USG e-clips for April 1, 2021

University System News:

WGAU Radio

UGA’s Morehead wins Chief Executive Leadership award

Honor from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education

University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Chief Executive Leadership Award by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education District III. CASE is a global association dedicated to educational advancement, serving professionals in development, alumni relations, and marketing and communications. District III of the association comprises institutions in nine Southeastern states, including Georgia.


Augusta University seeing increase in applicants amid test – optional policy for admission

by: Deirnesa Jefferson

Augusta University is one of more than 1,400 colleges and universities that are moving — at least temporarily — to a test-optional policy. The change is in response to many SAT and ACT test dates being canceled due to the pandemic ” Our seniors have definitely had a shift in focus this year and I don’t think there’s been as much focusing on the preparation for the SAT or ACT’s, ” Greenbrier High counselor Steven Metcalf said. Some high school counselors said the change is causing some students to focus more on their GPA than test prep.

Valdosta Today

VSU to host their Graduate Research Scholarship Program

VSU Presents Graduate Research, Scholarship Symposium April 9

Valdosta State University will present its 13th annual Graduate Student Research and Scholarship Symposium from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 9, on the virtual platform Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. An elite group of 40-plus graduate students have been selected to present posters showcasing the first-class research and scholarship being conducted at VSU and to participate in Three-Minute Thesis, a challenge of their ability to explain their research quickly and effectively to a non-specialist audience. These students were nominated by faculty in their various disciplines …

Daily Report

UGA Jumps Ahead of Emory in US News Law School Rankings

The ranks’ methodology was revised to factor in student debt.

By Meredith Hobbs

The University of Georgia leapfrogged over Emory University to become the top-ranked Georgia law school in this year’s U.S. News & World Report law school rankings—as U.S. News revised its methodology to factor student debt into the rankings. UGA Law ranked at No. 27, two spots ahead of Emory Law at No. 29, placing it in the top-ranked spot for Georgia’s five law schools in the annual rankings released Tuesday.


Augusta University brings COVID-19 vaccine clinic to Summerville campus

By Mary Klingler

As Georgia opens vaccine eligibility to all adults over the age of sixteen, Augusta University students, faculty, and staff receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday. Spring break is just around the corner for these students and that’s one of the reasons Augusta University is encouraging everyone on campus to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated. Augusta University medical students vaccinated about 250 people on campus Monday. As they work to get as many shots into the arms of students, faculty, and staff before Spring Break starts next Monday.


Vaccinations could herald a step back toward normal for AU students, staff

William Rioux

Local colleges are expanding efforts to get back to normal. And hopefully, each thing gets us step closer to life before COVID. At Augusta University, getting students and staff vaccinated is the key to a normal fall school year. This opportunity is something many students have waited almost a year to have. “I’m so excited. I’m so happy I got my first dose,” AU junior undergrad Melissa Sunder said. “I think the vaccine will help normalize things a little bit and make things go back to normal.” Normal, especially for first-year students who feel this school year hasn’t lived up to the college hype.

Valdosta Today

VSU’s Dennis Conway named Editor-Elect of Journal of Media Education

Dennis Conway, assistant professor of mass media at Valdosta State University, was recently named editor-elect of the Journal of Media Education. He will assume the role of editor in 2022.

The Gainesville Times

How UNG is teaming up with NGHS to give students a collaborative experience in the medical field

Kelsey Podo

The University of North Georgia has partnered with Northeast Georgia Health System to offer a pilot program this spring that gives students the ability to work and grow alongside their peers.

U.S. News & World Report

As Peaches Bloom, Volunteers Help Vaccinate Farm Workers

By Associated Press, Wire Service Content

Pink is a prominent part of the picture for a couple of weeks in March around portions of Edgefield, Saluda and Lexington counties, and that time arrived last week for thousands of acres. “We’ve had a perfect season for growing peaches – been kind of wet, but actually we’re … 10 days behind last year, on the blooms,” said Jerry Watson, with Watsonia Farms, which includes 480 peach-dedicated acres in Monetta, with squash, bell pepper, eggplant and tomatoes among other major offerings spread among Aiken, Saluda and Lexington counties. …Busloads of migrant farm workers are now in motion, and the past few days’ activity included workers out to help strip some – not all – blossoms off certain tree varieties, to help improve fruit size and quality in the months ahead. …Dozens of volunteers, including students and staff members from Augusta University, helped provide the COVID-19 vaccination services, as did employees of Carolina Health Centers, based in Greenwood.

Inside Higher Ed

Academic Minute: Chemical Evolution of the Universe

By Doug Lederman

Today on the Academic Minute, part of University of West Georgia Week: Nick Sterling, associate professor of physics, explores a fossil record of stars to find out how different elements of the universe were produced.

The Times-Georgian

UWG President Kelly asked to address grievances by May 1

By Dan Minish

A group of University of West Georgia faculty members have asked president Dr. Brendan Kelly to respond by May 1 to the complaints that prompted a no-confidence vote in his leadership five months ago. A letter signed by 87 faculty members was sent to Kelly on Monday and lists five major continuing grievances against Kelly. A copy of the letter was provided to The Times-Georgian.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Driver charged in hit-and-run that killed UGA student

By Shaddi Abusaid

A woman accused of striking and killing a 21-year-old University of Georgia student reported her car missing after leaving the scene, authorities said. Virkerria Steward, 28, faces several charges in the wreck that killed Knox Whiten on March 21, Athens-Clarke County police said Wednesday. Whiten was stuck while walking near the intersection of the Athens Perimeter and Chase Street shortly before 2 a.m., police spokesman Lt. Shaun Barnett said. Police responded to the area after a passerby spotted Whiten in the street and called 911.

Other News:


Georgia Legislature approves $27.3 billion budget

Maggie Lee

Georgia cut back spending at this time last year, when it was unclear what COVID-19 would do to the economy. So far, the state of Georgia’s revenue is fine, the feds are sending money, but Georgia’s own spending is still tight. With near-total support on Wednesday night, the Georgia House and Senate approved a $27.3 billion spending plan for the year that will begin July 1. At this time in 2019, they were approving a $27.5 billion budget.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bill to pay college athletes passes Georgia General Assembly

College athletes in Georgia could eventually be paid for the use of their name and image, according to a bill approved by the General Assembly on Wednesday. The measure, House Bill 617, would begin to allow students to earn money, and it prohibits schools from canceling their scholarships for doing so. But students might not see a windfall anytime soon. The legislation wouldn’t take effect until either the NCAA changes its rules or Congress passes a bill to allow student compensation.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Kemp eases Georgia’s virus restrictions as officials worry about ‘fourth surge’

By Greg Bluestein

Governor also to end state of emergency at end of April

Gov. Brian Kemp outlined a plan Wednesday to start rolling back many of Georgia’s remaining coronavirus restrictions next week, even as President Joe Biden and federal health experts warn of a potential “fourth surge” of the pandemic if Americans let down their guard. The governor signed an executive order starting April 8 that ends a ban on large gatherings, eliminates shelter-in-place requirements, pared down a lengthy list of safety guidelines that businesses such as bars, retail stores and entertainment venues are supposed to follow. A separate order would end Georgia’s state of emergency, in place for more than a year, on April 30.


Gov. Kemp signs 3 executive orders easing COVID-19 restrictions

Catherine Catoura

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed three executive orders Wednesday in response to the state’s ongoing battle against COVID-19.

The first executive order calls for the Public Health State of Emergency to be extended through April 30.

The second extends the current COVID-19 guidance in Georgia to April 7, while adding provisions for state agency employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations without using sick or annual leave time.

The third order, effective beginning on April 8, will roll back many of the current COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place throughout the pandemic.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

State preps to send Georgia schools $230 million for employee bonuses

By Vanessa McCray

School systems across Georgia are expected to receive more than $230 million in the coming days to pass on to thousands of educators as one-time “retention bonuses.” The bonuses, announced by Gov. Brian Kemp in January, won final state approval last week from the State Board of Education. The state will use federal stimulus dollars to give special payments to more than 225,000 eligible full- and part-time teachers and other staffers. Full-time employees are slated to receive $1,000. Part-time workers will get about half that. The bonuses “are meant to keep educators in the field so there continues to be a firm foundation when schools return to more normal operations when COVID-19 no longer negatively impacts schools,” according to state documents.


Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine batch fails quality check

By The Associated Press

A batch of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine failed quality standards and can’t be used, the drug giant said Wednesday. The drugmaker didn’t say how many doses were lost, and it wasn’t clear how the problem would impact future deliveries. A vaccine ingredient made by Emergent BioSolutions — one of about 10 companies that Johnson & Johnson is using to speed up manufacturing of its recently approved vaccine — did not meet quality standards, J&J said. J&J said the Emergent BioSolutions factory involved had not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make part of the vaccine.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

White House officials knew about J&J vaccine supply problems: report

By The Associated Press

A batch of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine failed quality standards and can’t be used, the drug giant said Wednesday. The drugmaker didn’t say how many doses were lost, and it wasn’t clear how the problem would impact future deliveries. However, Politico is reporting that senior Biden administration officials, including some in the White House, knew two weeks ago the company’s contractor, Emergent BioSolutions, was experiencing production problems that could delay delivery of some vaccine doses.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Coronavirus in Georgia: COVID-19 Dashboard

Latest stats and the news on the coronavirus outbreak

Q: What is the latest on confirmed and probable coronavirus cases in Georgia?



Q: What is the latest on coronavirus deaths in Georgia?



Higher Education News:

Inside Higher Ed

Biden’s Billions for Higher Ed

The president unveiled his new infrastructure plan Wednesday, with billions of dollars for community colleges, research and minority-serving institutions.

By Lilah Burke

President Biden unveiled his new infrastructure legislation plan Wednesday, proposing billions of dollars for higher education over eight years. The plan — which is about $2 trillion in total — would give $12 billion to updating infrastructure in community colleges and $50 million to the National Science Foundation. Historically Black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions would also be in for more funding under the proposal. The plan calls for a $10 billion investment in research and development and $15 billion to create 200 research incubators at those institutions, with the framing that those investments could eliminate racial and gender inequities in R&D and STEM. Of the $40 billion dedicated to improving research infrastructure and laboratories, half would be set aside specifically for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. While there are some additions they say could be made, many in higher education are applauding the plan and its proposed investment.

Marietta Daily Journal

Supreme Court justices see ‘exploitation’ of college athletes in NCAA case

David G. Savage Los Angeles Times

Supreme Court justices said Wednesday they believed student athletes were being exploited by the multibillion-dollar college sports industry, signaling they are not inclined to block more generous scholarships or other education-related benefits for sports stars. Lawyers for the NCAA were asking the justices to shield college sports from the antitrust laws that forbid monopolies and price fixing. And they asked the court to overturn rulings by a federal judge in California that allow modest extra education benefits for athletes, such as post-graduate scholarships.

Inside Higher Ed

Supreme Court Hears Arguments For and Against Athlete Pay

The hearing on what could be a landmark case on college athlete compensation was focused on athlete exploitation and the potential destruction of the college sports model.

By Greta Anderson

U.S. Supreme Court justices seem skeptical of the argument that sports fans will lose interest in Division I games if college athletes are permitted to receive compensation in the form of financial aid and other benefits for playing. The justices made their doubts clear during a hearing Wednesday for a case involving the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which opposes compensating college athletes. The hearing was held via conference call, and the justices acknowledged concerns by athletes that they are being exploited for their talents, but the justices questioned whether that’s reason enough to rule in their favor. The athletes contend that the NCAA’s limits on education-related financial aid violate antitrust law, while the association maintains that its restrictions are essential for its business model.