Friday, August 27, 2010

Clayton State Graduate Studies Open House, September 14

The Clayton State University School of Graduate Studies next open house will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 14. The open house will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in room 101 of the University’s Harry S. Downs Center on the main campus in Morrow.

The Clayton State School of Graduate Studies typically holds open houses on the second Tuesday evening of each month. This month’s open house will provide information on the newest Clayton State graduate program, the Master of Science in Psychology, in addition to giving prospective graduate students the chance to learn more about the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, Master of Arts in Teaching English, Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics, Master of Business Administration (which now has cohorts meeting in Peachtree City and Conyers, in addition to the Clayton State campus), Master of Health Administration, Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Archival Studies.

For more information on the open house, including application information for Clayton State’s eight masters programs, call (678) 466-4113, or email graduate@clayton.edu or go to the School of Graduate Studies website, http://graduate.clayton.edu/.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Campaign for High School Equity Calls on Community Leaders, Parents to Advocate for Equity in Implementation of Common Core State Standards

/PRNewswire/ -- While each year nearly 28,000 students of color do not graduate from Georgia high schools, the State Board of Education's recent decision to pass Common Core State Standards presents a critical opportunity to close the achievement gap and graduate every student in the state prepared for college and work. That was the message the Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE) shared with Georgia's education and community leaders at meetings this week to discuss strategies for successful implementation of Common Core State Standards.

"Common Core State Standards present a viable solution for our students, but this framework is not a silver bullet," said Michael Wotorson, executive director of CHSE. "These standards have the potential to build upon, strengthen, and advance the already-established Georgia Performance Standards and create benchmarks for truly understanding and measuring every student's achievement. But as implementation of the standards takes shape, we need to remember we're at the beginning of the process. The efficacy of this effort will be defined by the role that communities of color have in its implementation."

Yesterday, CHSE joined the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), 100 Black Men of Atlanta, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Society in hosting a meeting for Georgia parents, the local PTA, and other equity stakeholders in the state to develop a clear, collective understanding of Common Core State Standards among members of the community whose involvement will be necessary for the successful implementation of the framework in the state.

"Common Core State Standards reassure parents in Georgia that, regardless of where they live, their children will receive an adequate education that will prepare them with the necessary skills and knowledge to be competitive in a global economy," said Isabel Sance, Atlanta program director for MALDEF. "But in order for all children to benefit from this initiative, the necessary support for teachers, students, and parents needs to be in place when the standards are implemented at each school."

According to CHSE, standards that do not take the unique needs of students of color into account will miss the mark and ultimately do communities across the country a disservice, making it critical that communities become engaged in the implementation of Common Core State Standards. Specifically, parents and leaders in the community must call on state education authorities to ensure that communities of color and Native communities are integral partners in the implementation and evaluation of Common Core State Standards; that standards are aligned to assessments and professional development for teachers and adequate student support systems; that the concerns of communities of color and Native communities are addressed; and that standards are aligned to appropriate assessments for reliably measuring student achievement.

For more information about Common Core State Standards and effective strategies for implementation that ensures every student benefits, regardless of race, ethnicity, or zip code, visit www.highschoolequity.org/common-standards, follow CHSE on Twitter (@hsequity), and join the CHSE community on Facebook.

CHSE is a coalition of leading civil rights organizations representing communities of color that is focused on high school education reform. Members include the National Urban League, National Council of La Raza, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, Alliance for Excellent Education, National Indian Education Association, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

UWG Leads The Apalachicola Ecosystems Project

The University of West Georgia recently received a three-year National Science Foundation award to take the lead on the Apalachicola Ecosystems Project. The project will fund 15 semesters of student and graduate student assistantships, project expenses and research efforts.

AEP is a collaborative effort with the University of Arizona, Columbus State University, Pennsylvania State University and the Muscogee Creek Nation. The grant, totaling $211,320, was awarded to the groups collectively.

The project was created to investigate how Native American populations adapted to changing biophysical and colonial frontier environments. Researchers hope to better understand Native American resilience in different ways during the historic period.

Public education is important to AEP’s research efforts. In collaboration with Creek Indian descendants, the AEP will develop educational programs for members in local and descendant areas on the findings of the project.

For more information, contact Thomas Foster, director of the Antonio J. Waring Archaeology Laboratory, at 678-839-6456, or at tfoster@westga.edu.

Siemens Competition Deadline Approaching October 1

/PRNewswire/ -- Less than two months remain for students to enter the 2010 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. A signature program of the Siemens Foundation, this annual competition for high school students awards college scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 for original research projects in both individual and team categories. Established in 1999, the Siemens Foundation has granted more than 800 scholarships through the Siemens Competition in support of our nation's future scientists and engineers.

Entries must be received by Friday, October 1, 2010, at 5 p.m. EDT. Instructions and online registration can be found at the Siemens Foundation website, www.siemens-foundation.org, and at www.collegeboard.com/siemens. Students may enter as individuals or as members of a team. Those who are not able to complete registration online may call 1-877-358-6777 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT for further assistance.

The College Board administers the Siemens Competition on behalf of the Siemens Foundation. Entries will be judged at the regional level in November by esteemed scientists and faculty at six prestigious universities: California Institute of Technology; Carnegie Mellon University; Georgia Institute of Technology; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Notre Dame; and The University of Texas at Austin. Winners from each regional competition will continue on to the national finals, scheduled for December 3-6, 2010, at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. and will be judged by a panel of prominent scientists and mathematicians.

The Siemens Competition continues to attract the nation's brightest minds and innovators of tomorrow. The 2009 national winners took on revolutionary research in biophysics and mathematics. Ruoyi Jiang, a senior at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, New York, won the $100,000 scholarship in the individual category for research on chemotherapy drug resistance. Sean Karson, a senior at Trinity Preparatory High School in Winter Park, Florida; Dan Liu, a junior at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School in Austin, Texas; and Kevin Chen, a junior at William P. Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas, won the team category and will share a $100,000 prize for their graph theory research.

"The Siemens Foundation is proud to continue our tradition of supporting this country's rising talents in science and math," said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation. "The young science stars of the Siemens Competition are solving tomorrow's problems today."

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Issues a Statement on the Selection of Round Two Race to the Top Winners

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools today released the following statement from its President and CEO, Peter Groff, on the states selected for funding by the U.S. Department of Education in the second round of the Race to the Top competition:

"We are pleased to see five states that are strongly supportive of public charter schools among those awarded Race to the Top grants today. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools' annual rankings of state charter laws, the District of Columbia has the second strongest law in the country. Georgia has the fourth strongest, followed by Massachusetts, New York and Florida, with the fifth, eighth and eleventh strongest charter laws, respectively. These states are boldly incorporating public charter schools into their overall efforts to improve public education.

However, we are concerned that the selection of three states - Maryland, North Carolina and Ohio - sends the wrong message. They have clearly shown a resistance to embracing the role of public charter schools in education reform. Even the U.S. Department of Education scored theses states among the lowest of those awarded grants. Sadly, these states are still being rewarded for actively limiting public-education options for the families that need them the most. Maryland has the worst charter law in the country, North Carolina has a cap of 100 charters that it reached almost 10 years ago, and Ohio has some of the most arbitrary caps in the country.

Since the Race to the Top grants competition was announced in June 2009, 15 states have lifted their caps on charter schools and one state has enacted a charter law. We applaud the Obama Administration for its role in encouraging these positive changes. Overall, six of the 12 winners in the first and second rounds have removed restrictions on growth: Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

As we approach the potential third round of funding, we urge the Administration to recommit to only awarding grants to those states that are truly committed to all facets of education reform."

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (http://www.publiccharters.org/) is the national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. The Alliance works to increase the number of high-performing charter schools available to all families, particularly low-income and minority families who currently do not have access to quality public schools. The Alliance provides assistance to state charter school associations and resource centers, develops and advocates for improved public policies, and serves as the united voice for this large and diverse movement. More than 1.6 million students attend nearly 5,000 charter schools in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

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Vinings Jubilee Giving Away 4 Gift Certificates to metro-Atlanta Teachers

Who: Vinings Jubilee
What: Back to School with Vinings Jubilee
When: Now through Labor Day
Where: Vinings Jubilee | 4300 Paces Ferry Road NE
Phone: 404.438.8080
Price: Free

Information: www.viningsjubilee.com/teachers

As a special thank you to teachers for all of their hard work, Vinings Jubilee is giving away four $100 gift certificates to metro-Atlanta teachers redeemable at any of the stores or restaurants in Vinings Jubilee. To enter, simply visit www.viningsjubilee.com/teachers and fill out your information. The last day to enter is Labor Day and winners will be notified via email and announced on Facebook each week. For more information about Vinings Jubilee, please visit www.viningsjubilee.com.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Georgia Tech/Georgia State Collaboration Designed to Support Certified STEM Teachers

A new collaboration between the Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University (GSU) streamlines the process for increasing the number of highly-quality certified math and science teachers.

Approved by the Board of Regents on Aug. 10, the Georgia Tech-GSU Bachelor of Science/Master of Arts in Teaching (BS/MAT) Option is unique because it allows students to apply credits to degrees earned at both institutions while also completing a state-approved teacher certification program. The program will begin this fall.

“This collaboration is consistent with the Regents’ commitment to supporting a high-quality teaching workforce, especially in high need areas. We know that teachers prepared at USG institutions are retained in Georgia classrooms at high levels, making this partnership beneficial for the new teachers, the schools and education across the state,” said Lynne Weisenbach, the University System of Georgia’s vice chancellor for Educator Preparation, Innovation and Research.

The Georgia Tech-GSU initiative focuses on the strengths of both institutions, according to Donna Llewellyn, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. She points out, “Georgia Tech is known for its incredible STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students, and Georgia State is known for its excellent programs for preparing teachers for our state’s and nation’s schools – it just makes good sense to pair up and utilize each of these strengths.”

The initiative supports preparing certified teachers for STEM programs in grades four through eight and six through twelve. Llewellyn adds, “This partnership not only helps develop top-notch teachers who can help educate the Georgia workforce, but it also assures that we have a home-grown pipeline of teachers who can fully prepare students to pursue higher education degrees – this is a win-win!”

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Clayton State Rolls Out Master of Science in Psychology

Clayton State University’s recently-approved eighth graduate program, the Master of Science in Psychology, has officially started with the beginning this week of the fall 2010 semester.

The Clayton State Department of Psychology will offer two distinct tracks of study. The Applied Development Psychology track is the first of its type in the State of Georgia. The Clinical Psychology track is slated to begin accepting students for fall 2011. Both of the tracks lead to professional masters degrees designed to serve community needs and therefore include field experiences in the form of internships or clinical supervision so that graduates are prepare for employment.

For more information on the M.S. in Psychology at Clayton State, go to the Department of Psychology’s special website for the program, http://a-s.clayton.edu/MSP/. The website includes application information, degree requirements, courses, payment information, academic policies, important dates, class schedules, contact information, and FAQs.

According to Dr. Donna McCarty, chair of the Department of Psychology, both tracks of Clayton State’s M.S. in Psychology will benefit from a strong and diverse faculty as well as a carefully planned and innovative curriculum that is designed to ensure that students are well-prepared to serve the needs of clients from varied populations. Clayton State’s student body has been named the most diverse in the Southern United States no less than six times by U.S. News & World Report.

The Master of Science in Psychology degree program is designed as a terminal or professional master’s degree, combining a community-oriented training model with extensive research preparation. The Applied Development Psychology track is designed specifically for students who seek a professional career working with children and adolescents in varied settings including government and non-profit agencies, research centers, and parent education programs. The program offers an emphasis on the application of knowledge in community settings and will also prepare students who wish to pursue doctoral training in applied developmental, developmental, clinical, or educational psychology.

The Master’s program in Clinical Psychology will prepare students to be competent, ethical practitioners of psychological services in the community. The program emphasizes learning to consider the uniqueness of each individual and the influence of culture and ethnicity when providing services to people from diverse backgrounds. Students will be prepared to work in a broad range of mental health settings as well as to pursue doctoral level training in clinical or counseling psychology.

The Psychology Department has been one of Clayton State’s great success stories since the B.S. in Psychology degree was officially rolled out in August 2001. For the 2009/2010 academic year, Clayton State had 505 declared Psychology majors, the third largest single degree program at the University, behind the University’s two oldest undergraduate programs, the Pre-BSN (Basic Licensure) and Pre-Business.

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

Governor Names Former DeKalb DA Bob Wilson, Former Attorney General Mike Bowers as Special Investigators

Governor Sonny Perdue today announced that he is appointing former DeKalb County District Attorney Bob Wilson and former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers as Special Investigators to look into testing irregularities on the 2009 CRCT administration at Atlanta Public Schools and Dougherty County School System.

Governor Perdue told the State Board of Education on Wednesday that he would take this step after the reports submitted by Atlanta Public Schools and Dougherty County School System were deemed to be incomplete.

Michael J. Bowers

Michael J. Bowers former Attorney General of Georgia, is a Partner at Balch & Bingham LLC. He joined the firm in September of 1998, concentrating in general civil litigation. He became Partner in January of 2000. Georgia Trend Magazine named Mike as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians from their beginning in 1990 through 1997 and again in 2003. Mike currently serves as Chairman of the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission. Upon obtaining his law degree, Mike accepted a position with the State of Georgia Attorney General’s Office, where he worked until he was appointed Attorney General of Georgia in 1981. Mike was reelected four times and served as Attorney General until June of 1997, when he resigned from office in order to seek the Republican nomination for Governor. Bowers served in the United States Air Force from 1963-1970, when he joined the Air National Guard, from which he retired in 1997 at the rank of Major General. >From 1994 to 1997, he served as Chair of the National Guard Bureau’s Counterdrug Board in Washington, D.C. Mike and his wife, Bette Rose, are the parents of three grown children and reside in Commerce.

Robert E. “Bob” Wilson 

Bob Wilson received a B.S. degree from the University of North Carolina in 1970 and is a 1974 graduate of Emory University School of Law. In 1978, Wilson was appointed Chief Public Defender for DeKalb County, a position he held until resigning to run for District Attorney. Bob was first elected District Attorney for the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit in 1980 by defeating an incumbent. As District Attorney, Bob was twice re-elected without opposition. While District Attorney, Bob established Georgia’s first Child Abuse Prosecution Unit, first Career Criminal Prosecution Unit as well as one of Georgia’s first Victim Assistance Programs. In 1998 Bob was one of the founders of the firm of Wilson, Morton & Downs, LLC, located in Decatur, where he practices law today. In 1992 Bob was appointed by then Governor Zell Miller as a Special Assistant Attorney General to investigate the business practices in Georgia of Fleet Finance, Inc., a subsidiary of one of America’s largest financial institutions. After conducting one of the most extensive civil investigations ever undertaken by the State of Georgia, Mr. Wilson negotiated a settlement valued in excess of $100 million between the State of Georgia and Fleet Finance. At the time, this settlement was the largest by any state against a single company under an unfair and deceptive acts and practices statute in United States history. During his legal career, Bob has served the State of Georgia and his local community in many capacities and received numerous awards and honors. Bob was co-founder and first Chair of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Center for Children, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides counseling for sexually-abused children (now known as the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy). He was also a founding member of the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides assistance and counseling to adult sexual assault victims, and served as first Chairman of its Board of Directors. Bob is an active volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America and has served on the Executive Board of the Atlanta Area Council since 1983. In 2001 Bob was a founding member of the Decatur Education Foundation for the City Schools of Decatur, a non-profit organization that nurtures and supports enrichment opportunities and educational achievement for children and youth, and served as its first Chair of the Board until the Spring of 2004. Bob and his wife Lynda live in Decatur and have two sons, Alex and Matthew, and a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Student Engineers - NASA and NIA Want Your Ideas

/PRNewswire/ -- University engineering students could play a part in designing a future space project for NASA as part of a competition sponsored by NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA).

The 2011 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage or RASC-AL contest is aimed at undergraduate and graduate engineering students.

"We've been holding this competition for almost a decade now and we have seen some amazing ideas from the students," said Pat Troutman, senior systems engineer at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. "The students say they get something out of it too. They like that they get a chance to apply classroom knowledge to actual aerospace challenges."

This year students can choose one of four themes for their project: designs for a cost-effective 2030 mission to a near-Earth object; approaches to reduce the risk of orbital debris from space junk; technology-enabled human Mars missions; and novel concepts to engage the general public in human exploration missions. Student teams submit a summary of and an outreach plan for their proposed projects by February 4, 2011.

The RASC-AL steering committee made up of NASA and industry experts will evaluate proposals and select as many as 10 undergraduate and five graduate teams to compete against each other at a forum next June in Florida.

"Each year, the RASC-AL competition engages some of the best engineering talent from across the nation," said Dr. Robert Lindberg, NIA president and executive director. "The student teams are challenged to think beyond the classroom and the textbook, and explore the very limits of human creativity using the engineering skills they've mastered in school."

Teams selected submit a written report, prepare a poster and give an oral presentation at the RASC-AL forum. The June event gives faculty and students the chance to meet with NASA and industry experts, introduce concepts and data from the competition into NASA exploration program planning, develop relationships that could lead to participation in other NASA student research programs and show the benefits of NASA-university-industry cooperation.

For more information about the 2011 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage competition, please go to: http://www.nianet.org/rascal

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GAE urges Gov. Perdue to apply for and use Ed Jobs Fund monies now

"I ask that you help alleviate the anguish and frustration taking place - right now - throughout our schools and communities by accepting U. S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's invitation," said Calvine Rollins, president of the 43,000-member Georgia Association of Educators (GAE). This was an excerpt from a letter she recently penned to Gov. Sonny Perdue urging him to meet the September 9, 2010 deadline for states to apply for their share of the recent $10 billion approved for states under the Education Jobs Fund Program. Georgia's share comes to roughly $322 million.

Rollins stresses that not only is it important that we ask for the money, but that it is utilized during the 2010-11 school year as much as possible. She said, "Our schools and children are feeling the pain of budget cuts right now and wherever these monies can be utilized for relief it would be inexcusable not to do so." She points to using the funds to help bring back some of the dedicated and quality teachers and support professionals who were victims of recent cuts, help eliminate the need for furloughs, help bring relief to recent class size increases in order to make our children's learning environments less stressful, and to possibly help restore valued programs or classes that districts were forced to cut.

"Even if these restorations are only for this year, these are experiences our children would not have lost," said Rollins. "And we do not have a crystal ball to predict what's in store for next school year. We do know what we have available to us right now!"

Rollins notes that Georgia should anticipate receiving the funds within two weeks of receivng Gov. Perdue's application according to the program's guidelines. From there she says the state is to make awards to local districts on a timely basis so they can be used during this school year via either the state's funding formula or Part A of Title I of ESEA.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ACT Scores Show Steady Gains

Report also reveals more Georgia students are College and Career Ready

Georgia’s ACT scores saw a slight increase in 2010 and a higher percentage of students demonstrated college and career readiness, according to the 2010 ACT report. Forty-four (44) percent of Georgia’s 2010 graduating seniors took the ACT and had an average composite score of 20.7, up from 20.6 from last year. The national average composite score was 21.0, down from 21.1 in 2009. Georgia seniors were tied for 34th on the ACT, up from 40th in 2009 and 47th in 2005.

"Georgia continues to see a steady rise in ACT scores, even when the national average score declined," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "I'm especially proud that the curriculum enhancements that Georgia has instituted are resulting in more of our students meeting the ACT standard of college and career readiness."

State School Superintendent Brad Bryant pointed out that when the scores are broken down by race, Georgia students are actually outscoring the nation across the board.

According to the 2010 ACT report:

- Georgia’s African American students had an average composite score of 17.4, higher than the national average of 16.9.

- Georgia’s Hispanic students had an average composite score of 20.1, higher than the national average of 18.6

- Georgia’s Caucasian students had an average composite score of 22.9, higher than the national average of 22.3

“When you take a close look at the numbers, you can see that Georgia students are actually outperforming their peers from across the nation,” Superintendent Bryant said. “However, we will not be completely satisfied until we become the first state to eliminate the achievement gap altogether."

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test designed to measure college readiness and preparation. The ACT includes four separate exams in English, reading, mathematics and science. There is also an optional writing portion. The exam is scored on a scale from 0 to 36.

College and Career Readiness

The report provides strong evidence that Georgia is making the right moves in education by setting higher standards and raising expectations.

According to the ACT, 21 percent of Georgia seniors demonstrated college-readiness in all four areas of the test, up from 19 percent last year. Nationally, 24 percent of ACT test-takers demonstrated college-readiness, up from 23 percent last year.

The percent of ACT-tested Georgia graduates who are ready for college coursework is also higher compared to five years ago in mathematics, reading, and science.

"These findings are very encouraging," said Superintendent Bryant. "They suggest more Georgia students are graduating from high school with the academic skills they will need to succeed in college and their chosen career."

The ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, which are based on the actual grades earned by students in college, define college and career readiness and report student performance results relative to that goal.

Common Core Standards

The ACT results come at a time when much national focus is being placed on adopting and implementing new college and career readiness standards in high school. The State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in July.

"Georgia has been ahead of the curve in the development of rigorous standards," said Superintendent Bryant. "The Common Core standards enhance the Georgia Performance Standards and will ensure that all of our students are taught a world-class curriculum that will prepare them for college or a career."

This fall, ACT will be issuing a report that examines the current status of college and career readiness in the U.S. based on the Common Core State Standards.

- Georgia's ACT Report:
http://www.act.org/news/data/10/pdf/readiness/CCCR_Georgia.pdf?utm_campaign=cccr10&utm_source=reporters_menu&utm_medium=web

- National ACT Report: http://www.act.org/news/data/10/pdf/readiness/CCCR.pdf?utm_campaign=cccr10&utm_source=reporters_menu&utm_medium=web
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Columbus State Named to 2011 Military Friendly Schools List

G.I. Jobs magazine today (August 16) announced the release of its 2011 list of Military Friendly Schools, including Columbus State University for the first time ever.

The list at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com/2011list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students.

“Columbus State University is so very proud to have received this very special designation,” said Columbus State University President Tim Mescon. “Our proximity to Fort Benning and the Maneuver Center for Excellence is most valued. We are committed to developing and delivering academic programs that meet the needs of our men and women serving our country and their dependents in a manner that respects the academic integrity of our curriculum and addresses the special requirements of those in military service.”

Schools on the list range from state universities and private colleges to community colleges and trade schools. The common bond is their shared priority of recruiting students with military experience.

Colleges have long coveted veterans in the classroom.

“Military students bring a high degree of maturity, life experiences, diversity, leadership and worldliness to the classroom,' said Dorothy Bassett, dean of Duquesne University’s School of Leadership and Professional Advancement, a Military Friendly School. 'Other students and faculty benefit from the different perspectives that service members and veterans bring.”

The tens of billions of dollars in tuition money now available with the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill last year has intensified an already strong desire by colleges to court veterans into their classrooms.

“This list is especially important now because the Post-9/11 GI Bill has given veterans virtually unlimited financial means to go to school,” said Rich McCormack, G.I. Jobs publisher. “Veterans can now enroll in any school, provided they’re academically qualified. So schools are clamoring for them like never before. Veterans need a trusted friend to help them decide where to get educated. The Military Friendly Schools list is that trusted friend.”

Derek Blumke, president of Student Veterans of America and a member of the list’s Academic Advisory Board, agrees. “The Military Friendly Schools list is the gold standard in letting veterans know which schools will offer them the greatest opportunity, flexibility and overall experience. It’s especially important now with so many schools competing for military students.”

Schools on the Military Friendly Schools list also offer additional benefits to student veterans such as on-campus veterans programs, credit for service, military spouse programs and more.

The list was compiled through exhaustive research starting last April during which G.I. Jobs polled more than 7,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board consisting of educators from Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Colorado State University, Dallas County Community College, Old Dominion University, Cleveland State University, Lincoln Technical Institute and Embry Riddle; as well as Keith Wilson, VA’s director of education services; Michele Spires, American Council on Education’s assistant director of military programs; Janet Swandol, associate director for CLEP and Derek Blumke, president of Student Veterans of America. A full list of board members can be found at http://militaryfriendlyschools.com/Article/advisory-board/.

A full story and detailed list of Military Friendly Schools will be highlighted in the annual Guide to Military Friendly Schools and on a poster, both of which will be distributed to hundreds of thousands of active and former military personnel in late September. The newly redesigned website, found at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com, features interactive tools and search functionality to assist military veterans in choosing schools that best meet their personal educational needs. The site currently shows 2010 Military Friendly Schools but will switch to the 2011 list in late September.

Criteria for making the Military Friendly Schools list included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students and academic accreditations.

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Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) Launches

/PRNewswire/ -- The Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, a new independent successor group to the United Way's Early Education Commission, will help business, government leaders, providers and parents maximize the economic return on the state's investments in early care and learning.

Guided by a growing body of business and economic research documenting the high-dollar return on investment associated with early learning and care, GEEARS will work to position Georgia as a national leader in ensuring that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn and on a path to read by third grade. Hitting these markers in the next decade will reduce costs associated with remedial education, juvenile justice and public assistance, thereby improving the quality of the state's workforce and business climate.

Philanthropist Stephanie Blank, longtime champion of children and education, serves as the founding chair of the governing board of GEEARS.

"The first five years of a child's life are literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Ms. Blank. "Smart money gravitates to early childhood investments. Children who get off to a good start contribute more to Georgia's economic growth. We also have a moral obligation: There are no do-overs where our children are concerned."

To meet the organizations aggressive goals, GEEARS has appointed early education and children's advocate Mindy Binderman as Executive Director. Mindy previously served as Advocacy Director for Voices for Georgia's Children (Voices), a non-profit organization that attempts to develop positive public policy for Georgia youth. As Advocacy Director, she developed and executed public and government affairs strategies supporting Voices' campaign promoting a long-term commitment to children. Prior to joining Voices, Ms. Binderman gained years of professional and academic experience in public policy through her own consulting firm, various directorships and as a faculty member of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, teaching a masters seminar in advocacy. Ms. Binderman was born and raised in Alabama, and holds a law degree from American University.

"I'm excited to be leading GEEARS because I want today's toddlers to become the next generation of Georgia's business entrepreneurs, teachers, nurses, farmers, doctors and professionals," said Binderman. "We cannot keep doing the same things and expecting different results, and Georgia taxpayers cannot afford to see more of our youth fail at school, become teen parents or end up in the criminal justice system," Mindy commented.

Pat Willis, Executive Director, Voices adds, "Mindy will bring immediate energy and action to GEEARS' agenda. While we will miss her as Voices' director of government affairs and advocacy, we look forward to forging a strong partnership with GEEARS as advocates for young children."

The organization's launch comes at a pivotal time, as the current state of early education in Georgia continues to decline.

In fact, Georgia now ranks 48th in nationwide student test scores and currently, only 50 percent of 4-year-olds are enrolled in Georgia Pre-K Program. Additionally, more than 7,000 children across the state are on the Georgia Pre-K Program waiting list.

GEEARS will reverse this trend by:
-- Increasing quality, accessibility and affordability of early care and
education all Georgia children
-- Establishing higher standards of excellence for childcare that helps
Georgia's children enter kindergarten ready to learn and on a path to
"read to learn" by 3rd grade
-- Providing resources for parents
-- Driving public awareness emphasizing the importance of learning from
birth to age 5

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MCG: Dr. Miller resigns as medical school dean; Dr. Buckley named interim dean

After more than four years of accomplished service, Dr. Douglas Miller has resigned as Dean of the School of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Health Affairs for the Medical College of Georgia.
“Together with the faculty, Dr. Miller has led MCG’s School of Medicine to a truly impressive set of achievements,” said MCG President, Dr. Ricardo Azziz.  During Dr. Miller’s tenure, MCG’s medical school has expanded across the state and is now the largest class in MCG’s history and the ninth-largest medical school enrollment in the nation.  In addition to MCG’s new clinical campuses in Savannah and Albany, the MCG/UGA Medical Partnership recently opened the four-year Athens campus.  The medical school’s faculty have been primarily responsible for bringing MCG’s research funding to nearly $100 million annually.  All of these milestones were reached in a time of budget challenges and restructuring.

“We are grateful for Dr. Miller’s exemplary professionalism, leadership and service, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said Dr. Azziz.  “I am thankful for my time at MCG, and I am honored to have been able to work with such fine faculty, staff and students during my service as Dean,” said Dr. Miller. "These are exciting times for MCG, and I look forward to this institution’s continuing progress.”

Dr. Miller will begin a period of sabbatical leave. He will remain a tenured Regents’ Professor in the School of Medicine, and as one of Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors in Cardiovascular Disease, Dr. Miller plans to continue caring for his patients during his sabbatical. Dr. Peter Buckley, Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Development and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior in the School of Medicine, has been named interim dean. “I appreciate Dr. Buckley's willingness to lead our School of Medicine in these challenging times,” stated Dr. Azziz. 

Dr. Buckley came to MCG in 2000 from Case Western Reserve University where he was Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Medical Director for the state psychiatric services in Cleveland. He earned a medical degree from Ireland’s University College Dublin School of Medicine. He completed internships at St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin and a psychiatry residency and research fellowship at St. John of God Psychiatric Services in Dublin. An internationally renowned and federally-funded clinical investigator, Dr. Buckley is also a 2008 fellow of the Council of Deans of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

“I am humbled to be offered the chance to play this role for an institution that has been so important to me," said Dr. Buckley.  "This is a tremendous responsibility, and I know that I will need the support and expertise of all our faculty and staff.  Fortunately, I have complete confidence that we have the talent and judgment on our team."

Dr. Buckley also expressed appreciation for Dr. Miller's leadership and broad institutional accomplishments. "As a friend and grateful mentee, I wish Doug every success in the next stage of an impressive career. I am excited by the work now ahead of us under Dr. Azziz's new leadership and - like so many others at MCG - I am fully committed to our institution and our community."




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UGA ranked among top 20 public universities in U.S. News and World Report's 2011 edition of America's Best Colleges

The University of Georgia is tied for 18th among public universities—up from 21st in 2010—and tied for 56th overall—up from 58th—according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 edition of America’s Best Colleges.

UGA also was listed among 25 national universities with the least debt for 2009 graduates.

“This increase in ranking is attributable to two things: One, the terrific effort by the faculty and staff during times of economic distress; and two, the decisions we have collectively made to invest every available dollar in academic programs and specifically faculty,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams.

The undergraduate program in the Terry College of Business is ranked 28th overall and 16th among public business schools. This year’s ranking marks the 12th consecutive year Terry has been ranked in the top 30. Terry placed two “business specialties” in the top five nationally. Its risk management and insurance program ranked second, and its real estate program ranked fourth.

“The consistency of our placement in the U.S. News ranking is a direct reflection of the quality of students and faculty at the Terry College of Business,” said Dean Robert Sumichrast. “We’re taking another important step to raise the rigor and standards of our undergraduate curriculum this fall, with the adoption of our Foundations First cohort class schedule for juniors starting a business major.”

The 2011 rankings are available on-line at www.usnews.com and highlights of the college rankings will be published in the September issue of U.S News & World Report, available for newsstand purchase Aug. 31. The U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 edition of America’s Best Colleges guidebook will be available Aug. 24.

U.S. News considers several factors in producing the annual ranking. Among those are graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving and peer assessment.

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Ashworth College Makes G.I. Jobs List of Top Colleges and Universities for Military Students

/PRNewswire/ -- Ashworth College was announced yesterday as making G.I. Job's 2011 list of Military Friendly Schools. The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to recruit students with military experience.

Since April, G.I. Jobs polled more than 7,000 schools nationwide and through exhaustive research compiled its final list. Selection criteria included an institution's effort to recruit and retain military and veteran students and academic accreditations. This is the second consecutive year Ashworth College has made the list.

Schools on the Military Friendly Schools list, including Ashworth, also offer additional benefits to military students including credit for service and programs specifically for military spouses.

"Ashworth is proud to offer a wide range of programs to those serving in the U.S. military, their spouses and our military veterans," said Gary M. Keisling, Ashworth College Chairman and CEO. "It's our mission to ensure that each of our programs is of the highest quality, accredited, affordable and flexible. Being recognized by G.I. Jobs as a top institution serving the military is a well deserved and honorable distinction for Ashworth."

Keisling went on to explain that Ashworth's degree programs help military tuition benefits go further by offering courses under $100 dollars per credit hour; as much as 55% less than similar institutions.

In addition to providing a variety of online degree and certificate programs, Ashworth College is a member of Servicemember Opportunity Colleges Consortium (SOC). Ashworth also accepts A.C.E credits and is approved for a range of other military benefits to include GI/VA education benefits, DANTES, GoArmyEd, and MyCAA.

"Ashworth College and all of the Ashworth Military Advisors were behind me 100%. They answered all my questions and made sure that I had everything I needed from the day I first enrolled, right up until I received my Associate Degree," said Ervisa Ritt, Ashworth's 2010 Outstanding Graduate who is currently stationed at Ft. Stewart. "It was such a great experience that enrolling in Ashworth's Bachelor's Degree program was an easy decision."

Ashworth College is also committed to developing more educational options for military students and their families and is actively developing new programs specifically designed to meet the requirements of the military lifestyle.

About G.I. Jobs

G.I. Jobs (www.gijobs.com) is published by Victory Media, a veteran-owned business headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa. The company also publishes The Guide to Military Friendly Schools, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines and annually rates the nation's "Military Friendly Employers," "Military Spouse Friendly Employers" and "Best Corporations for Veteran- Owned Businesses."

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Computer and Video Game Degree Programs Continue to Grow at Colleges and Universities Across the U.S.

/PRNewswire/ -- 300 American colleges, universities, art and trade schools will offer degrees in video game design, development, programming and art during the 2010-11 academic year, according to new research from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The degrees offered at 300 institutions represent an almost 20 percent increase over 2009-10.

The growing number of educational programs comes as no surprise to Rich Taylor, senior vice president for communications and industry affairs at the ESA, which represents computer and video game publishers. "The steady increase in higher education programs is an important indicator about the expanding role computer and video games play in today's world," said Mr. Taylor. "While computer and video games have been a source of entertainment for decades, our society is increasingly recognizing the broader uses of games and their positive impact. Whether it is in healthcare, education, business or government, schools across the country see the value of games and are training their students to meet the demand."

Prospective students interested in game design and development careers now have far greater options than their predecessors. During the 2008-09 academic year, 220 schools offered such programs and more than 250 programs were available during 2009-10. This year's record-setting list includes new programs such as the Game Design and Digital Studies Program at Dartmouth College, Gaming Certificate Program at Arizona State University's Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, and Digital Animation and Interactive Media at Ohio State University's Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design.

Schools offering game design and development programs can be found in 42 states and the District of Columbia. California remains at the forefront of this educational field, home to 50 institutions of higher learning that offer game-related degrees, followed by New York (26), Texas (21), Illinois (17), Florida (15), Massachusetts (13), Pennsylvania (12), Michigan (10), Washington (10) and Georgia (9).

The continued growth of video game programs coincides with the overall growth of the entertainment software industry. According to the ESA's 2010 Essential Facts about Computer and Video Games report, 67 percent of American households now play computer and video games. In addition, public and private sector organizations in the fields of healthcare, education and business are increasingly relying on computer and video games to modernize and improve their operations. According to a study by the ESA, 70 percent of major employers utilize interactive software and games to train employees and more than 75 percent of businesses and non-profits already offering video game-based training plan to expand their usage in the next three to five years.

The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, owning the E3 Expo, business and consumer research, federal and state government relations, First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts. For more information, please visit www.theESA.com.

Colleges, Universities and Trade Schools with Computer and Video Game Courses and Degrees in Georgia are:

American
InterContinental University (Dunwoody Campus) Atlanta GA
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Art Institute of Atlanta Atlanta GA
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Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta GA
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Georgia State University Atlanta GA
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DeVry University - Decatur/ Decatur/Alpharetta Alpharetta GA
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ITT Tech - Duluth Duluth GA
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Southern Polytechnic State University Marietta GA
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Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah GA
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Georgia Southern University Statesboro GA

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What the College Rankings Won't Tell You

Congratulations to Kennesaw State University, the only college in Georgia to be given an "A" ranking according to WhatWillTheyLearn.com standards.

/PRNewswire/ -- Responding to the widespread dissatisfaction with traditional college rankings and the growing demand for universities to refocus on undergraduate education and value, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni unveiled today its 2011 college evaluations on WhatWillTheyLearn.com, a day before the release of U.S. News & World Report's college rankings.

The free website evaluates more than 700 colleges and universities based on their general education curricula: the core courses aimed at providing a strong foundation of knowledge. Mel Elfin, founding editor of USNWR's college rankings, praised the website as "an invaluable and unique additional resource for parents" and The Wall Street Journal called its focus on education "admirable."

The website assigns each institution a grade from "A" to "F" based on how many of the following seven core subjects it requires: Composition, Mathematics, Science, Economics, Foreign Language, Literature, and American Government or History. Only a handful get A's, and most do not require college-level courses in many of these critical subjects.

"The crisis in higher education is about more than money--it's about what we are paying for. And when it comes to ensuring graduates possess the basic skills and knowledge they need to succeed, universities are shortchanging students," said ACTA president Anne D. Neal, speaking at the National Press Club. "Since when is do-it-yourself an educational philosophy?"

Key Findings:
-- Colleges and universities have by and large abandoned a coherent
content-rich general education curriculum, thereby allowing students
to graduate with important gaps in their knowledge:
-- More than 60% of all institutions receive a "C" or worse for
requiring 3 or fewer subjects.
-- Nearly 40% don't require college-level mathematics.
-- Less than 5% of colleges and universities require economics.
-- Less than a third require intermediate-level foreign language, a
broad survey class in American government or history, or
literature.
-- Paying a lot doesn't necessarily get you a lot: Average tuition at the
more than 100 "F" schools is $28,200 (2009 figures). At the 16 "A"
schools, it's $13,200.
-- Public institutions are doing a relatively better job of ensuring
students graduate with some of the basic skills and knowledge they
need than private institutions: More than half (52%) of all privates
receive a "D" or an "F" for requiring 2 or fewer subjects, while a
little under half (44%) of all publics receive a "B" or better for
requiring 4 or more subjects.


The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is an independent non-profit dedicated to academic freedom, academic excellence, and accountability. Since its founding in 1995, ACTA has counseled boards, educated the public and published reports about such issues as good governance, historical literacy, core curricula, the free exchange of ideas, and accreditation in higher education. For further information, visit www.goacta.org or www.WhatWillTheyLearn.com.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Campuses Complete New Student Residency Verification

Following May and June directives from the Board of Regents and Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr., as of August 1, 2010, University System of Georgia (USG) institutions have reported that out of a projected 50,000 new (incoming) students for fall 2010, 242, or .48 percent (just under one-half of one percent), were undocumented students.

Committee Chair Regent Jim Jolly, who presented the report to the board, noted that all 242 students are being charged out-of-state tuition, which is set to recover the full cost of instruction.

The report was submitted to the regents as part of an update by the board’s Residency Verification Committee, which has been meeting over the summer to review the USG’s current residency verification processes.

In addition to the check of new students, USG institutions were instructed to check the residency of returning students. As of today’s report to the board, 26 institutions had completed this check – the remaining institutions will complete residency verification once the final payment date for the fall semester has past. Preliminary numbers of returning students show 230 undocumented students enrolled for fall semester, with all being charged out-of-state tuition.

“While we are still awaiting reports on returning students from a few institutions, if the trends continue, we do not expect to see any significant change in the final percentage of undocumented students enrolled in the University System,” said Jolly.

Jolly said that undocumented students might include students who are in the country legally, but whose documentation is incomplete. As fall registration concludes, some of these undocumented students would either be able to provide needed documentation or would fail to complete registration and dis-enroll, so that the final numbers should actually be lower, he said.

In reviewing student applications, institutions had been charged in the chancellor’s directive with ensuring that “no undocumented students are receiving or about to receive any prohibited benefits or tuition assistance.”

The process institutions followed to conduct the review was three-fold:

Determine the documentation status of non-citizen students and verify proper residency coding.
Verify that students classified as “Georgia Residents” for the purpose of tuition rate assignment were properly classified, entitled to receive and being charged the correct tuition rate.
Verify that students receiving “out-of-state” tuition differential waivers were doing so in accordance with current policy.

The Residency Verification Committee is expected to make its final report and potential recommendations at the regents’ October meeting.

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South Effingham High School to Host International Speaker, Orrin Checkmate Hudson, at Their Back-to-School Pep Rally

August 16, 2010, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
South Effingham High School, 1220 Noel Conaway Rd., Guyton, GA 31312
South Effingham High School Back-to-School Pep Rally


/PRNewswire/ -- International motivational speaker and author of "One Move at a Time" Orrin "Checkmate" Hudson challenges students to make the right moves. His message is, "Think it out, talk it out, work it out, play it out, but don't shoot it out." Orrin is a chess champion and will use the game as a training tool to teach life mastery skills to students, teachers, and parents at South Effingham High School. He has inspired over 20,000 students around the globe and as part of a national tour he will participate in the back-to-school rally to inspire participants to make the right moves.

Hudson founded Be Someone, a crime prevention educational program, in 2001 after five restaurant employees were killed in a robbery for $2,000.00. His goal is to teach students that real cash is kash with a K. His innovative "KASH is King" philosophy spells success for students by emphasizing K for Knowledge, A for Attitude, S for Skills and H for Habits. His students walk away with increased self-motivation, a greater desire to excel in school and a marked improvement in their GPA. Students also learn teamwork and the importance of community involvement.

The principal of the school, Dr. Mark A. Winters, invited Orrin "Checkmate" Hudson to inspire kids to make the right moves. A recent auto accident that killed two teenagers provoked the South Effingham High School students to seek ways to prevent future accidents. Hudson is a former state trooper who understands that driving an automobile can be a dangerous thing. He says, "You can make one error while driving and never recover."

Orrin Hudson has proven how learning to play chess helps young people to think for themselves and make smarter decisions through improved pattern recognition and concentration. "Chess teaches people to look at problems from different perspectives, and to think before making a move. Every move one makes has consequences, either positive or negative," says Hudson. "In that respect, it's exactly like life. Winning reinforces the good choices one makes, while losing provides an opportunity for one to learn from mistakes. Get in the game and join us. Evil prevails when good people do nothing. You can be a part of changing the world one move at a time."

Founded by Orrin Hudson, Be Someone (http://www.besomeone.org/) is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that works with at-risk kids, helping them to build productive, fulfilling futures. Hudson and his work with Be Someone have been featured nationally in People Magazine and CBS Early Morning Show and recognized with numerous awards. He is a two-time winner of World Open Speed Chess and has coached students to win state-wide and city-wide chess championships.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Regents Approve $2.1 Billion Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request

A $2.1 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget request approved today (Aug 10) by the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents includes new dollars to meet year over year student enrollment growth of 18,914 students.

“This budget request mirrors the times,” said USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “We are focusing our efforts and our budget request on our core mission of teaching, research and service and the need to serve the continued and significant increase in enrollment at our 35 degree-granting institutions.”

The biggest driver of the regents’ request is a 7.8 percent increase from FY09 to FY10 in the credit hours students took. This increase generated $145 million of the FY12 budget request. Almost 45 percent of this increase occurred at the System’s 16 two-year and state colleges, with the 15 four-year universities accounting for 35 percent of the credit hour increase and the four research universities 20 percent.

“Individuals are continuing to turn to higher education to prepare them for an increasingly competitive workplace,” said Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs Usha Ramachandran. “And our enrollment trends indicate that many of these students are enrolling at our access colleges and four-year universities, where we can serve them with greater efficiency.”

Additional new dollars in the regents’ requested budget include, in addition to the $145 million for student growth:

$8.7 million to maintain and operate new facilities in the system;
$18 million for health benefits premium increases; and
$4.9 million for health insurance for new retirees.
The regents continue to place a strategic priority on the expansion of medical education, with a FY12 budget request of $1.7 million to accommodate the second class of students at the Medical College of Georgia/University of Georgia partnership campus in Athens and to create a clinical campus in Rome. The inaugural class of 40 students at the MCG Athens campus started classes in August 2010.

The regents also approved a FY12 capital budget request of $432.3 million, which includes $1 million in equipment for one new facility, $190 million in new construction, renovation or infrastructure needs for 16 projects, $9 million in design funds for 4 projects, $215.1 million for major repair and renovation funds at all 35 campuses as well as construction to two additional projects, and $17.2 million for Georgia Public Library Service projects.

Following instructions from the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) to all state agencies, the Board also approved reduction plans of 4, 6 and 8 percent ($77, $115 and $154 million respectively) for the current fiscal year (FY11). Any reduction plans adopted this fiscal year carry forward into FY12. The board also approved, as instructed, a 10 percent reduction plan for FY12, which, if enacted, would bring the USG’s reductions over the combined FY11 and FY12 budgets to a total of $192 million.

“Clearly we continue to be affected by the economic recession and the corresponding decline in state tax revenues,” said Ramachandran. “The instructions from the Governor’s office for additional reduction plans in the current fiscal year and continuing into FY12 dramatize the magnitude of the state’s revenue challenges.”

Ramachandran noted in her board presentation that if the System were to receive the full $2.1 billion requested and then had to implement the full 10 percent reduction in FY12, it would result in a total state appropriation below that of FY07. “But in FY07 we enrolled 259,945 students, while in FY12 we project to enroll 321,000 students – 61,000 more than in FY07.”

Currently, the System already is operating under a 4 percent reduction plan ($77 million) as the state withholds that percentage from all state agencies monthly allotments.

To reach the reduction targets, the USG will employ a range of institutional and system-level actions, Ramachandran said. At the institutional level, these actions include structural changes in operations, workforce reductions, hiring freezes, a decline in maintenance and a reduction in library subscriptions, books and hours. At higher reduction levels, courses and programs will be affected.

At the 10 percent level, Ramachandran said a combination of some of the following actions will be considered: an analysis of enrollment capacity at selected institutions, restrictions on learning support for students, and a review of all institutional fees. In addition, she said, there would be additional reductions at the institutional level.

The board also has approved new employee health plans to further reduce costs. These include the self-funding of the System’s HMO and high deductible plans, a tobacco surcharge, a new, alternative and less expensive PPO network, a requirement for all retirees at age 65 to pay the full premium costs if they do not select Medicare as the primary health care provider, and continued financial incentives for employees to switch to the high deductible plan. Together, these changes could save the System up to $30 million annually in health care costs.

Today’s (Aug 10) actions on the FY12 operating and capital budget requests now go to OPB for incorporation into the overall state budget recommendations the Governor will present to the General Assembly in January 2011. Any action regarding reductions at the 4, 6, 8 and 10 percent levels will depend upon the final decisions by the Governor and General Assembly.



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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dedication marks inaugural day of classes of MCG/UGA Medical Partnership

Forty aspiring physicians began their education in Athens August 9 as part of the inaugural class of the Medical College of Georgia/University of Georgia Medical Partnership.

“This was a pretty clear decision for me when you look at the per capita number of doctors (in Georgia),” said Governor Sonny Perdue, who gave the keynote address at a dedication ceremony to mark the historic partnership. “The fact is that we were importing medical talent not only from around the nation, but from around the world, to serve our citizens in Georgia. And while we love that people like to come to our state, we felt like we needed to grow more of our own.”

The inaugural class of the four-year medical education program consists of 40 MCG students who will study basic science and clinical skills in a program that mirrors the curriculum of the Augusta campus. Like other speakers at the dedication ceremony, University System of Georgia Chancellor Errol B. Davis Jr. praised Perdue and the General Assembly for supporting the expansion of public medical education in Georgia.

“It’s important to note that they did this in the midst of this economic downturn,” Davis said. “Their commitment expanding medical education and providing more doctors for the people of the state has not wavered.”

MCG President Dr. Ricardo Azziz and UGA President Michael F. Adams both emphasized how the partnership leverages the strengths of the state’s only public medical school and its largest and most comprehensive research university.

“Only through collaboration will we succeed in addressing the growing health needs of our state, our nation, and our world,” Azziz said. “Only through collaboration will we generate the cutting edge discoveries that will transform the way we care for our people.”

“It has taken a lot of people coming together to make this possible,” Adams said. “The development of a health sciences campus and the admission of the first class of medical students have been among the most important developments, I believe, in my time here at the university.”

MCG/UGA Medical Partnership student Justin Brooten of Atlanta addressed the audience at the dedication ceremony on behalf of students and noted that members of the inaugural class have studied in numerous fields, including biology, languages, economics and psychology, and have wide-ranging medical interests as well. “One word which characterizes our shared pursuit,” he said, “is passion – a passion to learn, a passion to care, and a passion to contribute.”

He added that the partnership will increase opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary studies and that the smaller class sizes in Athens will facilitate student/faculty interaction.

The partnership is part of an overall plan to increase the MCG School of Medicine's class size from 190 to 300 students by 2020 to help meet the need for physicians in a state that ranks in the top 10 in both population and population growth, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“There are counties in Georgia that don’t have any physicians at all, and those shortages need to be addressed,” said Dr. Douglas Miller, dean of the MCG School of Medicine and MCG senior vice president for health affairs. “A public university and a partnership such as this is ideally positioned to lead a response to health care disparities.”

The students will be educated in the Interim Medical Partnership Building, a historic building that was originally constructed in 1857 as the Athens Cotton and Wool Factory and has since been renovated to provide a state-of-the-art learning environment. In 2012, the partnership is scheduled to move to a 58-acre campus in Athens currently occupied by the Navy Supply Corps School. The new campus will be known as the UGA Health Sciences Campus and will house the UGA College of Public Health and other health-related programs.

“UGA will become a much stronger research university with the inclusion of medical education,” said UGA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jere Morehead, “and today’s dedication of the Interim Medical Partnership Building is a precursor of greater things that will come in improving health care for the people of Georgia.”

The first graduates of the partnership will graduate in 2014 and can begin practicing, depending on the chosen specialty, in 2017 after completion of postgraduate education. By 2020, the partnership is expected to educate 60 students per year in Athens, for a total of 240 students for the four-year program. In addition to helping educate more physicians, the MCG/UGA Medical Partnership opens up new possibilities for collaborative research into diseases that disproportionately affect Georgians, such as diabetes, obesity and stroke.

“We have been given the opportunity to influence the health of the state of Georgia,” Campus Dean Dr. Barbara Schuster said. “May we have the strength and presence of mind to seize this unique opportunity.”

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Monday, August 9, 2010

GSU receives Department of Education grant for international business education

Georgia State University has received a $188,000 Business and International Education grant from the Department of Education to establish a Southeast regional alliance of higher education institutions in seven states.

This comes on the heels of GSU’s $1.52 million award to establish a Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Members of the alliance of two- and four-year colleges, including historically black colleges and universities, will work to improve core courses in international education.

The alliance also will assist in preparing faculty to teach international business and strengthen the links between businesses and schools on matters related to international education.

Besides Georgia, the regional alliance includes Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The project will be implemented by faculty of the Institute of International Business in the Robinson College.

“This grant, resulting from a very competitive review by DOE, will complement the work of CIBER in providing programs and activities to improve the scope of international business education in our region,” said Tamer Cavusgil, the Fuller E. Callaway professorial chair and director of Robinson’s Institute of International Business.

There are about 600 two- and four-year colleges in the Southeast. The alliance could potentially benefit more than 160,000 students. Also benefitting will be the business community which will have access to a pool of business school graduates with knowledge of the increasingly complex global business marketplace.

The list of consortium schools by state to date includes: Alabama A&M University, Atlanta Metropolitan College, Clark Atlanta University, Clayton State University, Darton College, East Georgia College, Gainesville State College, Georgia Perimeter College, Morehouse College, South Georgia College, Mississippi Consortium for International Development via Jackson State University, Tuskegee University, Shaw University, Winston-Salem State University, and Hampton University.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Governor Sonny Perdue Issues Executive Order Removing Three Members of Warren County Board of Education

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that he has signed an Executive Order to remove three members of the Warren County Board of Education. A copy of the Executive Order is below.

Whereas: On April 23, 2010, and pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 45-10-4, Bailey Cosby, William Arthur Downs, Waldermar Hambsch, Patricia Hambsch, Rochelle Hanna, John Martin, Carolyn Martin, Cortez Wentz, and Lisa Wilcher (collectively “Petitioners”) filed charges with my office against Warren County Board of Education members Clara Roberts, Cecil Brown, and Charles Culver (collectively “Respondents”); and

Whereas: The charges alleged that Respondents violated the State Code of Ethics, O.C.G.A. § 45- 10-3, specifically: (1) discriminatory hiring in violation of state and federal law; (2) violations of the Open Meetings Act; (3) breaches of the public trust, including (a) micromanaging the school system, (b) abstaining from board votes in violation of Robert’s Rules of Order, (c) refusing to sign the board ethics policy, and (d) violating the policies and procedures of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (“SACS”); and

Whereas: I determined that the allegations against Respondents, if true, were sufficient to state a claim under O.C.G.A. § 45-10-4 and therefore warranted a hearing per that code section; and

Whereas: I appointed the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings to serve as my designated agent “to conduct a hearing for the purpose of receiving evidence relative to the merits of [the] charges” per O.C.G.A. § 45-10-4; and

Whereas: Administrative Law Judge John B. Gatto presided over an extensive hearing and found the following facts:

(1) Clara Roberts made discriminatory comments against the hiring of a teacher named Walter Watson on the basis of his former military service;

(2) Cecil Brown made discriminatory comments against the hiring of a teacher named Jim Turner on the basis of his race;

(3) The Warren County Board of Education Code of Ethics required Respondents to sign a pledge affirming that they would abide by the Code and could face sanctions for violations. Respondents refused to sign the pledge, and months after the signature requirement arose, changed the Code to remove the signature requirement and possibility of sanctions; and

(4) Respondents engaged in a variety of actions that threatened Warren County’s SACS accreditation; and

Whereas: Judge Gatto concluded that the facts stated above constituted ethical violations prohibited by O.C.G.A. § 45-10-3 on the part of Respondents and recommended on July 27, 2010 that Respondents be removed from office; and

Whereas: I have reviewed Judge Gatto’s order, the filings in the case, and the hearing transcript and agree with his finding of facts; and

Whereas: I find that Clara Roberts violated (1) O.C.G.A. § 45-10-3(1) & (8) by making discriminatory comments in violation of federal law and (2) O.C.G.A. § 45-10-3(8) by refusing to sign Warren County Board of Education’s Code of Ethics in violation of Warren County Board of Education’s Code of Ethics; and

Whereas: I find that Cecil Brown violated (1) O.C.G.A. § 45-10-3(8) by making discriminatory comments and (2) O.C.G.A. § 45-10-3(8) by refusing to sign Warren County Board of Education’s Code of Ethics in violation of Warren County Board of Education’s Code of Ethics; and

Whereas: I find that Charles Culver violated O.C.G.A. § 45-10-3(8) by refusing to sign Warren County Board of Education’s Code of Ethics in violation of Warren County Board of Education’s Code of Ethics.

NOW, THEREFORE, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN ME AS GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA AND BY SECTION 45-10-4 OF THE OFFICIAL CODE OF GEORGIA ANNOTATED, IT IS HEREBY

Ordered: Respondents Clara Roberts, Cecil Brown, and Charles Culver be removed from office and that the vacancies thereby created by filled as provided by law.

This 6th day of August, 2010.
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Parents to Charter School Commission: Obey the Law on Virtual School Funding

/PRNewswire/ -- A coalition representing more than 5,000 public virtual charter school students, parents, teachers, and supporters from across Georgia charged the state's Charter School Commission (Commission) with ignoring state law by refusing to create a funding formula based on sound research and actual costs of public virtual charter schools. As a result, for the third consecutive year, over 6,000 students in Georgia's public online schools will receive only a fraction of funds the law provides for their education.

Georgia Families for Public Virtual Education released a letter today demanding the Commission immediately reconsider its decision to fund virtual public school students at one-third of the allotment of other public school students. Students at traditional brick-and-mortar public schools and brick-and-mortar charter schools receive an average of $8,800 per pupil. The letter, penned by Georgia attorney Douglas Rosenbloom, requests a meeting with the Commission to review the arbitrary and unexplained decision to fund virtual public school students at less than $3,200.

"In 2008, the Legislature passed and Governor Perdue signed HB 881, mandating public funds follow each student from one public school to another, ensuring every public school student receives fair and equitable funding," said Renee Lord, President of the Georgia Families for Public Virtual Education and parent of a student at Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA), the only statewide virtual charter school.

"Students in public charter schools-both brick-and-mortar and virtual-were promised full and fair funding," Lord continued. "We expected the Commission, which was itself created by HB 881, to follow the law, do the research, and provide our students and teachers the resources they need and deserve. Instead, the Commission members chose to ignore the law, ignore the data, forget about research, and deny our schools the funds they need-funds that already exist in the system but are still being sent to the public schools our children previously attended."

"We are asking the Commission to do the right thing, look at the research and actual costs of fulltime virtual charter schools. Set a funding formula that allows some of the funds already allocated for our students to follow them to their new public school. It may be too late to open any new public virtual schools for the upcoming school year. But the Commission can and should ensure students at the state's only operating statewide virtual public school finally get the fair and equitable funding promised by the law."

In the letter to the Commission, attorney Rosenbloom notes that, under HB 881, a virtual charter school student's funding could be reduced only if the Commission followed a four-step process that included research and study into the actual costs of virtual education and identified any specific savings or efficiencies unique to the virtual education model.

"The 2008 passage of House Bill 881, which created the Commission as a charter schools authorizer, had the explicit purpose of providing equitable funding for charter school students. The average per pupil funding in Georgia for traditional brick-and-mortar schools is $8,800. The Commission announced last month to provide only $3,200 per pupil. This decision, it appears, was not supported by any legitimate cost study. In response to [the Coalition's] request for the basis of this funding decision, the Commission has provided only a one-page spreadsheet reflecting no research or investigation into virtual education costs... We hope the Commission (1) reconsiders its unwise funding decision and (2) re-visits its illegal and incomprehensible decision-making process."

According to Rosenbloom, the Commission conducted no analysis of "actual costs" or "efficiencies" to support its low funding decision for virtual charter schools. The result, he concludes, is a new school year beginning without any new public virtual school options in Georgia. Last month, two virtual charter schools withdrew their applications following the Commission's decision to provide inadequate funding.

Students at GCA will be under-funded for the third year in a row; they currently receive around $3,200 per pupil. While they await the additional funding promised by HB 881, school officials have been forced to increase class sizes and eliminate art, music, and foreign language classes from the planned curriculum. Despite funding challenges, GCA continues to make significant gains in student achievement, outperforming Georgia state (brick-and-mortar school) averages.

Rosenbloom points out that despite common misconceptions that quality virtual schools are significantly less costly than brick-and-mortar schools, data-driven research concludes the costs of operating a virtual school are about the same as those of a regular brick-and-mortar school.

He adds that none of the virtual charter school applicants, nor the state's existing Georgia Cyber Academy, ever requested the full funding allocation available under the law. Most of the new applicants, as well as Georgia Cyber Academy, have sought to operate at around two-thirds of the full funding legally available-around $6,500 per pupil.

GCA, the only statewide virtual charter, teaches 6,000 students and is the largest public school (brick-and-mortar or virtual charter) in Georgia. The Academy also looks to add ninth grade in August with approximately 600 new students.

Virtual public charter schools are statewide, full-time public schools that employ state-certified public school teachers to oversee and guide students' work. Under this program students are able to work at home via computer and Internet connection under the guidance of a parent or responsible adult.

Accountability requirements are the same for virtual public charters as for every public school in the state. Students participate in state assessment tests and are required to meet attendance protocol. The school uses an established curriculum that consists of thousands of lessons in the typical core subjects that align with state standards and all of the teachers are also publicly certified.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Georgia State: College of Education to promote service learning in schools and communities

 Faculty from all six departments in Georgia State University’s College of Education will be working together over the next three years to increase service learning throughout metro Atlanta.

The college received a $654,000 grant last month from a non-profit organization, Learn and Serve America. GSU’s education faculty will use the grant to integrate service learning activities into teacher preparation courses. They will also increase students’ civic engagement and academic learning through service learning activities in metro Atlanta schools.

“I see this grant as a catalyst for increasing community engagement across the College of Education and throughout K-12 schools in the metro-Atlanta area,” said Caitlin McMunn Dooley, assistant professor in the Department of Early Childhood Education who wrote the grant.

“Each department in the College of Education has at least one faculty member who will participate in a professional learning community as we incorporate service learning into educator preparation courses,” she added.

The college will collaborate with Georgia State University’s Center for Teaching and Learning and Office of Community and Civic Engagement, K-12 school districts, Hands on Atlanta and the Children’s Restoration Network.

“We’re trying to build the capacity for service learning in education,” Dooley said. “If we teach something on campus and the resources for it aren’t present in the schools or communities, then the service learning breaks down. I’m hoping that this grant will prevent that breakdown by building strong ties.”

Learn and Serve America is an organization that “offers support to K-12 schools, community groups and higher education institutions to facilitate service-learning projects,” according to the organization’s website. For more information on the grant, visit www.learnandserve.gov. 

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August + College = Last Minute Money Month

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Time flies and for 19 million college-bound students, it’s nearly time to head to campus. For those families still finalizing how they will pay the bill, Sallie Mae offers live presentations, daily smart money tips via Twitter and Facebook, and useful resources for college-bound students and their families for Last-Minute Money Month in August.

“Although most scholarship deadlines have already passed to help cover the fall tuition, now is the time to research scholarships for the future and consider other ways to meet this fall’s tuition bill”

Do you have questions about how to get free cash to pay for school, how to avoid the biggest mistakes students make in managing money or how to get a student loan? Experts from Sallie Mae will answer these and other commonly asked questions this Thursday, Aug. 5 from 2 to 8 p.m. during a free back-to-school online event offered by CollegeWeekLive, the world’s leading provider of college fairs and online admissions events.

“Although most scholarship deadlines have already passed to help cover the fall tuition, now is the time to research scholarships for the future and consider other ways to meet this fall’s tuition bill,” said Gen Tanabe, author with his wife, Kelly, of 12 books on college admissions and paying for college, the latest being “The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2011.” The Tanabes will offer a free presentation on “Getting Ready to Find Scholarships” during CollegeWeekLive’s event, sponsored by Sallie Mae.

Receive daily money tips throughout the month of August through Sallie Mae’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/SallieMae or Twitter handle @SallieMae.

Sallie Mae recommends families explore these last-minute tips if you still have a gap in your tuition after scholarships, grants, and federal financial aid:

* Still have a financial gap? Fill the gap with Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan to save money in the long run and pay it off faster. How’s it done? Students pay interest while in school and have a shorter repayment term after graduation, which, for the typical student, translates into saving 30 to 50 percent in interest charges over the life of the loan compared to the standard payment deferred 15-year term private loan. Customers may choose to pay either interest-only each month or a fixed payment of $25 each month.

“For those parents dealing with paying their kids’ college bills and saving for their own retirement, Sallie Mae’s private education loan can be an ideal family solution,” said Charlie Rocha, senior vice president, Sallie Mae. “Parents can help their students save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by making payments while the student is in school. We’re assisting parents as they balance their desire to help their students achieve a college education and encourage them to become financially independent.”

Parents who co-sign their student’s loan may be released from the loan by taking advantage of Sallie Mae’s new co-signer release option that allows graduates to apply to assume full responsibility for future loan payments after making 12 consecutive on-time principal and interest payments.

* Plan ahead. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a tool that helped families build a budget to pay for college without going beyond their means? Well, the Education Investment Planner does just that. If loans are part of the plan, it helps families calculate the starting salary a graduate would need to keep payments manageable. Education Investment Planner is free, easy to use and available to anyone online at www.SallieMae.com/invest.
* Earn extra money for college through Upromise by Sallie Mae. Upromise members earn rewards every time they make an eligible purchase from hundreds of participating retailers or use their Upromise credit card. Upromise members have earned more than $550 million in member rewards since 2001. Rewards accumulate in a member’s Upromise account and can be transferred to pay down eligible student loans faster or into a Sallie Mae high-yield savings account or members can request a check. Visit www.Upromise.com for more information.
* Use an interest-free tuition payment plan to make paying for college more manageable. Available at hundreds of college campuses, Sallie Mae administers tuition payment plans that let families spread tuition payments over a number of months instead of making a large lump-sum payment at the beginning of the semester. Visit www.SallieMae.com/tuitionpay for more information.
* Hit the books…for less. Upromise members can save hundreds of dollars a year on textbooks by buying or renting books online and earning 3-4 percent back in rewards from Upromise participating retailers such as Chegg.com, Textbooks.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Digital students can save money on ebooks at Textbooks.com and lighten the weight of their backpacks. To find these extra savings, start shopping on Upromise.com.

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