Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Georgia Southern University President Bruce Grube Stepping Down

Bruce Grube has announced that he is stepping down as President of Georgia Southern University effective June 30, 2009. On July 1, 2009, Grube will take one year of educational leave to prepare to return to the classroom as a professor of Political Science for the 2010-2011 academic year at Georgia Southern University.

In addition to preparing to return to the classroom, Grube will also serve as a consultant and mentor with the University System of Georgia where he will work with new and newer presidents within the 35-school state system. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia will begin a national search to replace Grube.

Grube began his tenure as the 11th President of Georgia Southern University July 1, 1999. During his presidency, Georgia Southern University has undergone the greatest increase in academic quality, and the greatest expansion of physical facilities than during any other comparable period in the history of the institution.

“It has certainly been an honor beyond words for my wife Kathryn and me to have served at Georgia Southern University,” Grube said.

Grube recently informed the University System of Georgia of his plans to step down as president next year, providing the University time to complete a search and transition to a new president. “While I have enjoyed serving as President, I am excited to begin this next chapter in my life. Kathryn and I are looking forward to spending more time with friends and family.”

Timing played a role in his decision. “It is the right time for the University. The University’s strategic plan has been developed and put into action, numerous construction projects are underway and a new president will have the opportunity to come in and not only build upon what the University has already accomplished, but take Georgia Southern to new a level. An experienced leadership team is in place and we have an outstanding base of alumni, friends and supporters not only at the institution, but in the community, the state of Georgia and throughout the country.”

University System of Georgia executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer Susan Herbst, applauded Grube’s service, “During Dr. Grube’s tenure, Georgia Southern University has made tremendous progress in nearly all areas. He has expanded university facilities, beautified the campus, introduced the most sophisticated practices in higher education, and inspired his faculty, staff and students. Most important has been his keen and unyielding focus on academic excellence and achievement.”

President Grube is a bold leader and a true intellectual; he has made Georgia Southern University one of the real success stories in academe today. We will miss him immensely. Dr. Grube has served as a visionary leader, not only for Georgia Southern, but the University System as well. His work has benefited and will continue to propel the entire system forward.”

Academic Success

Grube’s tenure has been marked by records in enrollment, academic quality, fundraising and retention. He has increased student enrollment by more than 3,200 full-time students during the past 10 years and the composite SAT score for incoming freshman has risen 124 points with the Fall 2008 class scoring a record 1111. In addition, the University has increased its student retention rate, a key measure of academic and University quality, from 69 percent to a record 81 percent this past fall. Under Grube’s leadership, Georgia Southern University was designated a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University and the institution has been featured in U.S. News &World Report’s Best Colleges guide. In addition, the institution was recently named one of the Top 100 Best Values by Kiplinger. While at Georgia Southern, Grube also oversaw the introduction of new ways to learn. The first Internet-based courses were introduced in 1999 and the University now offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees online via Georgia Southern University Online. A student may now also earn a full engineering degree while never leaving Georgia Southern University’s campus through a unique relationship with the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), while previously their only option was to take two years here before transferring to another institution. The Honors endowment has attracted significant support from donors, and the rapid growth of qualified applicants has ensured its success.

Perhaps one of the most visible additions has been the creation of two new colleges: the College of Information Technology, the only one of its kind in the Southeast, and the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health. Both have greatly expanded the University’s ability to offer unique and innovative programs that are not only in high demand, but result in the continued improvement in the quality of life in the Southeast.

Funding for the Future

Another remarkable accomplishment is the doubling of the amount of scholarships funded through the Georgia Southern Foundation, Inc. In 1999, scholarships totaled $644,000. In 2007, the Foundation distributed $1.3 million to deserving scholars. Georgia Southern University’s Campaign for National Distinction, between 2001 and 2006, set a new standard for private support, more than tripling the highest amount ever raised in a capital campaign collecting $53.1 million. In addition, thanks to private sector support, the University Foundation’s permanent endowment has grown from just more than $21 million in 2000 to nearly $40 million today. Finally, during the past 10 years, Georgia Southern has raised more $1 million each year through the A Day for Southern campaign.

Building for Growth

During the past decade, more than one billion dollars in capital has been invested in the growing campus. In fact, Georgia Southern has enjoyed a boom in new construction and building re-use since 1999. The College of Education building opened in 2000 and was followed in rapid succession by other academic and support buildings. Public service was given a huge boost when the expanded Nesmith-Lane building and its 825-seat Performing Arts Center opened in 2002.

One of the most visible additions to campus is the Zach S. Henderson Library. Serving as the center of campus, the University began a massive expansion of the facility and has since renovated the original structure. When complete, it will be among the finest university libraries in the Southeast.

Other major building projects completed during Grube’s tenure have included the College of Information Technology, building, the Nursing/Chemistry building, the Center for Art & Theatre, the Soccer and Track facility, the Gene Bishop building and the Bennett-Ramsey Golf Center.

Grube has also led projects to expand on-campus living. Residence halls like Southern Courtyard, Southern Pines and Eagle Village have set new standards for student housing. An even higher benchmark will soon be raised when the 1,001-bed Centennial Place is complete. It will feature recreational spaces and even retail shops on the ground floor.

On the Field

Another aspect of Georgia Southern’s success in the past 10 years is the excitement and institutional loyalty of students, faculty, staff and alumni brought about by athletics. Since 1999, Georgia Southern has enjoyed great athletic successes by both teams and individuals. Some of the accomplishments include two NCAA championships in football, two Walter Payton award winners, multiple NCAA tournament and playoff appearances, Southern Conference championships and a cheerleading national championship.

More recently, Grube launched a study to research the feasibility of moving its football program to the Football Bowl Subdivision. While President, Grube has served as Chair of the Council of Presidents of the Southern Conference and as Vice Chair of the Council of Presidents of the North Central Conference. He is currently a member of the NCAA Executive Committee and Division I Board of Directors. He also serves as Chair of the NCAA Division I Presidential Advisory Group.

“As I begin this next phase of my life, I will never forget the people or the students of Georgia Southern University. It has been an honor,” said Grube. Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University, offers more than 110 degree programs serving nearly 18,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. The University, one of Georgia’s largest, is a top choice of Georgia’s HOPE scholars and is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.

Quoting Bruce Grube

“I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved with engaged colleagues in the efforts that have resulted in such positive changes.”

“It has been an honor to work with the very supportive Statesboro and Bulloch County community—both the people and the leadership.”

“Without the team at Georgia Southern University and without the University community, the achievements of the past ten years could not have been realized. The University is clearly positioned to continue its vigorous progress, and it is a strong institution.”

“I have been very fortunate and lucky to have spent these past 10 years as President at Georgia Southern University. These have been the most rewarding years of my career.”

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Georgia College Students Invited to Enter 2009 Agnes Scott Writers' Festival Contest

Georgia college and university students may submit creative writing entries to the 2009Agnes Scott College Writers’ Festival contest until Dec. 15, 2008.

“The Writers' Festival contest is an opportunity for student writers to get their work critiqued by internationally known novelists, poets, dramatists and essayists; to see their work published in a beautiful magazine; to make connections with other outstanding student writers throughout the state and incidentally to win a fairly large cash prize,” says Rachel Trousdale, associate professor of English and contact for writers submitting their work.

The annual Writers’ Festival will be held March 26 -27 at Agnes Scott College. Featured writers Anita Desai and Junot Diaz will give a joint reading in Gaines Chapel March 26 at 8 p.m. and Memye Curtis Tucker, an Agnes Scott graduate, will read from her work at 10 a.m. in the Winter Theatre March 27. Pulitzer-nominated playwright Quiara Hudes, who wrote the book for “In the Heights,” 2008's Tony winner for Best Musical, will join the visiting writers to judge the competition and lead workshops for the finalists.

A first place prize of $500 will be awarded to each winner selected in four categories: creative nonfiction, fiction, playwriting and poetry. Finalists will be notified in January and their work will be published in the festival magazine in March. After a congratulatory luncheon on campus, winners will be invited to a workshop led by one of the visiting professional writers.

The Writers’ Festival contest accepts entries from students enrolled in any undergraduate or graduate program in a college or university in Georgia. Previously published work is not accepted and writers retain copyright after it appears in the festival magazine. Writers may submit materials in multiple genres and must conform to all of the guidelines to be considered. Entrants should send submissions to Rachel Trousdale, 2009 Agnes Scott College Writers Festival Contest, Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur, Ga. 30030. All entries must be postmarked by the deadline, Dec 15, 2008. Guidelines can be reviewed by visiting the Agnes Scott Web site at:

http://www.agnesscott.edu/events/writersfestival/creativewritingcompetition.aspx .

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UWG Fall Enrollment Peaks

Enrollment at the University of West Georgia has broken another record with an official fall semester total of 11,252 undergraduate and graduate students, which is a 5.4 percent increase from last year.

The University System of Georgia has designated the university as one of four comprehensive doctoral institutions in the state. West Georgia offers 115 programs of study that include 59 bachelor’s, 32 master’s, three doctorate and nine specialist degrees.

The university also offers online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and 12 certificate programs of study. University President Beheruz N. Sethna said the numbers are noteworthy.
"I am delighted at the significant increase in enrollment, which is above the average growth for the University System of Georgia and for our sector,” said Sethna.

“More significantly, I am very pleased at the way we are growing in standards and stature,” said Sethna. “For example, the SAT scores are 1010 and high school grade point average of entering freshman is 3.03. Based on current admission standards, only 24 percent of the fall 1994 entering freshmen would be admitted to UWG.”

We are grateful to our faculty and staff colleagues who make this happen, to our external friends and supporters, and most of all to our students who continue to invest in higher education for the betterment of their future, and that of UWG, the state, the nation and the world."

The fall 2008 numbers for first-time, full-time freshmen are 1,988, which is almost 11 percent higher than last year’s freshman class of 1,793. The retention rate has also increased for that group to 75 percent.

The USG predicts that the state of Georgia will experience an increase of 100,000 students in higher education in the next decade and West Georgia is preparing to serve many of those students. An expansion of its campus to 645 acres, the construction of new housing for students, additional facilities and a new stadium is just some of the growth and expansion West Georgia is experiencing.

The record enrollment for UWG coincides with several other accomplishments, including recognition as a Best Business School in the nation, a Best Southeastern College and a Best Regional College by The Princeton Review. It is also recognized as one of 200 institutions in the nation to offer superior programs in music, drama and art by Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers and Musicians.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two-part Gift Expands Clinical Nurse Leader Program and Creates Endowment

The Medical College of Georgia has received a $1.27 million two-part gift from the Helene Fuld Health Trust to expand nursing education in Georgia.

An approximately $1 million component of the gift, given over three years, allows MCG's School of Nursing to partner with the nursing schools of Macon State University and Georgia Southwestern University to expand the clinical nurse leader program.

MCG's master's-level, 16-month clinical nurse leader program is the first its kind in Georgia and fourth in the Southeast. It aims to reduce the nursing shortage by offering advanced degrees to those with non-nursing backgrounds, so students with a baccalaureate or higher degree in a non-nursing field can obtain a master's degree in nursing at an accelerated pace.

"We anticipate admitting eight clinical nurse leader students to each of these campuses as early as fall 2009," said School of Nursing Dean Lucy N. Marion. "This gift is clearly testimony to the strength of our clinical nurse leader program leadership, our entire enterprise and the quality of our employees and students."

Quoting from President Daniel W. Rahn’s 2008 State of the University Address, she noted, “We must be 'brave enough to clear paths through unfamiliar terrain to achieve greater efficiencies and shared success in unconventional ways.' With this gift, we are clearing those paths and achieving those successes."

The second award is a $250,000 endowment gift to provide scholarships for baccalaureate students in the MCG School of Nursing.

"This endowment gives us an unprecedented opportunity in the School of Nursing," said Dean Marion. "It is the largest undergraduate scholarship amount we have ever received and will undoubtedly aid in recruitment and support of exceptional students, ultimately helping alleviate the nation’s nursing shortage."

The Helene Fuld Health Trust is the nation's largest private foundation devoted exclusively to nursing students and nursing education. For more information, visit www.fuldtrust.org.

By Amy Connell
Medical College of Georgia

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

279 Schools Awarded for Outstanding Performance

Governor Sonny Perdue and State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox announced today that more than 275 Georgia public schools are being recognized for improvement and achievement during the 2007-2008 school year.

The schools are being recognized under Georgia's Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS), which awards schools based on their performance on state curriculum exams and Adequate Yearly Progress status.

"These awards are just one way to say ‘thank you’ and ‘great job’ to the principals, teachers, parents and students at these schools," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. “This type of achievement and improvement doesn’t happen unless everyone is focused on the goal of providing a quality education to every student.”

The awards are being announced as part of the release of the 2007-2008 K-12 Public Schools Report Card. The recognized schools will receive a letter and a banner announcing the award.

"Governor Perdue and I are pleased to recognize schools that the data shows are getting great results," said Jennifer Rippner Buck, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement. "Congratulations to the staff and students at these 279 schools that are leading the state in student achievement and student improvement."

The schools are awarded on four levels -- Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze -- in two categories (see full criteria below):

Greatest gains: Schools that showed the greatest improvement in scores on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) or the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT)
Highest performance: Schools that demonstrated the highest achievement on the CRCT or GHSGT

There were eight schools this year that received awards for both Greatest Gains (GG) and Highest Performance (HP):

- Dacula High School, Gwinnett County (Platinum GG, Bronze HP)
- Eagle’s Landing High School, Henry County (Platinum GG, Bronze HP)
- Fort Daniel Elementary School, Gwinnett County (Platinum GG, Bronze HP)
- Gainesville High School, Gainesville City (Gold GG, Silver HP)
- Hillgrove High School, Cobb County (Silver GG and HP)
- North Forsyth Middle School, Forsyth County (Platinum GG and Bronze HP)
- Riverwood High School, Fulton County (Silver GG and HP)
- South Forsyth Middle School, Forsyth County (Platinum GG, Silver HP)
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Agnes Scott Announces Lowest Increase in Tuition and Fees in 35 Years

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Acknowledging the economic downturn's potential impact on finances for students and families, the Agnes Scott College Board of Trustees has approved the smallest percentage increase in tuition and fees in 35 years.

The overall increase in tuition, mandatory fees and room and board for the 2009-2010 academic year is 2.69 percent, which is approximately half the rate of inflation.

The board also approved a plan to launch several new financial aid initiatives aimed at attracting talented students to the college, including "The Agnes Solution," a program guaranteeing $64,200 in merit aid over four years to students eligible for a Georgia HOPE scholarship.

"Agnes Scott College's newly announced affordability measures powerfully demonstrate private higher education's commitment to staying financially within reach to students and families from all backgrounds during this historic economic downturn," said David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and an Agnes Scott trustee. "I applaud Agnes Scott for taking decisive and innovative steps to help consumers hit hard by the economy."

Traditionally, trustees have approved tuition for the following academic year at their January board meeting, but made the decision earlier this year to give students and parents additional time to plan.

"We realize that some of our students and their families will be struggling in this economy, and we are determined to go the extra mile to keep Agnes Scott affordable," said Agnes Scott President Elizabeth Kiss. "At the same time, we are committed to continuing to provide an outstanding educational experience for our students - small classes with excellent professors and opportunities to pursue research, internships and study abroad. We are not eliminating educational opportunities nor cutting services to students."

Instead, the college is finding new ways to be frugal. "We have delayed some replacement hires and are cutting back on discretionary expenditures, replacing holiday cards with an e-card and canceling the big tent rental for graduation," said Kiss. "In times like these, we need to concentrate on our essentials -- our people, our educational quality and our core values."

Agnes Scott will continue to offer generous financial aid to assist students who have demonstrated need, Kiss emphasized. In addition, the financial aid office will run special workshops designed to assist students in preparing financial aid forms and loan applications for next year.

"Some people still have the misperception that private colleges are only for the wealthy," Kiss said. "In fact, with students from all across the socio-economic spectrum, including one third who receive federal Pell grants for low-income families, Agnes Scott is far more socio-economically diverse than many public universities. We work hard to help families pay for college. And in tough economic times, we work even harder."

"Our generous financial aid policies, combined with the high quality of the education we provide, have made Agnes Scott the top-ranked college in the Southeast -- and number 16 nationally -- in the 'Great Schools, Great Prices' category in the U.S. News & World Report rankings this year," she added.

Agnes Scott's stated tuition covers about half the actual cost of educating a student at the college. The difference between tuition and the college's expenses is funded by income from the endowment and gifts to the college.

The college's budgetary strategies are to maintain balanced budgets, focus on strategic initiatives and aggressively pursue efficiencies and opportunities to "work smart." As a charter signatory of the College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, Agnes Scott takes seriously its efforts to "reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink" the college's daily operations, said Kiss, noting that many of these sustainability initiatives -- from energy retrofits to a printer cartridge recycling program -- save the college money and serve its ongoing commitment to affordability.

"Ultimately," she added, "the heart of our strategy is to help our students stay in college and to persuade more applicants to consider Agnes Scott." The college's new financial aid initiatives are key to that strategy. These include a new $3,000 Agnes Advantage Award to subsidize study abroad, internships or mentored research that will be offered to top students in the college's applicant pool. "The Agnes Solution" will guarantee Georgia students who are eligible for a HOPE scholarship $15,300 per year in merit aid along with a one-time $3,000 Agnes Advantage Award. This $64,200 aid package, combined with state HOPE and TEG grants, will provide up to $83,000 during a student's four years at Agnes Scott.

"These are exciting new programs for talented young women who want the choice of attending an independent liberal arts college," said Dean of Admission Lee Ann Afton. "We've always known the lifelong 'value-added' of attending a school like Agnes Scott. Now, the college is making this opportunity more affordable for students and their families."

Founded in 1889 and located in metropolitan Atlanta, Agnes Scott College is an independent national liberal arts college for women. The college's mission is to educate women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times.

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Understanding The New Veterans Educational Assistance Act

(NAPSI)-For individuals who served on active military duty on or after September 11, 2001, a new piece of legislation can help further education goals-or perhaps create new ones.

The Post−9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, also known as the Post−9/11 GI Bill, provides veterans with financial benefits for any approved program offered by a school that is authorized to grant an associate (or higher) degree.

These questions may help shed light on the subject for people who have recently served or are currently serving in the military, as well as their families:

Q. Am I eligible?

A. You may be eligible if you served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after September 10, 2001.

You may also be eligible if you were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and you served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001.

Q. When can I receive benefits under the Bill?

A. Post−9/11 GI Bill benefits are payable for training that begins on or after August 1, 2009. No payments can be made under this program for training pursued before that date.

Q. How much will I receive?

A. Based on your length of active-duty service, you may be entitled to a percentage of the following:

4 Cost of tuition and fees, not to exceed the most expensive instate undergraduate tuition at a public institution of higher education;

4 Monthly housing allowance equal to the basic allowance for housing payable to a military E-5 with dependents. The amount of the housing allowance is based on the ZIP code of the school and is not payable to individuals training at half-time or less or attending distance learning;

4 Yearly books and supplies stipend of up to $1,000 per year (paid to you); and

4 A one-time payment of $500 paid to certain individuals relocating from highly rural areas.

Q. How many months of assistance can I receive?

A. Generally, you may receive up to 36 months of benefits under the Post−9/11 GI Bill.

Q. How long am I eligible?

A. You will be eligible for benefits for 15 years from your last period of active duty of at least 90 consecutive days.

Q. Can I transfer my entitlement to my dependents?

A. If you are a member of the Armed Forces on August 1, 2009, the Department of Defense (DoD) may offer you the opportunity to transfer benefits to your spouse or dependent children. DoD and the military services will issue policy on entitlement to transferability benefit in the coming months.

For up-to-date information on this and other education benefits, visit www.gibill.va.gov.

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New Scholarship Event Offered by Emory's Candler School of Theology

Emory University's Candler School of Theology has created a new scholarship event called Leadership Candler that will bring together an outstanding group of prospective master of divinity students from across the country and the world. They will be considered for the school's most prestigious scholarships, including the Robert W. Woodruff Fellowships in Theology and Ministry and the Margaret A. Pitts Scholarships.

Thirty-five applicants will be invited to visit campus the weekend of March 1-3, 2009, with all expenses paid to experience Candler firsthand, says Shonda Jones, Candler's assistant dean of admissions and financial aid.

While on campus, applicants will participate in activities designed to help them "discern their vocations more clearly, offer insights on how to deepen their education, and develop practical skills for creative and faithful leadership," says Jones. The weekend will include visits to classes, conversations with faculty, a campus tour, interaction with current students and staff, group discussions, interviews with scholarship committees and opportunities to spend time with future classmates.

"This program seeks to help students who have strong potential and deep dedication become the leaders God is calling them to be," says Jan Love, dean of Candler. "Their future contributions to the church and the world should not be encumbered by an undue financial burden of educational debt. The school will ensure substantial financial support to underwrite the costs of their theological education."

Applicants to Leadership Candler must have demonstrated qualities of assertive and unselfish character; intellectual achievement; impressive skills in communication; significant leadership and creativity in school, church or community; and a clear potential for enriching the lives of fellow students.

Leadership Candler participants will be considered for the Woodruff Fellowships in Theology and Ministry, which offers full tuition, fees and a $10,000 stipend for three academic years. The fellowships are awarded to first-year students who typically have a 3.50 grade point average or higher in previous academic work. Candidates must have a minimum grade point average of 3.30 to apply.

Current Woodruff Fellow Rebecca Spurrier, who will graduate in 2009, says the contributions of current fellowship recipients have been diverse. "The Woodruff Fellowship has been more than just a financial gift; it has been a way of giving us confidence in our capacities to impact the Candler community and the wider world."

The Margaret A. Pitts Scholarships offer full tuition, fees and a $7,000 stipend for three academic years. Pitts Scholarships are awarded to first-year United Methodist students preparing for ministry as ordained deacons or elders. To be eligible, students must have begun the candidacy process in the United Methodist Church. Candidates must have a minimum grade point average of 3.30 to apply.

Leadership Candler participants also will be considered for many other prestigious scholarships, including Honor Scholarships, which offer full tuition for three academic years; Garrett Scholarships, which offer full tuition for three academic years for those preparing for pulpit ministries; and United Methodist Merit Scholarships, which offer full tuition for first-year students preparing for ordination in the United Methodist Church. Outstanding candidates also may be considered for other significant merit scholarships that are not conveyed in the Leadership Candler competition.

Applicants for Leadership Candler should submit the required materials no later than Feb. 1, 2009. Download scholarship application materials online.

Candler School of Theology is grounded in Christian faith and shaped by the Wesleyan tradition of evangelical piety, ecumenical openness, and social concern. The school is known for a remarkable faculty, innovative curriculum, extensive scholarship programs, unique resources of a top-ranked research university, and a faithful Christian community that affords students the opportunity to grow into faithful leaders for the future of Christian ministry and service. For more information about Candler and the academic and scholarship opportunities it offers, visit www.candler.emory.edu.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Clayton State Announces Sociology Course Offerings for Spring 2009

Do you want to go to law school? Medical school? Or do you want to pursue most any graduate school program? Are you interested in a career in mental health, forensic sciences, human resources, advertising, management, insurance or any one of a dozen or more other fields?

If so, you should consider one of Clayton State University’s newer undergraduate programs. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved Clayton State’s proposal for a Bachelor of Science in Sociology degree in August 2007, allowing Clayton State to offer some upper level Sociology courses in the spring 2008 semester, with the new program being fully-implemented with the start of the fall 2008 semester in August 2008.

With the new Sociology degree now officially underway, the Clayton State Sociology Department has announced its slate of classes for the spring 2009 semester. Included in the course offerings starting in January 2009 will be; Marriage & the Family, Drugs & Society, Race & Ethnicity, Social Inequality and Juvenile Delinquency. Pre-registration for current Clayton State students begins Nov. 3, 2008. Individuals wishing to apply to Clayton State for admission for the spring 2009 semester should contact the Clayton State Office of Admissions at (678) 466-4115 or go to http://adminservices.clayton.edu/admissions/default.htm. The Office of Admissions will also be holding an Undergraduate Admissions Open House on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

For more information on Clayton State’s B.S. in Sociology degree, contact Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Karen Young at (678) 466-4854 (karenyoung@clayton.edu) or Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Wendell Johnson at (678) 466-4849 (wendelljohnson@clayton.edu).

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.

Chemistry Scholarships Available

(NAPSI)-African-American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian students are among those who can now apply for a scholarship from the American Chemical Society (ACS) Scholars Program. The program is open to high school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

The program awards renewable scholarships of up to $5,000 to underrepresented minority students who want to enter the fields of chemistry or chemistry related fields, such as environmental science, toxicology and biochemistry. The program also aims to help build awareness of the value and rewards associated with careers in chemistry and assist students in acquiring skills and credentials needed for success.

Applications-available online at www.acs.org/scholars or by sending an e-mail to scholars@ acs.org-will be accepted through March 1, 2009, for the 2009-2010 school year. Students must plan to major in or already be majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering or a chemically-related science, and they must plan to pursue a career in the chemical sciences. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on college level and economic need.

The ACS Scholars Program won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in 2001. Since its inception, the ACS Scholars Program has awarded more than $10.8 million to more than 1,990 students, based on a mix of academic achievement and financial need. Through the support of the program's partners and donors, the Society expects to award approximately $1 million during the 2009-2010 academic year to both new and continuing scholars.

To date, 95 percent of the students accepted into the ACS scholars program have received an undergraduate degree, 80 percent in a chemical science. In addition, about 400 scholars have continued on to pursue a graduate degree. More than 150 have been accepted into a Ph.D. program and more than 40 scholars have already received a Ph.D.

"We need many talented chemical scientists to help find new cures for disease, new energy sources and new ways to feed a hungry world," according to Scholars manager Robert Hughes, who notes there are many diverse job opportunities for chemistry graduates.

The American Chemical Society Scholars Program was established in 1995 to attract African-American, Hispanic and American Indian students considered underrepresented in the chemical sciences by the National Science Foundation to pursue careers in the field.

For additional details and a paper application form, call (800) 227-5558 ext. 6250, send an e-mail to scholars@acs.org or visit www.acs.org/scholars.

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The Sallie Mae Fund Awards $2 Million in College Scholarships to 800 Students Nationwide This School Year

(BUSINESS WIRE)--In recognition of National Scholarship Month, The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, today awarded $2 million in scholarships to help approximately 800 students pursue a college education this school year. These awards are part of The Sallie Mae Fund’s efforts to increase access to higher education for lower-income and minority students by addressing a common barrier: financial need. Since 2001, The Sallie Mae Fund has awarded more than $14 million in scholarships to 5,700 students enrolled at 1,000 colleges in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

“In uncertain economic times such as these, it is more important than ever for deserving students to have access to resources that can fund their higher education dreams,” said Erin Korsvall, vice president, The Sallie Mae Fund. “The Sallie Mae Fund commends these students for what they have accomplished, and is pleased to provide a stepping stone for them to further shine in college.”

In 2008, more than 24,000 completed applications, a record number, were submitted to The Fund by college-bound students across the country. By 2015, there will be an additional 5 million college-age individuals in the United States. Approximately 80 percent of this growth is projected to come from minority populations with greater financial need.

“Coming from a low-income family, I never thought it would be possible for me to go to college,” said Brianda Perez of San Juan, Texas, now a sophomore at University of Texas – Austin. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for helping me come one step closer to achieving my goals and aspirations.” Perez is a recipient of The Fund’s First in My Family scholarship, working toward a degree in mechanical engineering.

Some recipients aim to set an example for their siblings, such as Jonathan Tyes, who is using his American Dream scholarship to help fund his education at Morehouse College in Georgia. “It is very important to me that I become a physician, not only for myself, but also for my eight younger siblings,” he said. “It is imperative that I show them that it is possible to escape drugs, poverty and ignorance through education.”

Unmet Need scholarship winner Ryan Fuller, a student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, hopes to pursue a career in the research of alternative means of energy after graduation. “Receiving The Sallie Mae Fund Unmet Need scholarship can help relieve the financial stress on my family and me so I can focus instead on reaching my goals,” he said.

To help students cover financial need and access higher education, The Sallie Mae Fund’s 2008-2009 scholarship programs included:

* “Unmet Need” Scholarship Program: Open to families with a combined income of less than $30,000, Unmet Need scholarships provided a “last-dollar” resource when no other funds were available. This year, The Fund awarded more than $600,000 to help 176 students bridge the financial need gap.
* “American Dream” Scholarship Program: The American Dream program was developed in partnership with the United Negro College Fund and offered scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000 to African-American students with demonstrated financial need. This year, 176 African-American students received roughly $500,000 in scholarships through this program.
* “First in My Family” Scholarship Program: The Fund developed the First in My Family program in partnership with the Hispanic College Fund in 2001. This year, 169 Hispanic-American students who were the first in their family to attend college received scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000, totaling $500,000.
* The Sallie Mae 911 Education Fund: Created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, this fund annually provides scholarship dollars to children of those who were killed or permanently disabled in the attacks. This year, The Fund provided $2,500 scholarships to 36 students, for a total of $90,000.
* Community College Transfer Scholarship Program: Offered in collaboration with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, this program provided last-dollar scholarships to Latino students transferring from a community college to an accredited higher education institution. This year, the program awarded $2,500 scholarships to 34 students, for a total of $85,000.
* “Writers of Passage” Scholarship Program: In partnership with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, this essay competition awarded four students from a Historically Black College or University, or a predominantly black college, with a $5,000 college scholarship. The winners’ universities each also received a $20,000 grant from The Fund to help improve student outreach and retention.
* “Next Level” Scholarship Program: In partnership with Black Entertainment Television (BET), this national essay competition asked African-American high school juniors and seniors to compose a 500-word statement on the obstacles they had to overcome to realize their dream of a college education. A panel of judges selected four winners from among more than 4,300 applicants to receive a total of $25,000 in awards.
* “Generation Next” Scholarship Program: In partnership with ESSENCE magazine, five African-American women won this national essay competition and each was awarded a $5,000 college scholarship. Additionally, these women attended the first-annual ESSENCE Young Women Leadership Conference and were featured in the October issue of ESSENCE magazine.

In addition, The Fund awarded scholarships ranging from $250 to $1,000 to future college students at its free Paying for College workshops and Bus Tour stops. More than 170 students received a total of $100,000 through this year’s program.

The Sallie Mae Fund offers scholarship resources on its Web site, www.salliemaefund.org, including a free scholarship search featuring 2.9 million awards worth more than $16 billion. In addition, The Fund offers two free scholarship directories specifically for African-American and Latino students. For these resources, a complete listing of 2008-2009 scholarship recipients and the schools they are attending, or for 2009-2010 scholarship information, please visit www.salliemaefund.org.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Berry Named “College of Distinction”

Berry College is one of only six colleges in Georgia featured in the newly-released 2008-09 edition of “Colleges of Distinction,” published by Student Horizons Inc. Unlike traditional numeric-based college guidebooks, this publication appeals to students’ unique interests – recognizing that “the best” college for one student may be vastly different from what is best for another.

“The schools in this group are some of the very best in the country. Some are household names; some are ‘hidden in plain sight’; what they all share is that they are great places to get an education,” said Wesley L. Creel, president and founder of “Colleges of Distinction.”

Approximately 40 colleges in each of the six geographical regions in the U.S. were recognized for meeting four key criteria that make a college truly exceptional: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes. These are the “hidden gems” of higher education institutions – as determined by a review board of academicians, guidance counselors and parents. Joining Berry among Georgia colleges and universities are Wesleyan College, Georgia College and State University, Agnes Scott College, Oglethorpe University and LaGrange College.

“A great college experience involves learning by doing as much as learning through classroom study,” said Dr. Stephen R. Briggs, president of Berry College. “This guide is helpful because it focuses on how colleges engage students through great teaching and vibrant campus communities rather than on a superficial ranking by test scores. Berry College is delighted to be included in this guidebook that focuses on the quality of campus experiences and successful outcomes.”

Prospective students can visit “Colleges of Distinction” online at www.collegesofdistinction.com to learn more about featured schools, including Berry College. Furthermore, visitors can read tips from high school guidance counselors and essays from college students, presidents and other members of different campus communities.

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MCG Dental School Offers Good Value, Great Education, Dean Says

The Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry is one of the nation's best values in dental education, which is important in this tough economy, said Dean Connie Drisko.

The American Dental Education Association recently ranked the school 10th out of 56 public and private dental schools in terms of cost of education, she announced during her annual State of the School Address Oct. 31.

"The economy is a little scary right now. It's spooky to have the state budget cuts that we've faced, but the School of Dentistry is committed to maintaining its excellence in teaching, research and clinical services," Dr. Drisko said.

She emphasized that the students are the lifeblood of the school and praised the accomplishments of the increasingly diverse student body. Last year, 100 percent of students passed the National Board Exams on their first attempt. MCG consistently ranks among the top 25 dental schools on exam scores, she said.

Students also are assuming leadership roles in campus, state and national organizations, learning to advocate for their profession and the health of Georgia residents.

"We are truly helping to nurture and develop the next leaders in Georgia and the country," said Dr. Drisko. "I think we will have MCG graduates who one day will be the presidents of the American Dental Association, the American Dental Education Association and other regional and global groups."

In the past four years, students have pledged or given $50,000 to the school, she said. "Many schools get gifts from students once they graduate, but I could probably count on one hand schools that have had students step up to the plate for a building fund or scholarships while enrolled," Dr. Drisko added.

She noted many school highlights of the past year, including:

Increased student research – 12 students presented research at national conferences.
Expanded pediatric and oral surgery residency programs through rotations in Atlanta.
Enhanced faculty development through outlets such as American Dental Education Association Leadership Institutes, continuing education and faculty retreats.
A 29.7 percent increase in overall clinical revenue, or about $1.9 million.
A 47 percent increase in external funding and an 83 percent increase in National Institutes of Health funding.
A Georgia Dental Task Force report that validated the school's commitment to increasing class and residency sizes, improving access to care and combating the faculty shortage.
Expanded clinical outreach across Georgia.
Increased fundraising and alumni membership and support.
"We have a great school with great students, a great staff and great faculty, but we can always do more," Dr. Drisko said.

She outlined several initiatives for 2008-09, including:

Completing the design and development phase of the new dental school facility. The new school will allow the class size to increase from 66 to 100 by 2016.
Working with a consortium of schools in Atlanta to plan a seven-year curriculum that includes training in public and community health. The initiative is funded by the Josiah Macy Foundation.
Expanding partnerships locally and globally. Local partnerships include the Boys & Girls Clubs of Augusta, the Augusta Partnership for Children and outreach clinics statewide. Global partnerships include student exchanges with dental schools in China and France.
Dr. Drisko emphasized the need to stay focused on the school's mission of educating dentists to improve overall health and reduce society's burden of illness.

"Even though it's a tough time economically now, if we continue to be good stewards of our resources, we can look forward to achieving all the goals that we've put forward today," she said.

By Paula Hinely

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Higher Education at Your Fingertips

If you have access to a computer, you have access to higher education and that is what the University of West Georgia hopes to make more people aware of during National Distance Learning Week.

The university’s on-campus Distance and Distributed Education Center offers the opportunity for students in almost every situation to enroll and study course work without stepping onto campus. Some degrees can be earned totally through online studies, while other degrees require a limited time in the classroom.

UWG was among the first institutions in the University System of Georgia to begin offering online courses in the 1990s and enrollment has significantly increased. In the spring semester last year, UWG distance enrollment had risen to more than 4,400 students. To access the courses available online at UWG, visit the website at www.westga.edu/~distance.

Several courses are taught completely through distance learning, while others combine the technology with a traditional class setting, requiring students to travel to campus for one or more class sessions.

Programs offered completely or mostly online include eCore freshman core courses, which are offered through a USG collaboration; WebMBA, a master of business administration degree offered through the Richards College of Business; and a master’s degree and a doctorate in media and instructional technology offered through the College of Education.

UWG offers the online courses through videoconferencing, through WebCT and Horizon Live. The DDE Center, located in the Honors House, provides support services to students and instructors.

To allow easy registration and access to information, the University System of Georgia developed Georgia ONmyLINE, a website that provides schedules and registration forms for a full array of distance-education offerings from all public colleges and universities that offer the service.

Located at www.georgiaonmyline.org, the site offers students a catalog of online courses and programs that are updated each semester. For more information on UWG’s distance learning courses and programs, go to www.westga.edu/~distance or call 678-839-6248.

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Georgia Tech’s Full-time MBA Ranked 29th by BusinessWeek

Georgia Tech College of Management broke into the top 30 of BusinessWeek’s latest rankings of the nation’s top full-time MBA programs.

Georgia Tech is listed 29th (10th among public universities) in the BusinessWeek survey, which only gives numerical rankings to the first tier of 30 schools. Tech is also ranked 23rd for best return on investment.

Published every other year since 1988, the magazine’s MBA rankings are determined by a survey of newly minted MBAs, a poll of corporate recruiters, and an evaluation of faculty research output.

In an online forum announcing the rankings, BusinessWeek associate editor Louise Lavelle explained Georgia Tech’s ascension: “One big reason was the student survey. Georgia Tech did better than four other top-ranked schools. The consulting and operations programs are strong. And it doesn’t hurt to be located in Atlanta for recruiting purposes.”

"The Best B-Schools” is featured in the November 24 issue of BusinessWeek, on newsstands November 17.

Georgia Tech College of Management is also ranked 29th (11th among public universities) in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent rankings of the nation’s top full-time MBA programs.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Georgia Southern University’s WebMBA® Program Attracting Students in Current Economy

Georgia Southern University’s WebMBA® is attracting working professionals who are looking for a competitive edge in the current economy. The program, taught through a consortium of five Universities in the state of Georgia, has been named one of the Best Buys among online MBA programs by GetEducated.com, a consumer group that rates, ranks, and verifies the cost and credibility of online colleges and online universities.

The WebMBA, was ranked 17th in the Best Buy list among Universities that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the premier accrediting body for business schools and their degree programs. The program has also been recognized in U.S. News & World Report, Business Week Online, and Georgia Trends. Georgia Southern University’s MBA program is also listed in Princeton Review’s Best 296 Business Schools publication.

The WebMBA, taught through Georgia Southern University’s College of Business Administration, is entering its eighth year and is continuing to grow. The WebMBA has enabled Georgia Southern University, which traditionally draws interest from students within the United States, to expand its reach to numerous countries and continents around the world. The program now has students from 18 U.S. states and a variety of countries including Afghanistan, Canada, Germany and Italy, to name a few.

“The Georgia Southern University WebMBA offers professionals the opportunity to earn an accredited online MBA degree without interruption to their work and personal lives. Students benefit from our online format because it offers flexibility with the same commitment to quality and service as our on-campus programs,” said Ronald Shiffler, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business Administration at Georgia Southern University. “Moreover, you can earn a respected and accredited graduate degree from virtually anywhere with an internet connection.”

Interest in the program has exploded with enrollment having tripled from 2006 to 2008. “The demand for our online MBA, especially in today’s uncertain world-wide economy, has grown well beyond expectations,” according to Joe Bocchi, Ph.D., executive director of the WebMBA program. “The program was first intended to provide Georgia residents with easy access to graduate business study. Now, we receive hundreds of applications each semester from residents in Georgia and from throughout the nation and world.”

Students interested in the WebMBA are encouraged to apply now. Orientation will be held on January 9-10, 2009 with classes beginning January 13, 2009. For more information about the Georgia Southern University WebMBA, interested professionals may contact (912) 478-5767 or e-mail mba@georgiasouthern.edu.

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VSU Announces Record Increase in Online Enrollment

For Patricia Hinton, choosing the right masters program was a matter of time and distance. A hard-working professional in rural North Florida, she sought a credible program that was also convenient, allowing her to work around personal and professional obligations at a steady pace.
"I wasn't easily sold on the online concept at first," said Hinton, who successfully completed VSU's online Master of Public Administration program in August 2008, claiming a coveted Hugh Bailey Outstanding Graduate award. "Like many, I was concerned it may lack academic substance and I would miss out on personal interactions, but I was wrong."

During fall 2008, more than 350 new students chose the convenience and flexibility of online graduate programs at VSU. This provided a 50 percent increase in online graduate program enrollment, now at 875 online graduate students - the most in VSU's history. More than 200 of these students are enrolled in the new collaborative Master of Education programs and 44 are in VSU's new Doctor of Public Administration program, which launched last fall.

Hinton was so pleased with her online MPA experience and the quality she received at VSU that she joined 24 other students in the inaugural DPA cohort in fall 2007. She also began teaching American Government and Politics and film at VSU.

"The online MPA and DPA programs have had a profound impact on my life," said Hinton, who began her career in public relations and marketing. "They led me into a new career direction. I love being in the classroom; this is where I am meant to be."

Hinton teaches alongside 610 other faculty members at VSU in small classroom settings with a 19:1 student instructor ratio. Together, they will touch the lives of 11,490 total students during fall 2008, a 1.86 percent increase from 2007 and a 30.69 percent increase from 2000. Included in the official enrollment figures from the University System of Georgia are 1,782 graduate students and 9,708 undergraduates, with 2,143 joining the student body as new freshmen.

Students enrolled for fall semester 2008 represent 156 Georgia counties, 46 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Washington DC and 68 countries. Lowndes, Gwinnett, and Fulton (top three) counties boasted the most VSU students - 1888 students, 616 students and 484 students respectively. A strong supporter of international studies, VSU welcomed 270 international students to campus this fall.

While Hinton and many others are benefiting from an online education at the graduate level, VSU's Distance Learning addresses the needs of both traditional and untraditional undergraduates as well. This fall 1680 students are enrolled in online classes and a growing number of VSU professors are incorporating the university's online course management system, WebCT, into traditional courses.

Call the Office of Strategic Research and Analysis at (229) 245-6517 or visit www.valdosta/edu/sra/ for more information regarding enrollment and facts about VSU. Visit www.valdosta.edu/more to see why Valdosta State has more!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shorter College Announces Plan To Transition To University Status

Shorter College President Harold E. Newman today announced the college’s intent to change its legal designation to Shorter University. The change will become effective June 1, 2010, and marks an important development for the 135-year-old institution that is affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.

The status change was approved by the Shorter College Board of Trustees at its October meeting and today (Tuesday, Nov. 11) was approved by messengers attending the annual meeting of the Georgia Baptist Convention. The convention’s approval was necessary because the status change requires an amendment to Shorter’s charter.

“Since its founding in 1873, Shorter has had a reputation for providing excellent academics within a caring environment,” Dr. Newman said. “Our aim is to create a Christian university where students will receive a top quality education in an environment that fosters spiritual growth. University status reflects what Shorter has already become through the extraordinary growth and progress of recent years.” Today, the college enrolls approximately 3,000 students who study on four campuses in Rome, North Atlanta, Lawrenceville, and Riverdale.

Dr. Newman added, “Several years ago, the college’s leadership team and I identified university status as a centerpiece of Shorter’s strategic plan, and we believe that Shorter fits nicely into the definition of a regional teaching university. Achieving recognition as a regional teaching university, as a Christ-centered community, and as a community committed to globalization are the central pillars of our strategic plans for the future growth and development of Shorter.”

Dr. Nelson Price, chairman of the Shorter College Board of Trustees, echoed Dr. Newman’s enthusiasm for the transition. “From the inception of my working with Shorter, we have had the bold ambition to see it excel, and we feel the title of university will enhance the understanding of the level of academic excellence offered at Shorter. We also desire to see the academic success enhanced by the infusion of the Christian faith.”

The status change will enable Shorter to better respond to market forces within the state of Georgia and within the higher education community at large, Dr. Newman said. “Becoming Shorter University positions us for future growth. It does not, however, change the nature of Shorter. We remain committed to providing a high quality educational experience that features personal interactions with faculty, a strong focus on students, and excellence in all areas.”

Dr. Newman added that the change will require little internal restructuring since the college already follows a university-style structure. “For much of the past decade, we have operated under a university model in that we have had separate schools headed by deans and have offered graduate programs,” he said. “This change in designation solidifies that reputation.”

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Georgia Southern University Named One of Kiplinger’s Top 100 Best Values in Public Colleges

Georgia Southern University has for the first time been named one of the Top 100 Best Values by Kiplinger, a noted personal finance and business forecasting company.

Georgia Southern is one of only three Georgia universities to be recognized in the annual list that helps parents of prospective students identify outstanding universities that not only provide a good education for their sons or daughters, but offer an outstanding investment. The other two Georgia institutions named to the list include the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia.

“We are very pleased to be recognized as one of the best values in the country,” said Dr. Teresa Thompson, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Georgia Southern University. “While Georgia Southern University has continued to grow, we have done so in a way that allows us to attract outstanding students from across the country and around the world. Parents are recognizing the value of a Georgia Southern education and students are applying at record numbers.”

Kiplinger bases its college rankings on a combination of outstanding academic quality and affordable tuition. The publication examines nationwide data from more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities provided to Peterson's/Nelnet. The list is then narrowed to about 120 schools based on several measures of academic quality, including the percentage of the 2008-09 freshman class scoring 600 or higher on the verbal and math components of the SAT (or scoring 24 or higher on the ACT), admissions rates, freshmen retention rates, student-faculty ratios and four- and six-year graduation rates.

This year, Georgia Southern University announced enrollment of 17,764 students, freshman retention of 81 percent and an average freshman SAT score of 1,111. Each was an all-time high for the growing University.

Kiplinger also ranks each school based on cost and financial aid. The rankings look at total cost for in-state students (tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, and estimated expenses for books) along with several other factors.

“Georgia Southern University has undergone a period of incredible growth, not only in size, but in quality,” said Thompson. “We are proud of our accomplishments and the work of our students, faculty and staff.”

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fayette County BOE Chairwoman Terri Smith Appointed FRN Member

Fayette County Board of Education Chairwoman Terri Smith was among the 1,300 school board members nationwide appointed to participate in the Federal Relations Network (FRN) this year.

FRN is a program of the National School Boards Association that involves local school board members from every congressional district in the country who are committed to grassroots advocacy for public education. State school board associations appoint members to the network, usually up to five local school board members for each congressional district in the state.

Responsibilities as a FRN member are significant. During the course of a year, participants receive vital information concerning federal education legislation and national issues. Collectively, they make their voices heard by responding to calls-to-action that involve phoning, faxing or writing federal legislators on various educational issues. They also keep their fellow board members apprised of issues by distributing background materials to get them and others involved.

Because school board members stand on the front lines of education, they are able to tell members of Congress what will or will not work in local districts. Many senators and representatives have come to rely on FRN members to advise them on the vast array of issues that affect public schoolchildren.

This year, members of the network were able to accomplish the following:

1. Continue Medicaid reimbursement to schools.

2. Restore $1.645 billion for four years in funding for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.

3. Successfully oppose proposals to cut education funding.

4. Successfully defeated a measure in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 that would have limited local school districts’ abilities to raise tax rates, having a negative impact on school budgets.

5. Intensify the discussion about the flaws in the No Child Left Behind Act and increase the urgency to fix the law.

6. Secure federal support to help districts recruit and retain quality teachers for high-need schools and subjects.

7. Successfully continue the fight against vouchers.

8. Generate awareness about the importance of early education.

9. Secure final passage of Head Start reauthorization.

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Gordon / Georgia Southwestern to Offer Bachelor of Business Administration Degree Spring Semester

Georgia Southwestern State University will begin offering a Bachelor of Business Administration in management degree at Gordon College beginning with the spring 2009 semester.

This 2 + 2 program will allow students with an associate's degree in business to earn junior and senior level credits toward a BBA in management from GSW at Gordon. The degree will be offered through both classroom and on-line courses.

“This is an excellent opportunity for students in the area to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management,” said Ric Calhoun, Gordon College professor of business. “The mix of both in-classroom and on-line classes, plus the fact that Gordon is easily accessible to residents in the south metro area make the program very convenient.” Calhoun is serving as the advisor for students interested in the program. He can be reached by e-mail at ricc@gdn.edu or by telephone at 678-359-5033.

The course schedule for spring semester has been determined and interested students can enroll in the classes once they have been accepted at GSW. The deadline to apply is Dec. 15. Spring semester classes begin at Gordon College Jan. 12, 2009.

Additional information on this joint program is available on the Gordon College website at www.gdn.edu/programs/joint programs.

In fall 2009, Georgia Southwestern, which is located in Americus, will begin offering its Master of Education degree on the Gordon campus as well.

This degree will be available to students with the proper prerequisites under the University System's education curriculum.
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Mercer Law School Graduates Pass State Bar Exam in Record Margin

More than 95 percent of Mercer University School of Law graduates who took the Georgia Bar Examination for the first time in July passed, according to the annual report released Nov. 3 by the Georgia Office of Bar Admissions.

The first-time pass rate of 95.8 percent for Mercer Law School graduates is the highest first-time pass rate at the law school this decade. Since 2001, Mercer’s first-time pass rate has been as high as 94.2 percent. The score this year is a testament to the dedicated faculty and extraordinary law school students who are trained at Mercer, said Dean Daisy Hurst Floyd.

“I am enormously proud of how our graduates performed this year on the state bar examination,” Dean Floyd said. “I am equally proud of our faculty, administration and staff who work tirelessly each day to help our students become exemplary lawyers who will join the legal profession with excellent skills, integrity, and a commitment to service. The fact that our graduates performed so well on the state bar exam is yet another confirmation of the quality of legal education provided at Mercer University School of Law.”

Mercer Law School is ranked among the Top 100 law schools in the United States, and its legal writing program is the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 ranking of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” The law school’s public interest law program was recently ranked No. 6 in the nation by preLaw Magazine.

“We are delighted for all our graduates who passed the bar,” said Mary S. Donovan, assistant dean for student affairs at Mercer Law School. “We look forward to seeing all their good work in practice.”

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University System of Georgia Fall Enrollment Increases 4.8 Percent

Enrollment Reaches All-Time High Approaching 283,000 Students

When the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents adopted a new strategic plan in August 2007, the plan predicted an additional 100,000 students enrolling in Georgia’s 35 public colleges and universities by 2020. The numbers in the board’s fall 2008 enrollment report, released today, show the system is on track to reach and perhaps surpass that prediction, with a record 282,978 students.

And 46,711 of those students this fall are first-time freshmen. This group increased 9.6 percent over fall 2007 and is evidence of the increasing demand on public higher education resources by Georgians.

The overall numbers represent a gain of 12,956 students from fall 2007, or an increase of 4.8 percent. This follows a gain of 10,077 students from fall 2006 to fall 2007. To put the gains in perspective, the USG has grown by 32,319 students, or 12.9 percent, in the last five years.

“We have added the equivalent of another University of Georgia to the system over the past five years,” said USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “This represents significant growth, during a period in which we are challenged to serve more students at a high level of quality with diminished resources.” For example, a new USG analysis shows that the number of faculty and staff in the system to serve students has decreased by 18 percent per 1000 students from fall 2000 to fall 2007, while over the same period, enrollment increased 31.5 percent.

An analysis of the numbers shows two key developments, says Dr. Cathie Mayes Hudson, vice chancellor for Research and Policy Analysis. “First is that the regents’ strategic goal of meeting capacity by increasing enrollment at the state and two-year colleges is producing results. And second is that the System increasingly reflects the state population in terms of the diversity of the student body.”

In the first example, Hudson is referring to a decision by the board to increase access to the System’s eight state colleges and eight two-year colleges. State college enrollment grew by 6.1 percent, while two-year college enrollment grew by 8.4 percent, both well above the USG average of 4.8 percent. Some of the biggest enrollment percentage gains were at these types of institutions. For example, from fall 2007 to fall 2008, enrollment growth was in the double-digits at:

Atlanta Metropolitan College, up 19.1 percent to 2,241 students;
Bainbridge College, up 16.2 percent to 3,091 students;
East Georgia College, up 28.6 percent to 2,555 students;
Gainesville State College, up 10.2 percent to 8,238 students; and
Georgia Gwinnett College, up 98.4 percent to 1,563 students.

Two state universities also have experienced double digit growth from fall 2007 to fall 2008. Fort Valley State University is up 21 percent to 3,106 students and Georgia Southwestern State University is up 13 percent to 2,717 students.

But overall in the System’s 13 state universities, growth was smaller, at 5 percent, which is in line with the Strategic Plan that calls for more modest enrollment growth in this sector. And at the two regional universities – Georgia Southern University and Valdosta State University, enrollment grew 4 percent from fall 2007 to fall 2008, for a combined student body of 29,254.

Enrollment increased at the four research universities by just 2.6 percent – again, right in line with the objectives of the Strategic Plan to shift enrollment to the System’s four- and two-year institutions. Among the four research universities, Georgia State University posted the largest percentage increase, of 4 percent, to a fall 2008 enrollment of 28,229 students. Right behind Georgia State in the percentage increase in enrollment is the Georgia Institute of Technology, with a 3.6 percent increase in enrollment, to 19,424 students. The Medical College of Georgia saw its enrollment increase 2 percent, to 2,919, and the University of Georgia’s enrollment grew 1 percent, to 34,180 students.

The increasing diversity of the USG student population is central to the board’s second goal in its strategic plan. According to 2000 U.S. Census data, Georgia’s African-American population was 29.2 percent, and Hispanic population was 5.3 percent, with the Asian population at 2.4 percent. The numbers in the fall 2008 enrollment report reflect progress in increasing access to the USG by underserved groups, said Hudson.

African-American enrollment increased by 7.5 percent, or 4,878 additional students from fall 2007 to fall 2008. African-American enrollment now stands at 69,771 students, or 24.7 percent of the total enrollment. And African-American student enrollment growth rates have exceeded the total student growth rates for several years: the five-year growth rate is 18.7 percent, and the 10-year rate is an increase of 60.7 percent.

Likewise, the report shows Hispanic enrollment up 12 percent in fall 2008 over last year, to a total this fall of 9,874 students. This year’s gains mirror a 12.6 percent increase from fall 2006 to fall 2007, and reflect the continued growth in the number of Hispanics seeking greater opportunities through higher education. Hispanics now represent 3.5 percent of all USG students.

The enrollment of Asian/Pacific Islander students increased by 6.5 percent, or 1,087 students from fall 2007 to fall 2008 to a total of 17,805 students. This group represents 6.3 percent of all students.

Looking at gender, 57.7 percent – 163,320 students – of the USG student body is female. However, the growth rate for male students, at 5.3 percent from fall 2007 to fall 2008, exceeded that of female students, at 4.4 percent. Eleven USG institutions have more than 65 percent female enrollment.

The system’s full-time equivalent enrollment (FTE) for fall 2008 is 247,168, an increase of 5.1 percent over fall 2007, adding 11,982 more FTE students. This increase is above the overall enrollment increase of 4.8 percent, which indicates that more students are taking additional hours of courses, compared to students in fall 2007.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

New Lifelong Learning Program Provides Older Adults with Continuing Education Credits and Rewarding Volunteer Opportunities

Clayton State University’s Department of Continuing Education and FACTOR (a non-profit community outreach collaborative) have joined forces to bring Georgia’s first older adult volunteer leadership program to Fayette County. ENCORE! Fayette is patterned after other highly successful senior adult leadership programs across the nation, which brings together like-minded seniors looking for meaningful and rewarding civic engagement.

An information session and program preview will be held on December 3, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at Fayette Senior Services Life Enrichment Center, 4 Center Drive in Fayetteville. The free session is open to the public with no preregistration is necessary.

ENCORE! Fayette is designed to provide active, community-spirited older adults with the opportunity to learn more about the community, the important issues and challenges it faces, and determine how they can become productively involved in making a difference.

Based on the quality of the course content, Clayton State University will be offering Continuing Education Unit credits to those completing the course. According to Janet Winkler, Clayton State’s Director of Continuing Education, ENCORE! Fayette will be among the first Lifelong Learning Programs to be presented by the University through its new Peachtree City campus.

The ENCORE! Fayette program is a 10-week course held one day per week from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The first session will begin in January, 2009. Due to generous public and private support the cost for participation has recently been reduced from $250 to $100, which includes the cost of all materials, meals and refreshments.

FACTOR and Clayton State University have multiple partners in the development of this pilot program. The program components will be presented by a representative cross section of government, civic, corporate and nonprofit organization officials and staff members. For more information about ENCORE! Fayette contact Becky Smith at 404-291-1602.

Fayette Senior Services, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, offers adults age 50 and better, the opportunity to be involved in a variety of social, leisure, educational, wellness and life-enriching activities. Since 1978, the agency has also provided adults age 60 and better with services to improve their quality of life and independence such as: Meals on Wheels, Adult Day Referral Service, Information and Referral, Transportation Services, In-Home Services, and Case Management. For more information call 770-461-0813 or visit www.fayss.org.

Nation's Top 50 Catholic High Schools Announced for 2008

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Catholic High School Honor Roll (http://www.chshonor.org/) announced its fifth selection of the best 50 Catholic secondary schools in the United States. The purpose of the Honor Roll is to recognize and encourage excellence in Catholic secondary education. It is a critical resource for parents and educators that distinguishes those schools that excel in three categories: academic excellence, Catholic Identity, and civic education.

This year's list includes 10 new honorees as well as eight schools that have earned recognition in each of the Honor Roll's five years of existence. 2008 honorees range from newcomer schools such as Knoxville Catholic in Tennessee, to repeat honorees such as Bishop Machebeuf Catholic in Denver and Holy Spirit Preparatory in Atlanta. Texas and Michigan led with six schools selected, followed by California, with four schools. Nine different religious orders sponsor honorees, including the Jesuits, Legionaries of Christ, and Norbertines.

To see a list of the top 50 schools, as well as lists of the 10 honorable mention schools in each category, visit http://www.chshonor.org/.

The Honor Roll is an independent project of the Acton Institute, an international research and educational organization. It is produced in consultation with an advisory board comprised of Catholic college presidents and scholars. Advisory board member Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, President of Catholic University of America, said the Honor Roll's evaluation method is indispensable. "Catholic schools must examine themselves on a regular basis using a well-rounded approach that assesses adherence to the Church's educational calling," he said. "The Honor Roll strengthens schools by encouraging high standards and vibrant Catholicism."

In its five years, the Honor Roll has seen more than 50 percent of America's nearly 1,300 Catholic high schools participate at least once. This year nearly 300 schools completed the three detailed surveys that measure a school's adherence to the Church's educational mission. Each school also receives an evaluation to see how it compares to other schools nationwide.

The best schools demonstrate a balanced excellence, which includes an active Catholic culture, sound college preparation and integration of Church teaching in all departments. These schools also display sound moral, catechetical and civic formation that prepares students for vocations in the world as political, religious, scientific, and business leaders.

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VSU Offers Master's Degree in Communication Arts

During fall semester 2009, a cohort of students will become the first to work toward a Master of Communication Arts at Valdosta State University.

The new option will place VSU among the ranks of the University of Georgia and Georgia State University as only the third in the University System of Georgia to offer such a degree. It was established to address the needs of those in communication-related fields through offering graduate level education. Georgia Department of Labor studies have shown an anticipated opening of 360-450 jobs per year in communication-related categories just for VSU's 41-county service area.

To qualify for admission, students must hold a bachelor's degree in communication or a related field with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and a score of 1000 or higher on the Graduate Record Examination. All will take 12 core hours before choosing a specialty track of media or speech communication. The program will be grounded in research and theory in order to prepare students for doctoral studies, teaching or professional careers in a variety of related areas.

"I am pleased the university will be able to offer a program to meet the critical need for communication-related careers," said Dr. Carl Cates, professor and department head for communication arts. "I look forward to recruiting our inaugural group of students."

Call VSU's Department of Communication Arts at (229) 333-5820 for more information about the new graduate degree program.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Georgia Tech Launches Center for Music Technology

Georgia Tech today (November 7, 2008) launches the new Center for Music Technology with more than 20 researchers from the arts, sciences and engineering. Several interdisciplinary projects already in progress will be demonstrated today at an exclusive launch event for potential collaborators.

“Our goal is to build an international center for creative and technological research in music that will redefine the way we create, perform, listen to and consume music,” says Dr. Gil Weinberg, co-founder and director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology. “To that end, we brought together top researchers from across campus who together can address current challenges in the field and develop new solutions that cannot be achieved in the framework of a single discipline.”

Unlike much current research in music, the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology is committed to bringing new ideas to the market, with applied solutions for businesses and consumers. Researchers are already working on ways to improve existing acoustical instruments, as well as defining new approaches for music making. “One of our new projects, called ZooZ Beat, for example, allows anyone with a cell phone to use expressive gestures to create and share music in a group,” explains Weinberg. “Other projects explore concepts like wearable devices for music therapy, audience participation in live performance, robotic musicianship, music as an assistive medium for the visually impaired and computational analysis of music at the signal level.” Other research areas include composition, machine listening, materials science, music information retrieval, digital signal processing, design and manufacturing, networked music, music perception, music theory, multimedia development and acoustics.

“It is important to note that the students who work with our faculty members bring with them a wide range of skills and experiences, from the technical to the artistic,” stresses Weinberg.
“More than half of our students are pursuing a Master of Science in Music Technology degree in a relatively new program at Georgia Tech that encourages students to explore their creativity both technically and musically. We are currently in the process of proposing a PhD degree in Music Technology, which will allow our students to deepen their education in these areas and help develop a strong intellectual backbone for research activities in the Center.”

The Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology is a unit of the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech, and jointly funded by the Office of the Provost and the Colleges of Architecture, Computing and Engineering.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

UGA 4th in Kiplinger's "Best Value" Ranking

The University of Georgia moved up three places to fourth in this year's ranking of best values among 100 public colleges and universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.

UGA moved up from its seventh place spot in last year’s Kiplinger's list, which ranks public schools on "a combination of outstanding academic quality and an affordable price tag." The new ranking is in the magazine's December issue, which hits newsstands Nov. 11.

More than 500 colleges and universities were surveyed for the ranking and the top 100 were chosen based on academic quality, cost and financial aid.

The magazine puts total annual costs to attend UGA at $14,458 for students from Georgia and $30,770 for out-of-state students. After financial aid is taken into account, average costs are $7,918 for in-state students and $24,230 for out-of-state students. UGA’s in-state cost is fourth lowest among the top 10 schools.

The magazine says students graduate from UGA with an average debt of $14,420, second-lowest among the top 10 schools.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranked number one on Kiplinger's list and the universities of Florida and Virginia ranked second and third, respectively, followed by UGA, which ranked fourth. Other colleges and universities ranking in the top ten are the College of William and Mary (5th), State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo (6th), SUNY Binghamton (7th), New College of Florida (8th), University of Maryland, College Park (9th) and University of California, San Diego (10th).

Two other Georgia schools are in the top 100—Georgia Institute of Technology, ranked 16th, and Georgia Southern University, ranked 92nd.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine has a circulation of about 800,000 and has been publishing since 1947.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Clayton State Open House Draws a Full House

The Clayton State University Office of Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions’ fall Open House Program on Saturday, Nov. 8 already has a full house.

According to Director of Recruitment and Admissions Betty Momayezi, as of the afternoon of Nov. 6, no less than 537 have registered for the Open House... 255 students and 282 guests.

The day-long series of activities begins at 9 a.m. in the University’s new Student Activities Center (SAC) and ends at approximately 3 p.m. at Laker Hall, Clayton State’s new campus residence hall.

For additional information, go to www.clayton.edu and click on Open House.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.

Munson Puts Fayette County 's Starr’s Mill High on the Radar at Blue Key Speech and Debate Tournament


Imagine walking into your office and being told that you have just 30 minutes to research and prepare a persuasive seven-minute speech on a particular topic. Well, if you were Molly Munson, you would not even break a sweat.

Molly, a student at Starr’s Mill High in Fayetteville, Georgia, was awarded second place in Extemporaneous Speaking at the 25th annual Blue Key Speech and Debate Tournament held last month at the University of Florida. She competed against 51 high school students from Georgia, Pennsylvania and Florida to win the coveted honor.

Before the tournament even started, Molly proved she could hold her own against some very competitive debaters. She was one of six students selected to participate in the annual Blue Key Round Robin that foreshadows the general tournament. Only the nation’s most skilled and accomplished student speakers are invited to participate.

After competing in five grueling rounds with a cross examination after each speech, Molly emerged victorious taking third place in the Mixed Extemporaneous Speaking division.

“She had the eventual winner, the current national champion, shaking in his boots. She has done the best of any Starr’s Mill student in the history of the school,” says Molly’s proud mother Sue Munson.

Nine students from Starr’s Mill, including Molly, participated in the tournament. Eric Bogert, Hannah Mattia, Martin Halicek and Jacob Nails competed in the Lincoln Douglas Debate and Aaron Ash, Noah Brunner, Lauren Mattia and Syneva Runyan were competitors in the Public Forum Debate.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Enter for a Chance to Win the Ultimate VIP Fan Experience to the Georgia Tech/UGA Rivalry Game

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Path2College 529 Plan’s VIP Fan Experience Sweepstakes is still open for a final chance to win the Georgia Tech versus University of Georgia ultimate game package to the rivalry game played this year at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on November 29, 2008. Entries must be received online by November 16.

The Ultimate VIP game package includes four tickets to the rivalry game on November 29, limousine transportation to and from the game, pre-game hospitality and sideline passes, two game programs, four game t-shirts and a football autographed by either Head Coach Paul Johnson or Head Coach Mark Richt.

Anyone who has already registered for the Vanderbilt/UGA or Duke/Georgia Tech game packages will automatically be entered for a chance to win. Georgia Tech and UGA fans that have not registered still have until November 16 to enter for their chance to win. The winner of the Ultimate VIP Fan Experience will be announced on November 17.

The sweepstakes, sponsored by the Path2College 529 Plan, Georgia’s official 529 college savings plan, is open to all Georgia residents*. The contest is free and no purchase is necessary. Visit www.path2college529.com for sweepstakes rules and to register for the drawing.

The launch of the sweepstakes coincided with September’s designation by Governor Sonny Perdue as College Savings Month in Georgia. To kick off College Savings Month, the Path2College 529 Plan teamed up with the football programs at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech to help raise awareness about Georgia’s 529 college savings plan.

Any funds in a Path2College 529 Plan account can be used for tuition, fees, and other qualified college expenses at virtually all colleges in Georgia and nationwide. Contributions made to an account in the Path2College 529 Plan are eligible for the Georgia state income tax deduction and any earnings grow federal and state income tax free. Withdrawals are also tax-free when used for qualified college expenses.

For more information on the Path2College 529 Plan, or to register for the VIP Fan Experience Sweepstakes, visit: www.path2college529.com. Void where prohibited.

* Sweepstakes is also open to all who were Path2College 529 Plan account owners as of 8/25/08, regardless of state of residence.

Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the Path2College 529 Plan. Please visit www.path2college529.com for a Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Read it carefully.

Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your Beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.

Account value in the Investment Options is not guaranteed and will fluctuate based upon a number of factors, including general market conditions.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

UGA Again Ranked Number One in Advertising Research

The University of Georgia again has been ranked number one in advertising research, according to an article in the fall issue of the Journal of Advertising. UGA also ranked number one in 1990 and 1998.

The comparative institutional ranking was based on the number of articles published in the top three U.S.-based advertising journals from 1997-2006. These top three journals included Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising Research and Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising. The number one ranking holds for both total appearances and weighted appearances.

“We are proud to see that University of Georgia is again recognized as the leader in advertising research among colleges and universities in the U.S.,” said Karen W. King, professor of advertising and head of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication department of advertising and public relations. “It is particularly noteworthy that UGA has four scholars appearing among the top 25 researchers in terms of productivity.”

Listed among the most published were three Grady College faculty members: Len Reid, professor of advertising, ranked 4th; Tom Reichert, associate professor of advertising, ranked 16th; and Karen W. King, professor of advertising, ranked 24th. Also appearing on the list was Terry College of Business professor of marketing George Zinkhan, who tied with Reid for the number four ranking.

Rounding out the top five in comparative institutional rankings were Michigan State University, University of Alabama, University of Florida and Auburn University.

Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers seven undergraduate majors including advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to WNEG-TV, the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see www.grady.uga.edu.

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