Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Due to Shortages, Veterinary Students Get a Free Ride

(ARA) – First, the bad news: there is a growing shortage of veterinarians, particularly in the fields of public health and food safety. The good news: as a result, young veterinarians can get expensive school loans comped.

It’s long been acknowledged that there is a shortage of food animal veterinarians in rural areas. Now, a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office shows that there are also shortages of veterinarians who are employed by the federal government. The Food Safety and Inspection Services, which is responsible for inspecting all meats we eat or export, has a 15 percent shortage. A GAO report says "a lack of veterinarians has impaired the agency’s ability to meet its food safety responsibilities." Furthermore, the Agricultural Research Service, which conducts research on diseases such as avian influenza, has a 12 percent veterinary shortage.

"The shortage of food safety and public health veterinarians has become a national crisis and it’s really put food safety in America in jeopardy," explains Dr. James Cook, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. "The good news is that many states, the federal government, and even the AVMA have begun college-loan repayment programs to entice young veterinarians into this field. So if you’re interested in working with farm animals or in public health, this could be a very good time to go to veterinary school."

The federal government has $4.8 million available in funding for its school loan repayment program, called the National Veterinary Medical Services Act, also known as NVMSA, which should start offering loan repayments this fall.

"The grants will be spread over a number of years," explains Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, head of the Washington, DC offices of the AVMA. "The finer points of NVMSA haven’t been determined yet, but it is our hope that veterinarians could earn as much as $25,000 a year for the first two years and then $35,000 for the third and fourth years if they agree to serve an underserved area like rural food supply veterinary medicine."

Dr. Jennifer McKee, a young veterinarian working on farms around Hendersonville, N.C., says that she’s witnessed the shortage firsthand. In her area some farmers have had to kill livestock that may have been saved because of the scarcity of veterinarians.

"I’ve had to drive up to two hours one way to serve a client because of the shortage," she explains. She believes that NVMSA is needed and plans on applying when it starts.

"It’s what I love to do, to work with large animals, but my veterinary school loans are over $140,000," McKee says. "This would really help support me while I continue to work in an area that I love."

Many states, including Ohio, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Washington, Wyoming and Kansas, have created state school loan repayment incentives for young veterinarians, and more are being passed by state legislatures every year.

Garrett Stewart, a second year veterinary student at Kansas State University veterinary school, is currently enrolled in Kansas’ incentive program, which offers students $20,000 a year for each year they practice in an area of need in the state

Stewart said the program should help fight a serious “brain drain” in Kansas. Last year, only 13 KSU veterinary school graduates out of a class of 118 stayed in Kansas.

“There is a pretty good chance that I would have left Kansas without the help I received from this program,” says Stewart, who grew up on a ranch in Washington, Kan. “This will help me to stay in Kansas and work with large animal medicine, which is what I love.”

There are also generous, privately funded incentive programs that are being developed for veterinary students. The AVMA and its charitable arm, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, are currently developing an ambitious plan to offer their own veterinary school loan repayment program offering $20,000 to $30,000 a year over four years to young veterinarians willing to practice in rural areas.

"We are seeing a serious shortage in the number of new graduates going into food animal practice, particularly into rural areas. This program is intended to identify up to 50 new graduates a year and make it more economically feasible for them to go into rural agricultural practice," explains Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA. "It is an exciting program, and we have been overwhelmed by the positive response we’ve received from our corporate sponsors."

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Georgia Tech Grads Still in Demand During Recession

The demand for Georgia Tech students remains strong despite a tough economy.

Among the disciplines that employers are most interested in are chemical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science.

“Employers continue to look to Georgia Tech because of the quality of our students and reputation of the Institute,” said Ralph Mobley, director of Career Services. “During economically tough times, our students set themselves apart by the academic rigor here at Tech and the ability for many of them to obtain real-world experience before they graduate through our co-op and internship programs.”

More than 470 companies are expected to visit campus during this academic year, and every career fair planned for this semester has been full in terms of potential employers, according to Mobley.

“Although the number of companies visiting campus is down 24 percent, many students are receiving offers, but just may not receive as many as they have in the past,” said Mobley. “We’re also seeing a slight increase in the number of internships our students are getting.”

Mobley suggests that the number of internships may be up because companies are more optimistic for the long term and want to make sure they keep their talent pipelines full.

Chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering and management graduates all meet or exceed the national average for salaries according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers data for fall of 2008.

Despite the demand for specific majors, Georgia Tech students are not immune to facing challenges as they search for jobs in the current economic climate. Some major companies have cancelled interviews or withdrawn job offers, according to Mobley. “Those who have been successful in finding positions began their search well in advance of their graduation date,” he noted.

Although MBA student Heather Platt of Atlanta won’t graduate until May, she accepted a position with Delta Airlines last November. “I interviewed with Delta when they were on campus last fall,” she noted. “I will be working in the sourcing department where I’ll be reviewing options for suppliers, analyzing prices and negotiating contracts.”

Another MBA student, Mike Green of Atlanta, will be working for the East Coast Division of Lafarge Building Materials headquartered in Alpharetta. “Before beginning my MBA, I worked as a homebuilder,” he said. “I interned with the company last summer and two days before my internship ended, Lafarge offered me a position. I accepted.”

The total number of interviews has dipped slightly this year (by 5 percent), but remains high with more than 8,000 interviews taking place on campus.

“We need to keep in mind that interviews don’t necessarily equal job offers. Companies are becoming more selective,” said Mobley. “It is a tribute to our students because companies are seeking them out.”

Georgia Tech continues to see significant interest in its students from companies in the defense, petroleum, information technology, government and consulting industries.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Governor Praises Passage of Math, Science Teacher Legislation

Governor Sonny Perdue today commended the final passage of HB 280 by the General Assembly. It will start new fully-certified math and science teachers at the same salary as a fifth year teacher.The legislation was introduced by Rep. Brooks Coleman and carried in the Senate by Sen. Dan Weber. The legislation received final passage today when the House agreed to minor changes made to the bill in the Senate.

“Our state graduated only one physics teacher last year, and we must do what we can to ensure that our students are ready to meet the challenges ahead,” said Governor Perdue. “I applaud the General Assembly for passing legislation to attract and retain more math and science teachers in our schools.”

The Governor’s proposal was based on recommendations by the Alliance of Education Agency Head’s Math and Science Task Force. Under the legislation, math and science teachers with less than five years experience will be brought up to the fifth year pay level. In an effort to encourage elementary teachers to increase their competency in math and science, the Governor’s proposal also provides a $1,000 annual bonus to elementary teachers who hold a math or science endorsement. The incentives will be available for the 2010-11 school year, which will begin in the Fiscal Year 2011 state budget.

“Georgia teachers work diligently to serve our state’s students well,” said Rep. Brooks Coleman. “By attracting more math and science teachers, the legislation agreed to today will make sure that our children continue to receive the best education possible and are prepared for the future.”

Gordon College Application Fee Waiver Day Planned

Students applying to Gordon College can waive the application fee by applying Saturday, April 4.

The event is 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and students can arrive at any time to complete the application process. To expedite the application process, students can bring a sealed copy of their transcripts and their immunization forms.

Tours of the campus and the residence halls will be offered throughout the morning. Representatives from admissions, financial aid and residence life will also be on hand to answer any questions students might have and to assist in the application process.

Students should come to the Welcome Center at the corner of College Drive and Spencer Street in Barnesville. Parking is available in the lot behind the building.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Business School To Offer Accelerated Day MBA in Atlanta

Mercer University is offering a new twist to its Master of Business Administration degree: day classes. Mercer’s Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics has long offered its Flexible MBA in the evenings on the University’s Atlanta campus; now it will offer an accelerated MBA program during the day. This accelerated program will afford qualified individuals the opportunity to earn an MBA from an internationally accredited business school in just one year.

The MBA is a professional degree for qualified students interested in the management of human, material and financial resources in business, government and nonprofit organizations. The day program is tailored to meet the needs of individuals re-tooling their careers or returning to the work place, including retired military personnel, international students, traditional graduates desiring to stay on a day schedule and shift workers in such fields as health care or public safety.

The Stetson School of Business and Economics holds the highest level of accreditation available for business schools from AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Only 25 percent of business schools in the world have earned this accreditation. The School was named one of the “Top 296 Business Schools” and also ranked No. 3 in the nation by the Princeton Review for “Greatest Opportunity for Women.”

About the Accelerated MBA Program:
For students who need foundation courses in business, the program will begin with evening courses in May. Then, in July, the entire cohort will begin with two new 1.5 credit classes, Business Communication and Team Dynamics, which are offered in a four-week session, with two classes per week per class, either in morning or afternoon blocks.

All students continue, cohort-style, with two eight-week fall sessions and two eight-week spring sessions. Students will take three classes per session on four-day schedules – no classes will meet on Fridays. As with the summer session, students may choose morning or afternoon blocks to accommodate their individual and family needs. The program will conclude in May.

Applicants must have a four-year bachelor’s degree with an acceptable level of scholarship from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning. The degree may be in any discipline. Applicants are also required to take the Graduate Management Admission Test. The admission decision is based upon assessment of the applicant’s ability for successful graduate study. This assessment will be based upon aptitude, measured by the GMAT, previous academic record and, in some instances, successful managerial experience.

For more information on this program, visit business.mercer.edu or contact the Stetson School of Business and Economics Admissions Office at (678) 547-6417 or atlbusadm@mercer.edu.

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New Report: Obama Budget Proposes Direct College Aid for 8,722 More Students in Georgia

/PRNewswire / -- An additional 8,722 students in Georgia would receive Pell Grants if excessive lender subsidies are cut, according to a new report released today by the Campaign for America's Future. Today's report shows that this simple change would provide an average Pell Grant of $3,010 to about 181,580 students across the state.

With the average cost of tuition at a public college in Georgia increasing by 19 percent between 2000 and 2007 and up 6 percent in the last year alone, President Obama's budget calls for a cut in lender subsidies to make the financial aid system more efficient.

Campaign for America's Future co-director Robert Borosage said the president's budget proposals would make major changes to the federal financial aid system so more families can pay for college.

"Family incomes and college grants haven't kept pace with soaring tuition costs," said Borosage. "No student should be priced out of the college they need to succeed in the modern economy. With more and more high school graduates putting off higher education because they can't afford it, the president's budget would help provide the change students and families need."

The college affordability proposals in the president's budget would increase and expand Pell Grants and Perkins loans, make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent, broaden the U.S. Department of Education Direct Loan program, phase out bank loan subsidies and create state and federal partnerships to help students complete their college education.

**NOTE: An electronic copy of the Georgia college aid report is available at www.ourfuture.org/collegeaid2010.**

BACKGROUND ON COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY PROVISIONS IN PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET

President Obama's budget addresses both the immediate economic concerns as they relate to higher education as well as sets the stage for future higher education investment and success.

INCREASES THE MAXIMUM PELL GRANT TO $5,550, MAKES PELL GRANT FUNDING MANDATORY, AND KEEPS FUTURE INCREASES TIED TO INFLATION.

Nearly 5.6 million students from low and moderate income households are able to attend college this year due in part to Pell grants. Originally designed to cover 80% of the cost of college, Pell grants currently cover just 1/3 of the cost. Presently, Pell grant funding is discretionary and determined by the annual budget process. The budget will make Pell grant funding mandatory to help eliminate uncertainty and prevent funding shortfalls. The budget also increases the Pell grant maximum to $5,550 for the 2010-11 school year and indexes the maximum grant to grow with inflation in the future.

MAKES THE PARTIALLY REFUNDABLE $2,500 AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDIT PERMANENT

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created a new partially refundable $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit over the next two years to provide a tax break to millions of families, including low-income families who don't pay taxes and therefore currently get no tax relief for college. Up to $1,000 of the credit is refundable for low-income families, and the credit itself is phased-out for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is in excess of $80,000 ($160,000 for married couples filing jointly.) The budget proposal makes the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent.

BROADENS THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DIRECT LOAN PROGRAM AND PHASES OUT THE FFEL PROGRAM

There are two federal student loan programs -- the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program and the Direct Loan program. FFEL loans are federally guaranteed loans issued by banks and other lenders, who are provided subsidies by the federal government for providing the loans. The tightening of credit markets essentially made the FFEL program untenable on its own last year prior to the passage of the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act. The proposed budget would end the FFEL program and subsidies to lenders on all federal student loans beginning in July 2010. The Direct Loan program, which has operated successfully since 1994, issues loans directly from the U.S. Department of Education. Transitioning entirely to the Direct Loan program is projected to save taxpayers $4 billion a year that can be used for increased student aid, rather than lender subsidies.

EXPANDS AND MODERNIZES THE PERKINS LOAN PROGRAM.

Perkins Loans are low-interest federal loans available to students enrolled in a participating college or university with a demonstrated exceptional financial need not met by Pell grants or other federal loans. Currently, only 1,800 out of 4,400 institutions participate in the Perkins loan program. The budget proposal would seek to make Perkins Loans available to more than double the number of institutions it currently serves. The budget would also increase funding for Perkins Loans by $5 billion -- up from the current $1 billion available in Perkins Loan aid. President Obama also proposes restructuring the program to provide an estimated 2.7 million additional students with the average Perkins Loan each year -- a five-fold increase over the current 500,000 students receiving Perkins Loans.

IMPROVES COLLEGE COMPLETION THROUGH STATE-FEDERAL PARTNERSHIP

The budget provides for a five-year, $2.5 billion fund available to states for innovative programs and research aimed at improving college success and completion rates, particularly among students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Georgia Southern University School of Nursing Receives $104,000 Grant from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation

Georgia Southern University School of Nursing students will receive scholarships during the coming academic year thanks to a $104,000 grant from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation.

Jean Bartels, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Georgia Southern’s nationally-ranked School of Nursing, says the grant will be used to fund scholarships for more than 30 outstanding students during the 2009-2010 academic year. Bartels says the scholarships will greatly reduce, or even eliminate, the hours students will have to work outside of school. “For most students, it means significant financial support in purchasing textbooks and medical equipment while easing their workload as they pursue intense clinical experiences,” said Bartels.

The scholarships will also ensure that the University will be able to recruit outstanding students, regardless of their financial situation. “This grant means more deserving students can be admitted to the School of Nursing because they will have the financial resources that will allow them to stay in school and meet an ever increasing need for well educated nurses,” said Bartels.

Educating nurses is becoming even more critical according to Bartels. The state of Georgia is expected to have a shortfall of 20,000 nurses in the next three years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics estimates that nearly 250,000 new nursing jobs will be available in the U.S. every year through 2016, and the amount of nurses around the country is expected to fall far short of the demand. Georgia Southern University’s School of Nursing graduate program is consistently listed as one of the top in the nation. The program is becoming known for not only educating future nurses, but helping current nurses obtain advanced degrees through its popular online degree programs.

The Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation places special emphasis on women studying in the fields of nursing and healthcare. The foundation’s mission is to benefit the education of women in financial need in nine southeastern states.

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Early Intervention Program Helps Struggling Readers

A Georgia State University reading program has been shown to help struggling readers defy the “fourth-grade slump” – a time in later elementary school when many students can have difficulty with reading.

In a recent study, GSU professors found that students who participated in a university program called Reading Recovery consistently achieved or exceeded expectations on the reading portion of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT).

Even more impressive, these students were identified as the lowest performing readers and writers in first grade but outperformed their peers by the fourth grade.

“Rather than slipping back, they continued to move forward,” said Floretta Thornton-Reid, executive director of Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative programs in GSU’s College of Education. ”This study reaffirms the power of Reading Recovery and the power of early intervention.”

Through Reading Recovery, children receive 30-minute daily lessons taught by specially trained teachers for 12-20 weeks. The one-on-one tutoring sessions include reading instruction on phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension that supplement classroom lessons.

The GSU study looked at 1,574 children who participated in the Reading Recovery program and compared their performance on the reading comprehension portion of CRCT to 31,271 peers. The students were in grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 in metro Atlanta county schools.

“We asked, ‘Do the children continue to make adequate progress?’ And the answer is yes, they are continuing to perform,” said Susan Duncan, director of Reading Recovery at Georgia State.
GSU is a regional training center for educators in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Bermuda. Teacher leaders come to the university to learn the Reading Recovery program and then go back to their schools and train teachers in their systems.

Over the last decade, GSU has trained 66 teacher leaders and served more than 47,000 students. Teachers say the program makes a big difference in their student’s academic performance.

“Reading Recovery breaks the cycle of failure because struggling students don’t have to wait until third or fourth grade to get help from special education,” said Mary Sangerster, a teacher leader for Habersham County School system. “The percentage of students who pass the CRCT goes up every year after they’ve received this intervention.”

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DeVry Decatur Campus Moves to New Location

(BUSINESS WIRE)--DeVry University Decatur has moved its campus from 250 North Arcadia Avenue to One West Square in Downtown Decatur.

The six-story, blue glass building is located in the Decatur Town Square, in the heart of the city's business and financial district, with easy access to Ponce De Leon Avenue and the MARTA train and bus service.

“We are very excited about the move to downtown Decatur,” said Chris Chavez, Atlanta Metro President. “Our new location allows us to be better integrated in the downtown Decatur community and gives our students, faculty and staff more opportunities to be involved in the exciting renaissance of the neighborhood.”

DeVry Decatur serves students who live or work in DeKalb County and Atlanta's central, eastern and southern metropolitan areas with both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in some of today's fastest growing career fields, including Game and Simulation Programming, Business Administration, Computer Information Systems and Technical Management, as well as master’s degree programs through its Keller Graduate School of Management. Keller's MBA program is listed as the fifth largest MBA program in the state, as published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle in January 2009.

A modern facility, the Decatur campus offers spacious classrooms; an expanded library with research and information resources; access to Galileo, an online database retrieval system for Georgia libraries; a computer lab with online access and a comfortable commons area. In addition, this Atlanta area location provides all administrative functions, including student finance, and student and career services.

“We’re pleased to welcome DeVry University to downtown Decatur,” said Mayor Bill Floyd. “With a location literally adjoining the Decatur MARTA station, DeVry University will play a key role in the development of the downtown area.”

DeVry University has been part of the fabric of Atlanta’s higher education community for 40 years. Students enrolled at DeVry University’s Atlanta-area locations have the flexibility to attend any of its seven Georgia locations: Alpharetta, Buckhead, Cobb/Galleria, Decatur, Duluth, Stockbridge, and Perimeter, as well as numerous online class options.

DeVry University maintains a focus on academic outcomes that result in a strong employment rate among its graduates. In Georgia, 87 percent of DeVry University's October ‘07, February ‘08 and June ‘08 graduates in the active job market were employed in their fields within six months of graduation at an average salary of $44,000.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Georgia Leads the Nation in Education Technology

"Technology Counts" report gives Georgia high marks

Georgia is a national leader in the use of educational technology to enhance both teaching and learning, according to a report released today.

Education Week's annual "Technology Counts" report gave Georgia the highest score when it comes to the use of technology in the classroom and building capacity for the use of technology.

"Georgia realizes that technology is a key component to improving education and preparing our students to be successful," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. "I am proud that Georgia -- even in difficult budget times -- invests in technology that helps our students and teachers be the best they can."

"Technology cannot replace the interaction between a highly-qualified teacher and a student," Superintendent Cox said, "but it can enhance that interaction and make it available to more students."

This year, the report ranks states on two criteria: use of technology and capacity to use technology. Georgia was able to answer "yes" to every indicator in both of these categories and was one of only two states to get a score of 100 in both areas. (The state report includes a third criteria -- access to technology -- but those results were from last year's report. You can see all of Georgia's grades at http://tinyurl.com/GaTCGrades).

Georgia has many ongoing statewide technology initiatives, including:

- Georgia Virtual School: The Georgia Virtual School, run by the Georgia Department of Education, offers students all over the state on-line access to rigorous classes, including Advanced Placement, foreign languages and core subjects. The state currently offers 121 on-line courses and this school year alone, nearly 4,000 students have enrolled in Georgia Virtual School classes.

- Credit Recovery: The Georgia Virtual School is also being used for a credit recovery program that allows students to catch up if they have fallen behind. Just since January 2008, over 40,000 students across the state have used the virtual school resources for credit recovery.

- Digital Content: Georgia is increasing access to digital content that can be used to help teachers prepare and supplement classroom learning. Much of this content is available or linked on www.georgiastandards.org.

- Increased Bandwidth: At its March meeting, the State Board of Education approved a contract that doubled the bandwidth available to local school systems, starting July 1.
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University of Arkansas Board Selects MCG President

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Dr. Daniel W. Rahn, currently president of the Medical College of Georgia (MCG), as the next chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Little Rock, Ark.

University of Arkansas officials stated that following a national search, Rahn emerged as the leading candidate from among four finalists who visited UAMS during the past few weeks, said Alan Sugg, president of the University of Arkansas System.

"As I noted when the news first broke concerning the possibility of Dr. Rahn's selection, his appointment is a testament to both his national stature and the Medical College of Georgia's rising national reputation," said University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. "Dr. Rahn has provided stellar leadership in the health sciences, not just for MCG, but for the state as well. As a result, today the health of Georgians is on track for significant improvement. Dr. Rahn's departure will be a tremendous loss for the people of Georgia and for MCG."

Rahn has served as president of MCG since June 1, 2001. Since July 2006, Rahn also has served as senior vice chancellor for health and medical programs for the University System of Georgia.
Rahn has been instrumental over the past several years in the development of plans to increase the numbers of physicians trained in Georgia. The medical expansion effort has involved both MCG and the University of Georgia, with the first class of physicians to be trained on a new partnership campus in Athens slated for admission in fall 2010. The plan also will increase the number of medical students educated in Augusta as well as the number of third- and fourth-year medical students who receive a portion of their clinical education in southwest and southeast Georgia through clinical campuses based in Albany and Savannah. It also includes expanding graduate medical education so that more physicians can complete their specialty training in Georgia.

Rahn came to MCG from Yale University School of Medicine in 1991. Before assuming the presidency of MCG, he served as vice dean for clinical affairs for the MCG School of Medicine as well as senior vice president for medical affairs and chief medical officer for MCG Health, which manages MCG's clinical facilities. He also is a full-time faculty member at MCG's School of Medicine.

Davis said no timeline has been set for the search for MCG's next president.

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VSU Nursing Secures $246,000 ICAPP Grant

The University System of Georgia's economic development program, the Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP) awarded the Valdosta State University College of Nursing a nearly $246,000 grant to increase the number of nurses prepared to work in behavioral and psychiatric health care.

“The nursing shortage in Georgia and throughout the country is critical, but even more critical is the need for nurses who work with patients with mental and emotional disorders, substance abuse and other behavioral health problems,” said Dr. Anita Hufft, dean of the VSU College of Nursing. "This grant will enable us to draw bright students into our program and expand the number of nurses we prepare to provide a high level of care for these special populations.”

The grant provides for the college to recruit 10 students into the Accelerated BSN Program, which enables a person with any bachelor’s degree and the required prerequisites to receive a Bachelor of Nursing in 14 months of study. Each student will receive a scholarship to pay for tuition on the condition that they work in a behavioral health setting in the state of Georgia upon graduation. The students will receive additional training in the specialized field through partnerships with area behavioral health facilities, including Greenleaf Center in Valdosta and Southwestern State Hospital in Thomasville.

To learn more about the grant and admission requirements, e-mail Accelerated BSN Program Manager Michelle Gilbert, RN, MSN, at megilber@valdosta.edu.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Georgia Tech Announces New PhD for Returning GIs

With President Obama’s accelerated timetable for withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq scheduled to be complete in August of next year, the nation will soon be faced with the task of reintegrating members of the U.S. armed forces into the workforce. Georgia Tech is leading the way by announcing today the development of an interdisciplinary Ph.D. to help returning GIs capitalize on the skills and military experience they’ve received while overseas. The new Ph.D. will be an interdisciplinary effort between the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and the College of Engineering.

“This new Ph.D. will prepare our military men and women to re-enter the civilian workforce as leaders in rebuilding America’s roads, schools, health, governance, energy and utility systems,” said Sue V. Rosser, dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

“As the country’s top producer of engineers and the home of active ROTC programs training future members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, Georgia Tech is a natural place for members of the armed forces to continue their education,” said Don P. Giddens, dean of the College of Engineering.

In just a few weeks, Tech will begin conducting an extensive survey of the needs and interests of GIs so that the new degree best capitalizes on their expertise. In addition, Georgia Tech plans on making this survey data available to all institutions so that they can use it in planning their own programs for returning GIs.

“There is a strong synergy between the engineering skills and experience of our Post 9/11 GIs and the nation’s need for such skills under President Obama’s initiative to rebuild America’s infrastructure,” said Rosser. “This survey will enable us to develop an interdisciplinary Ph.D. that precisely targets the intersection of the two, and can become a model for graduate engineering programs for returning GIs at institutions around the country.”

While the specifics of this new degree largely depend on what the survey data uncovers, Tech anticipates it will include courses in systems engineering, public policy, economics, project management and organizational behavior. The College of Engineering will work closely with the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and its Sam Nunn School of International Affairs in developing the degree.

Georgia Tech anticipates recruiting students for the new degree program at the end of 2009 and beginning the new Ph.D. in the fall of 2010, in time for veterans to take advantage of the educational benefits afforded by the new GI Bill.

“Georgia Tech demonstrates its leadership by winning National Science Foundation support for ‘Bridge to the Future for GIs.’ The project will both serve our returning veterans and will contribute to revitalizing our engineering and infrastructure,” said Susan Kemnitzer, deputy director for the Engineering Education and Centers Division of the National Science Foundation.

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Sallie Mae Promotes Responsible Borrowing with New ‘Smart Option Student Loan’

(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Sallie Mae (NYSE:SLM), the nation’s leading saving- and paying-for-college company, today announced a new private loan that enables students to save money, build good credit, and repay their student loan debt faster. With the new Smart Option Student Loan, a typical customer would pay off the balance nine years sooner and would save an estimated 40 percent of the total amount paid, including principal and interest, compared to most other private student loan alternatives.

Students may apply for the Smart Option Student Loan beginning today. Under the new program, customers will make interest-only payments while in school, so students avoid negative amortization and graduate with substantially less student loan debt. A freshman borrowing the average loan size of $7,700 would cut the payment time in half and save approximately $8,700, compared to most other private student loan alternatives.

Sallie Mae recommends private student loans for families who have exhausted their eligibility for free or less-expensive funds such as scholarships, grants and federal student loans. The company continues to offer federal student loans, which allow students to defer interest payments while in school, to every eligible student at every school in the United States through the 2009-2010 academic year. Terms of previously disbursed private loans remain unchanged.

“Today’s students are financially savvy and looking for affordable, responsible options to help with their investment in higher education,” said Jack Hewes, senior executive vice president and chief lending officer, Sallie Mae. “We have tried to design this loan to be sensitive to the needs of students who not only rely on this financing to get to college, but also want a more manageable level of debt as they transition from school to work. Paying a little while in school guarantees that students will save a lot later.”

Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan encourages responsible borrowing by functioning like other monthly obligations, such as cell phones and cable TV. The interest-only monthly payments required while in school, coupled with regular financial literacy communications, will help students develop good repayment habits, improve their credit scores, and help make loan payments after graduation more manageable. Reactions from college financial aid officers were favorable and confirmed the need to help students borrow responsibly.

The Smart Option Student Loan’s repayment term will range between five and 15 years, depending on the student’s cumulative Sallie Mae-serviced private student loan balance and academic grade level. Interest rates will be variable based on LIBOR. Those who apply for a Smart Option Student Loan with a creditworthy cosigner will increase the probability of approval and a lower interest rate. Interest rate reductions may also be available for customers who elect to make payments via automatic debit and receive communications via email. To prevent students from borrowing more than their budgets can handle, the approval process will include a review of monthly income and other debt payments.

Students and families considering a Smart Option Student Loan are encouraged to use Sallie Mae’s Education Investment Planner to estimate the total cost of a college degree, build a comprehensive plan to pay for college, and estimate the salary a graduate would need to keep repayment of student loans manageable. Visit www.SallieMae.com/plan for more information.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Fayette County Teacher’s Creative Approaches to Economic Education Gets State Recognition

Shelby Garner with students (L-R) Christyan Best, Todd Perry, Uvi Tega, Kaitlyn Peterson and Courtney Shaw.

It might be surprising to know that economics is the favorite subject for some third graders at Spring Hill Elementary in Fayette County. It is also the favorite subject of their teacher, Shelby Garner.

The enthusiasm she and her students have for economics is what led the Georgia Council on Economic Education to select Garner as Georgia’s Economics Teacher of the Year. For over eight years, Garner has used a program called Mini-Society to educate her students about economics. The program, for ages 8-12, takes students through the process of creating their own society and helps them understand more about math, law, entrepreneurship, economics, government and ethics.

Third grade teachers throughout the school system successfully use Mini-Society to teach economics, but it is Garner who has been credited with growing the program’s success.

“Ms. Garner was one of the teachers I selected in 2000 to be a pilot teacher for the Mini-Society program. I selected the teachers I had confidence in to make the program succeed and then, more importantly, help the program grow throughout our third grade,” says Social Studies Coordinator Dr. Cathy Geis, who nominated Garner for the award.

Garner’s successful approach to teaching economics concepts is through creative, experimental exercises she uses to help her students remember what they learn long after they leave her classroom. She likes to use the element of surprise when introducing the concept of scarcity.

“One day while the kids were at recess, I went around the school and covered all the water fountains with a paper bag and labeled them ‘Out of Order.’ I handed each child a cup and passed around a jug of water without telling how much each could have, letting the problem arise on its own. Students who did not get any water were upset. The next day we set up this same scenario and it was amazing how the situation was handled differently,” she says.

Garner has used the program for over eight years and each year she adds something new. She says she realizes that students talk about their experiences so she is constantly brainstorming new scenarios to keep the element of surprise for which she has become known.

“My students come to school every day with an eagerness and desire to learn. I truly believe that I am preparing my students for the economic choices they will have to make in the future and their responsibilities as an active citizen in our society,” she says.

Garner has found that economics is not just limited to social studies but also addresses language arts and math. Her students write paragraphs for job applications in language arts and they read books such as “Frindle,” “Toothpaste Millionaire,” “The Flag We Love,” “Max Malone Makes a Million,” “Umps Fwat,” “Rent a Third Grader,” “ A Bargain for Francis,” “City Green” and “If I Made a Million.” She strengthens their math skills by teaching them how to use a checkbook to make deposits and withdrawals.

Garner credits the Mini-Society program for giving her the confidence to teach economics. She confesses that she worried in the beginning if she could teach difficult economic terms to her students since she was not sure if she truly understood what the terms meant.

“This program has made me become a very confident teacher of economics. I have often thought about changing grade levels, but teaching economics through Mini-Society is the main reason I do not want to leave third grade,” she says.

Garner will officially receive the teacher of the year award at a special luncheon on May 13 at the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta.

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Scholarship Program Spotlights Challenge of Paying for College After a Parent has Died

/PRNewswire/ -- The nonprofit LIFE Foundation announced today that it is seeking submissions for its fifth annual LIFE Lessons College Scholarship Program, which recognizes the character and perseverance of college-age students who face financial adversity as a result of losing a parent or guardian.

LIFE will award $65,000 in scholarship money to students who submit either a 500-word essay or 3-minute video describing how the death of a parent or guardian has impacted their lives, both financially and emotionally. Qualified entrants are eligible for scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

"Paying for college is a challenge for most families, but it becomes infinitely more difficult when a parent dies at an early age," said Marvin Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation. "Through the LIFE Lessons scholarship program, the LIFE Foundation is able to help deserving young people in these difficult situations achieve their dream of higher education and realize their full potential."

The LIFE Lessons scholarship program is open to young people between ages 17 and 24 who have experienced the death of a parent or legal guardian and are currently enrolled in, or been accepted to, a college, university or trade school. The deadline for all scholarship applications is April 17.

In all, 45 scholarships will be awarded, 39 in the essay category and 6 in the video category. LIFE will award four $5,000 grand prize scholarships. In the video category, one $5,000 grand prize scholarship will be determined by a public, online vote that will take place on LIFE's website beginning on or around June 15, 2009. The remaining $40,000 in scholarship money will be awarded in the form of 40, $1,000 runner-up scholarships.

More information about the LIFE Lessons scholarship program, including submission guidelines, rules and a listing of past winners, is available at www.lifehappens.org/scholarship. Questions regarding the LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program should be emailed to scholarship@lifehappens.org.

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Rivers to Reefs Educator’s Workshop 2009

Dates: June 14th – 19th or July 12nd – 17th
Maximum Participants: 16 per workshop

Due to the limited number of spaces, interested teachers must apply and be accepted into the workshop to participate. Applications are due by April 15th.

Ever wonder where your rain water goes? Or how you are connected to the Georgia Coast? This weeklong teacher workshop led by the Georgia Aquarium and NOAA’S Grays Reef NMS staff will immerse teachers in a way like no other workshop. Teachers will wade into the watery world for a six-day, jam-packed teacher’s workshop full of fantastic field experiences and empowering classroom lessons.

The workshop begins in Atlanta with a visit to the Georgia Aquarium’s Learning Loop where participants get a little preview of the watery world they are going to immerse them in.

Field experiences include water quality monitoring, a kayaking trip to the convergence of the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers, a boat ride through the Altamaha River Delta to explore the watershed that directly influences Gray’s Reef, a trawling trip through the marsh, and a ferry ride over to Sapelo Island to explore the marshes and estuaries. On Sapelo Island participants are immersed in the cultural history of the native islander while investigating the ecology of beach and marsh communities. During our night hike on the beach we may even have the opportunity to observe a female Loggerhead sea turtle laying her eggs as the species has done for over 180 million years!

At the end of each day you will be mentally and physically exhausted, sweaty and perhaps even dirty; however, you will have experienced the watershed, coast and ocean thoroughly. You will explore and investigate with your hands, feet and sometimes your entire body and always with your spirit and mind and sometimes even your soul!

Each day will conclude with a group discussion on how the day’s experiences can be incorporated into classroom lessons. We hope this type of group sharing will inspire some great ideas and questions to answer.

PLU credits are awarded teachers completing the requirements of the workshop.

Leaders for the workshop are: Cathy Sakas, Education Coordinator, NOAA Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Kim Morris-Zarneke, Manager of Education Programs, Georgia Aquarium

Cost: Free

Selected participants will be notified on or about May 1st.

Send completed applications electronically or by mail to:
Kim Morris-Zarneke, Education Dept, Georgia Aquarium,
225 Baker St,
Atlanta, GA 30313
E-mail: kzarneke@georgiaaquarium.org
Phone: 404-581-4192 Fax: 404-581-4199

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Statement on MCG's Dr. Rahn

Following the announcement Friday by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees that they will meet Tuesday, March 24, to consider hiring Medical College of Georgia President Dr. Daniel W. Rahn as the next chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis, Jr. had the following statement:

“We understand that Dr. Rahn has been named as a finalist for the position of chancellor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and it is expected that the appointment will be finalized next week. Dr. Rahn has provided wonderful and stellar service to this state and to the Medical College of Georgia. It is certainly a testament to his national stature and the emerging and high reputation of MCG that he is being considered for this new position.

We, of course, would be very disappointed to see Dr. Rahn leave, but fortunately, he has assured me that, up until his departure from MCG, he will continue to provide the needed leadership for MCG as it confronts a number of challenges in the coming months. Georgia would lose a dedicated and selfless public servant of the very highest caliber, should Dr. Rahn ultimately accept the Arkansas position.”

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Savannah: Public is Invited to Share Thoughts on Public Education in Georgia

State Board Members Linda Zechmann and Allen Rice to Host
Public Hearing for First and Twelfth Congressional Districts
March 26, 2009 in Savannah, Georgia

Are you interested in learning more about public education in Georgia? Do you have suggestions that may help Georgia lead the nation in improving student achievement? If so, you may want to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to speak directly to the State Board of Education Members Linda Zechmann and Allen Rice. Ms. Zechmann represents the First Congressional District and Mr. Rice represents the Twelfth Congressional District.

Ms. Zechmann and Mr. Rice welcome you to an open public hearing taking place on Thursday, March 26, 2009. The meeting will be held from 7-8 p.m., at Armstrong Atlantic State University, University Hall, Room 158, Savannah, Georgia.

Whether you’re a teacher, parent, student, or simply a concerned citizen – you are encouraged to take part in this important event. Your feedback is critical as the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent of Schools work together to insure that all Georgia students are receiving an excellent education.

Those wishing to speak at the meeting are asked to sign in when they arrive. For more information, contact Ms. Lynn Roberts at 404-657-7410 or by e-mail: lroberts@doe.k12.ga.us

The Georgia Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission to, access to, or operations of its programs, services or activities. Individuals who need assistance or auxiliary aids for participation in this public forum are invited to make their needs known to Ms. Roberts, Georgia Department of Education at (404) 657-7410.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Georgia State/Georgia Tech Center for Advanced Brain Imaging to expand brain, mind research

Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology are opening a new center that will provide researchers around Atlanta with a dedicated magnetic resonance imaging scanner to further study into the mysteries of the brain and mind.

The Center for Advanced Brain Imaging, a joint venture of Georgia State and Georgia Tech, opened this month for researchers exploring topics from autism and learning disabilities, to applied physiology, brain signals and brain-computer interfaces.

“We are excited to open a facility which will provide researchers exploring the mind with a dedicated, around-the-clock center to advance research in some of the most fascinating and challenging areas of neuroscience,” said Robin Morris, vice president of research at Georgia State. “This is yet another example of how the University System of Georgia has encouraged partnerships between institutions, which yield great gains in scientific advancement.”

The center, a facility that has been more than a decade in the making, will provide a huge boost to the study of neuroscience on both campuses, Randall Engle, professor of psychology at Georgia Tech and interim director of the Center for Advanced Brain Imaging.

“It will bring people together from a broad range of disciplines to study how the brain works, how the brain creates the mind, and to better understand disorders and disabilities emanating from the brain,” Engle said.

The Marietta Street center provides both institutions with a research-dedicated functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner (fMRI). Scans from fMRIs tell researchers about active areas of the brain while the person is performing certain cognitive or behavioral functions, which shed further light on the brain.

Researchers at both institutions often had to vie for time at clinical MRIs based at hospitals, but the CABI’s scanner is solely dedicated to academic research, giving researchers a wider opportunity to perform their experiments.

The $2.3 million MRI scanner, funded by the Georgia State University Research Foundation, Georgia Tech Research Institute, and the Georgia Research Alliance through the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, is housed in a 6,000 square-foot facility with a 6-inch thick floor to hold the massive equipment. The machine’s magnetic power is rated at 3 Tesla — a unit measuring the strength of a magnetic field — which provides the power to observe details of electrical impulses and pathways in the brain. The MRI scanner is twice as powerful as conventional MRI scanners operating at 1.5 Tesla, and 60,000 times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field.

The machine will run 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week to accommodate not only researchers from Georgia State and Georgia Tech, but researchers from other institutions who wish to use it.
The CABI also includes facilities for transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, which is a strong magnet that applies bursts to the outside of the head to temporarily disrupt a portion of the brain, giving researchers a way to study the roles of different brain regions.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ashworth College Partners With GoArmyEd to Offer Online Education to Enlisted Service Members

/PRNewswire/ -- Ashworth College, today announced that it has partnered with the United States Army to provide online college degree programs to military service members via GoArmyEd.com.

Active-duty soldiers and military families often are deployed at a moments notice. This can create a barrier to pursuing a degree. A distance education institution like Ashworth is a viable solution for Army personnel, allowing soldiers and their families the opportunity to study anywhere in the world.

"As a leader in distance education, Ashworth College is able to easily deliver degree and course offerings and service soldiers anywhere in the world," explained John Riser, Director, Ashworth Education Operations, about the new GoArmyEd.com partnership.

To participate in the GoArmyEd program, Ashworth underwent an extensive application process. "We were able to demonstrate that Ashworth College offers accredited military-friendly programs that are relevant to soldiers," Riser added. "As a recognized institution, service members can now immediately enroll in our programs directly from the GoArmyEd portal. And through the Army's tuition assistance program there are zero out-of-pocket expenses."

By removing common obstacles like money, time and locale, non-commissioned officers looking to move up, as well as military personnel preparing for re-entry to civilian life, have additional opportunities to pursue a college education.

Riser pointed out several subject areas with great appeal to today's military personnel, such as health care, technology, and legal studies. Also consistently popular are the business and skilled trades programs.

Established as a virtual gateway for active-duty personnel, GoArmyEd is a one-stop location for managing a soldier's college education online. This portal allows military service members and their Army Education Counselors the opportunity to conveniently research participating colleges. Soldiers can also enroll in programs and request tuition assistance directly through the site.

"Ashworth programs meet the flexibility requirements of today's soldiers," said Melissa Maddox, Ashworth Military Advisor. "Because we're open year-round, service members can take classes on their terms. Compared to institutions that operate on a semester or quarter system, we have new classes starting every week, so as soon as one class has been completed, the next one can begin."

Translating experience into college credits.

Ashworth College recognizes that military experience can often translate to college credits. Ashworth works closely with a number of organizations to review and apply credit for military training to include: American Council on Education (ACE), Defense Activities for Non-traditional Educational Support (DANTES) and Service members Opportunity Colleges (SOC).

"We also consider a soldier's life/work experience and try to award college credit whenever possible," said Maddox. "Students have the option of providing CLEP certification or passing a proctored examination. These credits can help military service members reach their goals that much faster."

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The Goizueta Foundation of Atlanta Funds New Grant for Latino/Hispanic Students at Berry

Scholarship support for Hispanic/Latino students at Berry College has grown substantially thanks to a $750,000 grant from The Goizueta Foundation, based in Atlanta. This new grant provides need-based scholarship assistance to Hispanic/Latino students whose families currently reside in the United States. The Goizueta Foundation Scholars Fund is the third scholarship fund created by The Goizueta Foundation at Berry.

“We believe strongly that a quality private education should be available to all students,” said Berry President Stephen R. Briggs. “In these tough economic times, we commend The Goizueta Foundation for affirming the power of this dream by establishing a scholarship fund that will provide additional aid for students in the Hispanic/Latino community whose financial need is especially acute.”

Previous scholarship funds established by The Goizueta Foundation have been tremendously beneficial for Hispanic/Latino students as well as the Berry community at large. The overall number of Hispanic and Latino students enrolled at Berry has grown from 15 in 2003 to 41 in 2008, making Hispanic and Latino students the second largest minority group on campus for the third consecutive year. College leaders credit The Goizueta Foundation and its support as a key factor in this steady growth.

“The Goizueta Foundation’s continuing generosity is making it possible for us to attract talented students from diverse backgrounds,” Dr. Briggs said. “Our campus community is enriched, because we know that all students benefit from interaction with those whose culture, background and life experiences are different than their own.”

The Goizueta Foundation was established in 1992 to provide financial assistance to educational and charitable institutions. Its purpose is to assist organizations that empower individuals and families through educational opportunities to improve the quality of their lives.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

USG Consolidates Human Resources and Payroll Through Its Shared Services Center

Beginning in July, most of the University System of Georgia’s (USG) 40,000 employee paychecks will be issued through ADP, a national provider of transaction processing and information-based business solutions. Currently each of the University System’s 35 colleges and universities has separate databases and business processes for human resources and payroll.

This change will be the first of many as the University System moves forward with its Shared Services program, designed to unify and consolidate the System’s separate business functions throughout its colleges and universities. Thirty-two campuses, as well as the University System Office, are included in this initial phase of the Shared Services program. The next phase of the Shared Services program is currently in development.

“We are excited about the progress being made with the human resources and payroll consolidation,” said Usha Ramachandran, vice chancellor for Fiscal Affairs for the USG in an update today to the Board of Regents on Shared Services. “This is an important step as we seek to create a new operational structure that will enable us to become more efficient and effective in processing data and serving both our employees and the state.”

The regents contracted in June 2008 with ADP to consolidate human resources and payroll into a single system that will facilitate paperless processing of time sheets and benefits enrollment for employees, said Ramachandran. The first checks will be issued through the new system on July 17, 2009.

ADP staff will work with the new Shared Services Center director, Clifford Williams, selected to head up the operation based on his background and extensive private sector experience in the human resources and payroll information technology services industry. Williams will have a staff of approximately 15 who will work in the new Shared Services Center, located in Sandersville, Ga.

At a recent open forum held at Macon State University in Macon, 230 USG employees who handle human resources and payroll functions at the campus level were briefed on the Shared Services Center and the human resources and payroll consolidation, which marks Phase I of the Shared Services program. The presentation and questions and answers from the forum as well as numerous resources about the USG Shared Services Center, have been posted on a website found at http://www.usg.edu/sharedservices/ .

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuition Tales Video Contest Could Help Pay for College


Want to win $10,000 for higher education expenses?! Enter a 30-second video contest at www.tuition-tales.com for a chance to win!

We work with Upromise and for many families and students struggling with today's economy, college tuition simply breaks the bank. Upromise is offering a creative opportunity for future, current and even recent graduates to win $10,000 toward higher education expenses.

The Tuition Tales video contest launches on March 24 and runs through May 3, and encourages people to submit a 30-second video entry at www.tuition-tales.com. The videos will be judged on creativity, quality and a demonstrated need for help paying for college. One contestant in each of three categories – Saving for College, In College Now and Paying it Back – will win $10,000 for college education expenses. Twelve finalists will win a $250 Bed Bath & Beyond® gift card and $250 Bank of America Visa Check Card.

The top 12 videos will be selected by a combination of online votes and a panel of judges. Once selected, all 12 finalists will be posted online and the public will vote (May 13 – 19) to determine which Tuition Tales video wins in each category. Contestants must be at least 18 years old to enter and can submit entries on behalf of themselves, a family member or friend.

To see last year’s winning video, let me know and I will send it your way. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 561-998-1995 or email me at jguzman@tilsonpr.com

Good luck!

Jackie Guzman

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Top Spellers Ready to Strut Their Stuff at State Championships

If someone asked you to spell "vinculum," "doronicum," or "lignify," would you know how, or know what they meant? Chances are your spell check wouldn’t know these either. Well get ready, because these and other “household” words will be gliding from the tongues of 20 of Georgia's finest spellers during the Georgia Association of Educators' (GAE) State Spelling Bee. Celebrating its 48th year, the Bee will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, March 20, 2009, at Georgia State University’s Student Center’s Senate Ballroom.

The following are the nine [GAE] districts’ and the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) winners and runners-up:

District/Local Winners/Runners-up Grade/ School Age
1 W / Bartow Mallory Fleming 8 / South Central Middle 14
1 R / Cartersville City Alec Barger 8 / Cartersville Middle 14
2 W / Marietta City Katie Ault 6 / Marietta 6th Grade Acad. 12
2 R / Cherokee Marian Baker 8 / Freedom Middle 14
3 W / Gwinnett Angela Mo 7 / Creekland Middle 12
3 R/ Hall Parker Ramey 6 / C W Davis Middle 11
4 W / Fulton Ranjani Sundaresan 6 / Webb Bridge Middle 11
4 R / DeKalb Simola Nayak 5 / Hawthorne Elementary 10
5 W / Clayton Tanaeya W. McCoy 7 / Lovejoy Middle 13
5 R / Bremen City Sarah Landman 8 / Bremen Middle 14
6 W / Houston Auburn Davidson 7 / Bonaire Middle 13
6 R / Troup Anna Taylor 8 / Long Cane Middle 13
7 W / Home School Noah Weinrich 7 / Learning Grove Home 12
7 R / Twiggs Jassaray Jordan 8 / Twiggs County Middle 13
8 W/ Atkinson Joel Witherspoon 8 / Atkinson County High 14
8 R / Chatham Christopher J. Alexander 6 / Oglethorpe Charter 11
9 W / Lowndes Alexandra Wang 8 / Hahira Middle 13
9 R / Colquitt Philip Long 8 / Charlie A. Gray Middle 13
GISA / W Julia Denniss 6 / St. Jude the Apostle 12
GISA / R Caroline Todd 8/ LaGrange Academy 14
*Georgia Independent School Association (GISA)

The one student who emerges from this inspirational contest will be crowned the Georgia Association of Educators' (GAE) State Spelling Bee champion and will represent the state in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 24-30, 2009.

“Forty-eight years has not diminished the excitement and anticipation of just what these young people are about to experience,” said GAE President Jeff Hubbard. “The dedication and perseverance they’ve shown to get to this point already makes them champions. Contests, such as this, serve to show just what our children are capable of in school as long as they, and their support system, provide the tools necessary to obtain it. Everyone involved with them being here should be very proud.”

“I’d also like to congratulate all of the children who simply took the time to participate at every level of bee,” exclaimed Hubbard. “Whether they won or didn’t quite make it to their goal, just participating in the process hopefully taught them something about sportsmanship and that oftentimes it’s about enjoying the journey.”

The state championship bee is sponsored by GAE, whose members on the front line work compassionately from the school level to the state championship. “I would be remised if I did not thank all of our members who took the time to lead these efforts throughout the state,” Hubbard said. “While this is truly a labor of love because of the children, coordinating and managing these bees to ensure fairness and timeliness is no small task.”

The Bee, once again, will have the following accomplished panel of judges and callers:

Judges
Mr. Barry Gray, Principal, Slaton Properties, LLC
Mr. Arthur George, Retired Educator, Fulton County Schools
Ms. Cheryl Sarvis, Retired Principal, Atlanta City Schools

Callers
Ms. Lyn Vaughn Vann, Special Projects Producer/Host, Office of Broadcast/Cable
Dr. Philo Hutcheson, Associate Professor, Georgia State University

GAE would like to thank the following businesses and organizations for their contributions: Encyclopedia Britannica, Merriam Webster, Inc., Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, and Scripps National Spelling Bee. Also, special thanks to Georgia State University for its continued support over the years.

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VSU Hosts GISA State Literary Competition March 17-19

While most of campus is quiet with students gone on Spring break, a special group of high school students will take the stage as VSU hosts the Georgia Independent Schools Association’s State Literary competition all day Tuesday through Thursday, March 17-19, in the Fine Arts building.

For the fourth consecutive year, high school students from around the state will tune their voices and present dynamic oral presentations against the state’s finest in categories such as men’s quartet, women’s trio, solo, extemporaneous speaking, oral interpretation and more. VSU professors and local professions will judge the events for GISA classification A, AA and AAA performers.

The event will not only provide a special place for GISA to host its annual event, it will also give students an up close look at performance on VSU’s beautiful campus and the chance to network with potential future professors.

“The President of the program Michael Drake, contacted us four years ago about the possibility of hosting the event here and VSU was pleased to be able to accommodate them during our spring break,” said Coordinator Doug Farwell, who added that approximately 1,000 student could compete this week. “The program consists of events relating to programs housed within the College of the Arts, so naturally this college stepped up to coordinate the events on campus.”

Visit http://www.gisa-schools.org/sch_display_activity.asp?category=17 to view a full schedule or call VSU’s Music Department at (229) 333-5804 for more information. More on GISA can be found at www.gisa-schools.org .

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Search committee named to fill provost post at UGA

University of Georgia President Michael F. Adams has appointed a search committee to help choose a successor to Arnett C. Mace Jr., who will retire as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost on Jan. 1, 2010.

William Gray Potter, university librarian and associate provost, will chair the 20-member committee composed of faculty, staff, administrators, students and alumni. The committee will work with a consultant firm to conduct a national search to find a successor to Mace, who announced his retirement in January.

“I am very grateful to Bill Potter for once again agreeing to chair the search committee for a new provost,” said Adams. “A list of top-flight university citizens encompassing a broad scope of university-wide interests has been put together, and I am confident that this group will help us secure a successor to Arnett Mace who is worthy of being provost at the University of Georgia.”

In addition to Potter, who also headed the search committees for Mace and his predecessor Karen Holbrook, other committee members are:

Donna Alvermann, Distinguished Research Professor of language and literacy education in the College of Education; J. Scott Angle, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Rodney Bennett, vice president for student affairs; Jeffrey Bennetzen, the Norman and Doris Giles/Georgia Research Alliance Professor of molecular genetics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Hank Clay, president of the Graduate Student Association;

Dan Coenen, University Professor and Harmon W. Caldwell Chair in constitutional law in the School of Law; Libby Morris, director of the Institute of Higher Education; Norman Fletcher, a UGA graduate and former chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court who serves as chair of the Arch Foundation; Lisa Fusillo, associate professor and head of the department of dance; Stuart Ivy, an information technology manager in the College of Veterinary Medicine and president of the Staff Council; Bruce Hollett, associate professor of large animal medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine and chair of the University Council Executive Committee;

Tricia Kalivoda, associate vice president for public service and outreach; Tom Landrum, senior vice president for external affairs; John Maltese, the Albert Berry Saye Professor and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of political science in the School of Public and International Affairs; Connor McCarthy, president of the Student Government Association;

Vasu Nair, the William H. Terry Sr. Professor and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in the College of Pharmacy who also heads the department of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences and is director of the UGA Center for Drug Discovery; Annette Poulsen, the Augustus H. ABilly@ Sterne Professor and head of the department of banking and finance in the Terry College of Business; Barbara White, the university’s chief information officer and associate provost; and Steve Wrigley, vice president for government relations and director of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Adams said the committee will begin work in the next few weeks with a goal of having the new provost in place by Jan. 1.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Brunswick School Looks Ahead

It won't be the University of Georgia by the sea, but by 2020 the College of Coastal Georgia plans to completely shed its small-town image.

The number of structures will nearly triple, and new athletic, arts, recreation and dorm buildings will shift college lifestyle from a commuter culture to an on-campus one.

One day the school could enroll as many students as Valdosta State University.

That's the "nearly final" master plan, College of Coastal Georgia President Valerie A. Hepburn told school trustees Friday.

"We're focusing on how we can meet the needs of the region, but also become a destination institution," she said.

Last June, the state university system Board of Regents approved elevating the two-year community college to four-year status.

The expansion was justified by a 2008 study that showed Southeast Georgia needed more four-year nursing, education and business degree programs, said Elizabeth Weatherly, the school's director of Institutional Advancement.

The report also said the community college was overextended.

"Our mission was to both train the workforce as a vocational school and also to educate students for transferring out to a four-year college," Weatherly said.

This year, College of Coastal Georgia will transfer its vocational programs to Altamaha Technical College and focus solely on its academic programs.

Then in 2010 a major rebuild of the campus will begin.

Right now the site is full of entrances, roads and parking lots, Hepburn said.

"We have very little space being used for student life. That's a huge problem," she said.

The master plan moves parking to the perimeter, creates a main entrance and establishes a pedestrian zone down the campus' center.

There will be green space and athletic fields. On-campus community life will be supported with a new student center, athletic facility and dorm rooms.

One by one the plan adds new academic buildings for each of the school's core programs. Stucco walls and tile roofs on buildings will make things look less institutional.

"I call it Mitzen-esque, but with more windows," Hepburn said playfully.

A performing arts building that will be built on the campus' east end will double as a facility for community events, Hepburn said.

But the transformation will be more than physical buildings.

"We have to have academic programs that are unrivaled," Hepburn said. "The best thing we can do to promote the school is to produce a top-notch graduate."

The college has hired new vice presidents, administrators, and three new department heads from top-tier schools to build up academic programs, Hepburn said.

The college's master plan committee will collect input on the master plan strategy between now and April 16, said Hepburn. It will compile the final master plan in May.

By Carole Hawkins

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

“But That’s Not Cheating: Schooling Differences and Similarities Across Culture” – Clayton State’s Second Cultural Diversity Conference

The Clayton State University School of Nursing will sponsor the Second Annual Cultural Diversity Conference on Friday, Apr. 3 in the ballroom of the University’s Student Activities Center.

The theme of the conference is, “But That’s Not Cheating: Schooling Differences and Similarities Across Culture” and the keynote speaker is Dr. Jeffra Flaitz, author of “Understanding Your Refugee and Immigrant Students” and “Understanding Your International Students.” Flaitz will be discussing research based findings and constructs related to teaching in a linguistically and culturally diverse environment. She will also address strategies that make instruction more accessible and comprehensible for English Language Learners.

The conference will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration cost is $60, which includes breakfast, lunch and breaks. Registration is required for the conference, and the final day to register is Tuesday, Mar. 17. Go to http://nursing.clayton.edu/NWD/diversity_conference.html for registration instructions, or contact Toni Dixon in the School of Nursing at (678) 466-4985 or tonidixon@clayton.edu for more information.

The Second Annual Cultural Diversity Conference is supported by funds from the School of Nursing’s federal Workforce Diversity Grant.

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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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Students Learn About Forensic Science

Photo: Investigator Mary Harris (center) shows students how to take a mold of a shoeprint found outside of the school. (L-R) Matthew Corrigan, Conner Gayda, Lindsey Flanders, Adam Perrett, Ashley Broderick, Ethan Roland and Joshua Tysor.

Young sleuths are learning the ins and outs of forensic science with the help of a seasoned pro from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department.



Lifting fingerprints and taking shoe casts were two techniques that fourth grade enrichment students at Peeples Elementary learned could be used to help solve a crime. Investigator Mary Harris with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department spent two days with the students demonstrating techniques for collecting evidence from a crime scene and discussing how investigators use the information to help catch criminals.



Harris’ two-day presentation tied into a yearlong unit the students have been studying called “Thinking Like A Scientist” through which they have been developing the skills of a forensic scientist. Although the students may not grow up to become crime scene investigators, teacher April Degennaro says the information they are learning can help them become citizens who are attune to protecting the order and safety of the community.



“They may be able to help authorities solve crimes if they are knowledgeable about the importance of observation and careful attention to protecting the area where a crime may have been committed,” she says.



Not only did the investigator show students techniques for collecting evidence from a crime scene, but Harris also shared her perspective about her job that tied into the universal theme for this year’s study, “perspectives.” Students learned that investigators use the different perspectives of witnesses, detectives, victims, and sometimes even the criminal, to solve cases.
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Friday, March 13, 2009

State Seeks Input on Special Education

The Georgia Department of Education has posted its annual application for federal grants that assist with the education of students with disabilities and will be seeking public comment on the application throughout April.

In Fiscal Year 2009, school systems in Georgia received more than $300 million in grants under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and is anticipating another $310 million in IDEA funds through the federal stimulus package. In order to continue to receive that funding, the state must post its Annual State Application for IDEA Grants Funds for public review for 60 days. The state must also have a 30-day public comment window.

Georgia's Annual State Application for IDEA Grant Funds has been posted on the GaDOE's website at this location: http://www.gadoe.org/ci_exceptional.aspx?PageReq=CIEXCIdea

The public comment period will run from April 1 through April 30.

Written comments should be sent to:
Nancy O’Hara, Director
Division for Special Education Services
1870 Twin Towers East
Atlanta, Ga. 30334

Comments can be emailed to:
nohara@doe.k12.ga.us

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Graduate School an Increasingly Popular Choice at Georgia Southern University

When college graduates cross the stage this spring, they will face an increasingly competitive job market coupled with a struggling economy.

With that in mind, a growing number of students are looking at earning a graduate degree to give them a competitive edge in the job market. Georgia Southern University is seeing an increase in applications and accepted students to its Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies, which offers 42 graduate degree programs.

“We have a wide array of degree programs to offer those looking to further their education,” said Dr. Tim Mack, Dean of the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies. “Our programs are high-quality; we know that because we have happy alumni.”

Mack said that having a graduate degree is becoming the new standard to be hired in a number of fields. He also stated that the average master’s degree recipient is paid $10,000 per year more than someone with only a bachelor’s degree, and the average doctoral degree recipient makes $20,000 per year more, according to the Council of Graduate Schools.

Even prior to the economic downturn, Georgia Southern was seeing a boom in graduate enrollment. Graduate student enrollment for the 2008-09 school year is up 14 percent from the previous year, compared to a three-percent rise nationally. The University’s number of graduate school applicants increased by 99 percent.

Georgia Southern University has become the choice of many graduate students by combining affordable tuition with a number of degree programs, according to Dr. John Diebolt, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. A key reason for the enrollment increase has been Georgia Southern’s commitment to offering several programs online.

“We offer accessibility for those who are in the work force or are not close to campus, including full-time, part-time, and online options,” Diebolt said.

For more information about the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies, visit http://cogs.georgiasouthern.edu/.

“I would invite folks to take a look at what we have to offer,” Mack said. “We have faculty here at Georgia Southern that genuinely care about the students.”

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University of Georgia qualifies three teams for National Debate Tournament

The University of Georgia Debate Team has qualified three teams to the National Debate Tournament for the first time since 2003. The NDT will be held at the University of Texas at Austin later this month.

The NDT is a qualifying event for the 78 best two-person debate teams in the country. As part of the selection process, only six schools are allowed to bring three teams to the event, based on an evaluation of competitive records over the course of the season.

This year the schools that have qualified three teams are: University of California-Berkeley, Emory, Harvard, Northwestern, Wake Forest and the University of Georgia.

The three UGA teams are comprised of debaters Brittany Cambre and Adam Schmidt, Karen Harrison and Maggy Warden, and Mike Lacy and Tommy Beyer.

The team’s new coach, Casey Harrigan, is in his first year at UGA preparing the teams for both regional and national competitions. This also marks the 20th consecutive year that UGA has qualified at least one team for the National Debate Tournament. Harrigan is a faculty member in the department of speech communication in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

The trip to Austin will be funded through the support of the President’s Venture Fund.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Science And Math Scholarships

(NAPSI)-Each year, hundreds of high school students from around the world receive a science and math scholarship to attend a weeklong program in Washington, D.C. The Honeywell Scholars @ Presidential Classroom scholarships give the children of Honeywell employees a chance to learn more about the connection between science, technology and public policy.

During the program, students can observe Congress in action and interact with members of Congress, presidential appointees, military officers, business leaders and journalists. Students also visit historic, cultural and educational sites such as the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Department of State, the National Academy of Sciences and Honeywell's facilities at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

To learn more, visit www.Honeywell.com/hhs.

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Georgia Tech’s Record Research Serves as Catalyst for Economy

For the first time ever, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s research activity has exceeded the $500 million mark, reaching a record $524.9 million in fiscal year 2008. This represents a 10 percent increase over 2007 and an increase of 99 percent over the past decade, helping the Institute consistently rank among the top ten in research programs among universities without medical schools.

“The return on investment from the money that we’re bringing back into the state comes in many forms -- from creating jobs and utilizing local goods and services to encouraging industrial and economic development,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “More importantly, these efforts help nurture Georgia’s strategic economic advantages and strengthen our ability to innovate, laying the groundwork for our state’s future prosperity in a global economy.”

More than 70 percent of externally funded research comes from outside the state through federal and private funding. While the funds are designated for specific projects and research efforts, they have a significant impact on the state’s bottom line, according to Georgia Tech Interim President and Provost Gary Schuster.

Externally funded projects represent a broad spectrum of programs that help create jobs and support the development of new technology in the state. For example, Georgia Tech’s VentureLab evaluates more than 300 research invention disclosures a year, all of which are evaluated according to their potential to create jobs in the state. There are currently 63 projects in various stages of evaluation. Twenty-two companies have emerged from the program since it began in 2001, including Suniva, the Southeast’s first solar cell manufacturer that has already raised $55 million in venture capital and generated more than $1 billion in orders.

To help meet the state’s demand for math and science teachers, this funding also helps support the newly established Tech to Teaching program designed to create pathways for students pursuing K-12 or college teaching careers. Likewise, the Foundations for the Future initiative helps Georgia educators incorporate technology into the classroom.

In addition to supporting education, the well being of Georgians is the focus of early warning tornado systems developed by the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s (GTRI) Severe Storms Research Center, while the Georgia Transportation Institute tackles the challenges of improving highway safety and finding solutions to traffic congestion. Georgians have access to a more wholesome and affordable food supply though innovative technologies designed by the Georgia Tech Agricultural Technology Research Program, while more than 14,000 Georgia workers were protected from hazardous conditions as a result of GTRI’s workplace safety program, which saved the state’s manufacturing sector nearly $2.5 million in penalties and lost work days.

Research and development originating from Georgia Tech also positively impact the health of Georgians, according to Schuster. For example, discoveries from Georgia Tech labs have transformed the monitoring of patients with chronic cardiovascular conditions through tiny, wireless devices, while painless microneedles in patches applied to the skin could soon provide an alternative to delivery of vaccines through hypodermic injections.

"Georgia Tech continues to grow the amount of research funding it brings to the state of Georgia. This underscores the exceptional quality of our faculty and the high caliber of their work,” said Schuster. “We take pride in Georgia Tech’s role as an internationally prominent research institution and significant role as a positive catalyst in our state’s economy.”

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Boehner: President’s Teacher Performance Pay Proposal is Welcome, But He Must Veto Spending Bill that Kills DC School Choice Program

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today praised President Obama for challenging the education establishment with his proposal to encourage states to adopt teacher performance pay initiatives, but said the President must prove his commitment to education reform by vetoing the $410 billion omnibus spending bill that includes language to gut a Washington, DC school choice program. Boehner issued the following statement:

“I commend the President for taking on the education establishment with his teacher performance pay proposal, but if he is truly serious about education reform, he must also veto the omnibus spending bill and its provisions to terminate the Washington, DC school choice program. While I look forward to seeing the details and implementation of his proposal, I agree with the President that states should have the option of using federal education money to establish initiatives that reward teachers on the basis of their success in the classroom, not just their seniority. Likewise, parents – regardless of income – deserve to have a choice regarding where to send their children to school. And for the last six years, thousands of low-income parents in our nation’s capital have had that option, thanks to an innovative and successful school choice program for Washington, DC students.

“Unfortunately, at the behest of the education establishment, Democratic leaders in Congress have included language in the $410 billion omnibus that would effectively kill the DC school choice program. This is wrong, and the President should show his commitment to education reform for all students by rejecting this attempt to strip Washington parents of the right to choose their children’s schools. Republicans stand ready to work with the President to uphold his veto.”

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