Georgia’s state colleges and universities are now sub-divided into four different classes – “sectors,” as the University System of Georgia calls them.
The Board of Regents approved the new policy last week.
The categories – research university, comprehensive university, state university and state college – both determine and are determined by a college’s program of study, the degrees it offers and other measures.
“In a time of scarce resources, it’s important for us to think about aligning our research and our teaching and our service assets against the most-pressing needs of the state,” said Houston Davis, the USG’s chief academic officer and executive vice chancellor. He was the chief architect of the policy and the system’s related strategic plan.
“One of those aspects is thinking about each of our institutions and the role they play in advancing education and in advancing research and creativity,” Davis said.
Davis said the sector policy does not mean schools in the lower tiers get less funding or resources.
“This is not about a zero-sum game where there are winners and losers,” he said. “It really is just about, we have our existing resources. Are we being good stewards of those resources?”
Davis said these kinds of classifications are already part of the world of higher education. The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed a classification system for colleges and universities starting in 1970. And he said this kind of sector classification is not new for Georgia.
“This certainly is getting to a policy that is more prescriptive about those roles. That certainly is new within the last decade, but it is not new within the history of the university system,” Davis said.
The idea behind the classifications is to make the most use of funding, degree programs and facilities, Davis said.
“It’s staying focused on a particular niche in your region of the state or in the state as a whole.”