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UGA named National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research

The University of Georgia has been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research, a designation that underscores the role the university plays in advancing technology, policy and practices that strengthen America’s cyber defense capabilities.

UGA is one of just 71 institutions nationwide to hold this joint National Security Agency/Department of Homeland Security designation and, along with Georgia Tech, one of two CAE-R institutions in Georgia.

“I am pleased that the University of Georgia is being recognized as a national leader in this area of critical importance,” said President Jere W. Morehead. Thanks to the dedication of our faculty and the breadth of our research, instruction and outreach activities, UGA is uniquely positioned to advance the cybersecurity capabilities of our state and nation.

To receive designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research, an institution must have a high level of research activity and meet several criteria for cyber defense research, student training and overall impact.

Faculty members in the universitys Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy, one of the institutes affiliated with the Georgia Informatics Institutes for Research and Education at UGA, conduct research in network and system security, web security, security for mobile devices and the Internet of Things, and cybercrime attribution, among several other areas. Their work has been funded by agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency and National Science Foundation, as well as through industry partners such as Intel and Cisco Systems.

The goal of the Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy is to become a state hub for cybersecurity research and education, including multidisciplinary programs and research, outreach activities and industry partnership, Li said. By working together, we can help meet our nations cybersecurity needs.

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UGA students build bridges with visits to Athens-area high schools

More than 60 University of Georgia students traveled to Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central high schools Friday morning to welcome incoming students as they start their new year.

“This event is like a miniature pep rally for these high school students,” said Arthur Tripp, assistant to the president. We want our Athens-Clarke County students to know that UGA is a part of their community, and we want to encourage and excite them about the upcoming academic year.

Cultivating strong community relationships is a priority for UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

I am pleased that we are continuing to develop strong partnerships with UGA and the Athens community that will strengthen our vital relationship, he said.

This is the second year for this event, which is organized by the Office of the President, the Office of Service-Learning and student leaders from across campus. This is a tri-fold partnership that began with an idea from our students, Tripp said. The goal is to connect UGA with local high school students so they can begin to see the University of Georgia as a future destination.

DeAnne Varitek, principal of Cedar Shoals High School, hopes her students see UGA as a viable option after graduation.

We would love to increase the number of students that attend UGA, she said. Our students may not go to campus often, and this event brings campus to us. Any time we can bring UGA to the minds of our students, it brings them one step closer to attending UGA, and one step closer to earning a college education.

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Unprecedented heights: UGA's Class of 2021 sets academic records

The academic qualifications of incoming students at the University of Georgia have risen dramatically over the past several years, with each successive class reaching unprecedented heights. The Class of 2021 continues that extraordinary trend, with an average high school GPA of 4.0 and a record average ACT score of 30.

“With our world-class learning environment, booming research enterprise and unyielding commitment to serving others, it is no surprise that the University of Georgia is attracting the best and brightest students,” said President Jere W. Morehead. I am delighted to welcome this newest class and look forward to all they will accomplish at the birthplace of public higher education in America.

More than 5,800 first-year students will begin their studies this fall. The superb academic qualifications of the Class of 2021 coincide with a year of record-breaking first-year enrollment that highlights the growing demand for a UGA education. Nearly 24,500 students applied for admission to the Class of 2021, a 20 percent increase in just four years.

As in previous years, the rigor of students’ high school curriculum remains a key factor in admissions decisions. Members of the Class of 2021 completed an average of eight College Board Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses in high school, an increase from six in 2013. For comparison, the average high school GPA in 2013 was 3.86, and the average ACT score was 29 on a 36-point scale. On the new SATR, which replaced the previous SAT, the Class of 2021 boasts an average score of 1344.

In addition to bringing outstanding academic talent to UGA, the Class of 2021 also brings increased diversity to UGA. The class includes nearly 1,900 students who self-identify as non-white, a 29 percent increase over 2013. The number of incoming first-year students who self-identify as African-American has increased by 20 percent over the same time period, and the number of Hispanic students has increased by 33 percent.

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UGA's Joye elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union

Samantha Joye, Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Arts and Sciences, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. An international nonprofit scientific association with 60,000 members in 137 countries, the AGU is a worldwide scientific community, promoting discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity.

Each year since 1962, the American Geophysical Union has elected as Fellows members whose visionary leadership and scientific excellence have fundamentally advanced research in their respective fields. This year, 61 members will join the 2017 class of Fellows.

“Congratulations to Dr. Joye on this outstanding honor,” said University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead. It represents a lifetime of dedicated scholarship and the high regard Dr. Joye’s colleagues have for her as a world-class scientist.

Professor of marine sciences and director of the Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf research consortium, Joye is an oceanographer, microbiologist and geochemist in UGAs Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Her research group works to discover, document, resolve and understand complex feedbacks that drive elemental cycling in coastal and open ocean environments. She led assessment efforts in the Gulf of Mexico immediately following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout, work that continues today.

To be named a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union is such a tremendous honor and one that I could never have achieved by myself. I would not be in this position were it not for an amazing group of former and current undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral research scientists, Joye said. I am so fortunate to have the most incredible and wonderful colleagues, especially those who share my love and fascination of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, and an incredible team that works so hard to advance our Gulf ecosystem research.

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Marshall Shepherd to receive American Meteorological Society Helmut E. Landsberg Award

Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor Marshall Shepherd will receive the 2018 Helmut E. Landsberg Award from the American Meteorological Society. The award, recognizing major advances in understanding urban impacts on rainfall climatology and for assessing the socio-economic value of urban precipitation forecasts, will be presented to Shepherd at the AMS Awards banquet on Jan. 10, 2018.

“This award speaks to Dr. Shepherd’s level of influence in his field and the value of his research to the world,” said University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead. The University of Georgia is very proud of this significant accomplishment.

Professor of geography and director of UGAs atmospheric sciences program, Shepherd is a leading international expert in weather, climate and remote sensing. In addition to his work in the classroom and published scholarship, Shepherd serves as host of The Weather Channels Sunday talk show Weather Geeks and is a contributor to Forbes Magazine. He served as president of the American Meteorological Society in 2013.

To be recognized by peers with one of the more significant awards in my field is particularly humbling and affirms that our body of work on how urbanization impacts weather and climate is having an impact, Shepherd said. The Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professorship and sustained funding from NASA have enabled us to build a world-class research group on urban weather and climate at the University of Georgia. We are now attracting or retaining some of the best and brightest graduate students because of our work.

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Annual tour introduces new UGA faculty to the state's diverse economy

This year’s Public Service and Outreach tour of the state will take about 40 new University of Georgia faculty through 14 cities and 43 counties Aug. 7-11.

The group departed Monday from the UGA Center for Continuing Education and Hotel after orientation and a send-off from President Jere W. Morehead. From there they traveled by bus to Jaemor Farms near Gainesville to learn about agribusiness in north Georgia and the growing agritourism industry across the state.

Other highlights of the trip will include a visit to Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville, and Wolf Mountain Vineyards in Dahlonega; stops at the Georgia Capitol and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta; and a driving/walking tour of Senoia, where participants will learn about the growing film industry in Georgia.

In addition, the tour will take faculty members to the new Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center on the UGA Griffin Campus; the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth; Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins; agricultural facilities at UGA Tifton; the Okefenokee Swamp in Waycross; and Gulfstream Aerospace and the UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant facilities in Savannah.

The week will end with a visit to the Wormsloe Institute for Environmental History and the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah; and a stop in Sandersville to learn more about UGAs Archway Partnership and the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.

“This tour is an ideal way for our faculty members who are new to the university, and many to Georgia, to learn about the diversity of the states culture, history, geography and economic drivers,” said Laura Meadows, interim vice president for UGA Public Service and Outreach. They see firsthand how this university partners with governments, businesses and communities to boost economic vitality across the state. We hope they discover opportunities to use their own academic expertise to further the mission of the land-grant and sea-grant institution.

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Summer successes: Enrollment reaches new high

Whether on-campus, online or around the world, summer enrollment at the University of Georgia is on an upward trajectory.

Total summer enrollment has risen for the third consecutive year and in 2017 reached a record 16,447. That figure is a 4 percent increase over last year’s record and a 22 percent increase over summer 2014.

“Increasing summer enrollment is a critical part of our strategy to elevate student success and completion at the University of Georgia,” said President Jere W. Morehead. I am grateful to the vice president for instruction and his team-as well as the deans-for their leadership on this important institutional priority.

The year-over-year increases in summer enrollment are the result of a concerted effort involving several units across campus. The Office of Instruction has spearheaded a targeted communications campaign to encourage students to enroll in summer courses and also implemented procedural changes, such as earlier registration dates for summer courses, to facilitate summer enrollment. The faculty and deans of the universitys schools and colleges have played a critical role in boosting summer enrollment by creating additional sections of high-demand courses, and the universitys academic advisors have worked closely with students to help them integrate summer courses into their programs of study.

“The university’s continuing growth in summer enrollment is great news for students,” said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten. “Our data show that nine out of 10 UGA students who earn their degrees within four years take at least one summer course, and elevating summer enrollment will continue to be a key priority.”

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The Cousins Foundation makes gift to support scholarships, endow UGA swim and dive coach

The Cousins Foundation, Inc. has committed more than $5 million to the University of Georgia to support need-based scholarships for students and to permanently endow the UGA head swimming and diving coach position.

“I want to thank The Cousins Foundation for partnering with the University of Georgia to advance one of our top priorities, increasing scholarship support for our students with financial needs,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. This significant gift will transform the lives of so many UGA students-and their families-for generations into the future, and I am deeply grateful for the foundations tremendous generosity.

This major gift is one of the first to the university in fiscal year 2018, which began on July 1. It will be matched by an additional $500,000 from the UGA Foundation through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, announced by Morehead in January to increase the number of need-based scholarships available at UGA.

The Cousins Foundation’s gift will establish the Cousins Scholars Program, a robust collegiate experience for 24 service-minded UGA students who demonstrate significant financial need. The four-year program will welcome six new students each year, with the first cohort beginning in fall 2019. The Cousins Foundation is known for its strong commitment to community service, and service will be integrated throughout the new scholarship program.

A gift to the UGA Athletic Association will endow the swimming and diving head coach position in honor of Ann and Tom Cousins, founders of The Cousins Foundation. Tom was a Georgia letterman in swimming in 1950 and 1951 and a member of the 1950 SEC track and field championship team. He also is the recipient of UGAs Bill Hartman Award, which recognizes former UGA student-athletes who have demonstrated excellence in their profession and service to others.

The position will be known as the Tom Cousins Head Swimming and Diving Coach, and will be the second endowed head coaching position at UGA. The first is the Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach, named for Tom Cousins father, which was endowed by the Cousins family in 2016.

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UGA law school creates Veterans Legal Services Clinic

The University of Georgia School of Law is establishing a Veterans Legal Services Clinic funded by a lead gift from renowned trial attorney and alumnus James E. “Jim” Butler Jr. in memory of his father, Lt. Cmdr. James E. Butler Sr., who was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy. Butler Sr. was also the grandfather of James E. "Jeb" Butler III, a 2008 graduate of the law school.

The new clinic will provide veterans in Georgia with legal assistance they might not otherwise have access to or be able to afford, with particular regard to denied or deferred claims before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It also includes an educational scholarship component.

Overseen by a clinic director serving as a managing attorney, the unit will be staffed by law students who will work directly with veterans and their dependents to ensure access to benefits and services, especially for those with mental or physical disabilities resulting from their time in the military. The students who participate in the clinic will have a tangible impact on the lives of these veterans and their families while receiving real-world experience that will better equip them for their careers.

Four members of the law school’s Board of Visitors have joined Butler in support of the new clinic including Butlers longtime law partner Joel O. Wooten Jr., Kenneth M. Henson Jr., G. Sanders Griffith III and Pete Robinson. Notably, Wooten, Henson and Griffith are UGA School of Law graduates.

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic builds upon the law schools commitment to supporting those who have served our nation, School of Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. I am pleased that funding for the clinic will also provide a $5,000 scholarship match for two veterans studying at the School of Law each year.

This funding will be paired with match money received through the Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program.

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Research productivity reaches new heights at the University of Georgia

Total research and development expenditures surged for the fourth consecutive year at the University of Georgia to an all-time high of $458 million in fiscal year 2017. The record total represents a 31 percent increase in R&D expenditures since fiscal year 2013.

Remarkable growth in funding from external grants and contracts is driving the surge in overall expenditures. Externally funded research activity has climbed 37 percent over the past three years to $198 million in fiscal year 2017.

“This tremendous growth in productivity reflects the unyielding commitment of UGA faculty to solve the important challenges of our time,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Their dedication, bolstered by major faculty hiring initiatives and strategic investments in research since coming out of the Great Recession seven years ago, is elevating our research enterprise to new heights and expanding the University’s positive impact on lives and communities across this state and beyond.”

UGA’s increase in research spending comes at a time when federal funding of higher education research and development is declining in both current and inflation-adjusted dollars.

“Despite an extraordinarily competitive environment, UGA researchers continue to win a larger share of the federal R&D support budget,” said Vice President for Research David Lee. “In recent years, only a handful out of every 100 grant proposals received from universities all across America is funded by federal agencies. UGA researchers are successfully competing with the very best.”

The university has identified three signature research themes to illustrate the broad impact of the institution’s expanding research enterprise: inquiring and innovating to improve human health; safeguarding and sustaining our world; and changing lives through the land-grant mission.

Each dollar of external research funding is estimated to create two dollars in economic impact, contributing to the broader economic development focus of the university.