and architecture at KSU may very well diminish the value of what SPSU has struggled to become.

For too many of those 60 years Southern Tech has suffered like a "foster child" while being neglected as a division of Georgia Tech or simply underfunded by the BoR. But throughout the tough times it has made tremedous progress in expanding its programs of study, many that are unique offering in the state and growing to a respectable size for a speciality university.

You would think that the BoR would be more imaginative and forward thinking in championing the unique attributes that make SPSU standout among the other university system schools rather than erasing it to aid in creating another large regional university.

By doing this the BoR is actually reducing the variety of educational offerings to the state's residents, not improving them. At the end of the day when this merger is completed what will be the "real" difference between UGA, Georgia Southern, KSU and even GSU for that matter. Aside from geographic location they will all be "about the same" aside from UGA being the "flagship" university of the system.

What a DISGRACE by the Board of Regents.

November 05, 2013
I'm a currently enrolled student at SPSU, and I for one am not coming back next semester. I would rather go in debt at GA tech than to step foot on a KSU campus. I choose SPSU over the rest for specific reasons, and those are the same as everyone else: small class size, great reputation, and I won't be just another number. KSU is overrated and need us, we do not need them. When we decide we need help on writing a paper we will let you know, in the mean time leave us to the real hard work like calculus and you all stay down on your end arguing over grammar.
November 05, 2013
What KSU doesnt understand if they merge with SPSU and tuition, food, housing increases then maybe a ot of SPSU students cant afford that would drop out and this school would be a bigger deficit. If you check the housing, the meal plans and the rest you would see what I am talking about. Isn't funny how they don't say how much we would have to pay if this merger goes through.
November 05, 2013
Totally agree - KSU/SPSU make no sense. SPSU & GA Tech merger makes way more sense if a merger has to occur.
political move
November 05, 2013
What people need to understand is that this is part of "one size fits all". The Board of Regents do not care what anyone, including the president, at SPSU thinks. They do not care what the rest of the public thinks. This is Jam it Through time and they intend to do it. In other words, they are doing away with one of our universities. SPSU will soon be no more. Jo Mac Wilson must be whirling in his grave.
Craig Stack Acworth
November 05, 2013
Your opening comment makes no logical sense at all. Are you aware that UGA just opened their School of Engineering two years ago? So consolidating UGA and GA Tech would obviously be a completely different situation than merging SPSU and KSU. To the extent that there is very little overlap between the two schools, SPSU and KSU each bring to each other skill sets, knowledge and resources that each do not have on their own. Isn't that what a good marriage is all about?

As with any new challenge, it's useful to first ask "Has anybody else experienced this same situation?" The answer is, of course, yes, and numerous previous examples give us a very simple solution: For those students who are already matriculating at SPSU, they should have the choice to have either SPSU on their diploma or KSU on their diploma when they graduate. For students entering SPSU beginning next Fall 2014, they have plenty of notice that they will graduate from KSU, so if not having SPSU on their diploma is a deal breaker, they can choose to attend another university.

I love the passion that many SPSU students are expressing for their school but at this point, I would encourage them to funnel that passion into more productive discussions, e.g., the KSU School of Engineering is going to need a Dean so start a campaign to get their current President, Dr. Rossbacher, named as the first Dean of the School.

The combination of SPSU and KSU has the potential to create a third formidable University in the state of Georgia and it can be done in a way that creates new opportunities for students while still maintaining some of attributes that currently make SPSU a unique place of learning.

If you learn nothing else in college, let it be this: Your only limitation is the limit of your imagination.
Andy Deane
November 05, 2013
As a current SPSU student I can tell you that I had the opportunity to apply to KSU when I was picking my college. I chose SPSU because I liked the small class sizes, the hands on labs, and accessibility to the professors. If I had wanted to graduate from KSU I would have gone there.

In response to the complementary skill sets, all of the previous mergers have been done to reduce duplication in the system. Why is it that with this merge when there is extremely little in common it is justified as complementary differences? All of the previous were also focused on two colleges who were struggling prior to the merge. SPSU has grown 36% in the last six years. We don’t need a merge. KSU is the third largest college in Georgia; they don’t need a merge either.

Also SPSU fills a niche in the college market. If someone wanted a high quality engineering college education from a small hands on school then they came to SPSU. Georgia Tech's curriculum is much more theoretically based than SPSU's. They cannot be hands on in the same way that SPSU is due to the number of people in their program. Now, with the forced closing of SPSU as we know it, the only high quality small college is Mercer which doubles my tuition if I was to transfer.

This whole decision is being handled with no respect for what I chose for my college education. I chose SPSU and I refuse to give up because a group of appointed people think it is a good idea to take away our college. It especially angers me that the board of regents has decided to do this with no regard to how the student body feels. If they wish to save money then they need to do it in a way that does not jeopardize my education.

November 05, 2013
We need to lobby for Dr. Papp to be fired. He's no leader, he's a dictator!

SPSU KSU Outsider
November 05, 2013
I agree 100%. Right now any kind of tech degree from KSU is worth less than the paper it is printed on and companies know that. They will also know after 2015 that a KSU degree in tech is actually an SPSU degree and it will carry that weight. The idea that a degree becomes worthless because of a change of letterhead is laughable. Why would you want to work for a company too stupid to recognize this very simple fact.

To those thinking SPSU should move back with GT, this would create even more redundancy and loss of the faculty/staff you tout so highly. Although that would save a lot more money so maybe that should be done instead. As for small class sizes, so what if your English class now has 200 students, your tech classes will probably remain roughly their current size.

If the last round of consolidation taught us anything, it's that the BOR is going to do what it wants.
November 05, 2013
The guide lines set two years ago by the BoR for merging two schools were that they must have overlapping curriculum and the two student bodies must be similar. Along with this in every other merger the BoR has allowed the two schools to work together to rename the new school where it has not here. Last, to speak to the BoR to voice your opinion about a vote you must request 15 days before the meeting, students and staff were told only 12 days before this vote.

The merger/absorption may happen but the process shows that the BoR have other motives here.
SPSU EE/Math Student
November 05, 2013
Saying "so what" to non-technology classes is ridiculous.

The set of math classes the majority of the majors at SPSU have to take include Calc I, II, and III, Discrete Math, Linear Algebra. This upcoming Spring, the initial capacity of students in a Precalculus class (which is the prerequisite for most engineering classes) at KSU is 55. At SPSU, the max is 24. PLEASE tell me how that DOESN'T make a difference?
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