University of North Georgia President Bonita Jacobs will spend this week in Vienna, Austria, where she plans to talk about the university’s 2013 consolidation as a panelist on trends in education during the International Association of Presidents triennial conference July 5-8.
“I was honored to be asked to serve on the panel to discuss innovative trends in higher education,” Jacobs wrote in an email to The Times Friday. “The University System of Georgia is unparalleled in its approach to institutional consolidations in the United States, but mergers have taken place in many countries around the world with varying degrees of success. Our successful consolidation of two strong institutions with differing missions presents a strong case study for other institutions.”
The University of North Georgia was formed in 2013 through a consolidation of North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega and Gainesville State College in Oakwood. The university also has campuses in Watkinsville (Oconee), Blue Ridge and Cumming.
“I am discussing the priorities and challenges of our consolidation, as well as the positive outcomes, which include strengthening college completion rates through multiple pathways for students, creating greater efficiencies through shared resources and creating a comprehensive regional impact,” Jacobs said in the email. “Both institutions were very strong prior to consolidation, and today UNG is a leading regional university that is a driving force in educational attainment and economic development.”
Jacobs, who is in her second year of involvement in the association, said she became involved with the group after other presidents encouraged her because of the school’s international participation and the fact that 12 languages are taught at UNG.
“The opportunity to meet presidential colleagues from around the world and share ideas and experiences provides a wider global perspective,” she said in the email. “Several of the countries where our nine Fulbright students are studying this year will have university presidents in attendance, and I look forward to the opportunity to connect with them to learn about their institutions and students.”
The conference will also highlight innovations in industry and university collaborations, 21st century challenges for higher education, new university models and approaches to education, and modern technologies, according to a UNG news release.