USG e-clips for July 29, 2022

University System News:


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia Lottery reaches $25 billion milestone

By Vanessa McCray

Kemp touts revenue that’s gone to pre-K program, HOPE scholarships

State officials on Thursday celebrated a major moment for the Georgia Lottery nearly 30 years in the making. Gov. Brian Kemp gathered with lottery officials at the Georgia Capitol to mark $25 billion in lottery revenue that’s gone to support educational programs since the lottery’s inception in 1993. Kemp accepted an oversized ceremonial check made out to “Georgia’s students” to spotlight the occasion. …Lottery proceeds fund the HOPE scholarship program, which helps Georgia students attend in-state colleges. It also supports Georgia’s prekindergarten program. …University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue, Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Greg Dozier and other leaders also attended the event.


Marietta Daily Journal

Kennesaw State awarded NIH grant to improve heart surgeries through use of robots

Faculty members in Kennesaw State’s Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology are fervently developing a device for certain patients impacted by heart disease, which kills one person every 34 seconds in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Principal investigator and assistant professor of robotics and mechatronics engineering Amir Ali Amiri Moghadam, associate professor of mechanical engineering Ayse Tekes, and SPCEET’s interim assistant dean for academic affairs Turaj Ashuri were recently awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health to research ways of improving heart surgeries through the use of tiny robots. The three-year, $364,220 grant will fund their project, “Design and Fabrication of Soft Parallel Robots for Transcatheter Interventions.”



Community raises $80K for 28-year-old Georgia woman paralyzed after visit to chiropractor

28-year-old Georgia woman paralyzed after visit to chiropractor, family says Caitlin Jensen, 28, graduated from Georgia Southern University in May with a master’s degree in chemistry and biology.

By News Staff

The community has raised more than $80K for a Georgia woman who was left paralyzed after a visit to her chiropractor last month. The family hopes the money will go to her continued treatment in Atlanta. Caitlin Jensen, 28, graduated from Georgia Southern University in May with a master’s degree in chemistry and biology.



UWG prepares today’s students for tomorrow’s careers

by Kyle Werner

This National Intern Day, the University of West Georgia is celebrating and honoring the vital importance of experiential learning for students. Following graduation, many students find prestigious careers in their fields and continue their education. We recently caught up with three alumni to hear how UWG positioned them for success.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

From student to sensation: College students make a living from TikTok

By Destiny S. Cook

In late 2019, young Leon Ondieki made a 15-second parody fitness skit on TikTok that changed the trajectory of his life forever. Just Ondieki and his friends fooling around in the gym before class catapulted his influencer career into the limelight. Within two weeks of posting, the video he aimlessly created brought 100,000 followers to his page. …Now, the 20-year-old junior at the University of Georgia is a full-time influencer with more than 1.6 million followers and a steady stream of income. With his steadily growing following and increasing appearances on the app’s “For You Page,” Ondieki uses his platform to shed light on the business side of influencer culture in the hope of inspiring other creators to make videos for profit.



How Music Helped This ‘Singing Nurse’ and Her Son with ASD Communicate Again

Up until he was 18 months old, Danielle Filippone’s son, Eric, said “momma” to her. “He started to regress all of the sudden and I couldn’t keep his focus and I couldn’t even get him to respond to his name. I felt like nothing was working. I was frustrated,” Filippone told Healthline. She began to understand that her son’s experience with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) could impact his ability to communicate and express himself. …To calm herself, she started humming, which prompted Eric to look at her. “It was an epiphany. The way he looked at me, he realized I was mommy and I was there to help him, and doing that gave him enough focus on me that I could show him the things on the counter until he saw the water he wanted, and he kind of leaned forward, which expressed that [water was] what he wanted,” Filippone said….The relationship between ASD and music is longstanding.”…Kevin Ayres, PhD, co-director of the Center for Autism and Behavioral Education Research at the University of Georgia said patterns and repetition in music can help individuals with autism better understand the give-and-take of a conversation.



‘It’s kind of fascinating’: Magnolia Springs in Millen offers nature and history

Go towards the back of the park and stroll onto a boardwalk to see the spring, and you’ll also see birds, bass, turtles and a few alligators.

Author: Suzanne Lawler (WMAZ)

Magnolia Springs is near Millen, Georgia and not far from Statesboro. Ranger Justin Bettross calls this place home. “I think people are kind of shocked because they’re not used to seeing a spring that flows that much water and that blue and that clear is in Georgia you usually think Florida,” he described. Go towards the back of the park and stroll onto a boardwalk to see the spring, and you’ll also see birds, bass, turtles and a few alligators. “It’s estimated the spring pumps about seven million gallons of water every single day, so that’s a pretty huge number,” Jason calculated. The gators are a draw but birdwatchers will love this place. …A little over a decade ago, Uncle Sam and Georgia Southern University came together to unearth things like old boots, buttons and a union cap.



UGA releases parasitic wasp to control invasive fruit fly

By Emily Cabrera CAES NEWS

In a quiet field of abandoned blueberries and shrubby brush in south Georgia, Cera Jones released hundreds of tiny parasitic wasps into the thicket and watched them fly away, following their natural instinct to search for a host to incubate their predatory progeny. Jones manages the University of Georgia Small Fruit Entomology Lab under the direction of Associate Professor Ash Sial. This spring, the lab was one of a handful of select institutions in the nation to receive a permit for raising and releasing Ganaspis brasiliensis, a parasitoid wasp of the most destructive insect pest in the small fruit industry, the spotted wing drosophila (SWD), or Drosophila suzukii. Native to East Asia, this small vinegar fly is responsible for billions of dollars in annual crop losses around the globe.


Calhoun Times

Calhoun City Schools and the University of West Georgia host innovation conference

Calhoun City Schools consistently strives to inspire all students to become lifelong learners in the pursuit of excellence. Although the needs of the workforce are ever changing, CCS recognizes that certain characteristics are constant as we develop the next generation of learners. Creativity, innovation, and collaboration are three core traits that are essential to the success of an individual entering the workplace. In an effort to cultivate these attributes, Calhoun City Schools has partnered with the University of West Georgia to create innovative hubs within each of their schools. These media, college, & career centers are the cross section of STEM, Innovation, and Makerspace initiatives, focused on providing an environment where learning becomes relevant through exposure to resources once unknown.



Higher Education News:


Inside Higher Ed


Congress Must Invest in Student Mental Health

Campuses need more federal resources for mental health and suicide prevention, Tanya Ang writes.

By Tanya Ang

Starting July 16, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline became more easily reachable—simply by dialing 988. With mental health crises burdening so many, this is a welcome step. Robust and effective suicide prevention starts with early intervention through timely and easy access to mental health care. For college students burdened and struggling, including nontraditional students who commute to campus and in many cases have work and parenting responsibilities, what’s readily available on campus is critical. Crafting the minds of tomorrow is job No. 1 for our colleges and universities. But we are expecting today’s college students to succeed academically while ignoring their critical mental and emotional health needs. Last year, Congress increased funding for mental health support for youth through the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Memorial Act Youth Suicide Prevention Program but kept the funding for higher education within the GLS Campus Grants at $6.488 million, the same amount allocated in fiscal year 2021.


Inside Higher Ed

Democrats Pressure Biden to Extend Payment Pause

By Meghan Brink

A coalition of over 100 congressional Democrats called on President Biden in a letter sent Thursday to extend the pause on student loan payments that is set to expire Aug. 31. For over two years, payments have been paused for the 45 million borrowers with outstanding federal student loan debt. During this time, more than 60 percent of borrowers have not made a single payment. “This much needed pause has helped many borrowers to keep a roof over their heads, secure childcare, and purchase food, health care, and medicine during the course of a pandemic responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million people in the U.S.,” the letter said. The letter noted that costs of food, housing, health care and childcare have risen throughout the last two years. They wrote that resuming student loan payments would put many borrowers at risk to choose between paying for necessities or their debt.


Inside Higher Ed

9 Ways to Elevate First-Generation Student Support

Efforts by colleges and universities to strengthen and personalize supports for first-generation students largely get noticed. A survey reveals areas for expanded communication and connection opportunities.

By Melissa Ezarik

The wraparound supports often needed to help first-generation students succeed in college are costly and challenging—even more so with increasing numbers of these students. At institutions like Wichita State University, where 40 percent of last fall’s 12,700 undergraduates were first gen, it’s challenging to think through personalizing and individualizing supports “when we have the volume on the other side of it,” says Bobby Gandu, assistant vice president of strategic enrollment management. Making sure all students are aware of resources—during orientation, throughout the first semester and via faculty and staff as they connect with students—is important but just a start, adds Gandu. In the latest Student Voice survey from Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse, first-generation student respondents say they generally know where to seek help on campus if support is needed; 38 percent strongly agree that they know, and 44 percent somewhat agree. But it’s crucial administrators and faculty don’t make the mistake of thinking individual students, such as high-performing ones, are not at risk, says Gandu.


Inside Higher Ed

Mississippi, Alabama Colleges Receive Bomb Threats

By Sara Weissman

Multiple higher education institutions in Mississippi and Alabama received bomb threats this week. Hinds Community College Nursing and Allied Health Center in Jackson, Miss., received a threat Thursday morning, WAPT news reported. Mississippi State University, William Carey University, Meridian Community College and three Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College campuses all received threats yesterday as well, WLOX news reported. A news release from Mississippi State University also mentioned that Alcorn State University, a historically Black land-grant institution, and Itawamba Community College also received threats Thursday. All the campuses have reportedly issued all-clear messages, and no bombs were found. These incidents follow at least 13 threats to colleges and universities in Alabama on Wednesday, including the University of Alabama at Huntsville, the University of South Alabama, Wallace Community College, Calhoun Community College, Auburn University, Reid State Technical College and Northwest-Shoals Community College. These institutions also issued all-clear messages.


Inside Higher Ed

Education Department: No Pell Grants for Eastern Gateway

By Susan D’Agostino

Eastern Gateway Community College is not permitted to disburse Pell Grants to new students accepted for enrollment in its free online program for union members this fall, according to a U.S. Education Department spokesperson. This news comes days after Eastern Gateway reported that it could enroll students and just over one week after the Education Department told the institution to stop enrolling students. At the heart of the matter is a July 18 letter the Education Department sent to Eastern Gateway indicating that the college had violated federal financial aid rules by using some students’ Pell Grant funds to essentially subsidize the enrollment of other students who do not qualify for federal aid. Eastern Gateway said in a press release on its website that it would adhere to the latest suspension.


Inside Higher Ed

Colleges Look to Staffing Firms to Allow Remote Work

To address the legal questions and potential HR issues that can arise when employees move across state lines, some universities partner with third-party firms to keep employees on the payroll from afar.

By Josh Moody

The ubiquity of remote work is one of the many ways the coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the world since March 2020. And while mask and vaccine mandates may be easing, remote work is here to stay. Employees in many fields now expect a certain degree of flexibility to allow them to take more control of their schedules, cut back on commute times and costs, and enjoy the freedom to live where they want. Higher education workers are no different. A recent survey from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources shows that many are willing to leave their jobs if remote work demands aren’t met. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education recently sold its headquarters in Harrisburg, allowing the 27 employees of the system administration to go remote. But while remote work may be appealing to employees, it can create headaches for institutions trying to navigate legal issues and policy environments that vary by state. As colleges try to make sense of a rapidly changing world and a maze of legal and tax questions, some are looking to outside staffing services to help them remain in compliance and retain employees.


Inside Higher Ed

Consolidating Campuses, Reconceptualizing Workspaces

The Pennsylvania state higher ed system sold off the building that housed the chancellor’s office and made the former occupants remote workers. The move was a reflection of system leaders’ attempts to innovate and adjust to new workplace realities.

By Susan D’Agostino

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education recently merged six of its public universities into two multicampus institutions as part of an ongoing effort to maintain the system as a driver of economic development and social mobility in the state. State officials rewarded those efforts by approving PASSHE’s largest budget increase ever. But amid this significant reorganization, a quieter, yet still noteworthy, change also occurred. PASSHE sold its Dixon University Center, the downtown Harrisburg building and grounds that formerly housed the Office of the Chancellor. The sale reduced operating expenses and generated an estimated annual savings of $2 million, according to Kevin Hensil, a PASSHE spokesperson. The sale also provided the university system an opportunity to allow the office’s 27 employees to work remotely on a permanent basis at a time when colleges and universities are bleeding employees and looking for ways to retain workers feeling battered by the pandemic and burned out from heavy workloads. By being more flexible with remote work policies, the system’s leaders are also reacting to post-pandemic workplace pressures to innovate with the goal of optimizing employee productivity and job satisfaction.


Inside Higher Ed

Higher Education and College Are Not the Same Thing

Journalist Will Bunch examines the parallel breakdowns of American politics and higher ed in After the Ivory Tower Falls.

By Susan H. Greenberg

In his new book, After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics—and How to Fix It (William Morrow), Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Will Bunch, national opinion columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, traces the evolution of American higher education since World War II, exploring how it fueled—and was fueled by—the country’s deep political and cultural divides. In a phone interview with Inside Higher Ed, Bunch attributed many of this country’s current travails—from climate change denial to the Jan. 6 insurrection—to “a failure of education.” Excerpts of the conversation follow, edited for length and clarity. Q: Your book tells the history of modern America through the breakdown of higher education. Where did the trouble begin?