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UGA receives $2.99 million grant for graduate training program in disease ecology

The University of Georgia has received a five-year, $2.99 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an interdisciplinary graduate training program in disease ecology.

Led by Vanessa Ezenwa, associate professor in the Odum School of Ecology and College of Veterinary Medicine's department of infectious diseases, the program will provide students with the skills to solve complex problems in an increasingly high priority field—and, in the process, transform the way graduate students are educated at UGA and beyond.

The grant is part of the new NSF Research Traineeship program, which was established to support innovative—and transferable—models for interdisciplinary graduate education in the areas of science, engineering and math, with a focus on critical research needs.

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Georgia Informatics Institute for Research and Education takes shape at UGA

The University of Georgia is building upon its established strengths in the interdisciplinary field of informatics by creating the Georgia Informatics Institute for Research and Education.

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten has charged a committee composed of several of the university's informatics faculty members with developing content for a new undergraduate core curriculum in informatics that will be the basis of an Engineering Informatics program and a model that other schools and colleges can adapt for their students.

Planning for a new graduate certificate and professional development programs also is underway, and up to nine new faculty members will be hired this year through a Presidential Informatics Hiring Initiative announced in July.

"An important role of a leading public research university is to look toward the future to identify grand challenges facing our state, nation and world," said President Jere W. Morehead. "If approved by the faculty, this institute could expand UGA's capacity to respond to these challenges in numerous ways."

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UGA Athletic Association supports critical academic initiatives for students

While the University of Georgia faithful are gearing up to sing "glory, glory to old Georgia" this fall, hundreds of UGA students are singing the praises of the UGA Athletic Association for providing funding for their college educations.

The Athletic Association has a strong track record of supporting the university's academic enterprise. Each year, the association makes a contribution to the UGA Foundation to support significant institutional priorities. Recent annual contributions have ranged from $4 million to $5 million, and the association has provided more than $28 million in financial support to the university since fiscal year 2007.

Since fiscal year 2010, a substantial portion of these funds has been used to strengthen two important student scholarship programs at UGA—the Georgia Access Scholarship and the Presidential Leadership Scholarship. Initially, these programs received $500,000 from the association. The allocation to each scholarship program was increased to $1 million when UGA President Jere W. Morehead took office in fiscal year 2014.

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UGA ranked No. 3 in best values college list

The University of Georgia is ranked No. 3 in Washington Monthly magazine's list of "Best Bang for the Buck Colleges in the Southeast 2015" for being one of the best values for students.

"The University of Georgia is dedicated to providing students with a world-class education at an affordable price," said President Jere W. Morehead. "Although rankings may change from year to year, our commitment to this goal is constant, and I am glad it is being recognized on a national level."

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Women’s Leadership Initiative emphasizes hiring, career development and work-life balance

The University of Georgia is rolling out its Women's Leadership Initiative with new policies and programs related to recruitment, hiring and retention, leadership and career development, and work-life balance.

The percentage of women holding leadership positions in UGA's administration has remained flat for more than a decade, even as the proportion of female faculty has grown steadily. This is reflective of national trends in higher education and in the private sector, and UGA is taking several steps to increase the representation of women in leadership roles.

In spring 2015, UGA President Jere W. Morehead and Provost Pamela Whitten launched the Women's Leadership Initiative. Whitten charged a 10-member planning committee with assessing what barriers were preventing the university from developing, recruiting and hiring qualified women for campus leadership positions. The committee identified three areas of focus where reimagined policies and targeted programming could advance gender equity at UGA.

"The new policies and programs that will be implemented through the Women's Leadership Initiative demonstrate the university's strong commitment to gender equity," Morehead said. "I am pleased that this important initiative is moving forward in concrete ways that will enhance leadership opportunities for women on campus."

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New Fresh Food Bus takes riders from campus to farmers market

A new on-campus bus route will take riders from the University of Georgia campus to the Athens Farmers Market at Bishop Park this fall. The Fresh Food Bus will operate each Saturday (excluding UGA home football game Saturdays) through Dec. 19.

The bus route will include stops at Building S of Family and Graduate Housing, Memorial Hall, the Athens Multi-Modal Center and Russell Hall on the Health Sciences Campus. The bus will run from 8:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. with hourly stops at the farmers market. The complete bus route is available at http://sustainability.uga.edu/freshfoodbus.

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UGA graduate student to study ancient climate patterns in native Madagascar

University of Georgia geology doctoral student Ny Riavo Voarintsoa has been selected for the Faculty for the Future Fellowship Award, an award sponsored by the Schlumberger Foundation to support talented women from developing and emerging countries who are pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering at leading universities worldwide.

Recipients are chosen based on their leadership qualities, academic ability and engagement toward science and education as a development tool in their home country.

Voarintsoa, a native of Madagascar, studies paleoclimate, the changes in climate throughout history. Her current research focuses on the use of cave deposits, particularly stalagmites, to understand these changes in southern Africa and Madagascar.

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Odum School professor, alumnus recognized by Ecological Society of America

University of Georgia professor Alan Covich and alumnus Marcelo Ardón were recognized for outstanding contributions to ecology on Aug. 10 in a ceremony at the centennial annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Baltimore.

Covich was awarded the ESA Distinguished Service Citation in recognition of his more than 40 years of volunteer service to ESA and the scientific community at large. A past president of ESA from 2006-07, Covich also served as president of the North American Benthological Society—now called the Society for Freshwater Science—in 1996, the American Institute of Biological Science in 2000 and the International Association for Ecology, known as INTECOL, from 2009 to 2013. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1999 and was named an inaugural ESA Fellow in 2012.

His research interests include the impacts of natural and human disturbances on tropical stream food webs and the impacts of drought on food webs in the Flint River in Georgia. Covich served as director of the UGA Institute of Ecology, the forerunner of the Odum School of Ecology, from 2003 to 2007.

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UGA receives $1.25 million for training of tropical, emerging global diseases researchers

The University of Georgia's Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases was awarded $1.25 million by the National Institutes of Health to continue training graduate and postdoctoral students over the next five years who can help address the growing threats of parasitic diseases.

Every year, diseases caused by protozoan and helminth parasites are responsible for more than a million deaths and cause hundreds of millions more cases of severe or subtle morbidity due to chronic infections lasting years.

"The University of Georgia is uniquely positioned as a training ground for the next generation of parasitology and tropical diseases researchers," said Silvia Moreno, a professor of cellular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and co-director of the center's T32 trainee program.

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UGA to launch Chambliss Leadership Forum honoring former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss

Today, the University of Georgia announces the creation of the Senator Saxby Chambliss Leadership Forum. This initiative will increase students' exposure to domestic and international politics and will provide Chambliss a forum through which to share his insights and expertise on topics ranging from national security to foreign policy.

"Saxby Chambliss has been a dear friend to the University of Georgia and committed to its success since he graduated," said President Jere W. Morehead. "This new initiative reflects his greatest qualities as a loyal alumnus and dedicated public servant, and it will have a tremendous impact on the students and faculty of this great institution."