USG eclips for July 9, 2019

University System News:


Savannah CEO

Georgia Southern University Foundations Merge to Enhance Student Success

The Armstrong Foundation of Georgia Southern University, Inc. has merged with, and into, the Georgia Southern University Foundation, Inc., effective July 1. This strategic consolidation of foundation resources will streamline fundraising systems while honoring the integrity of donor requests. The boards of trustees of the Georgia Southern University Foundation Inc., and the Armstrong Foundation of Georgia Southern University, Inc. unanimously agreed to merge the two foundations during a joint meeting in May. “This is a significant step toward honoring our past and forging the new Georgia Southern,” said President Kyle Marrero. “My gratitude and thanks to the Board members, volunteers and donors who have supported Georgia Southern and Armstrong and now support our new vision. By uniting forces, we have a boundless potential to impact our University in a meaningful way.” The chairs of both foundations spoke out in favor of this step when it was presented to their boards.



Bryant named one of state’s top communicators

Taylor Bryant, assistant professor of public relations at the University of West Georgia, was recently named one of the state’s top communicators by the Georgia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Bryant received the Forty Under 40 award during a recent ceremony at Emory University’s Miller-Ward House.


Albany Herald

Monroe student participates in TEAM Success program

A summer employment program at Fort Valley State University is providing Niya Dawson an opportunity to earn $2,100 and gain work experience before enrolling in school this fall. Niya, a rising senior attending Monroe Comprehensive High School, is one of 17 students participating in the TEAM Success Program. TEAM is an acronym for Teaching, Enlightening, Achieving and Mentoring. …“TEAM Success was developed to encourage high school juniors and seniors within the community to come to Fort Valley State University, learn about the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology and be enlightened on different careers in the agricultural field,” Kena Torbert, family life specialist and coordinator of the TEAM Success Program, said in a news release. Torbert added that as employees of FVSU, TEAM Success participants will learn about job professionalism, develop contacts with community leaders and acquire skills needed to become productive citizens for the state of Georgia.


Albany Herald

Georgia Power Foundation donates to ABAC, Destination Ag

Students at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College as well as possible ABAC students in the future will benefit from a recent $5,000 donation from the Georgia Power Foundation Inc., to the ABAC Foundation. ABAC Chief Development Officer Deidre Martin said the contribution will assist the ABAC student scholarship program and the Destination Ag program at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village. “Georgia Power has been a generous supporter of ABAC through the years, and we are very appreciative of this continued support,” Martin said. “Through their investment in student scholarships, they are providing opportunities for our students to receive a top-notch educational experience. “Georgia Power has also been a strong supporter of Destination Ag from the start.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

AJC On Campus: The Fitbit fiasco, White House honors and grants galore

By Eric Stirgus

The new state budget year, which officials call the fiscal year, began last week and while there aren’t many new policies that will impact the higher education landscape in Georgia, there were several things that took place last week that involved money. Some schools got major grants and investments for research. At the same time, oddly, some students were pressed to pay for something they didn’t request. Here’s a look at the money matters in this week’s AJC On Campus. Fitbit snafu An effort to give free or discounted Fitbits to University System of Georgia employees went awry last week when some were given to students and they were told they had to pay for the devices. AJC education columnist Maureen Downey wrote about the drama and the effort to fix the mess. Cabrera’s salary & start date It’s really official now. Georgia Tech’s incoming president, Ángel Cabrera, has a start date and a salary. His compensation package, $975,000, will be the second-highest of any public college or university president in Georgia. …Georgia State University last week announced associate professor Baozhong Wang received a five-year, $3.25 million National Institutes of Health grant for his ongoing flu research. …Georgians receive White House award Twelve scientists and engineers working at various Georgia colleges, universities and agencies have been named Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the White House announced last week.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Jolt: Warnings of a suicide spike among farmers in south Georgia

By Jim Galloway Greg Bluestein and Tamar Hallerman

News doesn’t always erupt. Sometimes it quietly pokes its head out, is overlooked, then tugs at a sleeve until someone pays attention. Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that a University of Georgia researcher has warned of a potential uptick in suicides within the state’s agriculture community. The lede:

Scientists are learning more about suicides among Georgia farmers — and they say the aftermath of Hurricane Michael could bring more risks to rural areas.

The AP article was a rewrite of a WABE (90.1FM) piece that aired last week, featuring research by Anna Scheyett, dean of the University of Georgia’s School of Social Work.Back in March, Scheyett and her colleagues had published “Characteristics and contextual stressors in farmer and agricultural worker suicides in Georgia from 2008–2015.” From the original UGA press release:



Higher Education News:


The Chronicle of Higher Education

How Rising College Costs and Student Debt Contribute to a Social-Mobility ‘Crisis’

By Vimal Patel

At a time when higher education’s worth is already under a microscope, soaring college costs and student-debt levels threaten to further undermine public support of the sector. How did higher education get here? That’s what James V. Koch, a former president of Old Dominion University, wanted to explore in his new book about four-year public institutions, The Impoverishment of the American College Student, to be released on Tuesday by the Brookings Institution Press. Koch spoke recently to The Chronicle about why the costs of public higher education have ballooned over recent decades, how colleges can keep student debt from spiraling out of control, and why debt cancellation is a bad idea. The interview has been edited for space and clarity.


The New York Times

Blindsided by a ‘Devastating’ Veto, Alaska’s University System Pleads for a Lifeline

By Mike Baker

More than a month after Alaska lawmakers settled on a plan to cut $5 million in support for the state’s universities, Gov. Mike J. Dunleavy shocked the state last month by using a veto to cut much deeper, taking away $130 million more from the system that gave him his master’s degree. Mr. Dunleavy, a Republican in his first year as governor, has seized on a hawkish approach to budgeting, in order to fulfill a campaign promise to increase the amount of oil-revenue dividends the state pays each Alaska resident, to about $3,000 a year. The governor’s slashing of state funding left university leaders blindsided and in turmoil. The university’s supporters have embarked on a desperate scramble to persuade lawmakers to override the governor’s line-item veto, which would reduce the operating funds the university system gets from the state by 41 percent. With a special legislative session convening on Monday, they have just five days to do so before the cuts become official.


The Chronicle of Higher Education

Budget Ax Looms for a University Facing Historic Cuts

By Katherine Mangan

The clock began ticking on Monday for educators and students hoping to avert a potentially devastating financial blow to the University of Alaska system. Higher tuition, fewer students, crushing layoffs and program closures all loomed as frightening possibilities on Day 1 of the state’s special legislative session. The fiscal year had already begun, on July 1, and in a few months, a new crop of students would be arriving at the state’s far-flung campuses. It’s unclear whether all of those campuses will remain open, or how many faculty and staff members will have been laid off by then, assuming the cuts imposed by Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy, a master’s alumnus of the flagship campus in Fairbanks, are sustained. Students planning to major in departments with relatively low enrollments are wondering whether they’ll have to change course. Others, who are already enrolled in such majors, may have to switch campuses or finish online if those departments are shuttered. The university’s supporters have until Wednesday morning to persuade the Republican-dominated Legislature to override the Republican governor’s budget veto. At stake is $135 million, including $130 million that Dunleavy has slashed from the university system, which represents 41 percent of its state support.


The Chronicle of Higher Education

The University of Alaska Has 2 Days to Save Itself. What’s the Strategy?

By Sarah Brown

From calling lawmakers and promoting economic benefits to hastily organizing rallies — including an appearance by a famous rock band with local roots — advocates of the University of Alaska system are trying mightily to save it from devastating budget cuts. They have until Wednesday. That’s when Alaska lawmakers will vote on whether to override the budget cuts announced two weeks ago by Governor Michael J. Dunleavy, who made 182 line-item vetoes in the state budget that had been passed by the Legislature. His cuts would chop the university system’s state funding by 41 percent. University of Alaska leaders have said that the institution will declare financial exigency next week if the $130 million in cuts remains on the books. That status, used rarely, allows institutions to more easily lay off tenured faculty members and cut academic programs.


Inside Higher Ed

Foreign Gifts Under Scrutiny

As Education Department opens investigations into whether universities complied with law requiring federal reporting of foreign gifts and contracts, colleges call for more clarity on what the law requires.

By Elizabeth Redden

The Department of Education is stepping up its scrutiny of whether colleges comply with federal reporting requirements regarding disclosures of foreign gifts and contracts. The department opened investigations last month into whether Georgetown and Texas A&M Universities have fully met all reporting requirements, including in regards to foreign funding associated with their respective campuses in Qatar. Higher education groups say that the law requiring reporting of foreign-sourced gifts and contracts is unclear and requires further clarification from the Education Department. The scrutiny of foreign gift reporting comes amid broader scrutiny from Washington of American universities’ connections with China, including scrutiny of the Confucius Institutes, centers for language education and cultural programming funded by the Chinese government, and of research partnerships with the Chinese telecom company Huawei, which was indicted by the Department of Justice for allegedly stealing trade secrets and violating American sanctions on Iran. Funding for U.S. universities from Saudi sources also came under increased scrutiny following the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey last fall. …Less than 3 percent of U.S. colleges report receiving foreign gifts or contracts, according to February Senate testimony from an Education Department official, and there appear to be significant variations in colleges’ reporting practices. A February report from a Senate subcommittee on Confucius Institutes found, for example, that nearly 70 percent of colleges that received more than $250,000 in funding from Hanban — the Chinese Ministry of Education-affiliated entity that manages the Confucius Institutes — failed to properly report that information to the federal government.