The University of Georgia has set a record in a key measure of student success: Its freshman retention rate increased by a full percentage point from 2014 to 2015 to reach 95.2 percent.
The freshman retention rate measures the percentage of a school's first-time, first-year undergraduate students who continue at that school the next year. The national average for public, four-year institutions is 80 percent, and UGA's 95 percent retention rate places it among the nation's top universities in this measure.
"We continue to invest in faculty, staff and innovative programs to ensure that students at Georgia's flagship university have an unparalleled learning experience," said President Jere W. Morehead. "Our high retention rate is one sign that these investments are having a positive impact on student success."
Two University of Georgia professors-Dawn D. Bennett-Alexander in the Terry College of Business and Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor in the College of Education-are among 10 professors nationwide to be honored with a 2015 Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award for teaching excellence.
The award honors faculty members "who have inspired their former students to make a significant contribution to society," and UGA is the only university in the nation with two 2015 recipients. Bennett-Alexander and Cahnmann-Taylor will each receive a $25,000 award and will be honored at a Nov. 14 ceremony at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta.
"To have two winners of the Beckman Award in the same year is an outstanding accomplishment for the university," said President Jere W. Morehead.
Karri Hobson-Pape, co-founder and partner at Inflexion Point Marketing Group in Atlanta, has been named vice president for marketing and communications at the University of Georgia. The appointment was announced today by UGA President Jere W. Morehead.
"Karri brings the ideal combination of professional experience and strategic vision required to advance the institution's critical marketing and communications functions," Morehead said. "I look forward to working with her as a member of the university's senior leadership team."
Hobson-Pape's appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2016. She succeeds Tom Jackson, who became heritage communications executive with the University System of Georgia earlier this year.
As vice president for marketing and communications, Hobson-Pape will report directly to Morehead and will oversee the Division of Marketing and Communications, currently known as the Public Affairs Division. The office comprises four departments: news service, publications, broadcast/video/photography and the Visitors Center, as well as WUGA-FM. Under Hobson-Pape's direction, the division will serve as the central communications and marketing unit at UGA.
The environment and civil rights will be the focus of this year's Georgia Writers Hall of Fame ceremony events Nov. 8 and 9 at the University of Georgia.
Taylor Branch and Janisse Ray will be inducted into the hall Nov. 9, along with posthumous honorees Vereen Bell and Paul Hemphill. The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. All events are in the auditorium of the UGA Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.
"The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame celebrates our state's literary tradition, and this year we are proud to induct four outstanding Georgia writers," said Toby Graham, university librarian and associate provost. Branch is best known for his landmark history of the civil rights era. Ray's writing is deeply influenced by the natural world. Bell's fiction first brought the Okefenokee Swamp into the national consciousness, and Paul Hemphill explored themes related to the working class South.
"Our programming will focus on the topics of civil rights and the environment, ones that connect this year's inductees and that are of particular relevance to Georgia," Graham said.
Researchers at the University of Georgia and James Madison University want students to draw inspiration from nature as they look for solutions to complex engineering challenges. The two universities have received assistance from the National Science Foundation to develop instructional resources centered on the concept of biologically inspired design, known as biomimicry, in engineering curricula.
The two-year collaboration will be led by Ramana Pidaparti, a professor and associate dean for academic programs in the UGA College of Engineering, and Jacquelyn Nagel, an assistant professor of engineering at JMU.
Nature has developed clever solutions for incredibly complex problems, Pidaparti explained. As examples, a leaf is able to convert sunlight and water into usable energy while a shark's skin possesses a unique texture that doesn't allow bacteria and other organisms to gain a foothold. With mankind facing increasingly complicated questions, scientists are turning to the natural world for answers through the study of biomimicry.
"The focus of our project is to provide students with experiences that combine biological concepts with engineering solutions," Pidaparti said. "We need to look to biological systems that have evolved over billions of years to find answers to engineering challenges of the future."
The University of Georgia's iGEM—International Genetically Engineered Machine—team won a gold medal and was runner-up for the best measurement project award at the 2015 iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston, Massachusetts.
iGEM is an annual international collegiate synthetic biology competition originated by MIT. The 2015 event included 280 iGEM teams and more than 2,700 attendees from across the globe. The competition seeks to promote synthetic biology research awareness and collaborations to develop practical solutions for the real world. The teams are judged on their research novelty, impact toward real world solutions, outreach, collaborations and more.
The University of Georgia today announced that Sanford and Barbara Orkin of Atlanta have extended a long history of generous giving by establishing a fund to provide scholarship support for low-income students attending the state's flagship institution of higher education.
The couple's latest gift of $1 million from the Sanford and Barbara Orkin Family Foundation will establish a scholarship fund, which will be used to provide financial support for tuition, books, room and board, and other living expenses incurred by outstanding, academically talented students who come from low-income families.
Students eligible for Orkin Scholarships may come from families where there is little to no parental involvement and financial resources are minimal to non-existent. In many instances, scholarship recipients will come from families where no current or past family member has ever attended college.
"One of the university's top priorities is to increase scholarship support for students with significant financial need," said President Jere W. Morehead. "I am deeply grateful to Sanford and Barbara for their enduring generosity and for establishing this scholarship fund, which will have a transformative impact on the lives of many UGA students."
The University of Georgia College of Public Health has received a $500,000 gift to create the Karen and Jim Holbrook Distinguished Professorship and an endowed fellowship to support graduate students in the global health field.
Karen Holbrook served as UGA provost and senior vice president for academic affairs from 1998 to 2002 before being named president of The Ohio State University. Jim Holbrook is a retired oceanographer and past deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Research Laboratory in Seattle.
The gift reflects the Holbrooks' lifelong commitment to higher education, the health sciences and global collaboration as well as their strong affection for UGA. The UGA Foundation is providing an additional $250,000 for the distinguished professorship in recognition of Holbrook's transformative tenure as provost at UGA and to honor her remarkable service record in higher education.
A team of University of Georgia faculty members, led by a researcher in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, has received an $8.2 million grant from the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to improve the lives of children and families in the child welfare system in Georgia.
The project will focus on creating positive and stable homes through the integration of research-based services designed to improve healthy marriage and relationship skills and promote economic stability.
With numerous state and local partners, including the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, Georgia Family Connection, Great Start Georgia, Strengthening Families Georgia and Project Safe, the five-year project will reach nearly 1,500 families in a 13-county, mostly rural, region in northeast Georgia.
"America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia" received the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council 2015 Award for Excellence in Documenting Georgia's History.
This project was part of a partnership between the Digital Library of Georgia, a GALILEO Initiative based at the University of Georgia, the Atlanta History Center, the Georgia Historical Society and the UGA Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
"America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia" is available at http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/CollectionsA-Z/turningpoint_search.html.
The collection brings together archival materials documenting the Atlanta Campaign and the defense of Savannah; the Eastern Theater and Western Theater outside of Georgia; Confederate government records and correspondence of its prominent officials; life on the homefront; slavery; and the Civil War in memory.