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Georgia higher ed chief Hank Huckaby will step down in December

Here is the statement from the Board of Regents on the retirement announcement today from Chancellor Hank Huckaby. (You can read more at this story by AJC higher ed report Janel Davis.)

University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby announced today his plans to retire at the end of this year, effective Dec. 31. Serving as the University System’s 12th chancellor, Huckaby oversees the 29 public colleges and universities that serve 318,164 students.

“Public higher education touches all aspects of our society. It is the fabric that holds us together and is an investment that pays dividends for life,” said Huckaby. “The University System is one of the great strengths of Georgia, and I am grateful to have been able to serve with the faculty and staff who bring it to life every day to serve our students. The University System holds an incredibly bright future for the next generation.”

Huckaby assumed the role of chancellor on July 1, 2011. At the time, the University System was composed of 35 institutions and served 298,510 students.

“Chancellor Huckaby has been a lifelong public servant to the State of Georgia, and public higher education has been his special calling,” said Board of Regents Chairman Kessel Stelling.  “The Board and I express our sincere thanks and appreciation for all Hank has done to support the students, faculty, staff and everyone who will touch the University System for years to come.”

Under Huckaby’s leadership, the University System of Georgia (USG):

•Increased the number of graduates year-over-year: In 2011, the USG graduated 54,855 students. Through the Complete College Georgia initiative, the USG has been working to increase this number year-over-year, and graduated 62,545 students in 2016, a 14 percent increase over 2011.

•Consolidated institutions to better serve students and the state: Since 2011, the USG has reduced the number of institutions from 35 to 29 and reinvested the savings into programs and expanded academic courses for students. The consolidations completed so far have redirected an estimated $19.6 million from administrative costs to student programs and support services.

•Launched a system-wide campus safety initiative: In May 2015, the USG implemented a campus safety initiative that mandated System-led training and centralized the implementation and oversight of campus safety policies, procedures and requirements. Each institution will have its own campus safety committee for the 2016-2017 academic year.

•Expanded the use of free textbooks to help keep costs down for students: The USG has been rapidly expanding the use and availability of open educational resources that can serve as free or low-cost eTextbooks. USG students saved approximately $16.5 million in textbook costs during the 2015-2016 academic year. The USG was recently recognized by Rice University-based publisher OpenStax for saving its students the most money of any school or school system on textbooks last year.

Prior to becoming chancellor, Huckaby was a teacher and administrator in the University System and also taught at private colleges and universities. He served in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, first as a senior policy coordinator and later as its director. Huckaby also served as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and as the executive director of the Georgia Residential Finance Authority.

Huckaby represented Georgia House District 113 for the 2011 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly prior to being named chancellor. Huckaby serves as a trustee of Young Harris College, where he earned an associate’s degree. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Georgia State University and continued his education through additional graduate studies at the University of Georgia.



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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.