Thursday, April 30, 2009

Georgia's Charter Schools to Celebrate National Charter Schools Week, May 3 - 9

Bus tour in Atlanta, reading initiative in Statesboro, proclamation readings in Alpharetta and Baconton, Principal for a Day event in Riverdale among the many activities

Charter schools statewide – from Atlanta to Baconton, Alpharetta to Statesboro – will commemorate National Charter Schools Week next week, May 3-9, with various events and celebrations.

Bus tour highlights events throughout the stateA V.I.P. bus tour, sponsored by the Georgia Charter Schools Association, aimed at legislators, board members and community leaders, is the highlight of the week’s activities. The tour, which will include state Rep. Kathy Ashe (D-Atlanta), will visit Neighborhood Charter School (K-5) and University Charter School (K-8) in Atlanta.
(9 a.m., Thursday, May 7)

At Amana Academy (K-8) in Alpharetta, a number of business and political leaders will join the school community in the reading of an official proclamation from Gov. Sonny Perdue, dubbing the week “Charter Schools Week in Georgia.” The proclamation lauds the achievements of Amana, Baconton Community Charter School in Baconton (250 miles south of Atlanta) and Neighborhood Charter School.
(2 p.m., Monday, May 4 – Baconton Community Charter will host a similar event, scheduled for 9 a.m., Tuesday, May 5)

In Statesboro, students from the Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology (6-12) will read to pre-school and elementary school children at the Statesboro Regional Library, each day during Charter Schools Week.

In Riverdale, Scholars Academy Charter School (K-5) Principal Elsa Celestine will be “shadowed” by a young college student who aspires to be a school leader during a “Principal for a Day” activity. (Monday, May 4)

State Rep. Jan Jones to receive national honor
Nationally, State Rep. Jan Jones (R-Milton) will join U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Cumberland, R.I. Mayor Daniel McKee, as recipients of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ 2009 Champions for Charters Award, in honor of their leadership and outstanding contributions to the development of high-quality public charter schools. They will be honored during a Capitol Hill Reception, scheduled for 5:45 p.m., Tuesday, May 5, in the Rayburn House Office Building.

Rep. Jones worked to establish the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, an independent, statewide charter school authorizing body, by sponsoring and securing the passage of House Bill 881 in April 2008. During this year’s legislative session, Rep. Jones co-sponsored and ensured the passage of House Bill 555 to give charter schools access to school district facilities without rental charges.

Charter school movement expanding rapidly in Georgia
Charter schools are independent, tuition-free public schools that are allowed to be more innovative than traditional public schools, and are held accountable for improved student achievement. Even before President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently expressed their support for the establishment of more charter schools, the movement has been strong in Georgia. The state has 113 charter schools – twice as many as there were two years ago – serving more than 30,000 students, up 20 percent from 2007.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Governor Perdue Signs Student Health and Physical Education Act

Governor Sonny Perdue yesterday signed into law HB 229, the Student Health and Physical Education Act. He signed the bill at Glen Haven Elementary School in Decatur. The Governor was joined by Atlanta Falcons players Matt Ryan, Erik Coleman and Brian Finneran and the Atlanta Dream’s Chantelle Anderson.

“A big part of getting better in anything – a class, your personal fitness, a sport – is knowing how you measure up and what you need to improve on,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “This legislation will help students live healthier lives.”

With the signing of HB 229 students in a physical education course will receive an annual fitness assessment. Beginning in 2012, each year the State Board of Education will submit a report to the Governor detailing the compliance of each school system and school.

“Instilling the importance of physical fitness at a young age will improve the quality of life for children for years to come,” said Brooks Coleman, House Education Chairman. “This important piece of legislation will encourage all parents, students, and educators to take a serious look at health education being taught in their school systems.”

"The American Heart Association is very pleased that Governor Perdue and the majority of the state legislature are willing to address the alarming problem of childhood obesity in Georgia,” said Bill Burns, Georgia Advocacy Director for the American Heart Association. “We applaud the enactment of this important legislation. It’s an excellent first step towards allowing the Department of Education to make informed policy and curricula decisions when it comes to our children's physical well-being."

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University of West Georgia School of Nursing Hosts Open House

The School of Nursing at the University of West Georgia will host its first open house for the community on Thursday, April 30, from 1 to 3 p.m. Light refreshments will be served and the community is invited to attend.

Students and faculty will demonstrate state-of-the-art simulators such as SimMan, a lifelike patient who exhibits medical trauma, and NOELLE, a model that can be pregnant, giving birth and post-pregnant. The computerized models allow student nurses to experience realistic situations that nurses encounter on duty.

Information on nursing programs offered at the university and at the Newnan Center will be available. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing as well as a Bachelors in Nursing Science for licensed RNs. Classes are also offered at Dalton and Rome.

Visitors to the open house will also have the opportunity to receive a free blood pressure screening by UWG students in the Georgia Association of Nursing Students.

The event will take place in the Education Annex. For more information on the School of Nursing, call 678-839-6540 or visit http://www.westga.edu/~nurs/.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Georgia State colleges move up on U.S. News & World Report 2010 rankings of graduate schools

Georgia State University’s College of Law advanced 12 spots in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual “America’s Best Graduate School” rankings for 2010, released Thursday. The College of Law moved into the 65th position overall in the nation– up from its 77th position last year.

The law school rankings are among a number of Georgia State colleges and programs that garnered rankings in this year’s report, which includes more than 1,500 graduate school programs nationwide and will be available on newsstands Monday, April 28.

"Georgia State University's graduate and professional school programs continue to make great strides in both reputation and excellence,” said Mark Becker, president of Georgia State University. “Our flexible part-time law and business programs were again recognized as among the best in the nation. While rankings are just one small measure of Georgia State's overall success, we are proud of our outstanding programs and the high level education they provide."

In addition to moving up 12 spots overall, the College of Law also made other strides. The college’s highly regarded Health Law program, which ranked 10th last year, moved up four spots in the current rankings and tied for No. 6 with Georgetown University and Seton Hall University.

This year’s edition of the annual rankings evaluated law school part-time programs for the first time, as well as modified the law school rankings methodology to include class admissions data for both full and part-time entering students. The part-time program of the College of Law has been ranked No. 15 in the country.

Georgia State College of Education’s graduate programs were ranked 54th out of more than 250 doctoral degree granting education programs, along with institutions like Drexel University, University of California – Riverside and University of Florida. The College of Education continues to rise in the rankings. It was ranked 58 in 2009 and 77 in 2008.

For the 14th consecutive year, the J. Mack Robinson College of Business Part-time MBA ranked in the Top 10. The part-time MBA program, which was ranked No. 7, is the only Atlanta area business school and the only school in the South to have a top-ten part-time program.In addition, Robinson’s Information Systems program ranked 10th overall.

Georgia State’s nursing program was ranked 72nd and the Andrew Young School was ranked 27th among 269 graduate programs in public affairs. Georgia State ranked high in six subfields of public affairs, up from four categories in 2005 and two in the 2002 rankings. Those subfields include: public finance and budgeting 5th; city management and urban policy 12th; information and technology management 12th; nonprofit management 13th; public policy analysis 18th; and public management administration 33rd.

The expanded online rankings are currently available at www.usnews.com.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

GSU to develop programs at a West African university

Georgia State University was recently awarded a $50,000 federal grant to help a West African university plan its academic programs.

The grant, provided by U.S. Agency for International Development and the Higher Education for Development, will be used to develop a five-year strategic plan for academic programs in business, management and economics at International University of Grand-Bassam in Cote D’Ivoire.

GSU’s grant is one 20 awards out of more than 300 applications submitted to Higher Education for Development. The purpose of this initiative is to support long-term partnerships between universities in Africa and the United States, and build capacity in African institutions to contribute to national and regional development.

“This grant recognizes Georgia State University’s partnership with the International University of Grand-Bassam as one of a select group of U.S. institutions to spearhead this initiative,” said John Hicks, GSU associate provost of international affairs.

“It also recognizes the extraordinary work of several GSU faculty and staff who have supported and contributed to the university’s relationship with Cote d'Ivoire over the past decade and a half.”

With the grant, officials hope to complete the university’s four-year undergraduate curriculum and add graduate programs such as a MBA and masters degrees in economics and public administration, Hicks said.

Georgia State began working with Cote d ’Ivoire officials in 1994, but political uprisings in the nation delayed progress. Classes began in January 2005 and IUGB now has 150 students enrolled. The university hopes to double enrollment this fall to 300 students.

IUGB is an American-styled university with an academic program modeled off of Georgia State but adapted to meet the unique needs of the local and regional environment.

“IUGB’s core objective is to build human capital for regional economic development. We intend to produce qualified and skilled personnel who are trained in problem solving and intercultural cooperation,” said Saliou Toure, president of IUGB, at the university’s first board of director’s meeting in Grand-Bassam, Cote d’Ivoire recently.

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UWG Receives Grant Funds to Train Teachers

The University of West Georgia received $100,000 in Higher Education Improving Teacher Quality grants to offer three professional development workshops for elementary, middle and high school teachers.

The programs are funded approximately 80 percent in grants from the PL107-110 Title II-Part A, No Child Left Behind Act.

Dr. Sharmistha Basu-Dutt, associate professor of chemistry, Dr. Joy Black, assistant professor of mathematics and Dr. Gail Marshall, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, will use these grants to train teachers from around the state in effective methods of teaching and learning in the sciences and mathematics.

Dr. Roy Forbes, director of the Evaluation Center in the College of Education, will assist with evaluation of the programs and implementation of training in the K-12 classrooms. Programs funded through these grants will be available beginning this summer and are titled: “Helping Teachers to Incorporate Inquiry and Nature of Science in the Elementary Classroom;” “Training for Technology Integration in Middle and Secondary Science & Mathematics;” and “High School Chemistry Laboratory: A Contextual & Inquiry Based Teaching Approach.”

Teacher Quality funds are used to strengthen and deepen teachers’ content knowledge, teaching practices and student learning in academic subjects including science, mathematics, language arts, reading and social studies at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in public and private schools.

For more information about the grant and workshops, contact the professors at sbdutt@westga.edu, jblack@westga.edu and gmarshal@westga.edu. To learn about other Teacher Quality programs, visit http://www.coe.uga.edu/teacherquality/projects.html.

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UGA to host conference on state/federal roles in education policy May 1

Nearly 100 state policymakers, school administrators and University of Georgia faculty will gather to hear about and discuss how the nation’s new Congress and administration may re-shape the federal role in education policy at a Friday, May 1 conference hosted by the UGA College of Education.

The conference, titled, Changing Horses or Paddling Harder? Reconsidering the State/Federal Relationship in Education Policy, will feature faculty and student research that critically examinesthe programs and policiesof the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently the No Child Left Behind Act).

UGA Regents Professor Jeremy Kilpatrick, one of the nation’s most renowned scholars in mathematics education and keynote speaker at the conference, will deliver a luncheon address titled, “Education Policy in Transition: The White Papers Project of the National Academies.”

Over the past year, Kilpatrick has co-chaired a committee on mathematics and science education for the National Academies’ “Education Policy White Papers Project,” an initiative to help policymakers in the new administration and Congress better understand key education issues and help them create more effective policies by providing them with independent, research-based information.

Kimberly Robinson, an associate professor at Emory University Law School, will open the conference with an address titled, “A New Theory of Education Federalism: How Collaborative Federalism Would Reinvent the Federal Role in Ensuring Equal Educational Opportunity.”

Robinson teaches education law and policy, and civil procedure and has extensive litigation experience from her work for the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Education and Hogan & Hartson, L.L.P., in Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth DeBray-Pelot, an associate professor and associate director of UGA’s Georgia Education Policy and Evaluation Center, will follow with an address titled, “Reflections on Congress, the New Administration, and the Institutional Environment.”

The conference also will include three panels of UGA education faculty and students which will provide multiple perspectives on a range of topics including the impact of No Child Left Behind, federal legislation and the needs of subgroups, and policy design and resource allocation.

The conference, which will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Rooms K-L at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education, is sponsored by EPEC in conjunction with the Georgia Assessment Center, the Learning and Performance Support Laboratory and the Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education, all based in the UGA College of Education.

It is the second statewide spring conference on education policy hosted by EPEC. The center also hosted its first State of the State of Education Conference last fall.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nation's Second Largest Student Loan Guarantor Backs President Obama's Student Financial Aid Proposal

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The California Student Aid Commission, the nation's second largest guarantor of student loans, during a meeting on April 16, 2009, endorsed President Barack Obama's plan to reform student financial aid.

"The President's plan would end existing subsidized loan programs with the removal of banking institutions from the Federal Student Loan Program. This action provides an unprecedented opportunity to redirect billions of dollars in profits to benefit students," said Commission Chair Barry Keene. "That would make thousands more students eligible for the financial aid for the education they need to advance in this struggling economy. Given the cutbacks at the state level to our colleges and universities, the President's proposal couldn't come at a better time."

According to the Congressional Budget Office, replacing subsidized loans made by private banks with direct government lending would save $94 billion over the next decade. Under the Obama plan, a portion of those funds would be used to expand Pell grants for California's most needy students.

President Obama's Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, "It's great to have an ally in the lending community who recognizes the larger payoff to society from sending more young people to college. Under this proposal, everybody wins - taxpayers, students and the lending community."

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Governor Signs Bill to Help Recruit More Math, Science Teachers

Governor Sonny Perdue today signed House Bill 280, which will start new fully-certified math and science teachers at the same salary as a fifth year teacher.

“Just as Georgia businesses increase incentives to fill critical positions, we now have the same ability,” said Governor Perdue. “Last year, Georgia produced only one physics teacher. This legislation will help us address the shortage of math and science teachers in the state.”

The legislation was introduced by House Education Committee Chairman Rep. Brooks Coleman and carried in the Senate by Education and Youth Committee Chairman Sen. Dan Weber. The Governor was joined at the bill signing by the Georgia robotics teams that participated at the FIRST Championship that was held in Atlanta last weekend.

In the 2007-2008 school year Georgia produced 2,000 early childhood teachers, but only one physics teacher, nine chemistry teachers and 140 math teachers.

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. 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.
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State School Board to hold Special Meeting re: Federal Stimulus Funding

Board to discuss first allocations of Federal Stimulus funding to schools

The State Board of Education will hold a specially-called meeting on April 28 to allocate the first wave of stimulus funds to local school districts.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, April 28, at 8 a.m. in the State Board Room, 2070 Twin Towers East. To save resources and time, the meeting will be held via conference call. The agenda for this meeting is posted on the State Board of Education's eBoard Website.

The purpose of this meeting is to award the first part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to local school districts. This first allocation is for grants that go to the education of Students with Disabilities (IDEA) and economically-disadvantaged students (Title I).

Under ARRA, Georgia school districts will get a total of about $351 million in additional Title I funds and $314 million in additional IDEA funds. About half the funds will be allocated at this meeting. The U.S. Department of Education is expected to make the remaining Title I and IDEA funds available in the fall.

In addition to the Title I and IDEA funds, ARRA is expected to provide Georgia schools with other funding. Estimated funding includes:

- More than $22 million in Education Technology State Grants
- More than $10 million in IDEA grants for pre-school students
- About $900 million in "fiscal stabilization" funds that the Governor can use for K-12 education

To see proposed district-level allocations and other information, go to: http://www.gadoe.org/pea_communications.aspx?ViewMode=1&obj=1791
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Mercer Trustees Approve Record Operating Budget, New Degree Programs

Mercer University’s Board of Trustees recently approved a $181.3 million operating budget for next year, a $9.4 million, or 5.5 percent, increase over the current budget. Tuition for Mercer’s undergraduate programs will increase by 2.9 percent, the smallest tuition increase at Mercer in at least 15 years. Last year’s increase for Macon undergraduate programs was 6.5 percent, compared with 6.8 percent in 2007 and 7 percent in 2006. Some graduate and professional programs will not see any increase in tuition next year, while others will go up 2.9 to 6.9 percent.

“In preparing next year’s budget, we sought to hold our tuition increases to a minimum in recognition of the current economic climate, while also ensuring that the University maintains progress toward meeting the goals in the 10-year plan that was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2008,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “We have been fortunate in that we continue to experience record-setting enrollments – particularly in our graduate and professional programs – and the University is enjoying very strong momentum in the midst of a challenging environment.”

The board also approved several new undergraduate and graduate degrees programs. The College of Continuing and Professional Studies will add an undergraduate major in human resources administration and development for students in Mercer’s Regional Academic Centers. The School of Engineering is adding two new master’s programs – a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and a Master of Science in Environmental Systems. A new Master of Arts in Christian Ministry will be offered by the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology.

New certificate programs that were approved include career development in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, and minority health and health disparities, and rural health, both in the School of Medicine.

The board adopted a resolution commending a Walter F. George School of Law mock trial team that took top honors at this month’s American Bar Association National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition. The Mercer Law School team defeated Harvard and the University of Houston law schools in the semi-final and final rounds, respectively. The elite invitation-only competition included 20 law schools from across the nation.

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Georgia State College of Education prepares high school students to be teachers

Georgia State University’s College of Education is working to meet the teacher shortage by preparing the next generation of science and math educators.

Each summer, the college hosts the Advanced Academy for Future Teachers, a three-week, math and science-based program for rising high school juniors and seniors from Atlanta Public Schools and other metro systems.

This year’s academy will be held June 8-26 at Georgia State’s downtown campus. The Advanced Academy for Future Teachers is now seeking motivated Atlanta area high school students who want to build the teaching skills and explore the profession in an urban environment.

Applications are due by April 30. Information is available online at: http://education.gsu.edu/aaft. Or, call 404-413-8121 with any questions.

Since 2001, the college, working with the Atlanta Public School system, has prepared over 240 high school students. As a reward for successful completion of the program, they collect a $200 stipend.

At the academy, students focus on math and science concepts as they acquire teaching and tutoring skills. They also develop personal insights that enhance teamwork and leadership opportunities.

“It’s been great working with other students who want to be teachers. Everyone has different approaches and different ideas,” said Sarah Gibson, who participated in last summer’s academy when she was a senior from Pope High School in Marietta, Ga.

Students collaborate with faculty, attend educational workshops and participate in other personal and professional development activities. They focus on teaching pedagogy, math and science content as well as communication and interpersonal skills.

Students also have an opportunity to teach their peers both individually and in groups. Their presentations are later reviewed by their classmates, who offer praise and advice on how they might improve.

“This is the experience I need to learn about teaching and to prepare myself,” said Bianca Poindexter, who participated in last summer’s academy as a senior at Frederick Douglass High School in Atlanta.

Applications are online and can be submitted three ways: Scan and send electronically to AAFT@gsu.edu, fax to 404-413-8103 or mail to Laurie Forstner, AAFT Coordinator, Georgia State College of Education, P.O. Box 3980, Atlanta, Ga., 30302-3980.

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UGA graduate programs continue to rank among the best in the nation

University of Georgia graduate programs remained among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools. The College of Education ranked 30th and the School of Law tied for 35th.

“UGA’s graduate and professional programs continue to be recognized as among the best in America, and we can all be proud of that,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “Strong graduate programs are important to the advancement of this university and are engines of economic growth for the state of Georgia.”

Maureen Grasso, dean of the UGA Graduate School, agreed. “These rankings reflect the high caliber of work our students and faculty engage in as well as our commitment to excellent graduate education,” she said. “Although we will not rest on our laurels, we are, nevertheless, proud of these acknowledgements of the quality of our graduate programs and we will continue to promote innovative research and prepare future leaders.”

The College of Education, which had more students enrolled in graduate teaching programs in 2008 than any public university in the nation, ranked 22nd among public universities and third among public universities in the South.

“The University of Georgia College of Education is one of the top education schools in the country. Our faculty rank high in research productivity and our graduate students excel in their fields,” said Arthur Horne, dean of the College of Education. “Our continued ranking among the finest public education colleges in the nation is a reflection of the hard work and talent of our faculty and students.”

Three of the College of Education’s six ranked specialty programs improved their top 10 status. Vocational/technical ranked first (up from third); counseling/personnel tied for third (up from sixth); and higher education administration ranked sixth (up from seventh). Secondary education remained constant at fourth as did curriculum/instruction at eighth. Elementary education dropped from third to fourth.

In addition to ranking 35th overall, the School of Law ranked among the top 14 public universities and among the top five public universities in the Southeast.

“National rankings continue to be just one indicator of the academic success of an educational institution, and we are pleased that the School of Law continues to be among what is considered the ‘top tier’ of law schools in the country,” said Rebecca H. White, dean of the School of Law. “Our goal of providing the finest legal education possible is also evidenced by the success of our graduates. For example, counting the October 2009 term, we will have had our graduates serve as judicial clerks at the U.S. Supreme Court for four out of the last five years. These elite positions are very, very competitive and their selection places the law school among the very top law schools in the nation.”

The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ psychology program is tied for 50th.

The School of Public and International Affairs’ master of public administration degree program continues to share the fourth place ranking with Princeton University. SPIA also continues to have two highly ranked specialty programs. Both the specialization in public finance and budgeting as well as the specialization in public management and administration continue to be ranked second in the nation.

Other programs with current rankings include: clinical psychology tied for 33rd (2008); master of fine arts tied for 37th (2008); ecology/evolutionary biology ranked 10th (2008); and biological sciences ranked at 58th (2007).

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New Ranking: Ga. Tech’s Business School Jumps Seven Slots; Engineering Programs Continue to Excel

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Engineering was ranked No. 4 nationwide for the fifth consecutive year in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual list of the best American graduate school programs.

The most notable change in the 2010 graduate rankings comes from the College of Management, which jumped to No. 22 from 29 last year in the highly competitive business schools rankings.

“These rankings underscore the national and global excellence of our graduate programs,“ said Georgia Tech President G.P.”Bud” Peterson. “Our students and faculty, and the state of Georgia will continue to be beneficiaries of the many high- caliber programs and outstanding graduates that we provide.”

In addition to having one of the nation’s top graduate engineering programs, 10 of Georgia Tech’s 11 programs ranked in the top 10 including industrial (No.1), biomedical (No. 2), aerospace (No. 4), civil (No. 6), electrical (No. 6), computer (No. 7), and materials (No. 8). Of particular note, three programs moved up in the rankings: environmental engineering (No.5), mechanical engineering (No. 6), and nuclear engineering (No. 8).

Moving up to the 22 slot (7 among public universities), Georgia Tech’s College of Management tied with Emory University in the ranking of full-time MBA programs.

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Governor Signs Bill to Help Recruit More Math, Science Teachers

Governor Sonny Perdue yesterday signed House Bill 280, which will start new fully-certified math and science teachers at the same salary as a fifth year teacher.

“Just as Georgia businesses increase incentives to fill critical positions, we now have the same ability,” said Governor Perdue. “Last year, Georgia produced only one physics teacher. This legislation will help us address the shortage of math and science teachers in the state.”

The legislation was introduced by House Education Committee Chairman Rep. Brooks Coleman and carried in the Senate by Education and Youth Committee Chairman Sen. Dan Weber. The Governor was joined at the bill signing by the Georgia robotics teams that participated at the FIRST Championship that was held in Atlanta last weekend.

In the 2007-2008 school year Georgia produced 2,000 early childhood teachers, but only one physics teacher, nine chemistry teachers and 140 math teachers.

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. 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.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Teen Scientists RISE Up to Research Challenges

Emory University's chair of biology Victor Corces has opened the doors of his lab to Atlanta public high school students.

Concerned about how to cultivate the next generation of scientists and increase their diversity, Corces developed RISE -- Research Internship and Science Education. Named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute professor in 2006, Corces was one of just 20 U.S. scientists chosen to receive $1 million grant to fund education initiatives when he was named Howard Hughes Medical Institute professor in 2006.

The high schoolers work alongside graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the lab, getting hands on experience. "What I do is involve them in a group project—one that is very important to everything we are doing in the lab," Corces says.

Current RISE students Maza Rose Tchedou and Sharonta Johnson from Atlanta's Carver High School recently won second and third place awards at the state science fair. And Tchedou was selected to compete at an international science fair in Reno, Nevada, in May. They both plan to study science; Johnston will attend Georgia State University next year, and Tchedou hopes to attend Emory.

The Corces lab is at the forefront of examining how different proteins form loops of DNA threads, or chromatin fibers, that can then interact. Lab members have identified several important proteins involved in regulating gene expression, and Corces believes the high school students can find more.

"It's easy for them to find something that looks important—but then they have to study it to find out if it really is," he says. Besides adding a sense of competition to engage students in the lab, Corces also helps them understand that their discoveries might one day lead to a breakthrough in the study of genetic diseases like muscular dystrophy.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Governor Perdue Announces Final Recommendations of Tough Choices or Tough Times Working Group

Governor Sonny Perdue today announced the final recommendations of the Tough Choices or Tough Times working group. The working group was tasked with investigating innovative ways to create long-term, comprehensive education reform to make Georgia more globally competitive. The group, which was chaired by Dr. Charles Knapp and Dean Alford, reviewed the national Tough Choices or Tough Times report to determine how Georgia might improve its education practices.

“These recommendations provide a useful framework for addressing critical areas such as teacher preparation and gauging when high school students are ready for additional challenges,” said Governor Perdue. “I applaud the working group for taking a long-term view of improvements needed in our education system and providing recommendations to produce high achieving students prepared for the 21st century.”
Key findings of the working group fall into three area
s of recommendations; Move on When Ready, Recruiting and Retaining World Class Teachers, and Development of Students’ Analytical and Creative Problem-Solving Skills.

“We hope these recommendations will bring about a serious and productive debate on these important issues,” said Dr. Charles Knapp. “There is much work left to be done.”

In addition to receiving the group’s findings, the Governor also asked the group to continue to meet and develop more recommendations for transforming education in Georgia.

“If Georgia is to compete in the global economy we have to increase graduation rates and increase the number of students in our post secondary programs,” said Dean Alford. “This work was intended to begin a serious dialogue on how we must change the ‘educational model’ to make major strides in the outcome of our educational system.”

In addition to receiving the group’s findings, the Governor also asked the group to continue to meet and develop more recommendations for transforming education in Georgia.

“If Georgia is to compete in the global economy we have to increase graduation rates and increase the number of students in our post secondary programs,” said Dean Alford. “This work was intended to begin a serious dialogue on how we must change the ‘educational model’ to make major strides in the outcome of our educational system.”

Complete findings of the working group are attached and will be posted at http://www.gaosa.org/toughtimes.aspx. A summary of the findings is below:

Move On When Ready Recommendations:

A. Adopt a statewide definition of “ready”.
B. Identify an appropriate assessment or method to determine students’ readiness.
C. Ensure that all students in Georgia have access to post-secondary options in high school.
D. Either (a) create a comprehensive community college system by merging the technical colleges and two-year colleges so there is a seamless entry point for all students, or, if the two systems are to maintain their separate identities, (b) create and enforce pathways for student transfer between institutions and systems by forming comprehensive articulation agreements that clearly establish procedures governing the transfer of credits from one institution or system to another and (c) ensure that all duplication of teaching and administrative resources between TCSG and USG institutions has been removed.
E. Determine an appropriate funding mechanism for dual enrollment that allows the funding to follow the students and incentivizes the sending institution to promote the effort.
F. Explore public/private partnerships to fund several demonstration sites around the state.

Recruiting and Retaining World Class Teachers Recommendation:

A. Prepare secondary teachers first in a core subject area (e.g. biology, history). Teach pedagogy skills through traditional Colleges of Education, technical colleges, or private providers.
B. Encourage and support the PSC’s work to make alternative routes to teaching more accessible through a value-added teacher evaluation system, teacher leadership programs, and restructuring the teacher compensation system.

Development of students’ analytical and creative problem-solving skills

A. Refine the Georgia Performance Standards and corresponding assessments to further emphasize problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Members of the working group included:

· Dr. Charles Knapp – (Co-Chair), Chair of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce (which produced the Tough Choices or Tough Times report), President Emeritus of UGA, and Chairman of the East Lake Foundation
· Dean Alford – (Co-Chair), Chair of the IE2 task force, former state legislator, former State Board of Education member, current member of the Technical College System of Georgia Board, businessman
· Julia Bernath – Board Member, Fulton County Schools
· Veronica Biggins – Senior Partner , HNCL Executive and Board Search Firm
· Dr. Michael Bull – Superintendent, Glynn County Schools
· Representative Brooks Coleman – Chair, Georgia House Education Committee
· Tim Connell – President, Georgia Student Finance Commission
· Kathy Cox – State Superintendent of Schools
· Stephanie Laverne Haynes - Master Teacher/Academic Coach, Clifton Ridge Middle School, Jones County
· Kelly Henson – Executive Secretary, Georgia Professional Standards Commission
· Dr. Susan Herbst – Executive Vice-Chancellor, University System of Georgia
· Molly Howard - Principal, Jefferson County High School, 2007 National School Principal of the Year
· Ron Jackson – Commissioner, Technical College System of Georgia
· Representative Jan Jones – Chair, Georgia House Education Appropriations Sub-Committee
· Senator Dan Moody – Chair, Georgia Senate Education Appropriations Sub-Committee
· Jose Perez – State Board of Education member
· Jennifer Rippner Buck – Senior Policy Advisory, Education Counsel LLC
· Dr. Holly Robinson - Commissioner, Bright From the Start – Department of Early Care and Learning
· Dr. Ben Scafidi – Associate Professor of Economics, Georgia College and State University
· Ed Smith – Superintendent, Troup County Schools
· Carl Swearingen – Chair of the Technical College System of Georgia Board, businessman
· Senator Dan Weber – Chair, Georgia Senate Education Committee
· Alvin Wilbanks – Superintendent, Gwinnett County Schools
· Kathleen Boyle Mathers – Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Student Achievement
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Communication Department Receives $5,000 First Amendment Grant to Fund Liberty Tree Week@Berry

The Berry College Department of Communication has received a $5,000 grant from the Liberty Tree Campus Initiative, a project funded by the McCormick Foundation to develop thought-provoking programs about the First Amendment. Berry is the first institution to be awarded such a grant in 2009.

The Liberty Tree Initiative is an informal coalition of educators, journalists, librarians, artists and authors with a shared interest in building awareness of the First Amendment through education and information. It was founded in partnership with the American Society of Newspaper Editors, with help and support from the Knight Foundation, the McCormick Foundation and the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.

The Department of Communication aims to increase awareness of and appreciation for the role of the First Amendment in American society through Liberty Tree Week@ Berry, a program of speakers, exhibits and performances; admission to all events is free and open to the public.

The celebration kicks off this Thursday, April 23, with the 5 p.m. planting of a large Liberty Tree elm in front of Evans Hall, home to Berry’s Evans School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. This event commemorates the elm tree near Boston Commons where, in 1765, America’s earliest patriots first spoke of the need for a new nation founded on liberty. The Liberty Tree Initiative seeks to place a Liberty Tree elm on participating campuses as a symbol of the importance of the First Amendment to an educated public. The planting will be followed by a Harvest Moon-catered reception in the lobby of the Science Complex. The reception will be held in conjunction with the 12th Annual Conference on Politics, Religion, Culture and Community presented by Berry’s Department of Government and International Studies.

Liberty Tree Week@Berry continues Wednesday, April 29, with “The First Information Revolution: The Lost Gutenberg Bibles & Religious Expression.” This event, scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Science Auditorium, will feature a presentation by Tim Yancey, master bookbinder, who will discuss the production of a limited series of historically accurate, precise Gutenberg Bible reproductions. Examples of the reproductions at various stages of production will be displayed.

Historical context for the session will be provided by Dr. Kathy Brittain McKee, professor of communication at Berry. After Yancey’s presentation, Gene Policinski, executive director of the First Amendment Center in both Washington D.C., and Nashville, Tenn., will lead a short discussion about religious expression and freedom of information in America today.

The Gutenberg presentation will be followed at 8 p.m. by “Freedom Sings,” an evening of banned music in Barnwell Chapel. Featured performers include Josh Huggins and Brandon Trapp of the Ian Trapp Band, as well as Berry’s “In His Name” gospel choir. Policinski will provide historical context for the various selections.

The weeklong celebration concludes Thursday, April 30, with a keynote address by Ken Paulson, former editor and senior vice president of news for USA Today and current president and CEO of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Paulson’s lecture, “Rebooting America: The First Amendment & A New Generation,” will begin at 8 p.m. in the Science Auditorium. Cultural events credit is available for Berry students in attendance.

Paulson’s remarks will be followed by responses from Dr. Tom Kennedy, professor of philosophy and dean of the Evans School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and Dr. Michael Bailey, associate professor and chair of Berry’s government department.

Throughout the week, Memorial Library will host an exhibit of banned books through the ages entitled “Stop the Presses!” The exhibition opens April 23. From 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. the day of the opening, once-banned books will be read aloud on the library’s front steps. Students, faculty and staff are invited to read a passage from a once-banned or challenged book of their choice or from a book provided by the library.

Also ongoing at Berry are the Liberty Tree Week@Berry Writing Contest and the Ram Read ’n Slam Poetry Competition, both of which focus on the theme of free expression in America. Cash prizes are being offered in both the writing and poetry contests, which are open to Berry undergraduate students.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Recommendations Received for Armstrong Atlantic Presidency

Regent Wanda Rodwell, chair of the Special Regents’ Committee for the presidential search at Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) in Savannah, and University System of Georgia Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Susan Herbst have announced the names of the two finalists for the AASU presidency.

A national search was launched to replace AASU President Thomas Z. Jones, who will retire June 30, 2009, after nine years in office.

The recommended individuals are:

Dr. Linda M. Bleicken, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro since 2005 and a member of the university’s management faculty since 1990. Bleicken’s service to Georgia Southern — an institution with 17,764 students and eight colleges — includes administrative appointments as: acting provost and vice president for academic affairs from July 2004 to January 2005; vice president for student affairs and enrollment management from 2001 to 2004; associate provost for enrollment management and information technology from 2000 to 2001; acting provost and vice president for academic affairs from 1998 to 2000; associate dean of the College of Business Administration from 1995 to 1998; and acting chair of the Department of Management from 1994 to 1995.

In addition, she has served the University System of Georgia as a member of its Health Professions Task Force (2006), Core Curriculum Committee (2007-2008), Graduation Rate Task Force (2004), Tuition Rate Task Force (2004) and the Task Force to Develop eCore®, the USG’s electronic core curriculum (2000).

Bleicken holds a Ph.D. in management earned in 1990, a master of science degree in management also earned in 1990 and a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing earned magna cum laude in 1984, all conferred by Georgia State University.

Dr. William J. Lowe, provost and vice president, academic affairs, and professor of history at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn., since 2003. Lowe also served as interim president of Metropolitan State, which has three principal campuses, five colleges and more than 7,100 students, from November 2007 to June 2008. Prior to his arrival in Minnesota, Lowe served as vice president for academic affairs and professor of history at the College of Saint Rose, an independent, comprehensive college of more than 4,600 students in Albany, N.Y., from 1997 to 2003. Before that, he was dean of the College of Liberal Arts and a professor of history at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Mich., from 1991 to 1997, and dean of graduate studies and a professor of history at Chicago State University in Chicago from 1984 to 1991.
As interim president, Lowe served on the Leadership Council of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System and, in 2004-2005 was a member of the System’s Salary Competitiveness Task Force. During 2007, he was a member of the Core Educational Outcomes of the national Voluntary System of Accountability project and is a member of the Accreditation Review Council of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Lowe is active internationally in research, writing and presenting in the field of modern Irish history and authored a book, The Irish in Mid-Victorian Lancashire: The Shaping of a Working Class Community, in 1989.

Lowe holds a Ph.D. in modern history conferred in 1974 by Trinity College at the University of Dublin in Ireland, where he was a Fulbright Scholar; and a bachelor’s degree in history earned in 1971 from Michigan State University in East Lansing.

The Board of Regents expects to name the next president of Armstrong Atlantic State University at a future meeting.

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McAfee School of Theology Adds Global Christianity Concentration

Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology has added a new concentration in global Christianity to its Master of Divinity program. The concentration will help students explore and address the critical aspects of Christianity’s “shift southward” in the 21st Century and to train new ministers to work in this dynamic environment.

The global Christianity concentration is designed to expand the view of Christianity, that it must be understood as a multi-cultural and global movement, an enduring theological tradition that finds new life in the realities of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Students will also explore how the dramatic growth of world Christianity changes the missionary dimension in all churches, from initiators to receptors, of mission outreach. The concentration will also explore ways to help growing churches in need of theologically trained leaders, ranging from seminary professors to grassroots leaders of indigenous churches. Finally, the concentration will help those who are being educated to lead religious communities to help them incorporate the understanding of these realities into their ministry and outreach.

“This concentration is designed to help our students form partnerships with Christians around the world and to recognize the multi-varied expressions of the Christian faith as it is expressed – especially in the Southern hemisphere,” said Dr. Ronald W. Johnson, professor of mission and evangelism and coordinator of the Global Christianity concentration. “Our students will learn how Christians in other cultures live out their sense of God’s mission in the world and how they express their faith, often in challenging situations. This will help students learn to pray for, cooperate with and support the growth of Christians and the Christian faith around the world. It will give our students an opportunity to share their insights into their faith and to learn from other cultures. The program will also help our students tell the story of faith around the world.”

Students in the Master of Divinity program are eligible to apply to the concentration after one year in the program, and several have already done so. In addition to the core Master of Divinity requirements, students in the global Christianity concentration must complete 12 hours of study in global mission and cultural studies. Students are also encouraged to take their nine free elective hours in cross-cultural or anthropological studies through the Atlanta Theological Association consortium. Students in the concentration will be required to take their Mentoring II course in a cross-cultural, and preferably overseas, placement. In addition, students will be asked to focus on their cross-cultural experience for their capstone paper.

“The concentration in global Christianity has the potential to become a signature program that vastly enlarges our students’ horizons and creates opportunities for them to become global Christian leaders,” said Dean R. Alan Culpepper.

For more information about the Master of Divinity program or the global Christianity concentration, contact the McAfee Admissions Office at (678) 547-6474 or (888) 471-9922 or theoadmiss@mercer.edu.

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President Becker lays out goals for Georgia State University

Georgia State University President Mark Becker addressed hundreds of students, faculty and staff members on Thursday, highlighting how far GSU has come in its 96-year history and laying out goals for its future as a premier urban research university.

In what was believed to be Georgia State’s first State of the University address, Becker said GSU is now attracting brighter, more talented students while maintaining its diversity. He also touted that respected scholars and researchers are joining the faculty, securing more external research funding and increasing the quality of the university’s academic programs.

But Georgia State needs to pick of the pace in order to reach its desired status as one of the nation’s preeminent research universities, Becker said.

“We have a heritage of educating people who have gone on to be leaders,” Becker said. “It is a proud heritage, and from here we go forward recommitting ourselves to the never-ending goal of building a university in which our alumni and friends can forever be increasingly proud. For them, for us, it is time to pick up the pace and start running.”

Becker laid out goals for the university such striving for the highest level of academic quality, launching new areas of research, securing more philanthropic support and grants, increasing communication and becoming more “green.”

The president also acknowledged the challenging economic times facing the university, saying budget cuts would have to be made.

GSU will close for two weeks at the end of the current calendar year, Dec. 21, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010, to help reduce costs, Becker said. Details of the closure and other cost-saving measures would be announced in coming weeks.

Becker, who became Georgia State’s seventh president in January, said the university would recover from the anticipated budget shortfall.

“Demand for a Georgia State education has never been higher, the students we are recruiting are the best in our history and the faculty is the strongest ever,” Becker said. “We will emerge from the storm, headed in the right direction and with wind in our sails.”

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

UGA Creates Student Ambassadors Group at Griffin Campus

Eight undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Georgia’s Griffin Campus were recently selected to serve as official hosts and goodwill ambassadors for campus and community events.

The students already have welcomed university officials to the Griffin Campus and have visited with prospective students. They also have traveled to area colleges to help recruit students for programs offered at the Griffin Campus. Jen Williams, assistant professor of agricultural leadership, education and communication at UGA’s Griffin Campus, serves as the group’s faculty advisor.

The 2009 student ambassadors are:

Name Hometown Major
Chris Benton Sharpsburg environmental resource science
Stephen Bowman Senoia environmental resource science
Jennifer Hidalgo Griffin microbiology
Marcus Jones Decatur environmental resources science
Megan McClure Watkinsville agricultural leadership
Trent Tate Locust Grove environmental resource science
Stephanie Thayer Fayetteville microbiology
Lea Tremblay Warner Robins biological science

UGA has offered bachelor’s degree-completion programs since 2005 at the Griffin Campus, which was founded in 1888 as the Georgia Experiment Station. The seven undergraduate majors include agribusiness, biological science, consumer economics, environmental resource science, general business, microbiology and special education. Graduate degree programs also are offered in agricultural leadership and in mathematics education for elementary teachers certified in grades PreK-5.

For more information about UGA’s Griffin Campus, see http://www.uga.edu/griffin.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Regents Honor Guaranteed Tuition for Current Students; but End Guarantee for Incoming Freshmen

University System of Georgia (USG) students currently enrolled in the Board of Regents’ guaranteed tuition plan will see no change in their tuition this coming fall, but the regents voted today to end the tuition guarantee for incoming freshmen, as part of board approval of an overall package of tuition and fees.

Fall 2009 freshmen students will pay tuition at the same per-credit-hour rate charged last year, but will be subject to future tuition increases. USG students who enrolled prior to the start of the guaranteed tuition plan in fall 2006 or who come off the guarantee this fall also will pay the fall 2008 per-credit-hour rate.

The regents set the full-time tuition rate at 15 credit hours instead of the current 12 hours, meaning that for the first time, students not on the guarantee would pay the per-credit-hour rate for all classes taken up to 15 credit hours. Students on the guaranteed tuition plan, which began in fall 2006, will not be affected by this change.

All students, regardless of whether or not they have the tuition guarantee, will pay a mandatory institutional fee to help offset budget reductions.

“We will honor the commitments that already have been made to those students in the guaranteed tuition plan and freeze the per credit hour tuition rate for new students,” said USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “We want to do as much as feasible to help our students in tough times this year, provide our institutions with budget flexibility in future years and help us address our reduced budget picture for Fiscal Year 2010.”

Students not on the guaranteed rates this fall will pay, per semester, $203 per credit hour at Georgia State University and the Medical College of Georgia, $130 per credit hour at the regional and state universities, $84 per credit hour at the state colleges and $77 per credit hour at the two-year colleges – the same rate as last year.

Also frozen for fall 2009 freshmen are tuition rates at Kennesaw State University, Georgia Southern University, University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University at $134 per credit hour and at Georgia College & State University at $190 per credit hour and Southern Polytechnic State University at $146 per credit hour.

A new and different model will be effective at Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia. Students who take six hours or less will pay a flat tuition of $1,800 per semester, and students taking in excess of six hours will pay a flat 15-hour tuition rate of $3,035. Students at these two institutions who are on the guarantee will not be affected by this change.

“The bulk of freshmen take more than 12 hours,” said Usha Ramachandran, vice chancellor for Fiscal Affairs for the USG. “Sixty two percent of freshmen take 13 or more credit hours – and that rises to 88 percent at UGA and Tech. The intent of the change to a flat tuition rate of 15 hours at UGA and Tech is to encourage students to take these credits and graduate sooner.”

The regents also approved a special institutional fee each semester of $100 at the research universities, as well as at Georgia Southern University, Valdosta State University, Georgia College and State University, Kennesaw State University, Southern Polytechnic State University, and University of West Georgia; $75 at the other state universities; and $50 at the state and two-year colleges.

The regents’ actions on tuition support the board’s approval today of a Fiscal Year 2010 budget of $2.17 billion, which includes federal stimulus funds of $92.6 million. The state appropriations include additions of $147.9 million and reductions of $275.5 million for a net reduction over the FY09 base budget of $127.7 million.

The additional funds include $79.4 million for increases in student enrollment. Also included is $65.3 million for institutional increases related to health insurance, retiree fringe benefits, annualization of partial year faculty and staff merit salary increases at the 35 institutions and for increased maintenance and operating costs for new facilities. The final $3.2 million is for other increases in employee salary and benefits.

The $65.3 million also includes $7.8 million for the continued expansion of medical education in the state. The new dollars will support the continuation of curriculum development and accreditation for the Medical College of Georgia’s campus in Athens, and residency expansion in Albany, Athens and Savannah.

“While the board’s basic priorities were preserved in the state appropriations, I remain deeply concerned about the challenges of meeting rising enrollment across the entire System with diminished resources,” said Davis.

The General Assembly approved $369 million in capital construction for the System including:
$60 million for major repair and rehabilitation of existing facilities on all 35 campuses;
$11.9 million for equipment for new facilities at Gordon College, Georgia State University, Southern Polytechnic State University, and the University of Georgia;
$192.8 million for new construction at College of Coastal Georgia, Darton College, East Georgia College, Fort Valley State University, Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia Highlands College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Gainesville State College, Kennesaw State University, Middle Georgia College, Macon State College, North Georgia College & State University, the University of Georgia and the UGA Griffin campus;
$16.5 million for design funds for projects at Armstrong Atlantic State University, Clayton State University, Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia Southern University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Medical College of Georgia, and the University of West Georgia;
$27.6 million for new construction for 19 projects in the Georgia Public Library Services; and
$60 million for other projects in both the University System and for the Georgia Research Alliance.

Board action on the Fiscal Year 2010 budget and allocations as well as facilities construction is dependent upon final approval of the state budget and bond package by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

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Georgia Southern College of Education Attains CACREP Accreditation

Georgia Southern University’s College of Education has attained accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in the three specialty areas of community counseling, school counseling and student affairs. Georgia Southern is the only institution in the state to be CACREP accredited in the area of student affairs, and the only one in southeast Georgia CACREP accredited in community counseling and school counseling.
The accreditation will allow Georgia Southern students concentrating in those fields to be nationally certified when they graduate.

“These students will be eligible to take the National Counselor Examination for Certification when they graduate, without having to complete the additional post-graduate work normally required,” said Dr. Leon Spencer, program coordinator for counseling education programs.
“This a tremendous advantage because it saves the students time and money as they work to obtain this important professional certification. It also helps expedite the licensure application process.”

According to CACREP, students who attend accredited universities like Georgia Southern are also more likely to do better on licensing exams than other students and have more job opportunities after graduation.

Georgia Southern University’s CACREP accreditation is also important for the state because many of the graduates will stay in Georgia and put their professional expertise to work in local schools and community mental health agencies.

“The counseling and student affairs professionals in our schools and community agencies are critical to the success of many students. Students today are dealing with many pressures and influences that have a direct impact on their success in the classroom and their chance at future success once they leave school. We’re proud that Georgia Southern University will be able to provide counselors with an education that is nationally recognized for excellence and that they, in turn, will be able to work to positively impact the lives of young students,” said College of Education dean Lucindia Chance. “The professionals who graduate from our program will be held to a higher standard because they are expected to understand and abide by the counseling profession’s ethical standards.”

CACREP accreditation also means the University’s College of Education will be held to a higher standard.

“It took us eight years to achieve CACREP accreditation,” said Chance. “Our faculty and staff worked diligently to meet the rigorous standards set forth by this organization. Now that we are CACREP accredited, we will be expected to continually evaluate our programs and exceed nationally accepted standards in order to keep our accreditation. We are committed to maintaining this quality for the generations of future education professionals who choose Georgia Southern University for their own education,” said Chance.

To accommodate the busy schedules of education professionals, nine of the 48 required course hours are offered on-line. Some courses are also taught at the Coastal Georgia Center in Savannah.

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UGA sets spring semester enrollment record with 32,968 students

The University of Georgia has set a new spring semester enrollment record with a total of 32,968 students attending classes in Athens and at the university’s four extended campuses.

The total is 2.5 percent above last spring’s enrollment of 32,177, and exceeds by 458 the previous spring record of 32,510 students, set in 2007.

The total includes 32,044 students attending classes at UGA’s main campus in Athens and 924 students at the extended campuses in Gwinnett County, Griffin, Tifton and Buckhead in Atlanta.

Enrollment on the main campus in Athens–up by 751 students over last spring–includes 24,337 undergraduates, 6,042 graduate students and 1,543 students in the professional schools of law, pharmacy and veterinary medicine. Another 122 students are enrolled in independent study.

Enrollment at the extended campuses increased by 4.5 percent from last spring. Gwinnett has the largest with 472 students, all but three of whom are studying for graduate degrees. UGA offers only graduate courses at Gwinnett after phasing out undergraduate courses when Georgia Gwinnett College opened in 2006. The three undergraduates still are coded for enrollment purposes as enrolled at Gwinnett but are attending classes in Athens.

The Griffin campus has 74 undergraduates and 52 graduate students, and the Tifton campus has 44 undergraduates and 14 graduate students. Griffin’s enrollment is up 48.2 percent from last spring and Tifton’s enrollment increased by 16 percent.

A total of 268 students is enrolled at the Buckhead campus, which is mainly for working professionals and enrolls only students studying for master’s degrees in business administration. This is the first spring semester enrollment report in which Buckhead students are counted separately; in previous reports they were counted as enrolled either in Athens or at the Gwinnett campus.

For all four campuses combined, undergraduate enrollment totals 24,458, a 2.8 percent increase from last spring. Total graduate enrollment (6,845) and professional school enrollment (1,543) are both up 1.2 percent from last year.

UGA’s enrollment is part of a 5.8 percent growth in spring semester enrollment for the University System of Georgia. A total of 272,910 students are enrolled in the system’s 35 colleges and universities. UGA has the largest enrollment, followed by Georgia State University (27,424), Georgia Perimeter College (23,315), Kennesaw State University (20,729) and Georgia Institute of Technology (18,025).

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Economy Threatens Impressive Expansion of State Pre-K Programs

/PRNewswire / -- The annual survey of state-funded preschool programs shows impressive expansion in enrollment and spending. However, the recession may reverse the trend, curtailing early education opportunities for children in lower- and middle-income families.

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released The State of Preschool 2008 at a news conference today. Key findings:

-- Enrollment increased by more than 108,000 children. More than 1.1
million children attended state-funded preschool education, 973,178 at
age 4 alone.
-- Thirty-three of 38 states with state-funded programs increased
enrollment.
-- Based on NIEER's Quality Standards Checklist, nine states improved the
quality of their preschool programs. Only one fell back.

-- State pre-K funding rose to almost $4.6 billion; from all reported
sources to $5.2 billion, an increase of nearly $1 billion (23 percent)
from 2007.


Whether or not a child receives high-quality preschool education depends on where his or her family lives. Twelve states provided no state-funded preschool in 2008. The report found a decline in the number of states providing sufficient funding to meet NIEER's quality benchmarks.

Based at Rutgers University, NIEER has produced an annual report on state preschool programs since 2002.

Due to declining state revenues, the immediate future of state-funded preschool is uncertain. Generally, expenditures on pre-K are discretionary and easier to cut than expenditures for K-12 education and other programs.

NIEER Director Steve Barnett said states are considering cutting enrollment, reducing program standards, and postponing expansion plans even with the availability of new federal stimulus funds.

Of 38 states with state-funded preschool, cuts are likely in at least nine.

"A federal initiative is needed to support early learning and development," said Barnett. "We propose that the federal government commit to doubling growth in state pre-K while raising quality standards so that by 2020 all 4-year-olds in America will have access to a good education."

To do this, the federal government should match state spending with up to $2,500 for each enrolled child in state pre-K programs meeting basic quality standards. The federal government also should facilitate increased integration of child care, Head Start, and state pre-K.

Research shows that high-quality pre-K can help improve the educational success of all children, decrease dropout rates and crime and delinquency, and improve economic productivity and health.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Georgia Has 1 of 25 Teachers who Wins National Award for Community Outreach Named 2009 MetLife Foundation Ambassadors In Education

GE Note: Congratulations to Georgia's own Natalie Brandhorst, North Atlanta High School!

/PRNewswire/ -- Twenty five public school teachers from across the United States were recognized today by the National Civic League with the 2009 MetLife Foundation Ambassadors In Education award. The teachers were selected for their leadership in building bridges between local schools and communities and will receive $5,000 grants for their schools at local awards ceremonies.

"Effective education is a collaborative venture that depends on good teachers, as well as administrators, parents, an engaged community, and students themselves," said MetLife Foundation President and CEO Dennis White. "These teachers are leaders and innovators, who inspire students, peers, and neighbors to make schools and communities strong."

The 2009 MetLife Ambassadors In Education are:
-- Atlanta Public Schools, Natalie Brandhorst, North Atlanta High School
-- Baltimore City Public Schools, Sandra Mosley, Edmondson-Westside High
School
-- Boston Public Schools, Constance Borab, Boston Day & Evening Academy
-- Charlotte/Mecklenburg Public Schools, Jennie Griffith, School of
International Business and Communications Studies at Olympic
-- Chicago Public Schools, Pat Jonikaitis, Kate S. Kellogg School
-- Dallas Independent Schools, Bobby Simmons, School for the Talented and
Gifted
-- Dayton Public Schools, Danya Berry, The Dayton Early College Academy
-- Denver Public Schools, Holly Wells, Martin Luther King Jr. Early
College
-- Des Moines Public Schools, Sallie Hedgepeth, Ruby Van Meter School
-- Detroit Public Schools, Joyce Smith, Randolph Career & Technical
Center
-- Fort Worth Independent Schools, Dalynn Cross, Diamond Hill-Jarvis High
School
-- Greenville County (South Carolina) Schools, Rachel Turner, Mauldin
High School
-- Hartford Public Schools, Christine Tocionis, Richard J. Kinsella
Magnet School of Performing Arts
-- Long Beach Unified Schools, Racquel Welch-Kitchen, Hamilton Middle
School
-- Los Angeles Unified School District, Michael Monagan, Widney Special
Education Center
-- Minneapolis Public Schools, Caroline Hooper, Minneapolis Southwest
High School
-- New York City Public Schools, Heather Waters, Millennium Art Academy
-- Philadelphia School District, Alandra Abrams, Tilden Middle School
-- Providence Public School District, Gerri Lallo, Providence Academy of
International Studies
-- San Antonio Independent Schools, Tamara Ford, Lanier High School
-- San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Unified Schools, George
Cachianes, Abraham Lincoln High School
-- St. Louis Public Schools, Lucy Ryder-Duffey, Carnahan High School of
the Future
-- Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Schools, Julia Cobb Barnes, Young
Middle Magnet School
-- Tulsa Public Schools, Carol Axley, East Central High School

-- Washington, D.C., District of Columbia Public Schools, Joseph
Chisholm, Hardy Middle School

"These are some of the most gifted and dedicated teachers in the country," said National Civic League President Gloria Rubio-Cortes. "Each and every one of them tells an important story about how professional educators, parents, students, business leaders and community organizations work together to improve both their schools and their communities."

The stories told by this year's winners are as varied as the individuals and the communities they serve. They include a drum and dance ensemble to connect African and African-American students, a student community service project in Guatemala, and a distinctive service learning program that engages students with special needs with their community.

The Ambassadors In Education award was established in 2003, after MetLife's annual Survey of the American Teacher identified a growing gap between public schools and their communities. The award is designed to recognize educators whose influence can be felt beyond the classrooms and hallways thanks to their efforts to: build partnerships with community organizations, parents, and guardians; resolve conflicts and promote safety; and participate in civic engagement and community service efforts. Middle and high school educators in participating public school districts are eligible and are nominated by peers, parents, students or community members and selected by a national panel of education and civic experts.

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University System of Georgia Spring Enrollment Jumps 5.8 Percent Over Last Year

Spring 2009 semester enrollment in the 35 colleges and universities of the University System of Georgia (USG) jumped 5.8 percent over spring 2008, increasing 14,896 students to a total of 272,910 students. These are the overall numbers from the just-released Spring 2009 Semester Enrollment Report by the USG.

The jump follows an increase of 3.2 percent from spring 2007 to spring 2008, and USG officials indicate this is part of an overall trend of rising enrollment in Georgia’s public higher education system. The report also indicates that USG students are taking more courses, as evidenced by an increase in the full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment of 6.6 percent from spring 2008 to spring 2009. The FTE enrollment is a statistical measurement of how many courses students take in a given semester.

“Traditionally, spring enrollment is well below fall semester, but this spring’s enrollment approached that of fall,” said Cathie Mayes Hudson, vice chancellor for the Office of Research and Policy Analysis, which prepared the report. “And the numbers show students are becoming more serious during these tough economic times about taking heavier course loads.”

Hudson also noted that the jump in spring enrollment, which now stands at 96 percent of fall enrollment, is an indicator of even bigger enrollment increases to come this fall. For example, Georgia State University admissions officers have received a 25 percent increase in applications for this fall over the previous fall.

“There is no question that we are seeing significant increases in enrollment in what is typically the ‘off’ semester,” said USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “This is proof positive of what we have been seeing and hearing anecdotally: more and more Georgians are turning to the University System in these tough times in order to get the education needed to be marketable now and in the future.”

The University System is divided into five sectors: 4 research universities, 2 regional universities, 13 state universities, 8 state colleges and 8 two-year colleges. In line with the Board of Regents strategic goal to direct more students into the state college and two-year college sectors, the largest percentage growth rates for the spring semester were at the two-year colleges (a 10.9 percent increase) and state colleges (a 7.3 percent increase). Among the other sectors, enrollment increased 5.3 percent at the state universities, 4.9 percent at the regional universities, and 3.5 percent at the research universities.

While not every USG institution registered student growth, the majority did. The largest increases were at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville (a 85.5 percent increase to 1,608 students), East Georgia College in Swainsboro (a 25.5 percent increase to 2,501 students), Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley (a 23.1 percent increase to 2,956 students), Bainbridge College in Bainbridge (a 22.3 percent increase to 3,159 students), Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus (a 17.5 percent increase to 2,603 students), Atlanta Metropolitan College (a 16.8 percent increase to 2,299 students), Dalton State College in Dalton (a 12.9 percent increase to 4,815 students), and Savannah State University in Savannah (a 12.4 percent increase to 3,310 students).

Two other USG institutions recorded double digit growth from spring 2008 to spring 2009: Gordon College in Barnesville jumped 10.7 percent to 3,799 students and Georgia Highlands College in Rome grew 10.3 percent to 4,692 students.

Just under the 10 percent growth mark were three institutions: Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta saw a 9.7 percent increase in enrollment to 4,723 students in spring 2009; Gainesville State College in Gainesville posted a 9.2 percent increase from spring 2008 to spring 2009 for a total student enrollment of 7,716, and Georgia Perimeter College, which serves metro Atlanta, increased 9 percent to a total enrollment of 23,315 students in spring 2009.

Georgia State University in Atlanta saw the largest percentage increase in spring enrollment among the four research universities, a 4.7 percent increase to 27,424 students. The next highest percentage increase was at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, with a 3.8 percent increase from spring 2008 to spring 2009 to a current enrollment of 2,854, followed by Georgia Institute of Technology, which posted an increase of 3.6 percent to 18,025 students this spring.

The University of Georgia in Athens saw a 2.5 percent increase, to 32,968 students in spring 2009.

The System’s two large regional universities had increases of 5.3 percent at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, to 16,730 students and 4.3 percent at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, to 11,092 students for the spring 2009 semester.

Drilling down even further into the numbers, the report found that fewer students are enrolling part time. Spring 2009 part-time enrollment was 30.3 percent in spring 2009, compared to 31.4 percent in spring 2008. Hudson said this means more students are pursuing full-time coursework and degree programs, attempting to complete degree requirements more quickly.

Another important indicator of the rising demand for public higher education is first-time freshman enrollment, which increased by 14.9 percent (from 7,975 students in spring 2008 to 9,161 students in spring 2009). This represents a growing trend in enrolling first-time freshmen in spring, as well as in fall and summer, Hudson said.

Minority enrollment continues to show gains. Hispanic enrollment jumped by 13.0 percent, to 9,519 students from spring 2008 to spring 2009. African-American enrollment increased from spring 2008 to spring 2009 by 8.7 percent, to a total of 68,867 students. And Asian enrollment increased by 5.9 percent from spring 2008 to spring 2009, to a total student body of 16,941.

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GSU announces new dean of Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Following an international search, Provost Ron Henry has named W. Bartley Hildreth as dean of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, effective July 1.

Hildreth is currently the Regents Distinguished Professor of Public Finance at the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs at Wichita State University and a member of the finance faculty of the W. Frank Barton School of Business.

“It is an honor to be selected to lead the Andrew Young School, a top-ranked policy school known for its scholarly contributions and policy advice in Atlanta and in capitals around the globe,” Hildreth said. “Ambassador Andrew Young said the world calls all of us to leadership. My job is to keep that vision alive during the Andrew Young School’s next stage of growth as a creative leader in the world of policy studies.”

Henry said the search committee was meticulous and deliberate in their process to select a dean who has an excellent understanding of the increasingly global and interdisciplinary academic environment of an urban research university and one who would build on the excellent image provided the School by Ambassador Young.

“The Andrew Young School has attained an outstanding reputation since its inception and it is felt that Bart Hildreth will be a leader of vision who will be instrumental in creating and implementing further growth and prominence in the Andrew Young School,” Henry said.

An expert on municipal securities, public budgeting, and state and local finance, Hildreth holds a doctorate in public administration from the University of Georgia and a master of public administration from Auburn University at Montgomery.

Hildreth has also served as director of the Kansas Public Finance Center since 1994. He served as interim dean for Wichita's W. Frank Barton School of Business from 2007-2008. He is a member of several professional organizations, and served on the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting and the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council.

Hildreth was the recipient of the 2008 Aaron B. Wildavsky Award for lifetime scholarly achievement in the field of public budgeting and finance. As a Fulbright Scholar in 2005, he served as visiting research chair in public policy at McGill University in Montreal.

Gregory Lewis, who chaired the search committee, said that Hildreth’s leadership capabilities as well as his scholarly reputation would help provide visibility for AYSPS within professional communities around the state and beyond.

“I was really impressed with the provost of his university, who said that he had done a fabulous job when he was the interim dean. He said that he was going to do everything he could do to keep him, but that Bart was someone that needed to be a dean, but he didn’t have a deanship to offer him,” Lewis said. “Bart is an excellent and well known scholar in an area which fits really well with the school and is a good bridge between the public management and policy and the economic departments.”

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Brown-Mackie College-Atlanta Presents Education Day "Grow. Evolve. Become"

Brown Mackie College - Atlanta will host Education Day, 'Grow Your Mind. Evolve Your Life. Become Your Vision.' on Saturday, April 25, 2009. Prospective students will learn about targeted education for future success; convenient "one course a month" day and evening schedules, and meet faculty, staff, employers, and students and have the opportunity to tour classrooms and labs.

Education Day is open to the public and there is no charge to attend. To register online, visit brownmackie.edu/EducationDay.

EVENT: Brown Mackie College Education Day 'Grow Your Life. Evolve Your Mind. Become Your Vision.'

DATE: Saturday, April 25, 2009

TIME: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Where: Brown Mackie College - Atlanta
6600 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd. NE
600 Embassy Row
Atlanta, GA 30328

For additional information about Education Day at Brown Mackie College-Atlanta, contact Sonya Jabriel at (770) 510-2342 or visit www.brownmackie.edu/pr.aspx?ID=bmc0944.
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Emory Advantage Support Aids Students

If it were not for Emory Advantage, Willow Wood may not have been able to attend college at all, much less realize her dream of studying at Oxford College of Emory University.

Wood knew about Oxford from the stories of her aunt and uncle, who attended Oxford. A junior now at Emory College studying environmental science, Wood says the Emory Advantage program was the only way her dream could have come true. The oldest of four girls, she knew it would be tough to afford college — her mom is a carriage driver and her dad, who grapples with a disability, has worked in the restaurant industry.

“I grew up on stories of Oxford, and I knew it was a special place. I was able to go there, too, because of Emory Advantage,” says Wood. “I can take a full class load without working full-time as well. And I don’t have to worry about graduating with a huge debt.”

Emory Advantage, the university’s financial aid program benefiting low- and middle-income students, was established in 2007 and offers two kinds of aid: the Loan Replacement Grant to replace need-based loans for dependent undergraduate students whose families’ annual total assessed incomes are $50,000 or less, and the Loan Cap Program which caps cumulative need-based debt at $15,000 for dependent undergraduate students whose families’ annual total assessed incomes are between $50,000 and $100,000.

Undergraduate students at Oxford College, Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Goizueta Business School, and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing are eligible for the Emory Advantage program, and more than 634 students have benefited from the program since its inception. In addition, more than $11 million has been raised so far during Campaign Emory toward the University’s goal of building a permanent endowment.

In today’s economy, programs like Emory Advantage and other scholarship are often the best chance for many promising students to attend a university like Emory without the burden of debt. Says Provost Earl Lewis: “Funds to attend Emory during difficult financial times are critical to our mission of educating our best and brightest regardless of the student’s ability to pay. If ever there was a time to help, this is it.”

Emory Advantage is just one of many programs at Emory where gifts can be directed to help provide critical resources for current and prospective students. Regardless of area of interest, scholarship and fellowship funding opportunities exist in all corners of Emory’s campus. And each of these areas has identified student support as a high priority within Campaign Emory.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Secretary of State Karen Handel Reminds Principals that April is High School Voter Registration Month

Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel reminded high school principals across the state last week that April is High School Voter Registration Month in Georgia. High schools are encouraged to hold voter registration drives that target students eligible to register.

“Registering to vote is an important first step in becoming an active, civic-minded citizen in our state and country,” Secretary Handel said.

To register to vote in Georgia, you must be a citizen of the United States; a legal resident of Georgia and of the county in which you plan to vote; and at least 17 ½ years old. You may not register to vote if you are currently serving any sentence imposed by the conviction of a felony or judicially determined to be mentally incompetent.

Under Georgia law, high school principals and assistant principals are voter registrars tasked with informing students and employees of the availability of voter registration at the school; providing reasonable and convenient registration procedures; and attending voter registration training.

County registrars will be reaching out to local schools to provide them with the necessary registration materials and conduct voter registration training.

School personnel can visit www.sos.ga.gov/electionconnection to order supplies, download promotional materials and learn about the photo identification requirement for in-person voting. To download a voter registration form, please visit http://www.sos.ga.gov/Elections/.

Karen Handel was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2007. The Secretary of State's office offers important services to our citizens and our business community. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.
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