Hank Huckabee is retiring as Chancellor of the University System of Georgia. He’ll end his tenure on December 31st. Expect a long line of folks to be positioning for this influential position over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, expect the replacement to continue to battle between the competitive rising costs of delivering a quality higher education product, and a public and legislature that wants to see fewer tuition increases while providing little or no additional tax dollars into the system.
Per a University System of Georgia news release:
University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby announced today his plans to retire at the end of this year, effective December 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 comprised 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 is a board member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.
He is active in the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), the National Association of System Heads (NASH), and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and is on the Georgia-based Alliance of Education Agency Heads. He was inducted into the National Academy of Public Administration in November 2014.
Georgia Trend named Huckaby the 2015 Georgian of the Year, and Leadership Georgia awarded him the 2015 J.W. Fanning Award.
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.
He is active in the United Methodist Church and has held numerous positions at the parish, conference and national levels. Huckaby and his wife, Amy, have two grown children and six grandchildren.