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UGAs online programs ranked among the best in nation

The University of Georgia has some of the best online degree programs in the nation, according to the 2016 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs Rankings. UGA is ranked No. 3 among all universities for best online graduate programs in education and No. 5 for best online bachelor's programs overall.

"These latest rankings from U.S. News reflect our commitment to delivering a world-class learning experience, whether on our campuses or online," said President Jere W. Morehead. "Through our growing number of online degree programs, working professionals and other nontraditional students have opportunities to advance their careers by earning a degree from Georgia's flagship university."

Administered through UGA's Office of Online Learning, a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Instruction, the online degree programs incorporate new and innovative teaching methods implemented through the pairing of faculty with staff who are formally trained in instructional design and distance education. Over the past three years, UGA has more than doubled its number of online degree and certificate programs to bring the total to 29.

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Office of Sustainability awards grants to fund student projects

The University of Georgia Office of Sustainability has awarded $40,000 to fund 10 interdisciplinary student projects through its annual Campus Sustainability Grants Program.

The program, funded by student green fees and a Sustainability + Arts partnership with Ideas for Creative Exploration, provides financial and staff resources to implement student-initiated projects that further the university's sustainability goals.

The Office of Sustainability received project proposals from students in multiple academic disciplines across campus. A selection committee of students, faculty and staff made the final recommendations for projects to be awarded in 2016. All student projects that received funding align with UGA's 2020 Strategic Plan to promote stewardship of natural resources and advance sustainability research, education and service at UGA and beyond.

Since the Campus Sustainability Grants Program inception in 2010, the Office of Sustainability has awarded $170,000 to fund 47 student-initiated projects on campus and in the community.

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Honors student Torre Lavelle named to inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars

University of Georgia Honors student Torre Lavelle is one of 111 students from around the world to be named to the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars, a highly selective and fully funded one-year master's program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

More than 3,000 applicants from 135 countries applied for the Schwarzman Scholars program, making it one of the most selective in the world.

"Torre Lavelle richly deserves the honor of being named to a program designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders," said Jessica Hunt, major scholarships coordinator in the UGA Honors Program. "As a future conservation policymaker, Torre has demonstrated a commitment to environmental stewardship within local, national and international communities."

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Samuel Pardue named dean of UGAs College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Samuel Pardue, a noted poultry science researcher and administrator at North Carolina State University, has been named dean and director of the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Pardue is currently associate dean and director of academic programs at NC State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and his appointment at UGA is effective March 14.

"I am pleased that Dr. Pardue is joining the university as the next dean and director of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences," said President Jere W. Morehead. "His academic background and professional experience are ideal for leading the college at a very exciting time in its history and working with key stakeholders and alumni who are critical to our future success."

Since 2012, Pardue has overseen the academic programming in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' 16 departments. Prior to being named associate dean, he served for seven years as the head of the department of poultry science, which in 2012 was named the Prestage Department of Poultry Science in honor of a $10 million gift he helped secure.

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UGA to launch campus-wide Entrepreneurship Certificate program

The University of Georgia will offer a campus-wide certificate program for students who are interested in launching and growing businesses and nonprofit organizations.

UGA's Entrepreneurship Certificate program, which will begin in fall 2016, will be housed in the Terry College of Business but is open to students from any major. Students in the program take three required courses-"Introduction to Entrepreneurship," "Entrepreneurial Finance" and "Managing the Entrepreneurial Venture"-as well two elective courses that are tailored to their interests and aspirations.

"UGA's Entrepreneurship Certificate program allows students to complement the knowledge they gain through their major coursework with fundamental business principles that help them turn their ideas into innovations," said Bob Pinckney, UGA's director of entrepreneurial programs.

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Service-learning courses can positively impact post-graduate salaries, UGA study finds

Service-learning is already known to have a positive impact in the classroom but a University of Georgia study shows it can help grow graduates' bank accounts as well.

The research, co-authored by Paul Matthews, associate director of UGA's Office of Service-Learning, which reports jointly to the vice presidents for instruction and for public service and outreach, found that a group of students graduating in 2010 made about $4,600 more annually in their first full-time job if they had participated in service-learning at UGA. They also received their first raise more than two-and-a-half months sooner than those who hadn't taken service-learning courses.

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Study: UGA has a $4.4 billion economic impact on Georgia

Georgia's flagship university has a $4.4 billion annual economic impact on the state, according to a new study that analyzed how the three-part teaching, research and service mission of the University of Georgia contributes to the economy.

The study, conducted by UGA economist Jeffrey Dorfman, quantified variables such as the increase in earnings that graduates of the university's schools and colleges receive, revenues from the licensing of university inventions, and the creation of business and jobs resulting from the university's public service and outreach units.

"Nowhere is the bond between the state of Georgia and the University of Georgia more evident than in our far-reaching economic impact," said President Jere W. Morehead. "The contributions of UGA faculty, staff, students and alumni are helping to ensure a strong economic future for our state."

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Alison Bracewell McCullick named UGAs community relations coordinator

Alison Bracewell McCullick will join the University of Georgia Office of Government Relations as its community relations coordinator starting Jan. 11, according to Griff Doyle, UGA vice president for government relations.

"Alison is an outstanding addition to the university's efforts to develop beneficial partnerships across Athens-Clarke County and surrounding counties," Doyle said. "As a university with more than 200 years in this community, our positive local relationships have been integral to the character and success of the University of Georgia. I look forward to growing that relationship and seeing where Alison's leadership takes us."

In her new role, McCullick will head the Office of Community Relations, replacing the recently retired Pat Allen. The office serves as the primary liaison between UGA and the Athens-Clarke County government, businesses, neighborhoods, nonprofit organizations, community leaders and individuals.

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UGA, Georgia Tech partner to create fully-accessible camp for children with disabilities

The University of Georgia's College of Environment and Design and Georgia Tech's College of Architecture have partnered with Extra Special People Inc. to build Camp Hooray, the first-of-its-kind, fully accessible overnight camp for children and young adults with developmental disabilities.

Located on a 70-acre parcel of land in Jackson County, the camp will have traditional camp activities including music, sports and games, art, swimming, boating, archery, field days, talent shows and overnight stays-while providing a safe, fun and meaningful experience for campers of all abilities.

The project would use the land design expertise of UGA's College of Environment and Design and Georgia Tech's architecture expertise to make the space sustainable and feature accessible design for residential cabins, outdoor spaces and common areas around a small rural lake. A public design process called a charrette will be conducted Jan. 29-31 on site and at 225 W. Broad St. in Athens.

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Georgia Power, UGA advancing solar energy through solar tracking demonstration project

Georgia Power leaders joined University of Georgia officials, Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols and community and business leaders to dedicate a new one megawatt solar tracking demonstration project. The new project is located on a 10-acre site owned by UGA and is the result of a utility/university collaboration to further demonstrate and advance solar energy in Georgia.

"Working in coordination with the Georgia Public Service Commission, and through strong relationships with organizations such as UGA, we have positioned Georgia as a national solar leader," said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. "Now more than ever, it's essential that we continue to invest in the research and development of new technologies to make solar, and all generation sources, as reliable, efficient and cost-effective for our customers as possible."

Research will be conducted under a two-year collaboration with UGA researchers, spearheaded by the College of Engineering, to study solar forecasting and the effects of solar panel soiling versus performance. Data analysis and performance reporting will occur through a Georgia Power partnership with the Electric Power Research Institute.