USG e-clips for May 18, 2022

University System News:

Americus Times Recorder

Georgia Southwestern celebrates nearly 300 graduates at 2022 Spring Commencement

By Ken Gustafson

Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) recognized approximately 293 graduates in the Spring Class of 2022 on Friday, May 16 inside the Convocation Hall of the Student Success Center. There were 231 graduates earning their bachelor’s degrees, 61 earning their master’s, and one earning her specialist. GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D., congratulated the graduates on their hard-earned accomplishment and recognized those who completed their degree in four years or less, as well as those who took a less direct path to graduation.


UWG awards 1,100 diploma at spring graduation ceremonies

By Julie Linebeck Special To The Times-Georgian

It was a full day of pomp and circumstance as more than 1,100 Wolves graduated in the University of West Georgia’s Spring 2022 Commencement ceremonies on Saturday. Resounding themes for the occasion were optimism and perseverance — personified by one special guest, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Dep. Jay Repetto, who was recognized for his bravery and sacrifice in service to his community.

Savannah CEO

Approximately 4,300 Degrees Conferred During Georgia Southern’s 2022 Spring Commencement

Staff Report

This week, approximately 4,300 undergraduate and graduate students from Georgia Southern University’s Statesboro, Armstrong and Liberty campuses received associate, baccalaureate, masters, specialist and doctoral degrees in five Spring 2022 Commencement ceremonies. Georgia Southern President Kyle Marrero welcomed the graduates and their guests to the ceremonies, held at the Allen E. Paulson Stadium in Statesboro on May 9, 10 and 11 and at the Savannah Convention Center on May 13.

Afric Info

‘Rising Star’ Graduate: Sylvia Ofori’s Journey From Ghana To Georgia Southern To Harvard

On her first flight from Ghana to the United States, Sylvia Ofori arrived in Atlanta, Georgia, at 1 a.m. By 4 o’clock the next afternoon, Ofori was in her first American classroom in Georgia Southern University’s Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health on the Statesboro Campus. …Following a presentation of her review at the University’s 2019 Research Symposium, her work was published in an academic journal, and many more followed as co-author with Fung and another mentor, Kamalich Muniz-Rodriguez, DrPH. …Today, Ofori will earn a DrPH in public health with a concentration in epidemiology as she crosses the stage in one of two Savannah commencement ceremonies. In June, she’ll begin as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard University to continue global public health research she began at Georgia Southern. Ofori also heads to Boston with a 2022 Georgia Southern Averitt Award for Excellence in Graduate Research and experience working on the University’s COVID-response team within the office of the dean of students.


Deputy Repetto restores UWG’s ceremonial mace

Special To The Times-Georgian

Deputy Repetto recognized for service to UWG

When the UWG’s ceremonial mace was damaged during its last commencement ceremony, a local hero from that community was called upon to revive and restore it. During UWG’s Spring Commencement on Saturday, the mace was proudly displayed, and the man who made it possible — Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Dep. Jay Repetto — was recognized for his work and service as UWG recognized National Police Week. The University of West Georgia strives to develop and maintain deep, meaningful connections and partnerships in the community it serves and beyond.

Athens CEO

Governor Announces More Than $415M in Awards to Address Negative Economic Impact Caused by COVID-19

Staff Report

Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that he has awarded more than $415 million in response to the economic harms caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and affecting hardworking Georgians and Georgia non-profits, government organizations, and businesses. “We remained focused on protecting lives and livelihoods throughout the pandemic, and our approach gave us a leg up in the Great Recovery,” said Governor Kemp. “I’m proud of our state’s resilience, and as of today, we have worked hard and identified ways to further deliver assistance to hardworking Georgians, support businesses and speed up the recovery of impacted industries, and rebuild crucial public services. …The Office of the Governor would like to thank the Office of Planning and Budget as well as members of the Negative Economic Impact Committee who played an impactful role in evaluating these applications: …Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman – State Economist, University of Georgia

Albany Herald

ABAC honors Bridges with book, Distinguished Service award

From staff reports

David Bridges became only the second person in the 114-year history of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College to receive the Abraham Baldwin Distinguished Service Award at the recent spring commencement afternoon ceremony. At the morning commencement ceremony, Bridges received a full-color book with a story and pictures covering his ABAC tenure as an appreciation gift from the students, faculty, and staff of ABAC. Bridges is retiring this summer after 16 years as the ABAC president. ABAC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jerry Baker presented Bridges with the Distinguished Service Award, which had been presented only once previously and that was to ABAC alumnus George T. Smith in 2007.

Savannah Business Journal

Savannah State University to Offer New Data Analytics Degree Program

Staff Report

The University System of Georgia (USG) has approved Savannah State University (SSU) to offer a new, high-demand degree in Data Analytics beginning this fall. The Data Analytics degree program is a joint effort between three of SSU’s colleges: College of Business Administration, College of Sciences and Technology and College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and draws on critical competencies from each area of study. …The bachelor’s degree in Data Analytics will expose students to techniques for turning raw data into usable information by extracting actionable insights from big data, then using it to identify trends, draw inferences, and surmise conclusions based on their analyses.


New AU program bridges gap between doctors, patients

By Sloane O’Cone

In times of emergency or when you’re in pain, the one person you want to be able to communicate with is your doctor. Now imagine you don’t speak the same language as the person trying to give you potentially urgent care. We took a look at a new program at Augusta University making sure all patients are heard and understood. …AU’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ program” is the only medical interpreter program in the region. It’s nationally recognized, and the certification can be used anywhere.

Augusta CEO

Medical College of Georgia Graduate Receives 2022 Beard Award

Jennifer Hilliard Scott

Those are just a few words used to describe Dr. Hamzah Ali, a 2022 graduate of the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and the recipient of this year’s John F. Beard Award for Compassionate Care. Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD, presented the Beard Award to Ali during the MCG Hooding Ceremony on May 12. Ali attended the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership, MCG’s four-year campus in Athens.

Albany Herald

Tony Tucker named outstanding ABAC alumni business leader

By Carlton Fletcher

Tony Tucker of Camilla received the Outstanding Business Leader award from the ABAC Alumni Association at the recent homecoming awards luncheon at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. A 1991 ABAC graduate, Tucker is the President/CEO of Mitchell EMC and has served in that role since 2010. Prior to this position, he was the Office Manager for Irwin EMC in Ocilla. Tucker serves on the Board of Directors for Georgia Transmission Corporation and is the President of the Board of Directors for the Georgia EMC’s Credit Union.

Savannah CEO

Savannah Speech and Hearing Center Honors Ashley Rutland As Volunteer of the Year

Staff Report

Savannah Speech and Hearing Center, a nonprofit organization serving the speech pathology, audiology and pediatric occupational therapy needs of the Coastal Empire since 1954, is pleased to announce Ashley Rutland as this year’s recipient of the Annie F. Oliver Award for Volunteer of the Year. The Annie F. Oliver Award recognizes excellence and a strong commitment to volunteering for the betterment of the Savannah Speech and Hearing Center Community. The award was created in 1979 to honor Annie F. Oliver, an administrator of the Savannah Speech and Hearing Center from 1962 to 1978 and a community volunteer. A recent Georgia Southern University graduate, Rutland began volunteering with the Savannah Speech & Hearing Center in January of 2021. She committed more than 90 hours helping with community hearing screenings, fundraising, administrative duties, scheduling of other GSU volunteers, assisting at Sound Start, the Center’s early intervention auditory/verbal program for children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, as well as with the Speak Easy, a support group for survivors of stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Americus Times Recorder

GSW’s Canes Central wins Georgia Historic Trust Preservation Award

By Ken Gustafson

Canes Central, previously known as the ACE Skills Center, at Georgia Southwestern State University was among 26 award recipients presented by The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, recognizing best of preservation during its 45th Annual Preservation Awards Ceremony. The mid-century modern building won in the Excellence in Rehabilitation category.

Albany Herald

PHOTOS: New Georgia Economy Tour at Albany State University

Photos contributed by Reginald Christian

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce hosted the New Georgia Economy Tour at Albany State University on Thursday, May 12, 2022. The economic forecasting seminar presented input and data gathered from all regions of the state to prepare a planning strategy for the future.

Athens CEO

Pagnattaro Named UGA Vice President for Instruction

Sam Fahmy

Marisa Anne Pagnattaro, a distinguished scholar and academic leader who holds the university’s highest teaching honor, has been named vice president for instruction at the University of Georgia, effective June 1. Pagnattaro has served as interim vice president for instruction since February and is a Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Terry College of Business. As vice president for instruction, she will provide strategic leadership for campus-wide initiatives that enhance teaching and learning at UGA and also will oversee student recruitment, retention and financial aid.


Augusta University Athletic Director Clint Bryant announces retirement

by: Brendan Robertson

Clint Bryant, athletic director at Augusta University, has announced he will retire from the university June 30. Firmly established as one of the most respected and longest-serving leaders in intercollegiate athletics, Bryant has served 34 years as head of Augusta University Athletics. Under Bryant’s leadership, Augusta’s programs have enjoyed success on and off the playing fields and courts, bringing home national, regional and conference championships. Named the Division II Athletic Director of the Year and selected to the NCAA’s Division II 40th anniversary team for his standout efforts, Bryant has made a name for himself throughout the state and region.

The Atlanta Journal-Construction

UGA archeologists’ coastal research sheds light on native populations 4,500 years ago

By Marisa Mecke

As modern humans struggle to adapt in the face of climate change, archeological research on Sapelo Island is rewriting the histories of native communities and their interactions with the environment on the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. Researchers with the University of Georgia Laboratory of Archeology recently published a scholastic paper about how native coastal communities from 3,800 to 4,500 years ago adapted to a changing environment.


No new developments as HBCU campuses end semester

Allison Joyner

As the spring semester is coming to a close on most college campuses, investigating who has been executing a series of threats has not. From January to March of this year, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), including Clark Atlanta University (CAU), Morehouse College and Spelman College, have experienced a series of threatening correspondence resulting in canceling classes and other events. …When news of the 30-plus HBCUs nationwide, including Albany State University and Fort Valley State University, were receiving these threats on the same day, law enforcement and the media noticed. Politicians including House District five Congresswoman Nakema Williams and Georgia Senator and Morehouse grad Raphel Warnock said they would follow up with the FBI to make sure that the persons involved were brought to justice. The FBI identified five individuals involved in the “racially or ethnically motivated” bomb threats targeting the institutions at the beginning of February. Still, the threats continued to happen after the fact and no one has been officially charged.

Higher Education News:

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Why Does College Cost So Much?

The answers aren’t so simple.

By Lee Gardner

The national debate over whether to forgive outstanding student loans has circled around a set of policy questions. How much, if any, student-loan debt should be forgiven: How about $10,000 and below? Or $50,000? All of it? Who would truly benefit? Would such a decision pay off politically or spark a backlash? Meanwhile, a more fundamental question is also coming up: Why is college so expensive in the first place? This question was asked this month by Sen. Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, who said that his party’s focus on debt forgiveness “excuses the colleges for this dramatic increase in tuition.” Members of the public have expressed similar views. A poll released last week by Strategies 360 found that a majority of Californians surveyed found the University of California and California State University systems “unaffordable.” … Public colleges have been the victims of compounded financial crises that created compounded financial effects, says David Tandberg, senior vice president for policy research and strategic initiatives at Sheeo.


Post-pandemic, four years of college steadily loses its appeal

Jessica Dickler


Between the strong labor market and the rising cost of college, teenagers are choosing shorter, more affordable, career-connected pathways, according to a report. The likelihood of attending a four-year school sank from 71% to 51% in the past two years, ECMC Group found. Nationwide, fewer students went back to college this year, dragging down undergraduate enrollment 3.1% from last year, according to a separate study.

Higher Ed Dive

Pandemic student loan pause mostly helps borrowers who can afford to pay, report says

Natalie Schwartz, Editor

Dive Brief:

Three-quarters of surveyed federal student loan borrowers who were making regular payments before the pandemic prompted the federal government to freeze payments and interest accumulation expect to be able to resume payments after the pause ends, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.  Meanwhile, over one-fifth of surveyed borrowers with federal student loans are chronically struggling, meaning they didn’t make payments in 2019 and don’t expect to do so when the freeze ends. The authors say these borrowers would benefit from more comprehensive solutions than a temporary pause in payments, called a forbearance. The report’s authors conclude that further blanket forbearance extensions are costly and benefit borrowers who don’t expect to struggle with their payments. For borrowers who expect to struggle, the extensions mostly don’t appear to be helping them to take steps that could free up future cash flow for student loan payments, like building up savings or paying off other debts.

Inside Higher Ed

Online M.B.A.s Overtake Residential Programs

Thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, online M.B.A. programs have gained stature—and students. That’s good news for accessibility, and a promising model for other graduate programs.

By Liam Knox

In a watershed moment for graduate-level business education, more full-time M.B.A. students were enrolled in online programs than residential ones during the 2020–21 academic year. According to data from the Association to Advance Collegiate Business Schools (AACSB), the leading business school accreditation agency, 45,038 students were enrolled in online programs last year, while 43,740 were in person. The shift to online classes during the pandemic expedited the growth in online M.B.A.s, but trends have been pointing in that direction for years. AACSB data show that the number of accredited business schools offering fully online M.B.A. programs increased by 54 percent between the 2012–13 and 2016–17 academic years, and another 85 percent between then and 2021–22.

Inside Higher Ed

Professors’ Part in Maintaining Student Mental Health

What faculty members think, actions they take and adjustments they make can go a long way to lessen student mental health and wellness challenges, as this infographic shows.

By Melissa Ezarik

While wellness and mental health initiatives are often thought of as separate from academics on college campuses, the two are strongly connected, because academic outcomes often depend on student well-being. Megan Kennedy, director of the University of Washington’s Resilience Lab, operating under the undergraduate academic affairs division, says that placement is distinctive within higher ed, yet logical. The lab partners with other units across campus and “is focused on promotion and prevention, which will reach more students than crisis intervention. For students, having a supportive professor or other mentor can make a big difference in successful outcomes, says Sarah Ketchen Lipson, a principal investigator for the nationwide Healthy Minds Network and an assistant professor of health law policy and management at Boston University.

Higher Ed Dive

ACT study finds grade inflation in high school GPAs over the past decade

Anna Merod, Associate Editor

Dive Brief:

A new report from ACT finds evidence of grade inflation in high school seniors’ grade point averages between 2010 and 2021, based on analyses of high school GPAs and ACT composite scores of more than 4.3 million students from 4,783 schools. On average, high school GPAs increased 0.19 grade points, from 3.17 in 2010 to 3.36 in 2021. The three-year period between 2018 and 2021 saw more grade inflation than in the preceding eight years, growing by 0.1 grade points, according to the report, which has drawn criticism from advocates of higher education’s test-optional movement. Though GPAs increased, average ACT composite scores continued to decline, in 2021 reaching the lowest average score of the past decade, the report found.

Higher Ed Dive

A look at 11 years of Title IX policy

As the Biden administration readies a new rule governing the federal sex discrimination law, we look back at major events in recent Title IX history.

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Senior Reporter

The Biden administration said it will soon publish its proposed rule governing Title IX, the federal law banning sex-based discrimination in educational settings. The rule will direct how colleges must investigate and potentially punish sexual violence. Title IX has undergone a series of complex regulatory transformations over the last decade-plus. We’ve developed a timeline of the major events over the past 11 years, tracing the law back to when the Obama administration first sought to use Title IX to bolster efforts to prevent campus sexual misconduct.