KSU-SPSU merger will create a powerhouse
June 02, 2014 12:00 AM | 1680 views | 4 4 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

KSU President Dr. Dan Papp almost got it right during his State of the University address when he described what will result from the merger of Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University.

“The consolidation of these two fine universities will create an educational and economic powerhouse for the state of Georgia, and for that matter, the nation,” he said.

That’s true as far as it goes. But Papp would have been more accurate had he said, “The consolidation of these two powerhouse universities will create an educational and economic juggernaut for the state of Georgia, and, for that matter, the nation.”

That is, KSU and SPSU are already powerhouse insitutions of higher learning, and have been for quite some time.

Papp’s challenge, and that of those at SPSU, is to find a logical way to bring the two together in ways that enhance what they offer, and with the least possible further stress. Students and faculty at the two — especially those at SPSU — were caught off guard by the state Board of Regents’ merger decision last fall. But the focus in recent months has shifted toward how best to weave the two together.

“Without minimizing the budgetary challenges we face, and without minimizing the angst that consolidation has created, I believe that the state of Kennesaw State is excellent,” Papp said.

Papp says the SPSU campus will not be a subordinate satellite of KSU’s. Rather, there will be two core campuses, he said. The SPSU campus will be called “the Marietta campus” and will be home to at least three of the combined schools’ colleges: the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, the College of Architecture and Construction Management and the College of Computing and Software Engineering.

Meanwhile, several major construction projects are under way at KSU, including a $39 million recreation center, a $22 million expansion of the college of education and an $18 million bridge over Interstate 75 between Frey Road and Busbee Drive. It should go far toward alleviating the traffic around the KSU campus. In addition, KSU recently bought the BrandsMart building for use by its new marching band, which will play at halftime of the games played by its new football team. The BrandsMart building, by the way, will have space for 722 badly needed parking places.

Papp’s speech was a reminder KSU and SPSU are centers of educational and economic dynamism, and those trademarks are likely only to accelerate.



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Porschephile
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June 13, 2014
Realist 1 and Realist 2 make some excellent points. This entire merger debacle of SPSU and KSU was brokered by the Board of Regents and the governor and represents politics at its best. Several pertinent and logical questions have been presented to the BoR and the governor. They all remain unanswered. In fact, they haven't even been acknowledged.

Governor Deal proclaims the BoR is completely autonomous and is answerable to no one. Really? Didn't he have a hand in appointing the members? They get their pay checks with regularity, thanks to the taxpayers of Georgia. If the citizens are paying their tab, shouldn't Georgians at least be able to get answers to their questions? Shouldn't they have input as to how their hard-earned tax dollars are spent and how their children are educated? If the BoR isn't accountable, isn't it time they should be?

This merger is totally one-sided, with KSU being the beneficiary. In a highly technological world, the state of Georgia is placing one of its finest resources of technology growth in jeopardy.

Ironically, one of the elements that sets Southern Tech apart from other engineering schools probably will be the first victim of the merger. Southern Tech has always required professors of engineering/technology to have pertinent industry experience. Imparting the practical knowledge gained by the professors is invaluable to their students. It gives students a view of the real world that cannot come from a book or computer.

This normally isn't the case with liberal arts institutions. They place more value on research, publishing, and other purely academic endeavors. This is fine if you are studying French art history. But if you are designing an aircraft or a skyscraper, where life and limb are at stake, nothing is more valuable than having experience teach you. This situation likely will be seen very quickly with the merger.

Elimination of duplication is a byword of the BoR mergers. Does this mean an engineering student will have to go to KSU to take an English course? If not, English will have to be offered on the Southern Tech campus, just as it has been for the last 66 years. Has any merger saved any money as yet? Another unanswered question posed to the BoR.

It's of concern that Southern Tech will lose its history, culture, rigor, and academic excellence in the merger. In addition, it is highly suspicious that Southern Tech essentially will be dismantled so soon after UGA expands its foray into engineering education. This suspiciously smacks of crony politics, again.

Georgia Tech is the premier engineering school in the state. It has evolved into a research institution with a mission of theory rather than the applied. UGA engineering probably aspires to Georgia Tech's level and again will be a school teaching the theoretical

Southern Tech teaches all the theory most undergraduate engineers and scientists need, but this is grounded in the practical aspects of the discipline. It is feared this will be lost in the liberal and liberal arts environment of KSU.

If saving dollars and elimination of duplication are the objectives of the BoR, consolidate Georgia Tech and Georgia State. Their proximity could not be closer. They are across the street from each other and are fraught with duplicate courses. If merging KSU and little Southern Tech is good and makes economic sense, then a GSU/GT merger would be better and save even more money for Georgia taxpayers. This is another question the BoR should have the courage to answer.

You, the BoR needs to provide an answer to your employers, the taxpayers of Georgia.



Realist 2
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June 11, 2014
Realist 1 you act like KSU And its president chose for this to happen which is not the case. If you want someone to vent about aim it towards the Georgia Board of Regents there the ones who made this decision, and forced both to consolidate.
Realist 1
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June 11, 2014
R-2:

The SPSU merger will benefit KSU, not the other way around. So, what does Papp have to lose? However, the MANNER in which this "merger" is being handled is nothing short of a hostile takeover. Yes, the BoR is responsible. For that matter, so is the governor. But, the actions and comments of Papp and his pirate crew are most objectionable and have created fear, angst and apathetic workers at SPSU. This "consolidation" is covering fairly new ground and involves so many Operational Work Groups that those in attendance lost count long ago. At first, it seemed that KSU cared about the opinions/input of department heads, deans and administrators of both schools. As the months of OWGs and travel back/forth progressed it was vividly apparent that NONE of the thoughts and concerns of SPSU were being considered and a preconceived agenda was in place. Papp is at the helm of his employee-heavy KSU ship. The many jobs reduced or lost were at Southern Poly and have affected ALL who work there. There are many departments at KSU that employ five people to do the job that one admin can do at SPSU. Yes, there are more students at KSU, but why is every department so compartmentalized with workers who only perform one aspect of their job. The admins and dept. heads at SPSU do multiple jobs and those jobs will be gone soon. Papp is responsible for the decisions made by his KSU cohorts and has made clear he cares not for the opinions or welfare of those at SPSU.
Realist 1
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June 09, 2014
“Without minimizing the budgetary challenges we face, and without minimizing the angst that consolidation has created, I believe that the state of Kennesaw State is excellent,” Papp said.

Papp says the SPSU campus will not be a subordinate satellite of KSU’s. Rather, there will be two core campuses, he said. The SPSU campus will be called “the Marietta campus” and will be home to at least three of the combined schools’ colleges: the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, the College of Architecture and Construction Management and the College of Computing and Software Engineering.

Dan Papp has NO idea what is happening at SPSU. The fallout is enormous. The "angst" he speaks of is palpable and sadly, has affected the morale of the entire campus. The faculty and staff at SPSU are being treated with disrespect and indifference. It's a shame that such a vibrant, highly-rated school such as SPSU has to become the "south campus" of a liberal arts machine.

So many at SPSU have left (every day), and others are just afraid their jobs will be eliminated. Some will face pay cuts to do the same job and in addition, will have to drive farther AND pay for parking at the KSU campus or the SPSU campus. Still others have learned their departments will be subjugated by departments on the KSU ("north") campus. No, Papp, you don't get it. Real People with Real Lives are involved, not just slots on an org chart. Do not kid yourself, BoR and Papp, this IS a hostile takeover, not a consolidation. Shame on you for trivializing this conflagration of SPSU. By the way, KSU, how do you rationalize the fact that so few upper level administrators wield so much power? How can one VP have the titles of Vice President for Operations, Chief Business Officer and Chief Information Officer?
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