First day of class for 'New U' brings new attitudes

Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRW) -- Wednesday marked the first day of classes since Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities officially merged.

“Initially, I didn't like it. I hated the idea,” said former ASU student Alan Crawford.

But after his first day of class, Crawford admits the move actually has a few perks.

“It’s good for us as students. I'm going to get a much nicer diploma out of it, and we get to use the facility here,” he said.

“On this campus, of course, we're a health sciences campus, so we have more to offer the student because of that,” explained College of Nursing Dean Lucy Marion.

Crawford explained one of those aspects students are excited about is when they “get these great new simulators to use.”

A simulation lab, with dummies that blink and breathe and do almost everything a human patient can do, is what Crawford is talking about. It’s a teaching tool they didn't have at their old campus.

“It definitely affords some opportunities we didn't have there,” he said.

Physical equipment isn't the only thing they'll have easier access to now.

“We're going to be growing our graduate programs more over the next few years,” Marion said.

“They'll be able to apply to those graduate programs,” said Program Director of the Augusta State Teach Out Jean Pawl.

Now that they're joined, Georgia Regents has the largest nursing program in the state, and professors say that will be good for the community, too.

“We will be graduating about 150 new nurses each year,” Marion said.

“We actually need higher-educated nurses in this state. There's quite a shortage. For Augusta, it means you have more nurses to fill in those empty vacancies,” Pawl said.

More jobs is win for the city and a win for the students.

Now, the biggest concerns students have are things like printing and parking.

“’How do I get my things printed?’ ‘Where is my class located?’ Which I think that will fall away soon, and I think the concerns will be more ‘What do I need to study for my next test?'” Pawl said.

The Board of Regents officially approved the consolidation Tuesday.

The new university includes nine colleges, nearly 10,000 students and will mean about $1.3 billions for the City of Augusta.

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