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New award will fund several community initiatives

Five local projects were selected to receive a total of $32,000 in awards from an endowment established by an Athens native and UGA alumna. The fund, held by the UGA Foundation, ultimately benefits Athens-Clarke County residents as well as university faculty and students focused on service and outreach into the community.

“This award is a visible and powerful representation of the bond between UGA and the Athens-Clarke County community,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for UGA Public Service and Outreach. “I look forward to hearing the success stories that emerge from these partnerships as a result of the generosity of Bobbi Sahm and President Morehead.”

The fund was established by Sahm, who made a significant contribution to UGA Public Service and Outreach, to provide financial support for collaborations between university entities and the Athens-Clarke County community. Inspired by the gift and the impact it will have on the local community, President Jere W. Morehead directed a $100,000 contribution to this fund using discretionary funds provided to him by the UGA Athletic Association.

The Bobbi Meeler Sahm Service and Outreach Award inaugural recipients include (1) Athens Community Council on Aging/UGA Performing Arts Center, (2) Oasis Catolico Santa Rafaela/UGA Office of Service-Learning, (3) Sandy Creek Nature Center and the Clarke County School District/UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, (4) Athens YMCA and the Clarke County School District Career Academy and the AU/UGA Medical Partnership, and (5) Athens Food as Real Medicine Prescription Program and Athens FARM Rx/UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

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UGAMI works with local ISP to upgrade Sapelo Island broadband

The UGA Marine Institute (UGAMI) is a world-renowned field destination that supports research and education in coastal ecosystems. Its remote location on Sapelo Island has sometimes proven a challenge, though, especially where internet broadband is concerned.

That all changed in August with the installation of modern broadband technology that increased the island’s total bandwidth capacity to 2,400 Mbps, an eightfold improvement. This not only transformed internet connectivity on the island, but also dramatically improved UGAMI’s ability to conduct its important work without interruption.

The upgrade is also a promising development for Sapelo Island’s private community, which shares its broadband connection with the staff at UGAMI.

“Before the upgrade, the bandwidth that was available to all of Sapelo Island was equivalent to that of two or three average residential broadband accounts,” said Alber. “This was a limitation for residents, businesses and governmental agencies on the island.”

Both UGA and Darien Telephone Company contributed to the new system, with the UGA portion of the funds provided by the Office of Research.

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University Health Center awarded Gold Seal of Approval

The University Health Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards.

The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care. The UHC is one of only a few college health centers across the country to earn this designation.

The UHC underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review in August 2022. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with standards spanning several areas including environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership, medication management, and rights and responsibilities of the individual.

“This achievement is a testament to the UHC’s commitment to providing students with the highest quality of services. We know that our students’ success depends heavily on their well-being, and I’m proud of the work done every day by our staff and leadership to ensure that students receive the best in physical and mental health care,” said Beau Seagraves, associate vice president for student well-being and interim executive director for the UHC.

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Multicultural faculty, staff celebrated at fall reception

Faculty and staff from across campus filled the Georgia Museum of Art on Sept. 20 for the university’s fall 2022 Multicultural Faculty and Staff Reception. The event offered a space for underrepresented faculty, staff, and administrators to gather and celebrate the new year, together.

“This reception plays a key role in our efforts to retain and build community among faculty and staff,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “I want to thank you for what you mean to the university community and each and every one of your units.”

Attendees were greeted by Morehead and Michelle Cook, senior vice provost for diversity and inclusion and strategic university initiatives.

Morehead pointed out the renewal of the ALL Georgia Program for another six years and the Georgia Possible Program. Additionally, he spoke about a pilot program in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences that brought students from Fort Valley State University interested in attending graduate school to UGA this summer for a nine-week residential program.

“This is the kind of work that needs to be done throughout the institution, and all of you play a key role in making sure that happens,” he said.

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UGA completes renovation of Driftmier Engineering Center

The University of Georgia held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a four-year renovation of the Driftmier Engineering Center on Friday, Sept. 23.

The renovation finishes as the College of Engineering marks 10 years of existence. Since its establishment in 2012, UGA’s College of Engineering has become one of the fastest-growing public colleges of engineering in the nation and the fourth largest college or school at the university.

“We are grateful for the strong support of our state leaders and the generous contributions of the College of Engineering’s corporate partners and alumni, which were instrumental to the renovation’s success,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “I also want to congratulate Dean Don Leo and all of the members of the college on 10 years of tremendous achievements that have increased UGA’s capacity to improve lives and strengthen communities throughout our state, nation, and world.”

The renovation developed new instructional spaces, student commons, a multi-purpose classroom and offices for faculty and staff. A primary entrance on the north elevation was added to promote safer, faster and ADA-accessible access from campus transport. The facility also houses the college’s Engineers Education Institute to evaluate and enhance engineering pedagogy and professional practice protocol.

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Archway Partnership wins regional award for outreach

The University of Georgia is the regional winner of the 2022 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award for its Archway Partnership outreach program. The program takes UGA faculty and students into Georgia communities to help address locally identified challenges.

UGA now will compete against three other regional winners for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be announced by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) in November. 

“The Archway Partnership has put UGA at the forefront of innovative community-university collaborations that produce important scholarship; positive, sustainable relationships; and significant impact,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “I am proud of the many faculty, staff, students and community partners involved in Archway for receiving this well-deserved recognition, and I look forward to their continued accomplishments.”

The Archway Partnership is a UGA Public Service and Outreach unit that places a UGA faculty member in eight select communities to help them prioritize locally identified critical challenges. The faculty member, called an Archway Professional, then looks to the vast resources at the University of Georgia to find the expertise best suited to address those challenges. Often faculty members and their students are selected to assist the communities, providing real-world learning opportunities for students and research possibilities for faculty in addition to helping the communities.

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Eight faculty members named 2022-23 Service-Learning Fellows

The Office of Service-Learning has selected eight University of Georgia faculty members for participation in its yearlong Service-Learning Fellows program.

This program provides an opportunity for faculty members from a broad range of disciplines to integrate academic service-learning into their professional practice. Fellows meet regularly throughout the academic year and receive an award of up to $2,500 to develop or implement a proposed service-learning project.

Academic service-learning—one way for students to fulfill UGA’s experiential learning graduation requirement—integrates organized service activities that meet community-identified needs into academic courses as a way to enhance understanding of academic content, teach civic responsibility and provide benefit to the community.

More than 150 faculty from 16 of UGA’s schools and colleges, public service and outreach units and the medical partnership have participated in the program since it was established in 2006. Participants create diverse service-learning projects that pair students with community partner organizations locally, across the state or throughout the world to address community issues such as education, food insecurity, economic development, well-being, nonprofit capacity-building and the environment.

The Office of Service-Learning is jointly supported by the Office of the Vice President for Instruction and the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach.

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UGA receives national higher education diversity award

The University of Georgia’s commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence has earned national recognition for the ninth consecutive year.

INSIGHT Into Diversity’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award is the only national honor recognizing colleges and universities that demonstrate significant efforts and success in the area of diversity and inclusion. UGA has earned this national honor every year since 2014.

“The University of Georgia greatly appreciates this national recognition of our wide-ranging investments in diversity and inclusive excellence,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “While there is more work ahead, it is exciting to see the gains we are making, and I look forward to the additional progress that will be made in this critical area in the coming year.”

Anchored by a Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Plan adopted in 2021, UGA’s efforts to foster diversity and inclusion include successful programs that have been in place for years as well as new initiatives.

“The work of diversity and inclusion is happening across campus, and that’s what makes UGA unique,” said Michelle Cook, senior vice provost and co-chair of the committee that developed the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Plan. “These are core values of the institution, not just add-ons, and they are embedded in every school, college and unit.”

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UGA again ranks in top 20 among best public universities

The University of Georgia held fast at No. 16 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 ranking of the best public universities in the nation, marking the seventh consecutive year that UGA has placed in the top 20.

“This outstanding news is another clear sign that the University of Georgia is solidifying its position among the very best public research universities in America,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “The consistency of our national ranking is a testament to the commitment of our talented faculty, staff and students; the generosity and support of our loyal alumni and friends; and the effectiveness of our vision and strategy to reach new heights of academic excellence.”

The University of Georgia shares the No. 16 ranking with Ohio State University and is just ahead of Purdue University at No. 18. UGA’s ranking came in just behind the Georgia Institute of Technology at No. 15 and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the College of William & Mary, which are tied at No. 13.

The university also earned high marks in several distinct categories. The Terry College of Business ranked among the nation’s top 25 undergraduate business programs. Among its individual degrees, the insurance program once again ranked No. 1. The real estate program was ranked No. 5, and the accounting program ranked No. 14. UGA also ranked as one of the top 25 best colleges for veterans.

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Investiture ceremony held for USG Chancellor Perdue

Sonny Perdue was officially invested as the 14th Chancellor of the University System of Georgia during a ceremony held Sept. 9. The former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Georgia governor began his duties April 1.

Janet Westpheling, a member of USG’s Faculty Council and professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ genetics department, spoke on behalf of USG faculty.

“It is my honor to welcome Sonny Perdue as our chancellor,” she said. “We look forward to working with you as a team in our common missions of excellence in teaching, research and service. Your success is our success, and we as faculty pledge to do whatever we can to promote that mission.”

Perdue thanked guests for attending and shared his thoughts on Georgia’s public higher education system.

“I stand before you today, willingly accepting this charge to lead this system, but also to be our institutions’ biggest cheerleader, our students’ biggest advocate and our families’ and communities’ biggest supporter,” he said. “The University System of Georgia is and will continue to be a lifelong learning partner for all Georgians.”