Troy State branches will consolidate by 2005

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Troy State University is evolving into what its chancellor sees as the &uot;new model of American higher education.&uot;

Troy State leaders went public this week with a strategic plan to restructure the university's independently accredited campuses into one accredited university system.

&uot;This is what we see as the future of higher education,&uot; said Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., chancellor.. &uot;It's a business model that has worked - and worked well,&uot; he said. &uot;We're focusing on our customer - the student - and what we need to do to serve their needs.&uot;

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The Troy, Dothan and Montgomery campuses - all of which operate with independent accreditation - will be unified under one system. The restructuring will eliminate duplication and what leaders describe as barriers within the Troy State University system.

Those barriers deal mainly with articulation - the transfer of class credits between campuses - and expansion of course offerings. It will also end the conflict of institutional identity. Administratively, the new system will help the university save some $16 million over the next 10 years, due in part to eliminating duplication, according to Dave Barron, who heads university relations.

The result will be a university system with more than 22,191 students that sees its mission as neither a regional system nor a major research university. It is, as Hawkins described, &uot;a new model of higher education,&uot; combining traditional courses with a virtual university and, unique to Troy State, a global University College that teaches courses to military personnel around the world.

&uot;It's a streamlined model, with very high standards,&uot; Hawkins said.

The university will consolidate and streamline using approach based on what Hawkins described as the &uot;SouthTrust Model of Success,&uot; as outlined by Wallace

D. Malone Jr., chairman and CEO of The SouthTrust Corporation.

&uot;I believe this will be increasingly essential in higher education,&uot; Hawkins said. &uot;During the next decade

30 to 50 percent of the accredited colleges and universities will be faced with mergers or closings,&uot; he said, referring to national predictions on the fate of the country's more than 3,700 colleges and universities.

Troy State is taking that step early and, in doing so, strengthens its position for the future, he said.

Publisher Stacy Graning contributed to this report.