Message Archives

2021-2022 Provost Highlights

Dear Colleagues,

The 2021 - 2022 academic year marked the 25th anniversary of Georgia College & State University's designation as the state's public liberal arts university. After spending the past year celebrating this milestone and focusing on how a liberal arts education benefits our students, we now turn our attention to the future and how we can continue to achieve a higher level of excellence in the next 25 years.

In the coming year, we will embark upon the development of a new strategic plan. This process comes at a pivotal moment, as President Cathy Cox provides new perspective and direction for our core competencies and opportunities for growth and improvement.

Following a 2020 - 2021 landmark year for grant awards, Georgia College saw many accomplishments across our campus. Our external funding continued growing and included the receipt of a federal grant that will allow us to promote literacy and writing skills within our local school system. Beyond the exceptional work of our faculty, our students have excelled in many ways, such as being named the winner of the 2021 ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Award and our Georgia College Bobcats ranked first in the Academic Success Rate among Division II schools that received the NCAA's President's Award for Academic Excellence. Our National Scholarships Office continued to support our students, and this year their efforts resulted in several Fulbright semi-finalists, a Newman Civic Fellow, and the university's first-ever Goldwater Scholarship recipient. These are just a few examples of how we exceeded expectations while navigating our way through the pandemic.

As the world changes, we are adapting with it and finding ways to incorporate innovation and technology into our educational enterprise. For example, our business college has transitioned to the College of Business and Technology, we have created a new Aquatics Science Center, and launched a Digital Humanities Collaborative. In addition, the Academic Innovation Task Force has begun its work and we recently announced the formation of the Center for Innovation.

The 2022 - 2023 academic year promises to be an exciting time for Georgia College, as our dedicated faculty and staff continue to offer our students the highest-quality liberal arts education.


Dr. Costas Spirou
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs



Georgia College celebrated its second National Historic Landmark (NHL) — Andalusia Farm in Milledgeville, Georgia — home of famed American Author Flannery O’Connor, ’45. Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion was the campus’ first NHL, receiving this recognition in 1973. The NHL designation has only been awarded to a small number of campuses in the U.S., and less than three percent of America’s historic sites carry this designation.


The Peacock's Feet

The 45th edition of Georgia College’s undergraduate literary journal, “The Peacock’s Feet,” won first place in design from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP).

The award was announced on the AWP website and will be in the national organization’s September issue of “The Writer’s Chronicle.” This is one of two National Program Directors’ Prizes for “outstanding journals in the categories of content and design.”



Georgia College’s School of Nursing (SON) was designated as a 2021 Center of Teaching Excellence by the National League of Nursing (NLN). Georgia College was one of only 79 institutions in the country to be recognized by the organization in 2021.

In July, the university will complete its $803,000 grant to train nurses in forensic medical exams and trauma-informed care. This is just one of the many ways the SON has worked to address areas of nursing shortages in our state.


Brooke Conaway

Dr. Brooke Conaway, associate professor of economics, was the 2022 recipient of the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents Felton Jenkins, Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award.

Conaway is the fourth Georgia College professor in five years, and the second in her department, to earn this award. At Georgia College for the last 12 years, she also received the Georgia College Excellence in Teaching Award in 2021.

In the fall of 2021, we introduced our new Maker Space to campus. It brings multiple new technologies into the hands of teacher candidates in our John H. Lounsbury College of Education that will help them educate their future students.

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This past April, Chris Greer, professor of instructional technology, and his co-host Jason Clemmons premiered their new show, "View Finders," on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

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2020-2021 Provost Highlights

2020 - 2021 Provost Highlights

Dear Colleagues,

Despite the many challenges we faced collectively as an institution this past year, our students, faculty, and staff members achieved new milestones for the university. We launched the John E. Sallstrom Honors College, the Andalusia Institute, and the Rural Studies Institute and their dedicated work truly demonstrated how Georgia College is home to so many creative leaders.

If there was one theme that was at the forefront for the university this year, it would have to be research activities by our faculty and students. From work done by our faculty directly related to the pandemic, like original Coronavirus research and maltreatment reporting during school closures, to Georgia College receiving the 2020 Campus-wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishments (AURA) and releasing the inaugural issue of a nationwide undergraduate research journal – these are just a few of the hallmarks of our success in this area. Undergraduate research, like discovering and naming a new amphipod, is one of the ways in which our students can engage in through GC Journeys – a program that expects every student participating in at least five transformative learning experiences during their time at Georgia College. It is an initiative that we're proud to announce was awarded the University System of Georgia's (USG) 2021 Regent's Momentum Year Award for Excellence in Teaching and Curricular Innovation.

In addition to these accomplishments, I would also like to share more stories of success below. We are so proud of what our faculty and students have been able to achieve this year.

I look forward to continued successes as we close out this academic year and prepare for Fall 2021.

Dr. Costas Spirou
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs 

Progress through Partnerships 


Led by the efforts of Dr. Damian Francis, Georgia College’s Center for Health and Social Issues (CHSI) is working to address blight in one Milledgeville neighborhood with the goal of increasing the well-being of the people living there.

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With demand expected to increase for pharmacists in Southern healthcare settings like hospitals and clinics — Georgia College is pleased to announce a new accelerated Pathways Program for chemistry majors to transfer to one of three Doctor of Pharmacy schools in the United States.

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Georgia College Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Kristine White and junior environmental science major Sally Sir of Duluth have discovered an amphipod never before identified by anyone else. They found it in a collection of about 7,000 amphipods White collected in the mid-2000s as a post-doctoral student in Okinawa, Japan.

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Tsu-Ming Chiang


Dr. Tsu-Ming Chiang

2021 Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Mentor Award Recipient



Hasitha Mahabaduge


Dr. Hasitha Mahabaduge

2020 Fellow of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning



Holley Roberts


Dr. Holley Roberts

Member of the State of Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC)



Shaundra Walker


Dr. Shaundra Walker

2020 Demco Award Recipient




Best Paper Award for the Branding, Strategy and Research Track

Two marketing faculty members and two graduate students were recognized for the “Best Paper Award for the Branding, Strategy and Research Track” at the 2021 Spring Marketing Management Association (MMA) Conference.

Their research is titled “A Survey of Historical Marketing Influences on Artisan Vendors” and focuses on the historical perspective of what are known today as brand communities. An understudied $44-billion-dollar cottage industry in the U.S, the researchers examined the history of artisans, artisan vendors, and brand communities.

Georgia College faculty members and administrators presented on the development of the GC Journeys Program

Four Georgia College faculty members and administrators presented on the development of the GC Journeys Program in an Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) webinar March 4, 2021.

Drs. Costas Spirou, Jordan Cofer, Cynthia Alby, and Hasitha Mahabaduge were featured in a presentation titled “Building and Scaling an Institutional HIPs Initiative.”

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) survey showed that Georgia College seniors exceeded national peers

In 2020, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) survey showed that Georgia College seniors exceeded national peers in a variety of categories including “Collaborative Learning,” “Student-Faculty Interaction,” “Supportive Environment,” “Reflective & Integrated Learning” and “Discussions with Diverse Others.”

Honors College celebrates 50th anniversary

Since 1970, Georgia College nurtured and developed bright minds through its honors program. In time for its 50th Anniversary celebration in November of 2020, the program transformed into an Honors College — complete with its own dean and plans to make the honors experience even more dynamic for students.

The naming of the college after Dr. John E. Sallstrom was approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents in October. Sallstrom founded Georgia College's honors program.

The Graduate School sees all time record enrollment

For the fall 2020 semester, 1,268 students enrolled in graduate programs at the university — the largest number in history. That number has been steadily rising since fall 2016 when 868 students were enrolled. 

John H. Lounsbury College of Education receives highest ranking on Teacher Preparation Program Effectiveness Measures (PPEMs)

For the second consecutive year, the John H. Lounsbury College of Education received a level 4, the highest rating on the Teacher Preparation Program Effectiveness Measures (PPEMs) for 2021, published by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC).

Knowledge Box reaches milestone in downloads

Recently, the Knowledge Box reached an exciting milestone of 200,000 downloads. The Knowledge Box is Georgia College's institutional repository and has been accessed by researchers from across the globe.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded Georgia College a grant

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded Georgia College's Department of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy a $650,000 S-STEM grant, covering a five-year period.  It provides eligible incoming students up to $8,000 per year, a total of $32,000 over four years, as part of a multi-pronged approach designed to attract and retain chemistry and physics majors.

Georgia College sends 20 students to Grace Hopper Conference

Georgia College sponsored 20 students to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in 2020. Named in honor of technology pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, it helps women across the globe gain the confidence to land successful careers with major corporations in an industry where they are the minority, while highlighting the contributions of women in the technology field.

During the 2020 campaign, Trax on the Trail catalogues over 8,000 songs

More than 8,000 songs are catalogued in the Trax on the Trail database from the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaign trails. There are podcast interviews with music and political experts, as well.

Since its inception in 2015, Trax on the Trail has been used by journalists nationwide and become an educational tool in classrooms.

2019-2020 Provost Highlights


Dear Colleagues,

The 2019 – 2020 academic year was one in which Georgia College and the entire world experienced unprecedented conditions, requiring our faculty, staff, and students to be more adaptable and innovative than ever before in order to meet the new challenges brought forth by COVID-19.

Our campus community responded in a remarkable manner as we continued to advance our academic mission.

From our J. Whitney Bunting College of Business offering virtual networking sessions to help students prepare for their careers after graduation, to our Ina Dillard Russell Library offering services virtually – the entire campus engaged in extraordinary ways to support our students. We also reached out to aid our local communities by donating much-needed supplies from our labs and classrooms to local hospitals, and offering disaster preparedness training to our nursing students, thus better equipping them to serve residents to battle the pandemic.

While the current conditions have weighed heavily upon all of us, I also want to call attention to some of the wonderful achievements realized by our university this year.  The work of our faculty and students continues to be extraordinary and I hope you will find their stories uplifting and inspiring. I am also eagerly anticipating the start of fall semester as we look forward to the launch of our newly-founded Honors College and to welcoming returning students and the incoming Class of 2024 back to campus.  All of these accomplishments contribute to moving our institution forward on our path to preeminence.

Costas Spirou, Ph.D. 
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Introducing the Institutes 

This academic year saw the formation of two new institutes at Georgia College: The Andalusia Institute and the Rural Studies Institute.

Andalusia Institute

andalusia house

On the heels of being recognized as a national Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Andalusia, the home of the Flannery O’Connor from 1951 to 1964, welcomed Dr. Irene Burgess as the first executive director of the newly-created Andalusia Institute this spring. The institute will be focused on promoting educational programming centered around famed author and Georgia College alumna Flannery O’Connor. Early efforts will include developing a writers’ creative workshop, working with local and regional K-12 schools, and the creation of a residence program.

Rural Studies Institute 

porch discussion on rural studies

The Rural Studies Institute was established in January, and will produce research and community-building models to resuscitate and strengthen rural life in Baldwin County, Georgia and nationwide. The institute will seek to take the lead on finding solutions for disparity issues and move communities forward, and its first executive director, Dr. Veronica Womack, is the perfect fit for the role. Learn more about the institute and its work.


students at table in classroom

Named a 2019-20 Governor’s Teaching Fellow, assistant professor of physics Dr. Hasitha Mahabaduge was also awarded the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents Felton Jenkins, Jr. Hall of Fame award. 

Learn more about Dr. Mahabaduge



Georgia College is proud of the hard work our faculty do to pursue grants to support research and scholarly endeavors. A few of these notable grants for the year include:


The School of Nursing received two grants to assist to helping the state address health care provider shortages. Georgia College was one of 20 schools nationwide and the only school in Georgia to receive a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to administer the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) campus-based training program. The school was also the only one in the state to receive a $2.7 million, four-year grant from HRSA to help educate and train nurse practitioners to work in rural areas as well as expand on the School of Nursing’s partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to provide free education for Georgia’s public health nurses.



The U.S. Department of Education awarded the Southern Regional Education Board a $5.3 million, five-year Teacher Quality Partnership grant to create a residency-based teacher preparation program with Georgia College’s College of Education.

The initiative known as the Georgia Residency for Educating Amazing Teachers (GREAT grant) will recruit undergraduate STEM majors who aspire to become middle grades math and science teachers. They will complete an online Master of Arts in Teaching during a year-long residency — practice teaching supervised by a mentor-teacher —  in a high-needs middle grades classroom. 



Georgia College’s Dr. Chavonda Mills, professor of chemistry and chair of the department of chemistry, physics, and astronomy, is part of a new project awarded more than $1.1 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The ADVANCE PLAN project provides opportunities at 29 COPLAC (Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges) schools to bring research-based training in gender equity issues to administrators and to provide networking opportunities for women faculty and faculty from underrepresented groups.



While our faculty, staff, and students receive many accolades throughout the year, 2019-2020 saw a new record set and a first of its kind recognition for our institution, which we would like to share with you below.


Georgia College had a record-breaking nine Fulbright Scholarship semi-finalists for the year: the largest number in the school’s history. Ultimately, two scholarship recipients and one alternate emerged from this group of finalists. We invite you to learn more about them and their accomplishments.



The College of Education earned the highest rating on the 2019 Teacher Preparation Program Effectiveness Measures (PPEMs) published by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC). This level is above the expected level of performance for effectively preparing future teachers and is the highest rating awarded by the new state ratings system.


Join the Journey 

GC Journeys Graphic Text Reads: Join the Journey, Georgia College

As Georgia’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, all of our students receive a well-rounded education that equips them to navigate through an ever-changing world through a program that we call “GC Journeys.” From our students to our staff to our faculty, we invite our community to Join the Journey.

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2018-2019 Provost Highlights

2018-2019 Provost Highlights

For more than 125 years, Georgia College has prepared students to think independently and lead creatively by focusing on developing individuals who embrace change to make a difference.  Our public liberal arts mission is more relevant and essential than ever before because it can transform lives in an increasingly complex social world.  At the core of a liberal arts education there is both personal and professional fulfillment. The skills of liberal arts graduates are in increasing demand around the world. 

Our distinguished faculty mentor our students to succeed. Through faculty research that involves and guides our students, international engagement opportunities, strategically aligned transformative learning experiences, robust external partnerships, and community engagement programming, our students apply skills to be innovative and creative leaders. 

As we prepare to welcome the class of 2023, I would like to share with you some of the transformative activities that took place at our university last year.  I invite you to learn more about the exceptional work of our Georgia College faculty.  We are excited about the coming year and we look forward to continuing to chart our path to preeminence.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


nurses at bedside


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student in chair with live, learn, lead banner


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Dr. Samuel Mutiti

Helping the People of Zambia 

Dr. Samuel Mutiti is researching new ways to help the people of Zambia by reducing lead contaminants in the local environment.

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