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.
The Andalusia Institute
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.
The Rural Studies Institute
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.
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 for his work.
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:
School of Nursing
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.
Georgia Residency for Educating Amazing Teachers (GREAT grant)
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.
The ADVANCE PLAN Project
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.
Awards and Recognition
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
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.