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Forum to focus on womens roles in sciences

Top women who study topics in medicine, global hunger and obesity will share their experiences at the ninth annual Global Educational Forum on March 19 at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education.

This year’s conference theme, “Women in Science and Medicine: Challenges, Achievements and Way Forward,” brings experts from around the globe to delve into a multicultural, multi-discipline event. Forum topics include women in African medicine, global hunger, breast cancer and patient diversity, gendered politics of health and obesity epidemics around the world.

The annual forum focuses on women in scientific fields because they are, traditionally, an underrepresented group, said Rose Chepyator-Thomson, a professor in the College of Education’s sport management program and organizer of the conference.

The event includes a mix of UGA scholars and experts from around the world. This mix, said Chepyator-Thomson, brings the world to UGA while also giving students and faculty across disciplines a chance to collaborate.

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UGA to dedicate Willson Centers new location in historically renovated home

The University of Georgia’s Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts has relocated to a historically renovated two-story house at 1260 South Lumpkin St. The center’s director, Nicholas Allen, invites the community to attend a dedication ceremony including President Jere W. Morehead and poet H. Bruce McEver on March 19 at 5 p.m. at the new location.

A catered reception will follow the ceremony. The event also will honor the Willson Center’s 2014-2015 Faculty Research Fellows.

The renovation was made possible through the generosity of Jane Willson, the Willson Center’s Board of Friends and individual donors and with support from the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President for Research. The building will serve as a hub and showcase for humanities and arts research and will house international guests, receptions, events and the Willson Center staff.

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UGA-school district partnership wins national recognition

A partnership between the University of Georgia College of Education and the Clarke County School District that gives more than 500 teacher candidates classroom experience each year has been named one of the top programs in the country.

Called the Professional Development School District, the program was awarded the NAPDS Award for Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement from the National Association for Professional Development Schools. The award recognizes university-school district partnerships that “create and sustain genuine collaborative partnerships” and help shape future educational leaders.

The award was announced March 6 during the annual National Association of Professional Development Schools conference in Atlanta.

What makes the partnership unique is the placement of College of Education faculty and students into local classrooms. Many schools have a “professor-in-residence” who supervises student teachers, teaches on-site courses and provides professional development to teachers at the school. In addition, most faculty members involved with the program teach at least one teacher-preparatory course in a local school, and some serve as a “professor on special assignment,” working at a school on a project developed by the school’s administration and teachers.

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UGA licensing and startup programs combine as Innovation Gateway

In a move to streamline the path from laboratory and field to market, the University of Georgia has merged its technology licensing and startup programs to create a combined unit called Innovation Gateway.

“Combining what were previously known as the Technology Commercialization Office and the Georgia BioBusiness Center into a single entity—the Innovation Gateway—will enhance the creation of new innovative companies and products based on UGA research, and ultimately, improve the quality of life in our state and around the world,” said David Lee, UGA vice president for research.

“The optimal approach for moving a discovery from the lab to the market can vary depending on the type of technology and stage of development,” said Derek Eberhart, Innovation Gateway director.

“In some cases, the best route for a promising technology is licensing to an established company, while in other instances, the best way to nurture the nascent technology is launching a startup company. As Innovation Gateway, we can more effectively and efficiently help researchers and companies navigate either of these pathways and ensure that groundbreaking discoveries emerging from UGA research will reach their fullest commercial potential.”

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Link identified between virus recognition, destruction in bacterial immune system

An immune system that helps bacteria combat viruses is yielding unlikely results such as the ability to edit genome sequences and potentially correct mutations that cause human disease.

University of Georgia researchers Michael and Rebecca Terns were among the first to begin to study the bacterial immune system. They now have identified a key link in how bacteria respond and adapt to foreign invaders.

The new study, authored by the Terns and postdoctoral research associate Yunzhou Wei in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of biochemistry and molecular biology, was published recently in Genes & Development.

A bacterium gains immunity against a virus through a sophisticated process of acquiring a fragment of the viral DNA and incorporating the sequence into its own genome. This virus identification sequence is kept in a locus commonly known as a CRISPR, short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.

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Four UGA faculty members receive Meigs Professorships

Four University of Georgia faculty members have been named Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professors, the university’s highest recognition for excellence in instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

In bestowing the Meigs Professorship, the university communicates its commitment to excellence in teaching, the value placed on the learning experiences of students and the centrality of instruction to the university’s mission. Meigs Professors receive a permanent salary increase of $6,000 and a one-year discretionary fund of $1,000. The award is sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

“Our Meigs Professors demonstrate an enduring commitment to the success of their students,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Their reputation for excellence in instruction extends well beyond our campus, and their impact on the lives and career trajectories of students and alumni is incalculable.”

The 2015 Meigs Professors are:

  • Malcolm Adams, a professor of mathematics and department head in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Mark Harrison, a professor of food science and technology and graduate coordinator in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
  • Erica Hashimoto, the Allen Post Professor of Law in the School of Law.
  • Cynthia Ward, a professor of small animal internal medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

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UGA dedicates residential learning facility in Washington, D.C.

Pockets of snow dotted Delta Hall’s front lawn on Thursday, Feb. 26, as the University of Georgia dedicated its new permanent residential learning facility in the heart of Capitol Hill.

The three-story building, purchased in 2013 by the UGA Foundation, currently houses 29 UGA students who are living and interning for various legislators and organizations in the nation’s capital.

“As you look around the building, one point will become immediately clear: Delta Hall is a premier facility, providing students with all of the amenities they need to live and learn in Washington, D.C.,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “The true value of this facility, however, lies not in its design, but in the life-changing learning experiences it will facilitate for UGA students.”

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Three UGA faculty members receive Russell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Three University of Georgia faculty members have received the Richard B. Russell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the university’s highest early career teaching honor.

The awards were established by the Russell Foundation and named for Richard B. Russell, the university alumnus who served Georgia in public office for 50 years, including almost 40 years as U.S. Senator. The awards, first presented in the 1991-1992 academic year, are administered annually by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and include a $5,000 prize for each recipient from the Russell Foundation.

“This year’s recipients of the Russell Awards share an exemplary dedication to creating life-changing learning experiences for students,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Their innovative teaching methods and commitment to student success epitomize the world-class learning environment that the University of Georgia provides.”

The 2015 Russell Award winners are:

  • Peter Jutras, an associate professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ Hugh Hodgson School of Music.
  • Andrew Owsiak, an assistant professor of international affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs.
  • Jennifer Palmer, an assistant professor of history in the Franklin College.

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UGA students sing Glory, Glory to a record $683,251 raised for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

 During a 24-hour stretch from Feb. 21-22, more than 1,000 participants filled the University of Georgia Tate Student Center Grand Hall to dance, play on inflatable obstacle courses, sing “Glory, Glory” and raise a record-setting $683,251.15 to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Dance Marathon, now a touchstone in the on-campus experience of many UGA students, has served as the annual culminating fundraising event for the student-run philanthropic organization, UGA Miracle, for two decades. During the event, students give up an entire day in a symbolic gesture in support of children combating illness in hospitals. Over the course of 24 hours, the students, joined by current and former Children’s Healthcare patients have a marathon dance session that includes live music, talent shows and special messages from the families whose lives they impact with their support.

“The University of Georgia is incredibly proud of these students,” said Victor K. Wilson, vice president for student affairs. “Our students do so much to support the university and local communities, and we appreciate their impressive efforts to make such a positive impact.”

For this year’s event, student leaders set a goal to raise $610,000, a nearly 20 percent increase over 2014’s record-setting total of $507,203. For the reveal, children lined up across the stage, each holding a large square card with a number written on the back. The entire room’s focus was on the stage as each child held his or her number up. When the last child on the left held the six high in the air, the entire room burst into cheers and tears—they had surpassed their goal by more than 12 percent.

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UGA names new Washington, D.C., facility

The University of Georgia has received a commitment for a $5 million grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation to support UGA in Washington. In recognition of the gift, UGA will name the university’s new residential facility in Washington, D.C., Delta Hall.  The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia formally approved the naming at its meeting on Feb. 11.

“We are grateful to the Delta Air Lines Foundation for supporting UGA in Washington,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Delta Air Lines has been a strong corporate partner of the University of Georgia for many years, and this latest gift demonstrates the leadership role Delta is taking in our ongoing comprehensive campaign to advance the University of Georgia.”

Funding UGA in Washington has been a priority for the university president and the UGA Foundation board of trustees as they seek to elevate the university to greater national stature. Delta’s gift also establishes a lecture series that will feature prominent speakers each year as well as five internships.

“The Delta Air Lines Foundation is proud to support the University of Georgia as it expands its reach and provides educational tools and resources to its global student population,” said Tad Hutcheson, vice president of community affairs for Delta. “Through the new facility in Washington, D.C., we aim to increase exposure for UGA and create a place where students can prosper.”