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Fall Staff Appreciation event celebrates employees

During the season of giving thanks, University of Georgia staff members were invited to a Fall Staff Appreciation Reception held Nov. 22 in the Grand Hall of the Tate Student Center.

“I am so grateful to the outstanding staff at UGA who ensure that our university is able to carry out our important mission of teaching, research, and public service,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Their hard work and dedication are essential to our success.”

The event, hosted by the Office of the President, included festive refreshments, such hot cocoa and cider, popcorn, ice cream sundaes and a totcho bar, along with photo booths to capture the moment. Additionally, staff members were treated to 2021 National Championship T-shirts and caps.

The chance to meet and mingle with people from other schools, colleges, departments and units was another highlight of the reception.

“I enjoy the food and mingling and getting to know people you don’t already know,” said Christy Rich, an instructional designer in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ academic affairs office.

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UGA partners with Spin for Bulldog Bike Share program

The University of Georgia has partnered with Spin, a leading micromobility company, to bring e-bikes back to the Athens campus. The Bulldog Bike Share program includes electric pedal-assist bikes that are available to students, faculty, staff and visitors.

The GPS-enabled electric pedal-assist bikes will be located throughout the UGA Athens campus and can be found in the Spin app. Riders can download the Spin app on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to register, locate and unlock the bikes. A variety of pricing options are available through the Spin app.

Spin is currently offering a smaller fleet of e-bikes and will increase the number of bikes on campus in preparation for the spring 2023 semester.

“We are pleased to once again be able to offer the Bulldog Bike Share program at UGA,” said Todd Berven, director of Transportation and Parking Services at UGA. “Partnering with Spin is a great opportunity for us to continue to serve our campus community by adding to our alternative transportation options.”

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CDC funds Pathogen Genomics Center of Excellence

The University of Georgia and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) in partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health, have received a five-year, $17 million cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish a Pathogen Genomics Center of Excellence.

The center is intended to strengthen public health response to infectious disease threats and support public health workforce development.

The award is part of a $90 million investment by the CDC to build a network of centers in five states. Each Pathogen Genomics Center of Excellence (PGCoE) consists of a health department and one or more academic institutions.

The Georgia Department of Public Health will provide overall leadership and prioritization of center efforts. UGA will be leading the effort to translate new discoveries into usable data and interventions. GTRI will be leading the operations and implementation arm of the Georgia-based center.

Collectively, this work will be focused on transitioning innovations out of academia and into use at public health departments across the United States.

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UGA and CCSD partner to provide health services to Athens families

The Clarke Middle Health Center celebrated its grand opening on Thursday, Nov. 10, introducing the Athens-Clarke County community to the many free medical, mental health and legal services provided to students, staff and families. Through a collaboration between the Clarke County School District and the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership’s Athens Free Clinic, the health center will see patients during the school week for more than 20 hours each week.

“This is such a wonderful day for our community,” Dr. Shelley Nuss, dean of the Medical Partnership, said at the grand opening. “This center is already making a tremendous impact in the community we serve, and I want to thank everyone involved for all you do. It takes a village, so to everyone from the state, the community, the school system, thank you.”

After the Athens Free Clinic and CCSD teamed up in 2021 to provide more than 1,650 COVID-19 vaccines to CCSD students, staff, families and employees, Dr. Suzanne Lester, the director of the Athens Free Clinic, and Amy Roark, CCSD’s director of nursing, applied for a UGA Presidential Interdisciplinary Seed Grant to fund a School Based Health Center.

Leveraging partnerships within UGA and the community—including individuals from the Medical Partnership, the UGA School of Law, the Mary Frances Early College of Education, the ASPIRE Clinic at the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and the Georgia Department of Health—the team was awarded the $94,000 grant to support a nine-month pilot period for the center.

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Chester receives CIO of the Year ORBIE Award

Timothy M. Chester, vice president for information technology at the University of Georgia, has been honored with the 2022 CIO of the Year ORBIE Award in the Enterprise category by Georgia CIO.

“I’m lucky to be a part of the great University of Georgia, an institution responsible for creating knowledge, conveying knowledge and using knowledge to impact this great state,” Chester said during his acceptance speech.

As vice president for information technology and CIO, Chester leads the 240 employees of UGA’s central IT department, Enterprise Information Technology Services. During his 11 years at UGA, Chester has spearheaded many large-scale initiatives, including the transformation of the university’s financial and HR systems, the replacement of the student information system, the implementation of two-factor authentication across campus systems, and more than $8 million in investments in computational research and storage infrustructure.

Chester credited his success with such projects at UGA to his team and their commitment to their work. “Over time, we’ve built a culture within the team that we invest in each other and everybody really sweats the details of their work together. Once you get that going, you guard it intensively,” Chester said. “More than any other resource I have at the University of Georgia, it is that team that is the critical ingredient necessary for success with big initiatives.”

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UGA achieves record-breaking completion rates

Completion rates at the University of Georgia have reached record highs as ongoing initiatives across campus provide students with support to help them succeed.

The latest data shows that UGA’s four-year completion rate has increased to a record 75.1%, up from 72.1% last year. The six-year completion rate also reached a new high at 88.1%, up from 87.8% a year ago. The retention rate remains strong at 94.3%.

“I am thrilled that the University of Georgia has achieved record completion rates once again,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “UGA’s holistic approach to supporting students in their undergraduate education along with the outstanding efforts of our faculty, staff and donors are helping our students attain their academic goals and maximize their prospects for continued success in the future.”

UGA’s success exceeds the average completion and retention rates of its peer institutions. The average six-year completion rate at UGA’s comparator peer institutions is 80.3%, while the average rate of UGA’s aspirational peers is 85.3%. The average retention rate at comparator peer institutions is 91.3%. UGA also far exceeds the average retention and six-year completion rates for other Southeastern Conference schools, coming in more than 4% higher than the average retention rate and more than 12% higher than the average six-year completion rate among SEC institutions.

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UGA's Natalie Navarrete named a 2023 Rhodes Scholar

University of Georgia student Natalie Navarrete was named a 2023 Rhodes Scholar this weekend, joining recipients from 64 countries around the world.

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship award in the world. The 2023 Rhodes Scholars will begin their various courses of study as graduate students at the University of Oxford in October. Navarrete is a current Morehead Honors College student and Foundation Fellow at UGA.

“The University of Georgia is incredibly proud of Natalie for this extraordinary achievement,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Her success in being selected for one of the most competitive scholarships in the world is a testament to her tremendous talent and drive and to the world-class educational opportunities that UGA provides our students. I am confident she will continue to make important contributions to our society through her program at Oxford University and throughout her career.”

Navarrete, a Stamps Scholar from Boca Raton, Florida, is a senior in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public and International Affairs, majoring in international affairs, Russian and Spanish with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

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Johnson-Bailey receives inaugural Centennial Professorship

University of Georgia professor Juanita Johnson-Bailey was named as the first recipient of the Centennial Professorship, an endowed professorship for a women’s studies faculty member in recognition of the centennial anniversary of women’s studies.

Founded in 1977, the Institute for Women’s Studies at UGA is one of the senior women’s studies programs in the United States. It also holds the distinction of being the first academic gender studies program among Georgia’s institutions of higher education.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of coeducation at the University of Georgia in 2018, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences proposed to establish the Centennial Professorship in Women’s Studies. The $250,000 professorship would recognize and support an outstanding faculty member whose work focuses on interdisciplinary issues of gender and women’s history.

“I am honored to be appointed to the Centennial Professorship in Women’s Studies. I am grateful to the Franklin College for this recognition. As a teenager, I was first able to put a name to my worldview and perspective—feminism—and later to my academic disciplines—women’s studies and education,” said Johnson-Bailey. “As a professor, I have been fortunate to research and teach in these fields that have sustained and invigorated me and given purpose to my life. Receiving this acknowledgment for working in areas that have given me so much is a blessing.”

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UGA TRIO programs receive more than $4 million to support students

The University of Georgia received three federal grants totaling more than $850,000 for a five-year period totaling $4.25 million from the U.S. Department of Education for the continuation of the TRIO Upward Bound Classic, TRIO Upward Bound Math & Science and TRIO McNair Scholars Program.

The Upward Bound Programs support 210 eligible students in eight counties: Clarke, Banks, Jackson, Madison, Oglethorpe, Washington, Lincoln, and Greene. UGA’s TRIO McNair Scholars Program serves 25 UGA students in preparation for doctoral programs.

“The many benefits for thousands of students at UGA and in northeast Georgia through UGA TRIO is life-changing,” said Sherontae Maxwell, assistant director for access within the Division of Academic Enhancement. “We are honored and so excited to have the opportunity to continue serving students.”

All of UGA’s TRIO programs are administered within the Division of Academic Enhancement, which is a subunit of the Office of Instruction.

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UGA project helps veterans with mental health

Consistent findings reveal that veterans are passionate about helping other veterans and their families; however, these same veterans don’t always feel comfortable helping themselves, said University of Georgia researcher Brian Bauer, who has developed a platform that will enable vets to help each other.

Bauer was recently awarded $250,000 by Mission Daybreak, a part of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’10-year strategy to end veteran suicide through a comprehensive, public health approach.

Formerly known as the Suicide Prevention Grand Challenge, Mission Daybreak offers $20 million in non-dilutive funding, as well as non-monetary resources that include data, research, mentorship, educational webinars and partnership opportunities. Bauer’s submission is led by himself and his former mentor Alex Leow, professor of psychiatry and bioengineering at the University of Illinois Chicago.

“We started with the idea that if we’re only focusing on people who were going through a crisis and are currently at high risk, we’re going to lose the battle of suicide prevention,” said Bauer, assistant professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of psychology. “We also need to focus on assisting veterans and their family members build better lives to help prevent people from reaching high risk.”