Starting next January, thousands of Central Georgia students will be attending Middle Georgia State College.
That's the new name for the merged Macon State and Middle Georgia College.
The state board of regents approved the name change Tuesday.
The regents are also putting the new school on the track to university status.
That includes offering some master's programs beginning in fall 2014, if a regional accreditation agency agrees.
Macon state has campuses in Macon and Warner Robins. Middle Georgia College operates in Cochran, Eastman and Dublin.
This year they have a combined 9,100 students.
Here is the news release from Macon State:
Regents Approve Middle Georgia State College
As New Name For Macon State/ Middle Georgia Consolidated Institution
Middle Georgia State College will be the name of the new institution created by the consolidation of Macon State College and Middle Georgia College.
In addition to approving the name change on Tuesday, May 8, the University System of Georgia's Board of Regents laid out a path for elevating the consolidated institution to university status after a review process. At the end of that process, the institution's name would be changed to Middle Georgia University, the Regents decided.
The name Middle Georgia State College becomes effective and the consolidation official in January 2013. Six months later, under the resolution approved by the Regents, the newly consolidated institution will embark on a self-study that will analyze such issues as:
1) The adequacy of existing associate and bachelor-level programs to meet the access mission and to provide a solid foundation and pipeline on which to build new graduate programs;
2) Enrollment trends;
3) Retention, progression and graduation rates;
4) The effectiveness of a comprehensive program review and the use of the results to modify and eliminate programs;
5) A college completion plan to help more students finish degrees; and
6) Employment trends for graduates.
The review also will assess the region's higher education needs and analyze Middle Georgia State College's readiness for a mission change. According to the process, upon completion of the self-study the institution will submit the results to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the accrediting agency, by June 2014 for its review and approval.
Upon SACS approval, Middle Georgia University would begin offering select master's degrees in fall 2014.
"I firmly believe that the consolidated institution, which will combine the already considerable strengths of Macon State and Middle Georgia colleges, would be a formidable force for great economic and social change as a university," said Dr. Jeff Allbritten, Macon State's president who has already been tapped to become the first president of the consolidated institution. "We look forward to the review process and the chance to demonstrate our strengths and our resolve. In the meantime, Middle Georgia State College is going to make a huge splash in this region."
The Regents also approved a new mission statement for the consolidated institution. The statement, which was written with the input of faculty, staff and top administrators at both Macon State and Middle Georgia colleges, as well as members of a broad-based implementation committee, says: "The mission of Middle Georgia State College is to serve the educational needs of a diverse population through high quality programs connected to community needs in a global context and to serve as a leader for the intellectual, economic, and cultural life of the region."
Tuesday's decisions by the Regents are significant milestones in the consolidation process, an initiative launched by University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby early this year. Huckaby envisions consolidation as an important part of his program to create greater efficiencies in the system's operations while enhancing academic opportunities for students.
As did the six other University System institutions slated for consolidation, Macon State/Middle Georgia created an implementation committee made up of representatives of both schools and regional leaders. The committee and work teams are figuring out the technical and other aspects of consolidating the two institutions. Among other things, the committee is working on issues related to academic, fiscal and student affairs; technology, naming, branding and marketing; facilities; and development and foundations.
Middle Georgia College, founded 1884, has campuses in Cochran, Dublin and Eastman. Fall semester enrollment was 3,424 students. Macon State College, founded in 1968, has campuses in Macon and Warner Robins and operates the Robins Resident Center on base. Fall enrollment was 5,702 students.