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More than 300 Georgia Commitment Scholarships created in under two years

In less than two years, the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program has led to the creation of more than 300 need-based scholarships, a resounding success in the University of Georgia’s ongoing mission to remove barriers and open doors for students.

The program, which was catalyzed by a $30 million gift from The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, was unveiled by President Jere W. Morehead in January 2017. Since that time, 322 scholarships from 206 donors have been created, putting the program well on pace to surpass its goal of 400 scholarships by June 30, 2020.

“The Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program is a testament to the generosity of the UGA family and a demonstration of their inspiring commitment to our students,” said Morehead. “These scholarships will provide students a path to higher education not just today and tomorrow, but in perpetuity.”

Through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, the UGA Foundation matches—dollar for dollar—any gift in the amount of $50,000, $75,000 or $100,000 to establish an endowed undergraduate need-based scholarship. The scholarship is awarded by the Office of Student Financial Aid within a year of the donor making his or her gift, and from that point forward, the endowment grows—increasing the size of the scholarship award over time and helping student after student earn a UGA degree.

The GCS Program offers students more than financial support to attend UGA. The program, in partnership with the Division of Academic Enhancement, provides tutoring, workshops, academic coaching and other support to help students transition into college life, find success while on campus and plan for life after graduation.

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UGA launches project to transform STEM education

More than 100 University of Georgia faculty members in science, technology, engineering and math will collaborate on a comprehensive research project that seeks to transform STEM education on campus and at research universities nationwide.

Funded by a $3 million National Science Foundation grant, teams of faculty members will create, implement and assess active learning materials to help students better develop STEM knowledge and skills. The multi-level project also involves department heads, the Office of Faculty Affairs and Office of Instruction, who will work together to explore ways to better support, incentivize and reward effective, evidence-based STEM instruction. Research findings, at both the disciplinary level and at the department and institutional levels, will be broadly disseminated to improve student learning outcomes at UGA and at research institutions nationwide.

“We were in a really good position to secure this grant because of a number of things at UGA that help us leverage the funding, like the Science Learning Center and its SCALE-UP classrooms, the small class hiring initiative and the active learning initiative that’s currently underway,” said principal investigator Paula Lemons, an associate professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology who leads an interdisciplinary center on campus known as Scientists Engaged in Education Research, or SEER. “These are all investments in instruction that enable us to design and test better learning experiences for students.”

As best practices at a classroom level become more clearly defined, the NSF has sought to scale the use of evidence-based instruction to departments and universities. Lemons has been studying the science of teaching and learning for more than a decade, and she and her colleagues at UGA have collectively authored nearly 200 research publications that illuminate how effective teaching can improve student success. The new project at UGA is known as Department and Leadership Teams for Action, or DeLTA. 

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Number of early action applications to UGA skyrockets

The number of early action applicants to the University of Georgia has reached a record level, and today approximately 7,500 students will receive the good news that they have been offered admission to the birthplace of public higher education in America.

Nearly 17,000 students applied for early action admission to the Class of 2023, which is a 14 percent increase over last year and a 28 percent increase compared to five years ago. This year early action applications came from nearly all of Georgia’s 159 counties and 3,100 high schools across America.

As in previous years, students who were offered early action admission enrolled in rigorous coursework relative to what is available at their school and also earned outstanding GPAs and SAT or ACT scores.

Students who receive a deferral of decision still have a chance at a UGA education; their applications will be reviewed through the regular decision process, which also considers factors such as extracurricular activities, essays and school recommendations. Deferred students also can submit senior year grades and SAT or ACT scores that were not submitted previously.

The regular decision application deadline is Jan. 1, and final admissions decisions for deferred early action and regular decision applicants will be released in March 2019.

“The rise in the number of early action applicants over the past five years reflects the increasing stature of UGA among public colleges and universities across the nation,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “The university congratulates the students admitted to the Class of 2023 through early action.”

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Memorial dedicated at Baldwin Hall

The University of Georgia hosted a ceremony on Nov. 16 to dedicate a new memorial at Baldwin Hall in tribute to those who were buried there.

“We are drawn here today by a deep sense of respect for these individuals and by a strong sense of duty to commemorate the lives they lived,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “The memorial we are dedicating this morning will provide for an enduring tribute as well as a physical space for meaningful reflection in the future.”

Morehead was one of three individuals who spoke at the ceremony. The Honorable Steve Jones, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Georgia, and Michelle Cook, UGA’s Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Strategic University Initiatives, also shared their own reflections.

“As a member of the Baldwin Hall Memorial Advisory Task Force, my fellow members and I spent a great deal of time thinking deeply about this monument,” Jones said. “We recognized the significance of this great project. We took pride in knowing that we had been called upon for this special occasion and this special task. It mattered to us. We wanted to get it right, and I think we did.”

The memorial, located on the south end of the front lawn of Baldwin Hall, near Old Athens Cemetery, will serve as a place of remembrance for the individuals who were originally buried on this site in the 1800s, most of whom likely were slaves or former slaves.

The design was recommended by members of the Baldwin Hall Memorial Advisory Task Force, a group of 18 representatives from the university and the local community appointed by Morehead and chaired by Cook.

“Our goal was to honor, with dignity and respect, the men, women and children who were once buried here,” Cook said. “This memorial is a place of remembrance and reflection. Each element was chosen to evoke a sense of place and permanence. It will be here for generations to come.” 

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UGA launches Institute for International Biomedical Regulatory Sciences

The University of Georgia College of Pharmacy has launched the Institute for International Biomedical Regulatory Sciences.

The first-of-its kind institute will address the increased challenges and opportunities in regulatory sciences caused by advances in technology and sciences in the biomedical field.

The institute will focus on collaborative partnerships, integrative research, education, training and outreach to meet its primary objective, which is the safe implementation of various biomedical products, including pharmaceuticals, vaccines, medical devices, biologics, animal health products and combination products.

“Regulatory sciences provide the framework needed to ensure that constant, exciting new discoveries from biomedical scientists will be safely translated into effective treatments,” said Michael Bartlett, founding director of the new institute and associate dean for science education, research and technology at the College of Pharmacy. “This institute will be a perfect amalgamation between industry, government and academia, and will offer valuable opportunities to students, researchers and professionals in this important field.”

Focusing on workforce development, the institute will offer educational programs through graduate certificates, Master of Science degree programs, conferences and workshops. Graduate level courses will be web-based. The institute’s partnerships across various departments of UGA will allow students from other full-time degree programs to enroll in classes offered.

Partnering with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the institute will sponsor two conferences per year. The International Good Manufacturing Practices Conference and the Medical Device Regulations Conference will take place at the main UGA campus in Athens and the UGA Gwinnett campus in Lawrenceville respectively. Both conferences will offer academic and continuing education credits as well as networking opportunities for attendees.

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Alumni Association reveals 10th annual Bulldog 100

The University of Georgia Alumni Association has unveiled the 2019 Bulldog 100 list of fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. More than 564 nominations were submitted for the 2019 list.

The 2019 Bulldog 100 includes businesses of all sizes and from industries such as real estate, dining, technology and retail. Companies are based as far north as New York and as far west as California. Of the 100 businesses, 80 are located within Georgia.

“The Bulldog 100 program provides us with an the opportunity to applaud the outstanding achievements of our graduates, broaden networks and inspire each other in our shared commitment,” said Meredith Johnson, executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. “These alumni are leading the way in business and building better communities.”

Business applicants were measured by their compounded annual growth rate during a three-year period. On Jan. 26, the UGA Alumni Association will host an event to celebrate the Bulldog 100 and count down the ranked list to the No. 1 business.

To view the alphabetical list of honorees and to learn more about the Bulldog 100, see www.alumni.uga.edu/b100 .

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Double Dawgs program reaches milestone

Launched last fall, the Double Dawgs program was created to help University of Georgia students save time and money by enabling them to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in five years or less. The program offered just over 100 dual degree pathways at its inception, but that number has since grown to exceed 150, with faculty members and department heads continuing to propose new linked-degree programs.

“The Double Dawgs program offers another great example of how the University of Georgia is prioritizing student learning and success,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “I am pleased by the commitment of our faculty to enable this innovative program to expand the number of opportunities for UGA students to challenge themselves academically and gain a competitive advantage in the workplace.”

The Double Dawgs program comes at a time when the advanced skills and knowledge that graduate education provides are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of jobs typically requiring a master’s degree is expected to grow by 17 percent in the coming years, compared to 10 percent for a bachelor’s degree alone.

“In addition to positioning students for greater career success, the Double Dawgs program helps students deepen their knowledge and create meaningful connections among separate but related fields,” said Vice President for Instruction Rahul Shrivastav. “This kind of broad-based knowledge applied with deep, critical thinking helps students thrive in a world that is constantly changing.”

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UGA students graduate in record time

An expanded slate of programs at the University of Georgia tailored to the needs and ambitions of students is helping them earn their degrees in record time.

The university’s four-year completion rate has moved up 2 percentage points to reach a record 68 percent, and 75 percent of UGA students earn their degrees in four years plus one semester. For comparison, the average four-year graduation rate at UGA’s highly selective aspirational institutions is 69 percent, while the average four-year graduation rates for peer and SEC institutions are 53 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

The university’s six-year completion rate moved up 1 percentage point to reach a record 86 percent, which is just 1 percentage point shy of the 87 percent six-year completion rate for the university’s aspirational institutions. UGA’s 86 percent six-year completion rate exceeds the 76 percent average for UGA’s peer institutions as well as the 72 percent average for Southeastern Conference institutions.

“It is exciting to see the results of several UGA initiatives to increase student success building on one another to produce record-setting outcomes for our students,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “These achievements also reflect the dedication of faculty and staff across campus to helping our students attain their goals.”

UGA provides a range of programs that promote academic success while building community among students with similar interests and aspirations. Schools and colleges, the Division of Student AffairsPublic Service and Outreach and the Office of Instruction are among the many units that work, often in tandem, to create a learning environment that keeps students on track to graduate while also helping them grow and thrive as individuals.

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Former President Jimmy Carter joins the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame

The most famous peanut farmer in history is now the first president of the United States to be inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame.

President Jimmy Carter was inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame, housed at the University of Georgia, on November 9 at the 64th UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association Awards.

The Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame was established in 1972 to recognize individuals who made unusual and extraordinary contributions to the agriculture and agribusiness industries in Georgia. The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association maintains the Hall of Fame.

“Agriculture is a business, and it’s a way of life but it’s also an act of service to the larger community,” said Sam Pardue, dean, and director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Georgia’s Agricultural Hall of Fame is filled with individuals whose impact on agriculture has had generational effects that positively impacted the entire state and country.”

Carter’s agricultural background helped shape his public service ethic and drove him to help people, said Abit Massey, former head of the Georgia Poultry Federation and a friend of Carter’s. Having Carter run for statewide office and then his national post made the nation take notice of what was happening in rural Georgia.

“His symbol when he ran for president was the peanut, which people wore on their lapels,” Massey said. “That was an example of what he thought about agriculture. It also indicated to people all over the nation that agriculture was important and that Georgia was an important agriculture state.”

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Callaway gift to make Botanical Garden more accessible

A $1 million gift from the Callaway Foundation will fund a new visitor entrance to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia, enhancing access to the galleries, classrooms, collections and displays.

The new entrance will be an official gateway to the garden from the parking lots to the Alice Hand Callaway Visitor Center and Conservatory and will include an elevator, which will improve access for individuals in wheelchairs, pushing strollers or who have difficulty maneuvering stairs. Alice Hand Callaway was the daughter of Fuller E. Callaway Jr., who established the foundation in 1943.

“The Callaway Foundation is pleased to be a part of this effort to improve the experience for visitors to the garden,” said Speer Burdette, president of the Callaway Foundation Inc. “Mrs. Callaway loved flowers and plants, and especially the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Her wish would be that every Georgian could experience the beauty of the garden and discover the many ways it benefits the state, through education and conservation.”

About 230,000 people visit the State Botanical Garden each year and Jennifer Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, believes that number will increase by about 50,000 once the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden is completed later this year. From the new entrance, visitors would be able to see the children’s garden as they wait for the elevator.

Construction of the new garden entrance is expected to begin in 2019. The total cost of the project is $2.01 million.