The University System of Georgia is at the forefront of national efforts to meet the most pressing challenges of higher education. They have launched several major initiatives with the goal of improving efficiency without compromising access to high-quality education, the state’s world class research, or potential economic development and community partnerships. One of their most ambitious strategies is to consolidate institutions that were previously autonomous, each with their own leadership, campuses, faculty, and students, to create wholly new universities.
Kennesaw State University is one of these new consolidated institutions, now consisting of two campuses eight miles apart. Its new combined enrollment makes it one of the 50-largest place-based universities in the country, with much of this growth occurring rapidly over the last twenty years. We collaborated with KSU on the creation of a new master plan for “one university.” The planning challenges were significant, particularly given limited resources. The key challenge was linking with the university’s concurrent strategic planning process to help understand institutional identity in the context of consolidation and rapid growth away from its commuter-oriented state college roots, and to translating this identity into strategies for connections between and across campuses, the geography of the university’s programs, and the quality of the student experience. The plan prioritizes future resource allocations in support of institutional mission so as to best support academic and social goals, place making and design opportunities, and the highest and best use of the university’s assets.