The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents was created in 1931 as a part of a reorganization of Georgia’s state government. With this act, public higher education in Georgia was unified for the first time under a single governing and management authority.

In 1943, the Board of Regents received constitutional authority to manage the University System. The Governor appoints members to the Board for seven-year terms.

Today the Board of Regents is composed of 19 members, five of which are appointed from the state at-large and one from each of the state’s 14 congressional districts. The Board selects a Chancellor who serves as its chief executive officer and the chief administrative officer of the University System.

The Chancellor oversees 26 institutions: four research universities, four comprehensive universities, nine state universities and nine state colleges. These institutions enroll more than 341,000 students and employ more than 48,000 faculty and staff to provide teaching and related services to students and the communities in which they are located.

The System Office has a staff of 535. The University System has an annual budget of $9.4 billion, of which the state appropriates $2.3 billion. The University System still enjoys strong support from the Governor and General Assembly, with annual capital investments exceeding $300 million and overall state funding support of about half the instructional budget.

In addition to the broad intellectual perspective and strong executive abilities that are required for effective leadership and management, the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia should possess:

  • A record of impeccable professional and personal integrity;
  • Credentials sufficient to earn the respect of the university community;
  • Executive leadership experience with the ability to represent a large and complex multi-campus system effectively to its varied constituents, governing board, legislature and other external bodies;
  • Commitment to a strong understanding of the ever-changing market of higher education and demonstrated success developing proactive, creative solutions to challenges;
  • The ability to articulate an academic and organizational strategic vision for the future of the University System;
  • Ability to hire experienced and effective team members;
  • Deep understanding of the political processes that impact the University System;
  • Understanding of and ability to lead a range of institutions from research universities to state universities to two-year colleges;
  • Demonstrated support for academic excellence;
  • A thorough understanding of how to impact budgeting and funding processes;
  • A successful record of and commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • Articulate the value of the University System and its role in economic development in the state;
  • Strong communication skills to deal with the range of perspectives and people essential to the University System;
  • The willingness as well as the ability to make difficult choices; and
  • Sensible, fair, compassionate and objective decision-making processes.

The University System of Georgia: A Model for the Nation

The University System of Georgia (USG) is one of the nation’s largest and most respected systems for higher education in the United States. Winner of the 2019-2020 Exceptional Agency Award from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, USG has been cited nationally for its excellent leadership, academic innovation, state government support and rise in student achievement.

Among other accomplishments, USG has embarked on seminal institutional consolidations that over the past decade reduced the number of institutions from 35 to 26 while improving services for students. It pioneered intervention and support systems to increase student access to college, close performance gaps and improve graduation rates as a member of Complete College America. And the groundbreaking Momentum Year initiative has drawn national attention for its use of data-driven analysis and increased support of all first-year USG students, driving up retention and completion rates as more students stay on track toward degree attainment.

Among other results, USG since 2011 experienced a 29% increase in students earning degrees annually. In FY 2020 alone, USG graduates received a record 70,879 degrees — the most in system history.

“Even for state college systems in relatively good financial shape, consolidation could make them fiscally leaner, help students learn more, and improve graduation rates. To do it right, college leaders should consider the example of the University System of Georgia.” James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

Consolidations

  • From 35 institutions to 26.
  • $30 million in administrative savings redirected to instruction and student support.
  • An independent review found:
    • 1.7% increase in one-year retention rates for first-time undergraduates.
    • 4-percentage-point increase in four-year graduation rates.
    • Decreased spending in student services and increased spending in academic support.
    • No statistically significant changes in per-credit-hour tuition or institutional financial aid, suggesting improvements in student outcomes were not accompanied by an increased net price.

Momentum Year

  • Minimum of three first-year courses in selected major or academic focus area.
  • Degree programs aligned to make it easier for first-year students to explore their interests.
  • Core English and math courses in first year.
  • Remedial education changes include intensive tutoring in conjunction with
  • courses being taken for credit.

Complete College Georgia

  • Early alert systems/predictive analytics used to alert faculty/staff when student performance dips.
  • Degree roadmaps help students avoid spending time and money in courses that do not count toward their degree.
  • 15 to Finish campaign encourages students to take 15 credit hours a semester, shortening the time it takes to graduate.

Board of Regents and USG

With its creation in 1931, the Board of Regents became the single governing and management authority over the University System of Georgia.

The governor appoints members of the Board to a seven-year term, and regents may be reappointed to subsequent terms by a sitting governor. Regents donate their time and expertise to serve the state in a position that is a voluntary one without financial remuneration.

Today, the Board is composed of 19 members, five of whom are appointed from the state-at-large and one from each of the state’s 14 congressional districts. The Board elects a Chancellor who serves as its chief executive officer and the chief administrative officer and oversees the public colleges and universities that comprise the University System of Georgia as well as the Georgia Archives and the Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS).

GPLS includes approximately 389 facilities within the 61 library systems throughout Georgia.

The Georgia Archives identifies, collects, manages, preserves and provides access to historical records and information about the state and maintains its official record.

Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

  • Created in 1931.
  • Has 19 members appointed by the governor of Georgia to seven-year terms. Regents can be reappointed to subsequent terms.
  • Represents each of the state’s 14 congressional districts, with five members chosen from the state at large.
  • Elects a Chancellor, who serves as the system’s chief executive officer and the chief administrative officer.
  • Oversees Georgia’s 26 public colleges and universities, the Georgia Archives and the Georgia Public Library Service.

USG and Georgia

With 26 public colleges and universities across Georgia, USG enrolls 341,000 students, employs over 48,000 staff and faculty and has a statewide economic impact of $18.5 billion.

The system and its institutions play a critically important role in local economies all across the state, offer degree programs ranging from associate through doctorate and help drive Georgia’s overall economy.

With an overall mission of research, teaching and service, USG and its governing Board of Regents are constitutionally independent but traditionally enjoy strong support from the Governor’s Office and the Georgia General Assembly.

Public investments in higher education include more than $2 billion in funding to public colleges and universities annually, with overall state funding support of about half the instructional budget and additional annual capital investments exceeding $300 million.

Steady funding and visibility for USG have helped raise institutions’ profile nationally. Georgia is one of only three states in the country with at least two institutions — the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia — ranked among the Top 15 public universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Georgia State University, the system’s largest institution with more than 53,000 students, increased its graduation rate by 62% in the past decade and is now ranked as the nation’s No. 1 public university for excellence in undergraduate teaching and the No. 2 most innovative university in the nation.

USG institutions also compete nationally for research dollars, with $1 billion annually in sponsored research conducted across the system. Research spending has grown 16.3% in just the past three years, with major research investments from the federal government, state and industry.

USG researchers are among the best from around the world, working in fields from human health to agricultural technology, artificial intelligence to advanced manufacturing and from quantum systems to sustainable materials. They also benefit from both public and private partnerships including investments by the Georgia Research Alliance, a collaboration between USG, partner universities and the Georgia Department of Economic Development to help seed and shape startup companies around campus-led inventions and discoveries.

USG By the Numbers

  • 26 institutions in four sectors: research universities (4), comprehensive universities (4), state universities (9) and state colleges (9).
  • 70,879 degrees awarded in FY 2020, the most in USG history.
  • 341,485 students, with record-setting systemwide enrollment in Fall 2020.
  • $9.4 billion annual budget.
  • $18.5 billion statewide economic impact in FY 2019.

USG Research

  • $1 billion annually in sponsored research.
  • 16.3% increase in research spending over the past 3 years.
  • Partnerships include the Georgia Research Alliance.

USG Sectors and Institutions

The size and scope of USG are among its greatest strengths, allowing for both an economy of scale and a diversity of missions that reach every corner of Georgia and all 159 of the state’s counties.

Its 26 higher education institutions uniquely include four research universities, four comprehensive universities, nine state universities and nine state colleges — for a total of four sectors.

While every campus takes pride in its individual accomplishments, history, tradition and setting, all find common purpose with others in their sector. Working within the context of USG’s overarching mission of knowledge, every sector has core characteristics that set it apart.

Research Universities

USG’s research institutions are recognized as among the best in the nation and the world, and share a common mission to have:

  • A statewide scope of influence, a commitment to excellence and responsiveness in academic achievements that impart national or international status;
  • A commitment to a teaching/learning environment, both inside and outside the classroom, that sustains instructional excellence, serves a diverse and well-prepared student body, provides academic assistance and promotes high levels of student achievement;
  • A commitment to wide-ranging research, scholarship and creative endeavors that are consistent with the highest standards of academic excellence, that are focused on organized programs to create, maintain and apply new knowledge and theories and that promote instructional effectiveness and enhance institutionally relevant faculty qualifications;
  • A commitment to public service, economic development and technical assistance activities designed to address the strategic needs of Georgia along with a comprehensive offering of continuing education programs, including continuing professional education to meet the needs of Georgia’s citizens for lifelong learning; and
  • A range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary academic programming at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels, as well as a range of professional programs at the baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate level including the doctoral level.

Comprehensive Universities

USG’s comprehensive institutions are recognized as among the best in the South, and share a common mission to have:

  • A commitment to excellence and responsiveness within a scope of influence defined by the needs of a specific region of the state, and by particularly outstanding programs or distinctive characteristics that have a magnet effect even beyond the region;
  • A commitment to a teaching/learning environment, both inside and outside the classroom, that sustains instructional excellence, serves a diverse and well-prepared student body, promotes high levels of student achievement, offers academic assistance and provides developmental studies programs for a limited student cohort;
  • A range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary academic programming at the baccalaureate and master’s levels, as well as a range of professional programs at the baccalaureate and post baccalaureate levels, including a limited number of professionally oriented doctoral level programs;
  • A commitment to public service, continuing education, technical assistance and economic development activities that address the needs, improve the quality of life and raise the educational level within the university’s scope of influence; and
  • A commitment to scholarly and creative work to enhance instructional effectiveness and encourage faculty scholarly pursuits and research in selected areas of institutional strength and focused on regional need.

State Universities

USG’s state universities are recognized as among the best in their region of the state, and share a common mission to have:

  • A commitment to excellence and responsiveness within a scope of influence defined by the needs of an area of the state, and by particularly outstanding programs or distinctive characteristics that have a magnet effect throughout the region or state;
  • A commitment to a teaching/learning environment, both inside and outside the classroom, that sustains instructional excellence, serves a diverse and college-prepared student body, promotes high levels of student achievement, offers academic assistance and provides developmental studies programs for a limited student cohort;
  • A high-quality general education program supporting a variety of disciplinary, interdisciplinary and professional academic programming at the baccalaureate level, with selected master’s and educational specialist degrees and selected associate degree programs based on area need and/or interinstitutional collaborations;
  • A commitment to public service, continuing education, technical assistance and economic development activities that address the needs, improve the quality of life and raise the educational level within the university’s scope of influence; and
  • A commitment to scholarly and creative work to enhance instructional effectiveness and to encourage faculty scholarly pursuits, and a commitment to applied research in selected areas of institutional strength and area need.

In addition to these core characteristics, Fort Valley State University and Savannah State University both have unique and distinct statewide missions as 1890 land-grant institutions. Both they and Albany State University are USG’s three HBCUs.

State Colleges

USG’s state colleges are the system’s gateway to public higher education in Georgia and have an important access mission.

Designed as highly flexible and dynamic institutions, state colleges are particularly responsive to workforce needs in their geographic areas.

The primary functions of a state college are to serve as the associate-level access institution in the local area and to offer a limited number of baccalaureate programs targeted to serve their region’s economic development needs.

For USG, this includes sector institutions characterized as balanced bachelor’s and associate state colleges offering bachelor’s degrees, associate programs and general education courses, but no graduate programs.

Other sector institutions are characterized as associate-dominant, select bachelor’s state colleges, offering associate dominant programs and general education courses, with very few, select, professionally oriented bachelor’s degree programs.

Application Process

The next Chancellor of the University System of Georgia will be chosen by the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, complete CV, and references) or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the Board.  Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. It is preferred that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to April 9, 2021, to:

Laurie C. Wilder, President
Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Erin Raines, Principal

Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway
Suite 2875
Atlanta, GA 30328 
pwilliams@parkersearch.com || eraines@parkersearch.com
Phone: 770-804-1996 x 109

The University System of Georgia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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