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UGA to reduce class sizes by hiring faculty, adding more than 300 course sections

In the latest in a series of steps to enhance the learning environment, the University of Georgia is investing $4.4 million to reduce class sizes by hiring faculty and creating more than 300 new course sections.

"This major initiative demonstrates the University of Georgia's strong commitment to putting students first," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. "Reducing the number of large class sections in critical instruction areas will improve student learning and success and further enhance our world-class learning environment."

The first of the new faculty members will begin teaching this fall, and a total of 56 will be hired in the coming year. By fall 2016, a total of 319 new course sections in 81 majors will be added, the majority of which will have fewer than 20 students.

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UGA symposium to highlight student research in nanotechnology, biomedicine

Promising undergraduate scholars from as far away as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley will present their research in the fields of nanotechnology and biomedicine Friday, July 31, starting at 8 a.m. at the University of Georgia.

The symposium in the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences is the capstone of a 10-week Research Experiences for Undergraduates program funded by the National Science Foundation.

The program connects undergraduate students with an interest in nanotechnology and biomedical research with two faculty mentors—typically one in the UGA College of Engineering and one from other schools and colleges on the Athens campus or other University System of Georgia institutions.

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UGA receives $1.1 million grant to support first-generation and low-income students

The University of Georgia has received a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Education grant to help support first-generation and college students from low-income families. UGA will receive funding beginning in September, distributed over the next five years under the Federal TRIO's Student Support Services Program.

The Federal TRIO Programs are outreach and student services programs that provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds at colleges nationwide. TRIO-named for the three programs of Upward Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Services at its original inception in the 1960s-includes eight programs that assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff who oversee TRIO projects.

At UGA, TRIO includes Student Support Services, Upward Bound and Talent Search, which collectively encourage access to higher education for low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities. The Student Support Services grant will provide academic development and assistance with basic college requirements to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants.

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Former U.S. Rep. John Barrow to be Scholar in Residence at UGA

Beginning in fall semester, former U.S. Rep. John Barrow will become a Scholar in Residence at the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs. Barrow is an Athens resident with strong ties to UGA and to the Athens the community.

After receiving his degree in political science from UGA in 1976, Barrow went on to earn his law degree from Harvard Law School. In 2004, he was elected to Georgia's 12th District in the U.S. House of Representatives where he represented portions of eastern and Georgia until 2015. Previously, Barrow served for 14 years on the Athens-Clarke County Commission as the commissioner for the district that included UGA.

Barrow will be teaching one class in the fall and two classes in the spring semester. The classes will focus primarily on factors that lead to political polarization in government today. Students will explore the impact of partisan gerrymandering, party caucuses, party leaders and legislative policy on party and ideological polarization.

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UGA’s Odum School of Ecology introduces new bachelor’s degree program

Athens, Ga. - This fall, the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology will launch a new Bachelor of Arts degree in ecology.

Designed to meet the needs of students interested in the interface of ecology and society, the Bachelor of Arts will build on the strong foundation of the existing Bachelor of Science degree with a more interdisciplinary approach. The program will emphasize the development of problem-solving and communication skills through experiential learning focused on ecological principles and environmental issues in their social context.

John Gittleman, dean of the Odum School, said the Bachelor of Arts in ecology is an idea whose time has come, driven by demand from both students and employers.

"Our Bachelor of Science degree provides excellent preparation for those who want to pursue careers as scientists," he said. "Our students go on to highly competitive graduate programs and successful careers with nongovernmental organizations, governmental agencies and consulting firms.

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UGA launches Presidential Informatics Hiring Initiative

University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead and Provost Pamela Whitten have announced a new hiring initiative focused on recruiting faculty to enhance the university's instruction and scholarship in the rapidly growing field of informatics.

The initiative will create up to eight new tenure-stream positions in informatics—a broad field that encompasses the collection, classification, storage, retrieval, analysis and dissemination of massive data sets—and the deans of all of UGA's schools and colleges have been invited to submit proposals.

"The University of Georgia is committed to recruiting exceptional faculty members who are engaged in world-changing scholarship," Morehead said. "The informatics faculty who join the institution through this initiative will profoundly impact instruction and research in multiple disciplines on campus and will increase opportunities for outreach across our state."

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UGA researchers develop breakthrough tools in fight against cryptosporidium

Researchers at the University of Georgia have developed new tools to study and genetically manipulate cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Their discoveries, published in the journal Nature, will ultimately help researchers in academia and industry find new treatments and vaccines for cryptosporidium, which is a major cause of disease and death in children under 2 years old.

Crypto, as researchers often call it, is most commonly spread through tainted drinking or recreational water. When a person drinks contaminated water, parasites emerge from spores and invade the lining of the small intestine, causing severe diarrhea. In 1993, more than 400,000 people living in the Milwaukee area were infected with crypto when one of the city's water treatment systems malfunctioned.

The parasite is especially problematic in areas with limited resources, and recent global studies have shown crypto to be one of the most important causes of life-threatening diarrhea in infants and toddlers. There is currently no vaccine and only one drug—nitazoxanide—approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for cryptosporidiosis, but it provides no benefit for those in gravest danger: malnourished children and immunocompromised patients.

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Meg Evans named director of UGA’s LGBT Resource Center

Meg Evans, currently LGBTQ resources coordinator and housefellow at Carnegie Mellon University, has been named the new director of the LGBT Resource Center at the University of Georgia.

"The student experience will be greatly enhanced by Meg's extensive experience and leadership in LGBTQ resources," said T.W. Cauthen, assistant vice president for academic, campus and community partnerships. "Her approach at Carnegie Mellon was comprehensive and effective, and we look forward to experiencing similar success here at UGA."

Evans' appointment is effective Aug. 10.

"I love this work because it means I get to engage in the difficult conversations," Evans said. "I get to work beside incredible students and colleagues who want to work together to welcome and affirm LGBT people."

The LGBT Resource Center provides programming and engagement to meet the needs of the LGBT and ally communities by creating an environment of advocacy, education and support. Current programming highlights include Dawgs Making It Better, a weeklong program to promote awareness in the campus community; the student organization Lambda Alliance; and the Safe Space program, which educates faculty, staff and students who are interested in learning how to better support and affirm the LGBT community.

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UGA Alumni Association unveils fifth annual 40 Under 40 class

he University of Georgia Alumni Association recently announced the 40 Under 40 Class of 2015. This program, which recognizes outstanding young alumni under the age of 40, is in its fifth year.

This year's honorees were selected from a nomination pool of approximately 500 graduates. Selections were based on the graduates' commitment to a lifelong relationship with UGA and their success in both personal and professional endeavors.

Nominations opened in February and remained open through mid-April. The honorees will be celebrated at the 2015 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon Sept. 10 at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta.

"It's a privilege to announce the 40 Under 40 honorees," said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. "The selection committee spends weeks evaluating hundreds of nominations for deserving young professionals. The final list makes me proud as I see men and women, from all backgrounds, putting their UGA education to work every day. The university really is fortunate to call them alumni."

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University Housing administrator earns international recognition

University of Georgia housing's M. Keener Scott recently received the Parthenon Award from the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International.

The honor recognizes outstanding collegiate housing professionals for their service, leadership, achievement and contributions to the housing field.

Scott, who serves as associate director for staff development and student conduct in University Housing as well as an adjunct professor in the department of counseling and human development services, said she wants her students to look back on their experiences without saying "what if."

"I do this work because of my servant attitude based on my faith and my desire to help others achieve their best," Scott said. "Being a member of the University Housing team is an experience that I value. Being a part of an organization that lives its mission gives me the foundation needed to do this work."