Friday, February 27, 2009

Fight the Recession and High Cost of College Text Books -- Skoobit Helps Parents Save Hundreds on Textbooks for Students in College

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Although the current American economy is in a recession, the cost to send kids to college—and to purchase textbooks—is still on the rise. For parents who are making ends meet on tighter budgets, Skoobit, an online textbook rental service, will help to achieve money-saving goals.

Skoobit provides a cost-efficient service that allows students to rent the textbooks they need for the period of time they need them without having to buy the books and sell them back for cents on the dollar. To take advantage of this revolutionary opportunity, simply visit www.skoobit.com to register. Skoobit’s website is very user-friendly and provides a variety of different plans, with the most popular plan being $10.99 a month per book. Skoobit will also provide FREE shipping and handling for both the renting and returning of the textbooks.

Christopher Blythe, founder of Skoobit, realized that textbooks can cost an average of $300-$400 per semester, and he was determined to create a solution to alleviate some of the financial stress related to obtaining an education. As a result, Blythe developed a way in which Skoobit’s services can in some cases help students rent every textbook they need for around the cost of purchasing just one overpriced book.

“Hopefully more parents and students will recognize that textbook rental is the most cost-efficient way to go,” said Blythe. “Students shouldn’t spend hundreds of dollars on books they won’t keep when there is a reasonable alternative.”

By taking advantage of economical opportunities like Skoobit, parents and students don’t have to be victims of America’s financial situation. They can be survivors.

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Sallie Mae Issues Statement Following Release of President's Budget

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sallie Mae (NYSE:SLM), the nation’s leading saving- and paying-for-college company, yesterday issued the following statement in response to the President’s budget:

We commend President Obama’s call to invest savings from low-cost federal funding sources to help students achieve their education goals. We also note that the budget proposal looks to obtain “high-quality services for students by using competitive, private providers to service loans.” Sallie Mae is the largest and lowest-cost provider of student loan services, and we deliver the highest quality for students, schools and families.

In 2008, we worked closely with Congress and the Administration to ensure continued access to federal student loans at no increase in cost to taxpayers. Through our loan delivery systems and financial resources, we committed to make federal loans to every eligible student at every school in the country.

“We are proud that in this economic crisis, we provided more loans to more students than ever before, and we did it using lower-cost federal funding similar to what is being proposed today,” said Al Lord, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to bringing these same resources to the table to help the Administration and Congress achieve their objectives.”

As more details emerge in the weeks and months ahead, we will continue to work with the Administration and Congress to implement the best solution for students, schools and taxpayers. We stand ready to continue to deliver student loans that best meet families’ needs. We are committed to delivering and servicing federal student loans, regardless of their funding source.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Peterson Named President of Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson, chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder, was named today as the eleventh president of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Peterson will assume his new post on April 1, 2009, according to Board of Regents Chair Richard Tucker. He replaces G. Wayne Clough, who stepped down on June 30 to become the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

“Dr. Peterson’s credentials are excellent and we were very impressed with what he has achieved in his time at the University of Colorado,” said Tucker. “His leadership experience and his outstanding engineering credentials are a good fit with Georgia Tech.”

University System Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. said that Peterson’s appointment “provides the high caliber leadership that will allow Tech to continue to build and expand upon its national and international reputation.”

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve as President of the Georgia Institute of Technology,” said Peterson. “As an engineer, this is, of course, a great professional fulfillment. But as someone who has spent a majority of his career as an educator, it also presents an opportunity to continue to have an impact on higher education nationally. Georgia Tech is at the forefront of innovation and discovery in a time in our nation’s history where both are great necessities, and I am privileged to be a part of these efforts. Val and I are looking forward to meeting and getting to know the entire Georgia Tech community.”

Peterson’s academic career has been spent at three institutions, not counting a one-year assignment with the National Science Foundation in 1993-94. He worked for 19 years at Texas A&M, where he served as head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering for three years (1993-96) and executive associate dean of engineering for four years (1996-2000). Peterson also had the title of associate vice chancellor for the Texas A&M University System from 1996-2000.
He was recruited to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, as provost in July 2000. Peterson served in this capacity until 2006 when he accepted the position of chancellor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Peterson is widely published in the field of phase change heat transfer and is a fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He was recently appointed to the National Science Board.

Early in his career, Peterson taught mathematics and science in several Kansas high schools. Later, he went on to work as a research scientist for the NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, and in the private sector for Black & Veatch Consulting Engineers in Kansas City, Missouri.

Peterson earned bachelor of science degrees in mechanical engineering and mathematics from Kansas State University, Manhattan. He earned a master of science degree in engineering from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in the same discipline from Texas A&M University, College Station. He was a “walk on” receiver on the Kansas State football team, who earned a scholarship and started at the position for three varsity seasons. He and his wife, Val, have four grown children.

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Educators Prepare to Spread the “Good News” about Reading

Monday, March 2, 2009, Dr. Seuss’ birthday, will mark the twelfth year of NEA’s Read Across America, an event that in our “online” society has become “viral” in its own right. The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) is planning a kick-off event on March 2.

It will be a fun-filled morning at Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta located across from Olympic Centennial Park from 11 am to 1pm. The event will feature a Read-A-Thon that consists of three to four “reading stations” throughout the museum. The children (up to age eight) will move from station to station listening to “celebrity” readers. Some of those readers at this point are volunteers from Georgia Shakespeare, Ms. Rickey Bevington, host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s (GPB) Georgia Gazette, and Nwandi Lawson, co-anchor of GPB’s LawMakers. Visit www.imagineit-cma.org for admission prices and directions.

The idea that began in 1996 with a “Green Eggs and Ham” read-in, has become an annual national testament to the written word. Just as over the past 11 years, the GAE, the state sponsor of the event, expects thousands of Georgians -- boys and girls, men and women (maybe even a few pets here and there) – to don the familiar red and white striped, stove-piped hats that signal the annual effort aimed at reminding everyone of the critical importance of reading to children.

“In this age of MySpace and Facebook, any effort to remind adults and young children of the importance of regularly picking up a book feels even more critical," said GAE President Jeff Hubbard. “There is no doubt that if given the opportunity, our young people would literally live online. While that’s one reality we live in today, another reality is that a strong foundation in reading still provides the best chance for success in academics and life.”

“I get more excited about this event every year,” Hubbard exclaimed. “So many individuals and organizations continue to join this meaningful effort. Together they make each successive year more successful than the last, and I’d like to thank every participant on behalf of Georgia’s children. Our lofty goal is still to have every child in Georgia read a book that day.”

GAE sources say you can get involved by contacting your local public library or school to see if they have a need for readers. Events’ partners such as the Georgia Library Association, Georgia Public Library Service, and Barnes and Noble Bookstores also have events scheduled around that time. GAE, in conjunction with the Georgia Public Library Service, has produced a pamphlet entitled “The Parent’s Guide to Read Across America.” The pamphlet contains information on the event and reading tips and resources for parents. The pamphlet can be picked up at your local Georgia public library.

Note that the simplest way to get involved is to take time to read to, and with, a child in your life and try to make it a regular part of your daily routine.

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Atlanta Campus Partners with Harvard To Explore Ethical Implications of Climate Change

What are the ethical implications of climate change? What can people do to confront and solve this mounting challenge? How can we better care for God’s Creation? More than 250 students, faculty and staff from Mercer University will be looking for answers to those questions when they gather at a conference, titled “Caring for Creation: Ethical Responses to Climate Change,” on Feb. 27 and 28 on the University’s Atlanta campus.

Mercer, in partnership with Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, will hold the multidisciplinary conference in the Atlanta Administration and Conference Center. The event is organized by the Atlanta Campus Quality Enhancement Plan Team as part of a campuswide effort to examine ethical issues.

“Caring for Creation is a moral obligation incumbent on every human being. It should be especially important to Christians and other people of faith who recognize that Creation belongs to God and that we are called to be good stewards of it,” said Dr. David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and conference organizer. “Climate change is recognized by scientific authorities around the world as one of the leading long-term threats to the well-being of Creation — especially to human beings, our health and our civilizations. This conference will bring together some of the world’s leading experts on climate and on Creation care to explore these critically important issues.”

The conference will be highlighted by presentations from several prominent climate change scientists, including Dr. Paul Epstein, a professor at Harvard Medical School who has written extensively on the impact of climate change on human health; Dr. Judith Curry, a professor at Georgia Tech and an expert on climate modeling and climate change; and Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the National Center for Environmental Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Friday, Feb. 27, the program will begin at 7:30 p.m. following a dinner, with a welcome from Dr. Gushee and Dr. Epstein. Three plenary addresses will follow, moderated by Michael Battle of the Interdenominational Theological Center. The addresses include: “The Science of Climate Change,” by Dr. Curry; “The Health Effects of Climate Change,” by Dr. Frumkin; and “Religious and Ethical Reflections on Climate Change,” by Cheryl Bridges Johns of the Church of God Theological Seminary. The evening will conclude with a discussion.

On Saturday, Feb. 28, two groups of breakout sessions will be held from 9 to 10:15 a.m. and from 10:45 a.m. and noon. Breakout sessions will include: “Basic Climate Science,” with Dr. Curry; “Local Environmental Policy” with Michael Battle; “Climate Change and Human Health” with Dr. Frumkin; “National and International Climate Policy” with Dr. Epstein; “Greening the Campus/Lifestyle Changes,” with Richard Bohannon and Corrine Williams; “Religious and Ethical Issues,” with Bridges Johns and Dr. Gushee; and “Sustainable Agriculture” with Daron Joffe, or “Farmer D.” The conference will conclude with a lunch discussion beginning at noon.

Attendees are reading Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson’s book, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, prior to attending the conference.

The QEP Atlanta mission is to enhance interdisciplinary reflection on ethical issues at Mercer through seminars and other events. Previous QEP seminars have focused on dimensions of moral decision making. This year’s conference marks a departure from past events, with its sustained attention to one issue: the environment, and, in particular, climate change.

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New Grant to Foster Integrity in Scholarship and Research

Research ethics and integrity will be the focus of a new program in development at Emory Graduate School. The program is one of five projects nationwide to receive a Project for Scholarly Integrity grant as part of a federal initiative to advance the scope and quality of graduate education in the ethical and responsible conduct of research.

The grants were awarded by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), with funding from the U.S. Office of Research Integrity. Amid heightened concerns about academic research misconduct, CGS’s Project for Scholarly Integrity seeks to better inform students, researchers and faculty about the ethical responsibilities and complexities of research in the 21st century.

One of the challenges in graduate education is to prepare students with the skills in ethical reasoning to deal with never-before-encountered situations says Lisa Tedesco, dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for academic affairs at Emory University.

“We have responsibilities to educate our doctoral students in the most up-to-date ways about the complexities in their research environment,” says Tedesco. “Our program will seek to harness the critical thinking and analysis skills that they use every day in their research to engage more deeply into research ethics and the responsible conduct of research.”

Tedesco says critical reflection will be a major component of the program, including learning various “approaches to asking challenging questions and getting people comfortable with those difficult conversations.”

Since evidence suggests that many students fear judgment in addressing ethical problems in research, the Graduate School's process-oriented program seeks to build contexts in which ethical dilemmas can be candidly discussed. The program will focus on a student’s development as a responsible researcher, supporting that development with three distinct goals:

• Program integration: Education in research ethics and integrity must be integrated into the curriculum of the student’s program.

• Skills of critical reflection: Students need time and space to practice thinking through complicated problems of professional integrity.

• Knowledge of research principles: Students should be acquainted with rules and principles established by the law, professional codes of ethics, and best practices in the discipline.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuition Rate to Remain Steady for 2009-10 at Atlanta Christian College

Atlanta Christian College announced this week that its tuition rates for traditional students will not increase for the 2009-10 academic year. The College’s board of trustees unanimously approved the decision to keep tuition level in response to the economic challenges faced by many students and their families.

“We understand that a family who chooses a private education does so for unique reasons, and often at a personal sacrifice financially,” said Dean Collins, president of Atlanta Christian College. “With our decision to hold our rates flat for next year, we acknowledge to our current and prospective traditional students that we understand this difficult economy makes the choice of private education difficult.”

“As an institution, we are committed to maintaining our quality program while being sensitive to the financial pressures every family is facing in paying for college,” Collins continued.

The College has also introduced a revised merit-based scholarship program for incoming first-year and transfer traditional students, beginning with the fall 2009 semester. The revisions will result in a larger merit-based award for most accepted students.

“We are excited to expand our scholarship program in order to make our college affordable for students who have worked hard to attain academic success,” said Collins.

Atlanta Christian College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award the associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of ACC.
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Sallie Mae Announces New Resources for Students and Families Concerned About Paying for College in Difficult Economy

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sallie Mae, the nation’s leading provider of saving- and paying–for-college programs, today announced several initiatives to help parents and students concerned about paying for college in the current economic climate.

In recent months, worries among families about affording college have grown as the economy has declined. Market turbulence has taken a toll on college savings and other personal investments, many parents are facing real or possible job loss, and budget pressure has reduced merit- and need-based college financial aid in many states. As a result, families may find themselves exploring college financial aid options that they previously had not considered or expected to need.

In response, Sallie Mae offers the following assistance:

* An extended commitment to make federal student loans to every eligible student at every school in the United States through the 2009-2010 academic year.
* A new Sallie Mae Web site, www.SallieMae.com/resources available to all parents and students – not just Sallie Mae customers – concerned about learning more about resources available to pay for tuition. Information about free resources, such as grants and scholarships, is available to help families minimize out-of-pocket expenditures and to find the right options to help ensure students stay in school. The site also includes information about payment plans available at colleges and universities to help families avoid the need for loans by making interest-free tuition payments in monthly installments. In addition, visitors can find details about various federal student loan options, including federal parent loans, that are available regardless of income, assets or collateral. Visitors to the site will be able to submit their questions to Sallie Mae for research and response.
* A tuition assistance night with toll-free hotline, 1-877-881-1012, accessible on Feb. 25 from 6 p.m. to midnight EST, to assist students and families concerned about covering the tuition bill this coming fall.
* Complimentary college planning assistance webinars for parents on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. EST and Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. EST. These 45-minute sessions will educate parents on free Web tools available to find scholarships, calculate and compare college costs, build a plan to pay for college and estimate student loan payments. Parents are welcome to register by sending an email to SchoolResource@SallieMae.com. In addition, a College Planning Assistance webinar replay will be available on www.SallieMae.com/resources beginning Feb. 26.

“Too many families are picking up the pieces from depleted home values, retirement plans and college savings accounts only to realize that they still need a solution to pay for their child’s education,” said Albert L. Lord, chief executive officer. “We are closely monitoring our customers’ needs and actively looking at additional steps we can take to help both students in school and graduates in repayment.”

Today's moves come on the heels of several recent company initiatives offered at no cost to students and families, including:

* Education Investment Planner (www.SallieMae.com/plan), a free, comprehensive online tool that enables families to estimate the total cost of a college degree and build a customized plan to pay for it;
* Be Debt Savvy (www.SallieMae.com/bedebtsavvy), free educational tools that help students establish and maintain good credit;
* Upromise and Upromise Loan Link (www.upromise.com and www.SallieMae.com/Upromise). Upromise is a free program that helps students and families save money for education expenses. Upromise members can earn cash rewards when making purchases from hundreds of participating companies, accumulating savings for college or other purposes. Members who sign up for Upromise Loan Link may have their savings automatically transferred to help pay down eligible Sallie Mae-serviced student loans.
* Sallie Mae’s Scholarship Search (www.SallieMae.com/scholarship), a free, on-line database, updated daily, containing nearly 3 million scholarship awards worth more than $16 billion.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Audrey Morgan Pledges $4 Million to Berry College Scholarships, Cage Center

Berry College officials announced February 19 that Atlanta philanthropist Audrey B. Morgan has pledged $4 million to support student scholarships and the Steven J. Cage Athletic and Recreation Center. This represents one of the largest individual gifts to scholarships in the 107-year history of the institution.

To honor Mrs. Morgan’s generosity, one of the two new dormitories being constructed on the Berry campus will bear the name Audrey B. Morgan Hall. These new dormitories, located adjacent to the Ladd Center near Hermann Hall, will house a total of 345 students when they open in the fall. More information is available at www.berry.edu/AroundBerry/july22008.

“Audrey Morgan understands the value of Berry’s distinctive educational approach, and she shares our values,” said Berry President Stephen R. Briggs. “We are grateful beyond words for her commitment and her investment in the future of deserving students.”

The bulk of Mrs. Morgan’s pledge will be used to help launch the new Gate of Opportunity scholarship program. This unique initiative targets those students who desire a Berry education, demonstrate evidence of a strong work ethic or noteworthy community involvement, and have significant financial need.

“This scholarship program is rooted in the rich history of Berry, but it is designed to meet the needs of students entering a difficult economic environment in the 21st century,” Dr. Briggs said. “Students graduate well-versed in the life lessons of determination, resourcefulness and responsibility.”

Each scholarship represents a partnership among students and their families, Berry College, and donors who have a strong belief in Berry’s core mission. All will contribute toward the total cost, with the student portion being generated through participation in the nation’s premier on-campus work experience program.

“This is a forward-looking program for students who are willing to work hard in exchange for a first-rate education without debt at graduation,” Dr. Briggs said. “The added benefit is that the recipients will graduate with four years of progressive and meaningful work experience and an impressive work history.”

In addition to the funds that have been earmarked for the Gate of Opportunity scholarship program, Mrs. Morgan’s pledge also will provide support for the Cage Center. The total amount of gifts and pledges received in support of Berry’s state-of-the-art athletic center now stands at $24.5 million.

“Audrey Morgan understands deeply the value and dream of education,” Dr. Briggs stated. “Others sacrificed to provide her with the opportunity for an education, and she is now choosing to invest in the young people who will lead our communities in years to come.”

Mrs. Morgan is a strong friend of the institution who currently serves on the Berry College Board of Visitors. Other civic affiliations past and present include the DeKalb Medical Center Foundation, the DeKalb Regional Healthcare System, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the DeKalb Historical Society, the Private Industry Council, the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, the 1996 Olympic Committee for DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties, and the Christian Children’s Home. She lives in Stone Mountain with husband Jack. The couple has two adult sons, Jack E. Morgan Jr. and Robert E. Morgan.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Atlanta School Leader Beverly Hall Named 2009 National Superintendent of the Year

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Beverly Hall, superintendent of Atlanta, Ga., Public Schools has been named the 2009 National Superintendent of the Year. Hall was honored today at the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education in San Francisco. The National Superintendent of the Year program is co-sponsored by AASA, ARAMARK Education and ING.

“Beverly Hall is an outstanding superintendent whose leadership has turned Atlanta into a model of urban school reform,” said AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech. “Throughout her long and successful tenure in Atlanta, Hall has accomplished significant gains in student achievement. She has demonstrated a commitment to setting high standards for students and school personnel, working collaboratively with the school board, and meeting the needs of the local community. AASA is proud to bestow this national honor on Hall.”

“Congratulations to Beverly Hall for representing the ‘best of the best’ in public school leadership,” said Dennis Maple, president, ARAMARK Education. “ARAMARK is honored to be a part this special program that rewards and recognizes a professional like Hall who truly cares about the wellbeing of her students. Also, we salute this year's state winners who so earnestly strive to give every child the ideal learning experience and the greatest chance for success.”

“ING values education and all educators who tirelessly strive to improve student achievement,” said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation. “Congratulations to Beverly Hall for being recognized for her outstanding leadership in ensuring students receive a quality education. ING also acknowledges all superintendents who are advancing education in their districts.”

Hall has been superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, serving 50,000 students, for 10 years, making her one of the longest-serving superintendents of an urban school district. She previously served as state district superintendent of Newark, N.J., Public Schools.

Hall is credited with transforming the 102-school system in Atlanta through a comprehensive reform agenda. Every elementary school in Atlanta made adequate yearly progress in 2008, and graduation rates at several high schools have risen sharply.

Hall worked most of her early career in New York City, where she was a teacher, principal and superintendent of a community school district. She also spent a year as deputy chancellor for instruction in the New York City Public Schools before her appointment to run the Newark, N.J., schools, whose operation was taken over by the state.

She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and an advanced certificate from Brooklyn College, and her doctoral degree from Fordham University. She won the Richard R. Green award for urban education leadership from the Council of the Great City Schools in 2006.

As the 2009 National Superintendent of the Year honoree, Hall is entitled to present a $10,000 college scholarship to a student at the all-girls high school in Jamaica from which she graduated before emigrating with her family to New York City.

A national blue-ribbon panel selected Hall from four finalists. The other national finalists were: Suzanne Freeman, superintendent of the Trussville, Ala., City Schools; Stu Silberman, superintendent of the Fayette County, Ky., Public Schools; and Gene White, superintendent of the Indianapolis, Ind., Public Schools.

The finalists were measured against the following criteria: leadership for learning, communication, professionalism and community involvement.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ashworth College Enlists Life Balance Experts to Lead Working Mom Online Discussion Group

Ashworth College announced today that professional life coaches Georgette E. Correa and Carmine Augustin will be guest speakers for its upcoming live online discussion -- February 25 at 3:00 pm EST.

The latest component of the Ashworth Moms Challenge, the live discussion will center on achieving a positive work/life balance and will take place on AshworthMoms.com. Participation is not limited to Ashworth student and alumni. Rather all working moms will be able to access the discussion from any of Ashworth College’s many social sites including Face book and MySpace.

“I love the subject the human mind and the human experience,” said Correa who makes her home in the Atlanta area and admits to being a self-help junkie. “I love having discussions with people in order to understand the "why" and "what."

“Achieving balance is about engaging in only that which holds value,” she added. “I try to help my clients authentically embrace that what is true (important) and in turn, courageously discarding what isn’t.”

The live discussion is just one of several activities available to working moms through April 30. Currently moms from all walks of life have been cultivating support networks as well as creating online diaries to chronicle their goals and successes toward achieving work/life balance.

“The average working mom is constantly challenged and as a working mother I can certainly identify,” acknowledged Connie White, Ashworth Director of Education Services. “Bringing working moms together demonstrates that we don’t have to do this alone”

“The motivation, support and encouragement of the community will help many moms keep going – especially for those who are juggling family, work and education,” she added.

Guest speakers

Charmaine Augustin, is known as the “Work Life Balance Expert.” Author, motivational speaker, former talk show host and owner of Lifestyle and Trends and LifeZine magazine, this Life Coach specializes in helping women achieve work/life balance. Augustin currently resides in Dacula, GA with her husband and three children. As a working mother, entrepreneur and community volunteer serves as a foundation for helping others. She is also a member of the Georgia Coach Association.

Georgette E. Correa is a certified Life Purpose Coach and owner of Almost Perfect Coaching. Entering this field, her goal has been to become a force of change in the world. Her focus is to provide a safe-haven through coaching by awakening the truth in each and every human being she engages. She strongly believes that in order to live life on purpose, one must first love, know and courageously create self.
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Berry to Host FAFSA Workshop for Parents of Incoming Students

Parents of incoming students who would like assistance completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are invited to attend a free on-campus workshop being hosted by the Berry College Office of Financial Aid this Saturday, Feb. 21, in Lab 228 of the Science Building. Members of the financial aid staff will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide direction and assistance for workshop participants. Computers and wireless access will be provided. Please e-mail Cheryl Huffman at chuffman@berry.edu to RSVP.

Submission of the FAFSA is required for any student wishing to obtain grants or loans through the U.S. Department of Education. Berry also requires students to complete the FAFSA in order to be eligible for college-based financial assistance.

Workshop participants will need to have the following information on hand in order to successfully complete the FAFSA:

-Social Security Number for parents and student

-Driver’s license number for parents and student

-W-2 forms and other records documenting income for 2008

-2008 Federal Income Tax returns for parents, student and student’s spouse (if applicable)

-2008 untaxed income records

-Current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond and other investment records

Worksheets are available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov/before012.htm if you would like to organize your information in advance. Blank copies will be provided at the workshop.

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Mini-Medical School Spring Semester Begins Feb. 24

Autoimmune disorders, colon cancer screening, pediatric malignancies, cardiovascular health and headaches are among the topics slated for the spring semester of the Medical College of Georgia Mini-Medical School that begins Feb. 24.

The lecture series, conducted by MCG faculty members, helps educate the public about medicine and health care as it gives them a taste of what medical students learn.

"It provides the general public with an opportunity to learn about medical topics and allows physicians to share knowledge in a comfortable environment," says Dr. Alan Roberts, associate professor of medicine and creator of the MCG Mini-Medical School. “This is what the patient-physician relationship and interaction is all about and adds to the concept of family-centered care, which is at the core of the MCG health care delivery system."

Classes are from 7-9 p.m. on six consecutive Tuesdays in the MCG School of Dentistry at the corner of 15th Street and Laney-Walker Boulevard. Participants can park at the StudentCenter lot across from the School of Dentistry. Tuition is $10 for high school students and $25 for college students with identification, $35 for MCG employees, $50 for individuals and $75 for families. Snacks, learning materials and a certificate of achievement are provided. The semester counts for 12 hours of continuing education credit.

The Tuesday, March 3 lectures, Women and Cardiovascular Health by School of Medicine Dean D. Douglas Miller, who was recently named one of the top four cardiologists for women in the South by Women's Health Magazine, and Sex, Hormones and Happiness by Dr. Murray A. Freedman, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the School of Medicine, are free to the public.

The MCG Mini-Medical School began in fall 2003; the first mini-medical school was developed by the National Institutes of Health, and more than 80 similar programs now exist nationwide.

MCG attendees have ranged in age from teens to senior citizens. Former participants are encouraged to attend.

Class dates, topics and educators:

Feb. 24: Scleroderma and Other Autoimmune Disorders, Dr. Walter J. Moore, chief of the Section of Rheumatology and senior associate dean for graduate medical education, School of Medicine; and Common Skin Problems, Dr. Daniel J. Sheehan, assistant professor of medicine and pathology, School of Medicine.

March 3: Women and Cardiovascular Health, Dr. D. Douglas Miller, dean; and Sex, Hormones and Happiness, Dr. Murray A. Freedman, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, School of Medicine.

March 10: Physical Medicine – What Is It and What Is a Physical Medicine Doctor?, Dr. Pamela B. Salazar, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics, School of Medicine; and Learn All About Oral Surgery, Dr. Solon T. Kao, assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery, School of Dentistry.

March 17: Screening for Colon Cancer in 2009 – What Are the Options?, Dr. Sherman M. Chamberlain, associate professor of medicine, School of Medicine; and Lupus Nephritis, Dr. Michael P. Madaio, chair of the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine.

March 24: Pediatric Malignancies, Dr. Colleen H. McDonough, assistant professor of pediatrics, SchoolMedicine; and Breast Cancer, Dr. Thomas A. Samuel, assistant professor of medicine, School of Medicine.

March 31: I Have Such a Headache, Dr. J. Ned Pruitt, associate professor of neurology, School of Medicine; and Pathologists – The Doctors Behind the Scenes, Dr. Paul W. Biddinger, chief of the Section of Pathology, School of Medicine.

For more details, contact the Department of Continuing Education at 706-721-3967 or visit www.mcg.edu/ce/.

Amy Connell
MCG

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UGA Graduate School Offers Insight for Those Seeking Graduate Education

To quell anxieties frequently associated with pursuing graduate education, the University of Georgia Graduate School is offering its annual Preparing for Graduate School workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 25 from 5-7 p.m. in room 102 of the Miller Learning Center.

Although it is targeted primarily to UGA undergraduates, the workshop is open to the public and will cover topics ranging from navigating standardized test requirements to finding financial support for the often long-term commitment of graduate study. It will offer information specific to graduate and professional programs at UGA as well as general information about other regional and state institutions.

The first segment of the workshop will focus on graduate admissions, including a panel discussion with faculty members of graduate programs. The second segment will address financing and budgeting items and offer a question and answer session with a panel of current UGA graduate students.

According to Graduate School administrators, participants should leave the workshop knowledgeable of application and enrollment requirements as well as the commitments needed to complete an advanced degree.

Those interested in attending the free workshop should reserve a space at grecruit@uga.edu by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24.

For more information on this or any other Graduate School programs, see www.grad.uga.edu.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Herzing College in Atlanta Will Change Name to Herzing University and Host Sign-Changing Event on March 2, 2009

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On March 2, 2009 at 10:30am, Herzing College located in Atlanta at Lenox Square in Buckhead will become Herzing University at a sign-changing event at the campus. The school will be selling commemorative T-shirts and donating the profits to the Atlanta Food Bank, according to Campus President, Frank Webster.

This event represents the 44-year evolution of a small computer training institute founded by Henry Herzing, a former missile test officer for the U.S. Navy, and his wife, Suzanne. From a class of 12 students in a 7-month computer course, the institution expanded geographically and programmatically under the same leadership for those 44 years to encompass 13 campuses in the U.S. and Canada. The 9 campuses in the U.S. are regionally accredited and offer diploma, associate degree, and bachelor's degree programs in the fields of technology, business, health care, design and public safety.

"Most recently, master's degree programs in Management, Technology Management, and Health Care Management have been added, prompting the name change to university," said Campus President Webster. With the critical need for nursing instructors and managers, a master's degree in Nursing is planned to be added this summer.

President Webster stated, "As a university we will continue our institutional tradition of emphasizing the values of student service, ethical behavior, and respect and fair treatment of students, faculty and staff - a tradition that will be maintained by Renee Herzing, the founders' daughter, who will become President/CEO of the Herzing Educational System on March 1."

Herzing University will be one of a few unique universities in the United States established with the changing needs of students in mind and their varying abilities to access education after high school and into adulthood. President Webster related, "A student can progress seamlessly from a diploma program to an associate degree to a bachelor's degree, and now to a master's degree, stopping anywhere along the line and then resuming when the time, need, and ambition of the student warrant. And the student can choose the method of instruction that fits his or her time commitments and learning style - from all resident to EdFlex (part resident, part online) to entirely online."

"Career-focused - Convenient - Caring" education is the motto of the University. The caring is an integral part of the culture and faculty, and staff are hired as much for that characteristic as for their credentials and experience. The convenience is illustrated by not only the student choice of resident, hybrid, or online options, but by block scheduling of classes so there is no wasted time between classes. All the programs are career-focused and the University has, as one of its important goals, a high percentage of its available graduates working in their career field within 90 days of graduation - typically more than 90%.

"As a university we will continue to remain focused on our students' ability to quickly obtain well-paying jobs in fields with high demand for skilled employees. Our teachers do not have to conduct research so they can do the teaching that students come here to receive - instructors and professors are recognized for their teaching success, not their research. The latter may help bring prestige to an institution but often does little to help a student learn their career field," said Campus President Webster.

Herzing has been in Atlanta since 1979 when Herzing acquired Massey Business College. The Herzing business school is still referred to as the Massey School of Business.

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Outward Bound Offers Scholarships and Academic Credit for Summer Adventures

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This year, Outward Bound USA, the nation's leading provider of adventure-based education programs, will offer $2 million dollars in scholarships to students attending wilderness expeditions across the country. In addition to gaining once in a lifetime experiences and stronger leadership skills, many students will receive academic credit for their time on course.

The courses, which include everything from backpacking in Colorado to sailing in Maine to sea kayaking in Florida to rafting in Utah, range in length from four days to three months and are designed to challenge personal limits and inspire growth and achievement. A concentration of courses runs throughout the spring and summer, with some "snow and ice" expeditions like dogsledding and backcountry skiing and snowboarding running in February and March.

And, even in this tough economy, these experiences are possible for students of all financial backgrounds. With the support of charitable donations and foundation grants, Outward Bound, a non-profit organization, awards an average of $2 million in merit and need-based scholarships to qualifying students of all ages. Scholarship application details can be found at outwardbound.org/scholarship.

Additionally, hundreds of colleges and high schools grant academic credit for Outward Bound expeditions - one international "Outward Bound Semester" begins in Chile, takes students through Patagonia, facilitates a cross-cultural service project and concludes with rock climbing in the Appalachian Mountains. Students, on average, earn one credit hour per course week by working with one of Outward Bound's partner colleges or through an independent study. AmeriCorps Education Awards also can be applied to Outward Bound expeditions through its partner colleges. More information on academic credit can be found at outwardbound.org.

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UGA to host 34th Georgia Junior Science & Humanities Symposium

The University of Georgia Office of Academic Special Programs will host the 34th Georgia Junior Science & Humanities Symposium Feb. 22-24 at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel. Lt. Col. David J. Baylor, Commander of Air Force ROTC and director of aerospace studies at UGA, is the keynote speaker.

The Georgia Junior Science & Humanities Symposium promotes research and experimentation in the sciences, mathematics and engineering at the high school level. It allows students the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with others interested in the sciences and encourages their continued interest and participation.

Fifty Georgia students are selected annually by science professionals to present their work in front of judges at the Georgia regional competition in Athens. Twenty additional students are invited to participate as observers and to present their science projects in poster form. Teachers from Georgia also are selected to attend.

The Georgia Junior Science & Humanities Symposium is funded by a grant provided by the Research Programs of the Armed Forces of the United States.

For more information, call 706/542-7623 or go to www.georgiacenter.uga.edu./oasp.

The University of Georgia Office of Academic Special Programs equips Georgia's pre-college students to succeed and to flourish in an increasingly complex and highly technical world by becoming problem solvers, critical thinkers, inquirers, reflective learners, and more productive and influential members of their communities.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mercer Announces Four-Year Graduation Guarantee

With a goal of reducing the cost of a college education for students and their families, Mercer University today announced an initiative called the “Four-Year Pledge” to help more undergraduate students earn their degrees on time.

Trends over the past decade indicate that college students are increasingly failing to graduate within four years. Nationally, the average time from matriculation to graduation now exceeds five years, with only 37 percent of students graduating in four years. This trend is making a college education significantly more expensive by inflating the direct costs of college — tuition, fees, room and board — as well as the indirect costs associated with delaying entry into the employment market.

“At a growing number of colleges and universities, a four-year undergraduate degree is going the way of the dinosaur,” said Brian Dalton, Mercer’s vice president for enrollment management. “The Mercer Four-Year Pledge reflects the commitment of our faculty and staff to the success of our students. It is designed to encourage students to be intentional and responsible in successfully pursuing an undergraduate degree within four years of matriculation. And it encourages the University to be a responsible partner in working with students to achieve this desired outcome,” Dalton said.

In keeping with the institution’s 176-year tradition of excellence, leadership and innovation in higher education, Mercer pledges to provide an educational environment that enables and encourages students to graduate within eight semesters of matriculation. Beginning with the freshman class of 2009, students who do their work, pass their classes, and follow the advice of faculty advisers will graduate within four years. Under the program, if a student does not graduate within this time frame, the cost of whatever additional courses are required to graduate will be absorbed by the University.

One of only a handful of universities in the country to offer such a guarantee, the University is backing up the pledge with major investments in technology upgrades to allow even better tracking, monitoring and advising as students and their academic advisers navigate progress toward a four-year degree. Mercer will provide written audits to students at the end of each academic year, documenting progress toward their goal of graduating in four years. The institution will also continue investing millions of dollars in institutionally funded scholarships to ensure that the University offers the affordable value that national publications have recognized. The Princeton Review has designated Mercer as a “Best Value” for its excellent academics and “relatively low costs of attendance,” while U.S. News & World Report includes Mercer on its list of “Great Schools, Great Prices.”

“With this pledge, we seek to ensure that our students enter the next phase of their lives much faster than the national average – avoiding the additional financial burden that results from prolonging an undergraduate education and accelerating their journey to becoming productive and successful citizens,” Dalton said.

The Mercer Four-Year Pledge states: “If the student adheres to all pledge stipulations and is not able to graduate within four years of matriculating, Mercer will provide the student a waiver of tuition and fees for all additional courses required for graduation. If the student has lived in campus housing all four years, then the University will provide a waiver of on-campus housing costs. If the student has utilized campus meal plans for all four years, then the University will provide an equivalent meal plan at no cost for the additional required time of enrollment.”

“A college education represents one of the most precious opportunities in our society,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “Mercer University is committed to helping reduce the cost of higher education, thus lightening the financial burdens on our students and their families.”

For more information on the Four-Year Pledge, go to www.mercer.edu/pledge or call (800) 840-8577 or (478) 301-2120.

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Shortt Scholarship Established at UWG

Sylvia Shortt, assistant director of International Services and Programs at the University of West Georgia, has been given a thumbs up by UWG international students and alumni with the establishment of the Sylvia Shortt Scholarship for International Students.

Recognized statewide as an experienced authority on immigration rules and regulations of international students, Shortt now serves as the university's specialist on immigration issues with international undergraduate and graduate students, which number 127 this year at UWG.

Nigerian Femi Owodunni, class of ’98, helped establish the scholarship.

"To begin to understand the enormity of Sylvia's role, one must first appreciate the assimilation challenges these students face coming from major international capitals to a town the size of Carrollton,” said Owodunni.

"It is in appreciation of Ms. Shortt's commitment to ensuring a fulfilling and engaging experience for each student that this endowment was created.

Sylvia Shortt is the very essence of Southern hospitality, an embodiment of the creed that has kept West Georgia on our minds years after our sojourn on her campus.”

Shortt oversees special orientation for internationals, cultural and diversity training and counseling and communication with other government agencies such as Drivers License, Social Security and IRS, international student recruitment and tax services.

For more information on the scholarship programs at UWG, call 678-839-6582.

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University of Georgia Wins $6.7 Million National Science Foundation Grant to Extend Research in Southern Appalachia

The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of $6.7 million to a consortium of universities headed by the University of Georgia for research on the effects of climate change and urbanization in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

The grant extends the work of the Coweeta Long-Term Ecological Research project, which has been continuously funded since 1980, according to Ted Gragson, a professor of anthropology in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and lead principal investigator of the ongoing project.

“While we will be continuing the superb work that has preceded us, under the new grant we will explicitly focus on the effect of human settlement and climate change and how they affect the region,” said Gragson.

Scientists believe understanding the southern Appalachian Mountains from many viewpoints is crucial to ensure that their unique ecological and societal character are preserved for future generations. Problems tied to climate change in the region and pressure from those moving from surrounding urban areas to the sparsely populated mountain land present daunting challenges.

The Coweeta Long-Term Ecological Research Program was originally centered at the U.S. Forest Service’s Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Otto, N.C., a 1600-hectare outdoor laboratory; however, it moved into surrounding areas several years ago, making the studies of human interactions with the landscape possible. The new grant will allow researchers to focus on experimental and observational research in the French Broad and the Little Tennessee River basins, the latter with headwaters in north Georgia.

Ten UGA faculty members in several colleges and departments, as well as collaborators at a number of other universities, are involved in research projects under the umbrella of the grant. The Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at UGA is the administrative unit for the grant.

Other faculty involved in the project at UGA include: Carolyn Dehring from the Terry College of Business; Jeff Hepinstall, John Maerz, Rebecca Moore and Rhett Jackson of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources; Jackie Mohan and Cathy Pringle of the Odum School of Ecology; and Nik Heynen and David Leigh from the department of geography in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

The project also has collaborators from Duke University, Mars Hill College, the University of Illinois, the University of Minnesota, the University of North Carolina, the University of Wisconsin, the U.S. Forest Service Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

“Southern Appalachia provides a near-perfect opportunity for a natural experiment,” said Gragson. “By significantly strengthening the social science component of the project and moving outside the experimental watersheds of the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory into the surrounding areas, we will be able to find focus on how exurbanization and climate change are affecting this priceless part of America.”

While the southern Appalachian Mountains have long been a vacation area for people in urban areas all over the South and elsewhere, there is increasing evidence that in the next century the area could become a sprawling megalopolis.

“The southern Appalachian Mountains are one of the most significant biological regions in North America,” said Gragson, “but changes are now taking places so fast that cities, counties and states in the region are finding it difficult to manage the growth and development affecting the biological uniqueness of the region.”

The team hopes that research from numerous different angles in the project area will help lead to practical ways to control growth in the coming decades.

“Earlier, it was thought that development would slow in the region, but after the 2000 census, people noticed that it was accelerating and turning into sprawl,” said Gragson.

The Coweeta project is part of the national network of sites funded by the National Science Foundation Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program. For information on the program, see www.lternet.edu/. For specific information on the Coweeta LTER, see http://coweeta.ecology.uga.edu/.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

USG Reports $906.5 Million in Extramural Income from Grants and Contracts in FY2008

One of the Board of Regents’ strategic goals is to increase research funding in the University System of Georgia (USG), and a new report shows the System is on track. Extramural funding increased 7.8 percent in Fiscal Year 2008 over the previous fiscal year, to $906,534,509, an increase of $65,914,281.

“This increase is another indication of the importance of continued investment in the research activities of our institutions,” said Dr. Susan Herbst, the USG’s chief academic officer and executive vice chancellor. “During tight budget times, our ability to generate increased funding through research and service missions is even more important to our ability to sustain and strengthen the academic enterprise.”

The rise in the USG’s extramural funding is particularly welcome, Herbst notes, in light of a new report by the National Science Foundation that finds federal spending on research and development has declined in real terms from 2007 to 2008 and that 2008 funds for basic research dropped to the lowest level since 2002 in constant dollars.

Related to the regents’ strategic focus -- strengthening research as well as economic development efforts -- the Board heard two separate reports on research activities and the board’s Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP) economic development efforts. The research report, given by Dr. David Lee, vice president for research at the University of Georgia (UGA), highlighted why research is so important and must have continued investment to keep the University System competitive in terms of faculty and attracting funds, which multiply through the regional economy, creating jobs in a host of sectors.

Terry Durden, interim assistant vice chancellor for the board’s office of economic development, reported on the System’s economic development efforts and how those programs benefit the state. ICAPP, housed in the Regents’ Office of Economic Development, created more than 5,000 new jobs in 100 Georgia counties since it began in 1996, Durden noted. ICAPP creates programs to respond to Georgia’s college-educated workforce needs and works with University System institutions and Georgia employers to benefit the state’s economic development by producing college graduates that are in high demand and low supply.

In the extramural funding report, of the $906.5 million, $704,462,546 was for research, $120,447,949 was for public service and $81,624,014 was for instruction. Federal funds made up the greatest portion of the funding for System research income, with 65 percent coming from this source. The state of Georgia was the source of 8 percent of the System’s extramural funding and the non-profit sector accounted for 9 percent of the total. Business and industry provided 12 percent of the funds and other sources combined for the remaining 6 percent.

The report also details extramural income from sales of intellectual property at the five senior institutions in the University System. The FY08 total income from entrepreneurial activities such as inventions, software, copyrights and trademarks was $21,831,205, an increase of $7,354,575, or over 51 percent, over FY07. The five institutions producing this income included the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, the Medical College of Georgia, the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern University.

“Federal funding for research plays a vital role in the System’s extramural funding,” said Dr. Cathie Hudson, the USG’s vice chancellor for research and policy analysis. “The ability of our institutions to attract federal funding shows the quality of our institutions and that the federal government considers the System to be good stewards of taxpayer’s dollars.”

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Georgia State named to Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service

Georgia State University students, faculty and staff spent 59,040 hours serving the community through various projects during the 2007-2008 school year.

For their exemplary service, Georgia State was honored on Feb. 10 with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

“It’s a big honor to be recognized for our services,” said Lovell Lemons, director of Georgia State’s Office of Civic Engagement. “Hopefully, this recognition will inspire others to want to be involved and make a difference.”

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement.

In total, 635 schools across the nation were recognized. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

Roughly 20 percent of Georgia State students, faculty and staff participated in many community service projects last year, including the Colonial Athletic Association Blood Challenge and Hands on Atlanta Day. Georgia State also shined in its service to youth in disadvantaged circumstances through programs like JumpStart, After-School All-Stars Atlanta, Upward Bound and the DREAMS Institute.

“College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges,” said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll.

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education. A full list of schools honored is available at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Freedom Rider Etta Simpson Ray to Speak at Clayton State on February 19

Clayton State University’s Department of Campus Life will host “Freedom Rider,” with Etta Simpson Ray, on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 11:30 a.m. in room 267 of the James M. Baker Center on the Clayton State campus.

“The 14 Freedom Riders from Tennessee State University were expelled from school for being a part of the Freedom Riders in 1961,” explains Dr. LaJuan Simpson, Clayton Sate associate Professor of English. “In 2008, those students were honored and given honorary degrees. This honor made national news.

“One of the 14 is my aunt. Many students were interested in her story, so I thought it would be beneficial to the students to bring her to Clayton State University.”

During the 1960’s the Freedom Riders consisted of whites and blacks who decided that they wanted to challenge old Jim Crow laws. The group used public transportation as their means for change and they were often met an angry and violent crowds.

“Etta Simpson Ray’s story will give the Clayton State University community a strong first-hand account of the struggle during segregation,” Simpson explains. “It will provide the community with a greater sense of the magnitude of the Civil Rights movement from a women's perspective.”

For more information, contact Simpson at LaJuanSimpson@clayton.edu or (678) 466-4558.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Teacher of the Year Finalists Named

From 29 contenders to three finalists, the journey to find Fayette’s 2009 Teacher of the Year has begun.

Three unsuspecting teachers were surprised on February 6 as the Teacher of the Year prize patrol made its way around the county announcing this year’s finalists: Pamela Kinzly, Whitewater High; Dr. Carol Taylor, Rising Starr Middle and Dr. Lisa Gonzalez, Robert J. Burch Elementary.

A panel of independent judges, including last year’s winner, Kim Fisher from J.C. Booth Middle, chose the three finalists based on applications they submitted after being nominated Teacher of the Year at their respective schools.

The next step in the process involves a classroom observation and one-on-one interview with the judges. The judges independently score each finalist and then their scores are added together to determine the winner. The 2008 Teacher of the Year will be announced on April 23 at a ceremony at New Hope Baptist Church, North Campus. Here is a brief overview of the finalists.

Although she says she made the decision to become a teacher while a college sophomore, Pamela Kinzly says she spent her days as a young child teaching a classroom full of imaginary students as she completed her homework assignments.

Kinzly, a math teacher, says she doesn’t teach math because she has an extreme love for the subject, but because she has an extreme love for people. By teaching math, she says she is also teaching important problem solving skills that students can use in real life.

“While we are solving quadratic equations the underlying life skill is problem solving: the ability to set up a problem, weigh options, choose a solution and use resources to find the answer,” she says. “Not every student that I teach will go into a profession that requires calculus but every student will need problem solving skills.”

One way Kinzly teaches these life skills is through an activity she calls group grades. Students work in groups to help each other master a particular topic. She encourages students to use their resources instead of simply asking for the answer.

“Students have admitted that, at first, this process is frustrating because they do not get a quick answer, but I have heard numerous times that they are later grateful for these activities when test day comes and they feel confident to complete the questions,” she says.

Kinzly has been a teacher for six years and has taught in Fayette for five.

Dr. Carol Taylor, also a math teacher, says it was a high school English teacher who influenced her decision to become an educator. She says her teacher had a passion for learning, expected and received a high level of commitment from her students and enjoyed a great rapport with them.

“I have worked hard to model her level of exemplary teaching and learning to affect my students the way she affected my life. She instilled my own passion for learning and that passion is reflected in my teaching,” she says.

Like fellow math teacher Kinzly, Taylor likes group work because of the higher-level thinking that occurs as students collaborate and communicate with each other. The groups also help her understand the knowledge of students as she listens to their discussions and watches their actions.

“My classroom abounds with noise from student inquiry, argument, agreement, clarification, challenge, explanation and collaborative checking which all contributes to students’ understanding of mathematical concepts,” she says.

For Taylor, teaching encompasses more than the one year she has with her students. She says teaching for her means building relationships and affecting students’ lives for a lifetime by caring, encouraging and supporting them in all aspects of their lives.

Taylor has been an educator for 19 years, all with the Fayette County School System.
Unlike her fellow finalists, Dr. Lisa Gonzalez, ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) teacher, always said she would never be a teacher. Many members of her family were educators, so she wanted to be different. However, education found her when, as a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, she decided to pursue a major in Spanish through a new Bilingual Bicultural Education program.

“It appears that teaching was in my blood. My first entrance into a classroom convinced me of that,” she says. “I love to see my perfect students, my wonderful students, my hardworking students progress socially and academically.”

Gonzalez says she believes in giving students the tools they need to find what they want to know, combining as many skills as possible into each activity, and getting students to take ownership of their learning. All of the techniques and activities she uses in the classroom are geared toward building students’ confidence.

“We [teachers] have the ability to make or break a child’s spirit. We have the ability to instill a love of learning or a disdain for any thing academic. It is our responsibility to make sure our actions encourage students to want to do their best,” she says.

Students know if they are learning and if a teacher is being effective. That’s why Gonzalez feels it is important for teachers to get feedback from their students about how they are doing. Using a report card format, she has asked past classes to rate her performance as a teacher.

“The results were always very interesting because I was able to see how I had impacted each child. Students know if a teacher likes them and wants the best for them. We, as educators, should not fear feedback from the ones we affect the most,” she says.

Gonzalez has been an educator for over 30 years. She has taught in Fayette for 13 years.
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Economic Stimulus Package Will Enhance 529 Plans

/PRNewswire/ -- The College Savings Plans Network (CSPN), an affiliate of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST), announced today that the economic stimulus bill before Congress today contains a significant enhancement to Section 529 college savings plans. CSPN worked closely with leaders in Congress to allow families to use money from 529 college savings plans to purchase computers and related technology. Until enactment of this legislation, these college savings accounts could be used to pay for computers only if they were required by the college or by a specific degree program or course.

"Given the increasing technological needs of today's students, it makes sense for computers to be allowed as a qualified expense under Section 529 plans. The reality is that any student who does not have a computer will find it increasingly difficult to succeed in college and will find their skills compromised as they enter the workforce," said Jackie Williams, executive director of the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority, and Immediate Past Chair and spokesperson for CSPN. "We applaud the President, Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and the Congress for continuing to provide leadership on education issues by working to improve Section 529 plans to help American families save and use these important plans for their children's higher education expenses."

Founded in 1991, the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) is an affiliate of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). CSPN is a non-profit association representing states who administer Section 529 college savings and prepaid plans. One of the Network's primary purposes is to educate families about the importance of saving for college and the benefits of Section 529 plans. Additionally, CSPN monitors federal activities and promotes legislative and regulatory changes to enhance Section 529 plans.

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Atlanta Braves High School Scholarship, Presented by Publix Super Markets, Available Now to Graduating Seniors

For the tenth consecutive year the Atlanta Braves and Publix Super Markets have partnered to offer high school scholarships to graduating high school seniors throughout Georgia. Six $2000 scholarships will be awarded to students who have demonstrated strong community involvement as well as solid academic performance throughout their high school careers.

Applications are available at braves.com/community and at public and private high schools throughout Georgia. Students with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 should submit an application along with:

• One letter of recommendation
• A letter of acceptance from a college or university for the fall 2009 semester
• An essay describing how the applicant has made an impact in their community
• Completed applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2009.

Scholarship recipients will be honored during an on-field presentation prior to the Atlanta Braves home game on May 2, 2009 vs. the Houston Astros. Each winner will be presented with a check for $2000 by an Atlanta Braves player and a representative from Publix Super Markets. All applicants will receive a Braves promotional item.

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Northeast Georgia Universities to Collaborate on Nanotechnology and Infectious Disease Research; Inaugural Symposium on Feb. 19

The inaugural Georgia Symposium on Nanotechnology in Infectious Disease, co-sponsored by northeast Georgia’s major research universities, will be hosted by the University of Georgia Thursday, Feb. 19.

The free, one-day symposium marks the start of a collaboration among UGA, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University to transform Georgia into a major attractor and incubator for emerging nanotechnology-based industries, with a focus on the application of nanotechnology to infectious diseases.

Vice President for Research David Lee said, “These three universities have common research interests in the application of nanotechnology to biomedicine, especially in the area of infectious disease. As they comprise a major component of the state’s intellectual resources, these institutions have significant opportunities–in addition to profound obligations–to facilitate and participate in this revolutionary development in 21st century science, technology and industry.”

“Nanotechnology is set to revolutionize the biological and physical sciences, and the related areas of applied science and engineering, during the next two decades,” said Rich Dluhy, director of UGA’s NanoScale Science and Engineering Center (NanoSec), the conference organizer.

“The global economic impact of nanotechnology is estimated to be at the trillion-dollar level over the next 15 years,” said Dluhy. “To ensure the continued robust economic development of the State of Georgia over the coming decades, it is imperative that all available nanotechnology-related resources be marshaled.”

Nano-technology–that is, the manipulation of nanometer-length atoms, molecules, and supramolecular structures–opens the door to advances in variety of scientific disciplines. Dluhy said that the Georgia collaborations will target advances in nano-medicine and nano-pharmacology for pathogen- and disease-intervention strategies, applications of inorganic nanostructures and nanopatterned surfaces in food processing/food safety, applications of nano-devices in agriculture and horticulture, and applications of chemical and biological nano-sensors to detect zoonotic and emerging diseases associated with homeland security and biodefense.

The one-day symposium, held in the Riverbend South Conference Center, features morning and afternoon keynote speakers, followed by talks from faculty at the three sponsoring institutions.

The session begins at 8:30 a.m. with keynote speaker Mostafa El-Sayed, Julius Brown Chair and Regents’ Professor of Chemistry in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Director of the Laser Dynamics Laboratories at Georgia Tech. El-Sayed recently was awarded the U.S. National Medal of Science, partially in recognition of his work in nanomedicine.

The next session begins at 1 p.m. with keynote speaker Shuming Nie, Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Chair Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Emory University.

Conference organizers are Duncan Krause, director, UGA Faculty of Infectious Diseases; Richard Dluhy, director, UGA NanoScale Science and Engineering Center; Gang Bao, Distinguished Professor, Georgia Tech/Emory Department of Biomedical Engineering; Larry McIntire, chair, Georgia Tech/Emory Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Conference details are online at http://id.uga.edu/conferences.php#021909.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Georgia Tech Celebrates Excellence in Engineering

The Georgia Institute of Technology celebrates National Engineers Week February 15-21 followed by Georgia Engineers Week February 22-28.

With the largest engineering program in the nation, Georgia Tech has remained a leader in the discipline. U.S. News & World Report ranked both Georgia Tech’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs fourth in the nation in 2009. In addition, most of Georgia Tech’s graduate and undergraduate programs rank in the top ten with Industrial and Systems Engineering ranking number one.

Georgia Tech also plays a major role in diversifying engineering. Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranks Georgia Tech as the No. 1 producer of African American engineers while Hispanic Business ranks the Institute as the top engineering school for Hispanics. In addition, Georgia Tech was the first in the nation to enroll and graduate female engineers.

The annual observance, initiated in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, is designed to recognize the contributions engineers as well as to promote science, technology, engineering and math education.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ashworth College Announces New Retail Management Associate Degree Program

Ashworth College, announced today the addition of Retail Management to its roster of Associate Degree programs.

The new course curriculum combines traditional business subjects with specialized retail courses and is designed to provide students with the necessary knowledge needed to pursue retail management training opportunities or to advance within their current retail careers.

Ashworth developed this course in response to current occupational trends. According to the US Department of Labor, the nation’s retail sector is reported to have more than 16 million jobs. In spite of the current economic climate, across all industries, that translates to a +12.4% increase within the next few years.

“The current economic climate makes this an idea time for retail professionals to start a degree program,” stated Dr. Milton Miller, Vice President of Education at Ashworth. “While the industry might have slowed down, professionals who have spent time cultivating their skills and pursuing specialized degrees have a better chance of protecting their current positions and will be sought after when the economy picks up again.”

Ashworth believes this program is an important addition to its catalog and a great investment for those pursuing a retail career. Though entry into retail tends to be easy, promotions are more likely to come to individuals with a college degree. In this context, an associate degree in retail management would provide a distinct advantage.

With a Retail Management associate degree, graduates can gain skills that are applicable across a variety of business types, according to Deepa Chadha, Degree Program Director at Ashworth. “And because our instructors are experienced, working professionals, students are able to benefit from practical insights.” Ashworth also plans to offer an undergraduate certificate program in retail management for students who are not looking to enroll in a degree program.

Ashworth’s Retail Management program is comprised of an introduction and twenty comprehensive lessons, each beginning with a subject matter preview and course objectives, and a vocabulary builder of new words and terms. Lessons include:

Introduction to Business
Business Communications I
Introduction to Retailing
Introduction to Computers
American Government
Principles of Management
Business Communications II
Principles of Retailing
College Mathematics
Retail Supply Chain Management
Retail Buying
Introduction to Accounting
Retail Employee Management
Microeconomics
Introduction to Psychology
Retail Quality Management
Principles of Finance
Consumer Buying Behavior
Retail Loss Prevention
Principles of Marketing

Because Ashworth is a distance education institution, Retail Management students start the program at any time, study, complete practice exercises and take exams online. The program is extremely conducive to the retail professional’s work schedule.

“Like all of our Associate Degree courses, Retail Management is self paced,” commented Dr. Miller. “Many of our students work full-time jobs and have families. We wanted this to be as flexible as possible so that they can work it into their work and family schedules. And with rising gas prices it helps that they can complete the course at home and not have to travel to a classroom.”

About Ashworth College
Ashworth College, a worldwide leader in comprehensive distance education, offers a full range of high school, career school, associates, bachelor’s and master’s diploma and degree programs. It is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Ashworth High School is further accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA). Headquartered in Norcross, GA, Ashworth College, offers more than 450 different high school, career school, associates, bachelors and masters courses to students around the world. For more information visit AshworthCollege.edu.
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Atlanta Christian College Named to Presidential Honor Roll For Community Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service honored Atlanta Christian College today with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities.

“This award is very gratifying to our college community,” said Dean Collins, interim president, “because it indicates that our students are learning that with the privilege of education comes the responsibility of serving those in need.”

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

Atlanta Christian College’s service to the community includes a large number of individual and small group projects, including internships in locations ranging from a local hospice to a village in Africa; volunteering at local nursing homes and Christian summer camps; and a campus-wide recycling effort led by student volunteers. The College also requires each student to complete a significant cross-cultural experience before graduation, which often includes a community service component.

Most notable, however, are the College’s semiannual ministry days. Each semester, a day is set aside for the entire campus community to serve others together. Classes are cancelled and offices are closed; faculty, staff and students spend the day working together on a variety of projects in partnership with inner-city Atlanta missions. In 2008, more than half the student body voluntarily attended each semester’s ministry day.

“Our ACC students are so open to being challenged to get involved in helping make their world a better place,” said Wye Huxford, vice president for student development and dean of the chapel. “I wish I had been that understanding of ‘ministry’ when I was their age.”

“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges,” said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. “We salute Atlanta Christian College for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others.”

Overall, the Corporation honored six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, 83 were named as Honor Roll With Distinction members and 546 schools as Honor Roll members. In total, 635 schools were recognized. A full list is available at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.

“I offer heartfelt congratulations to those institutions named to the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. College and university students across the country are making a difference in the lives of others every day – as are the institutions that encourage their students to serve others,” said American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad.

Recent studies have underlined the importance of service-learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to the Corporation’s Volunteering in America 2007 study. Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by America’s college students. The Corporation is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The Corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service-learning in schools, institutions of higher education and community-based organizations. For more information, go to www.nationalservice.gov.
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Honeywell and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Announce Fourth Annual Search for America's 'Safest Teachers'

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Honeywell (NYSE: HON) and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) today announced the launch of the fourth annual Got 2B Safe! Awards program, designed to encourage teachers at elementary schools nationwide to help their students learn valuable and potentially life-saving lessons. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 797,500 children younger than 18 were reported missing during a one year period, an average of 2,185 children reported missing each day.

Got 2B Safe! provides teachers child safety teaching tools and rewards teachers who develop the most creative lesson plans are with big prizes. Five teachers win a classroom makeover worth $10,000 and 100 teachers win $500 worth of school supplies. Makeovers include an overall redesign of the classroom with themes chosen by the teachers, and materials including Got 2B Safe! artwork. The Got 2B Safe! Awards program will be open until March 23, 2009. Educators can log on to www.got2bsafe.com for more information about the contest and to submit a brief essay emphasizing the Got 2B Safe! Four Rules of Safety.

"It is crucial to arm our children with positive, empowering skills to help them recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations," said Tom Buckmaster, president, Honeywell Hometown Solutions. "Participation in the Got 2B Safe! Awards program gives teachers an opportunity to educate their students, parents and community to be smarter about personal safety."

Since 2003, Honeywell and NCMEC have worked together on Got 2B Safe!. The program fills a critical gap -- no other nationwide abduction prevention program exists for schools. Got 2B Safe! focuses on educating eight- to ten-year-olds and their families on how to help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation. It arms teachers, parents and guardians with tools to keep children safer. To date, Got 2B Safe! has been distributed to 240,000 principals and teachers, and more than 72,000 schools in the United States- reaching an estimated five million students.

"Teaching children about personal safety should be a priority," said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. "We are excited to be working with Honeywell on the Got 2B Safe! Awards program, to educate teachers, children and the community-at-large about how to prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation."

Got 2B Safe! teaches simple rules to help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation through the Got 2B Safe! Four Rules of Safety:

-- Check First -- Children should always check with parents and guardians
before accepting gifts, rides, or invitations from anyone, including
friends, acquaintances and people they don't know.
-- Go With a Friend -- Simple and straightforward -- never go anywhere
alone. Being with another person in public is safer and more fun.
-- It's My Body - Teach your children they have the right to say NO to
any unwelcome, uncomfortable, or confusing touch or actions by others.
-- Tell a Trusted Adult -- Teach your children to TELL a trusted adult --
parent, guardian, teacher, etc. -- if anyone or anything makes them
feel scared, uncomfortable or confused.


"Having taught in a variety of different environments and witnessing all types of abuse and neglect, I've always tried to incorporate a unit on safety in my classroom," said Jessica Beamon, a 2008 Grand Prize winner. "The simple Got 2B Safe! rules clearly resonate with my students and help educate them to make safe choices."

Makeovers include an overall redesign of the classroom with themes chosen by the teachers, and safety materials including Got 2B Safe! artwork. Additional information is available at www.got2bsafe.com.

The Got 2B Safe! program has won eight awards within the corporate social responsibility industry. It is a signature program of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company's corporate citizenship initiative, which focuses on four areas: Family Safety & Security; Housing & Shelter; Science & Math Education; and Humanitarian Relief. Together with leading public and non-profit institutions, Honeywell has developed powerful programs to address these needs in the communities it serves. Honeywell also partners with NASA on FMA Live!, a hip hop science education program; and Rebuilding Together on home revitalization projects for low-income homeowners.

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Regents Hear Presentation on Serving Students with Disabilities

Among the University System of Georgia’s (USG’s) 283,000 student population are more than 9,000 individuals with a variety of learning disabilities that are being assisted through a wide range of special programs. That’s according to a report produced for the University System’s Board of Regents that looked at how learning disabilities were being addressed during Fiscal Year 2007.

Dr. Christopher Lee, director of the USG’s Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC), provided this information in a presentation during the regent’s Feb. meeting. The Center is one member of the network that serves students with disabilities throughout the University System. Other arms of the network consist of campus-based disability student service offices, the Regents’ Centers for Learning Disorders and a recently established AccessText Network.

“Over the last two decades the University System of Georgia invested in system wide initiatives to serve students with disabilities,” Lee said. “An efficient network is now in place and with continued refinement it will be a national customer service blueprint for other states to follow.”

The number of students with learning disabilities served by the University System almost doubled from 4,721 in FY 2001 to 9,046 in FY 2008, a 91 percent increase. Current estimates based on the existing disability population in the K-12 system indicate that the number of students requiring the USG’s services will continue to increase in the future, Lee said.

Lee highlighted for the regents a recent effort to address current and future challenges for providing services to students with print-related disabilities, such as blindness. AMAC and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) have worked collaboratively to develop and launch the AccessText Network, a comprehensive, national online system that promises to make it easier and quicker for students with print-related disabilities to obtain the textbooks they need for their college courses.

“Many college students with disabilities are struggling to use required or recommended print textbooks that are essential to their course success,” said Patricia Schroeder, AAP’s president and chief executive officer “The new AccessText Network will improve the way electronic versions of print textbooks are delivered to campus-based disability student service offices from publishers and streamline the permission process for scanning copies of print textbooks when publisher files are unavailable.”

AccessText Network, scheduled for beta launch this month, will ensure that institutions can more easily obtain information about publishers’ course materials, request alternative electronic text files and use more efficient acquisition and distribution channels, Lee told the regents.
“We are excited about working in conjunction with the disability community to guarantee AccessText becomes the conduit between the publishing world and post-secondary institutions' disability programs nationwide,” he said. “Our goal is to make the college disability service professional’s job easier and, in the long run, help save institutions from the high cost of producing electronic textbooks for their students with disabilities.”

AccessText Network is being funded through donations from publishers Cengage Learning; CQ Press; Macmillan; McGraw-Hill Education; Pearson; Reed Elsevier Inc.; John Wiley & Sons; and W.W. Norton.

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