USG e-clips for April 22, 2021

University System News:

Valdosta Daily Times

VSU preps for online college

By Desiree Carver

Valdosta State University was approved for a new online college earlier this month by the Board of Regents. Dr. Rodney Carr, VSU vice president for student success, will serve as the new director for the new Online College for Career Advancement. The idea started two years ago when meeting with representatives of other institutions about how to reach out to Georgians and meet their educational needs.


Augusta University announces $1M donation in first few hours of 1-day fund campaign

After raising more than $1 million in gifts last fall, Augusta University’s Augusta Gives campaign already took a huge step toward breaking that record with just one gift. Augusta Gives officially began at 5:32 a.m. today and ends at midnight after 18 hours and 28 minutes of fundraising. By 10 a.m., AU had announced that Emily Baumann, a retired music therapist and community supporter, is donating $1 million.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia Tech unveils civil rights memorial at old Pickrick Restaurant

By Eric Stirgus

Georgia Tech officials and student leaders unveiled a memorial on its campus Wednesday at the former site of the Pickrick Restaurant to commemorate the effort nearly 60 years ago to desegregate the establishment that became infamous when its owner, Lester Maddox, drew a handgun on Black patrons. Three rectangular pillars now stand on the site, representing the three Interdenominational Theological Center students who attempted to desegregate the restaurant. It is part of the school’s EcoCommons, an 8-acre site with more than 600 new trees, 68 transplanted trees, tens of thousands of new perennials and shrubs and other plants.

Savannah Business Journal

Georgia Southern’s Master of Public Administration program to be offered in Savannah Fall 2021

Staff Report

The Georgia Southern University Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program will officially launch on the Armstrong Campus in Savannah beginning in Fall 2021, as the program transitions to a hybrid format that combines the best of online and in-person instruction. Georgia Southern has offered an MPA degree since 1973 in which world-class faculty have been training public servants to bring change to small towns and cities, to those at risk and those in need around the world. The development of the hybrid program centered around the idea of one program on two campuses, said Trent Davis, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Public and Nonprofit Studies.

Inside Higher Ed

New Programs: Education, Computer and Cyber Sciences, Physician Assistant, Software Development, Eco Art, Environmental Science, Cybersecurity

By Scott Jaschik

…Augusta University, in Georgia, is starting a Ph.D. in computer and cyber sciences. …Georgia Gwinnett College is starting a bachelor’s degree — offered in person or online — in software development.

The Brunswick News

College to host in-person, modified spring graduation

By Lauren McDonald

College of Coastal Georgia plans to host an in-person, modified commencement ceremony for spring graduates. The ceremony is planned for 9 a.m. May 8 at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. The college held a virtual spring commencement in May 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions at the time. In the fall, the college hosted an intimate, indoor ceremony designed to keep graduates and guests safe. The upcoming ceremony will adhere to social distancing and other safety protocols, but it will be a larger-scale affair to accommodate more graduates.

Gwinnett Daily Post

Rowen Foundation, UGA teaming up to study planned research community’s natural, cultural history

By Curt Yeomans

The foundation set up to establish and manage the sprawling Rowen research “knowledge community” project near Dacula is teaming up with the University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design to review the physical and cultural assets, including the history, of the nearly 2,000-acre property, the Rowen Foundation announced on Monday. The partnership is described by foundation officials as a way to try and preserve the as-yet undeveloped site’s historical features while also optimizing their usefulness during the planning phases for Rowen. Entrepreneurs, researchers and innovators from the university, the local long-time landowners, the Gwinnett County Historical Society will be involved in the research.

Albany Herald

UGA research says life span of bridges can be increased

By Mike Wooten UGA News Service

As President Biden’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan places the nation’s infrastructure in the spotlight, new research from the University of Georgia suggests states can save money and extend the life of their bridges by taking a fresh approach to how they prioritize maintenance. Current national strategies for bridge maintenance favor replacement over maintenance. A fairly simple depreciation formula is used, resulting in overly conservative assessments of a bridge’s long-term health. In a study published in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, researchers from UGA’s College of Engineering propose a new model for the first time. This new approach considers the interaction of 60 to 80 bridge components in predicting long-term bridge performance, and focuses on maintenance instead of replacement.

Digital Journal

Sunshine Biopharma Reports Favorable MTD Results for COVID-19 Treatment

Sunshine Biopharma Inc. (OTC PINK: “SBFM”), a pharmaceutical company focused on the research, development and commercialization of oncology and antiviral drugs, today announced that it has successfully completed a Maximum Tolerated Dose (MTD) study in mice. … Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 3 million people worldwide…There are currently no drugs that can effectively arrest replication of the virus in people who have contracted the illness. On May 22, 2020, Sunshine Biopharma filed a patent application for several molecules which were designed to inhibit the Coronavirus PLpro protease, thus shutting down the ability of the virus to multiply…. On February 1, 2021, Sunshine Biopharma entered into an exclusive license agreement with the University of Georgia for two additional Anti-Coronavirus compounds which the University of Georgia had previously developed and patented.

Savannah Morning News

Harper: Tuition frozen, but student loans still a problem

Charlie Harper, Opinion contributor

Good news was delivered to my inbox this week, which will be appreciated by students and their parents across the state. For the third time in five years, the University System of Georgia will freeze tuition and fees for the upcoming school year. While holding the line on the cost of in-state higher education has been a priority for outgoing Chancellor Steve Wrigley during his tenure, his final year’s budgeting was made easier by over a billion dollars in federal COVID relief funds. Despite a persistent myth that lottery funded HOPE scholarship dollars are responsible for driving up the cost of attending a Georgia college, it should be noted that USG tuition rates are in the bottom quartile of state schools found in the Southeast.


Travel restrictions impact study abroad, CSU creates new opportunity

by: Sakura Gray

The world locked down due to COVID-19, and university students planning to study abroad had to adapt their plans. Columbus State University took the used the roadblocks from the pandemic to implement a virtual opportunity for students looking to study abroad. Columbus State University has an average of 150 to 180 students going abroad each academic year. Students travel anywhere from Mexico to Western Europe to South Korea, but in 2020 and 2021, travel restrictions forced Columbus State University to shift programs online. An unexpected outcome from this shift was that it created an opportunity for students who otherwise may not have been able to study abroad.

Savannah CEO

Georgia Southern Immunology Expert to Hold Q&A on Coronavirus Vaccines

Georgia Southern University professor of biology and immunology expert, Traci Ness, Ph.D., will host a presentation and virtual Q&A session titled, “COVID Vaccines Unmasked: Questions and Answers from an Immunologist,” on the coronavirus vaccines. The virtual event is part of the College of Science and Mathematics “Science on Tap” series and is free and open to the public. Ness will address three of the largest concerns with the vaccines: the speed the vaccines were developed, their effectiveness and safety, and the steps they went through for approval. …Ness said learning about how vaccines work is the only way people can make informed decisions about their well-being.


AU Health cuts back on COVID-19 testing hours

By Staff

Due to a decline in demand for COVID-19 testing, Augusta University will adjust the hours of operation for the drive-thru testing site, located at Annex II, 524 15th St. Beginning Monday, the site will be open for testing from 9 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, the site will be open from 7 a.m. until noon. This change will free the testing staff to shift to vaccination clinics in the afternoon.


Georgia Colleges Wade Into ‘Vaccine Passport’ Debate In New COVID-19 Clash

By: Ross Williams and Laura Olson

After a stressful year of video conferences and hybrid coursework, University of North Georgia associate professor of rhetoric and composition Matthew Boedy is beginning to think about what he’ll say when he greets his students in the classroom this fall. “What I’m looking forward to most is the individual student conferences,” said Boedy, who is also conference president of the Georgia chapter of the American Association of University Professors. “… I think that’s the thing that will be, when we do that, that we’ll know we’re quote-unquote ‘back to normal.’” A return to normal is exactly what the University System of Georgia has promised students and faculty, tying the decision to the wider availability of vaccines. …Given more than a day to respond to emails, the University System of Georgia, which represents Georgia’s public colleges, declined to reveal its position on mandatory vaccines for this story. Gov. Brian Kemp has signaled he would oppose any state agency that tries to impose a vaccine passport, a broad term being used to describe documentation of an individual’s COVID-19 immunization status. …Students at Kennesaw State University had mixed opinions on the matter.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Opinion: Immigrants are essential workers too

By Hank Johnson and Erick Martinez Juarez

As our communities and economy have been ravaged by COVID-19, the country has come together to recognize the sacrifices of those filling essential roles to keep our nation safe and moving forward. While we all recognize America’s essential workforce, we must not forget about the millions of immigrants who go under-recognized — and often unappreciated — for their outsized contributions and service to our country. …Erick has dedicated his life and career to helping people and families get access to healthcare. He’s also a child of immigrant Georgia farmworkers, who are committed to building and bettering their communities. As a healthcare worker himself, he sees firsthand the selflessness of essential workers.

Erick Martinez Juarez is a Harvard alumnus and current 4th-year medical student at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

Fox 5 Atlanta

‘Students Against Sonny’: Group launches petition in search for USG chancellor

By Claire Simms

A grassroots group of Georgia college students launched an effort this week to advocate against the hiring of former Gov. Sonny Perdue as the next chancellor of the University System of Georgia. “Students Against Sonny” published a petition on and plans to hold a protest in front of the Board of Regents building next week.

See also:

The Signal

Students and staff oppose Sonny Perdue as potential USG Chancellor

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Jolt: How badly do Sonny Perdue’s allies want him overseeing Georgia’s universities?

By Greg Bluestein, Tia Mitchell and Patricia Murphy

How badly do the powers-that-be want Sonny Perdue to be the next chancellor of Georgia’s higher education system? We could soon find out. The former governor is still being seriously considered for the high-profile position overseeing Georgia’s public colleges and universities. But we’re picking up on mounting grumbling from Board of Regents members against the idea.

Other News:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Map: Coronavirus deaths and cases in Georgia (updated April 21)

An updated count of coronavirus deaths and cases reported across the state

CONFIRMED DEATHS: 17,272 | Deaths have been confirmed in every county. This figure does not include additional cases that the DPH reports as suspected COVID-19-related deaths. County is determined by the patient’s residence, when known, not by where they were treated.

CONFIRMED CASES: 871,460 | Cases have been confirmed in every county.

Higher Education News:

Inside Higher Ed

Majority of Emergency Student Aid Went to Public Colleges

By Alexis Gravely

Students who were eligible for emergency student aid from the Department of Education received an average of $830 to help cover costs for housing, technology and course materials once colleges closed their campuses due to the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of the emergency financial student aid grants — $4.4 billion of the $6.19 billion distributed — in the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund went to public institutions, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Cardona Vows to Support Undocumented Educators and Students

by Lois Elfman

U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona listened intently as undocumented educators shared their stories about the importance of higher education. On Tuesday afternoon, Cardona was late getting to a phone call with a United States senator because he was determined to hear the stories of the educators who gathered virtually to tell him about their experiences as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, Dreamers without DACA and TPS (Temporary Protected Status) holders. The 11 participants spoke about growing up in the U.S., working towards a higher education, seeing their undocumented status impact those plans and navigating life as best they could. Cardona said these stories would inform his advocacy, adding that the educational system should look at bilingualism as an asset. “It is my goal to serve as Secretary of Education and unapologetically address achievement disparities, opportunity disparities, to make sure that our students have access to higher education,” said Cardona, himself a first generation college student.

Inside Higher Ed

Report Tallies Reciprocity Agreement Savings for Colleges

By Lindsay McKenzie

The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements is saving colleges millions of dollars annually, a new report from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems estimated. NC-SARA is a membership organization that sets national shared standards for postsecondary distance education courses and programs that are offered across state lines. Institutions that are NC-SARA members do not have to undergo separate authorization processes in every state where they wish to operate — a perk that the organization has long claimed saves institutions money and saves staff time, easing the administrative burden of offering classes online. The NCHEMS report, published yesterday, quantifies those savings for the first time. The organization gathered survey responses from a total of 171 institutions.