Category: Human Nature

First-Year Odyssey: an intro to careers


FYO_vet.jpgIn a query in the form of a comment to a recent post, a prosective UGA student asked about the Franklin College and what role, as a prospective veterinary student, Franklin would play in their education. It's a good question.

A very significant role, actually. Aside from its importance to the core curriculum for a host of majors beyond Franklin, preparing students for study in a wide variety of fields and professional schools, the arts and sciences educate us about society in a way that will impact everything we do, whatever our field. The First-Year Odyssey program offers a case in point on this experience:

First-Year Odyssey seminars are designed to introduce students to academic life at UGA, allowing them to engage with faculty and other first-year students in a small class environment. 
In this seminar, Ward, a professor of internal medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine and chief medical officer for small animal medicine, asks students to explore how pets are part of society and what responsibility people have to their pets. But the course also gives students a chance to see and interact with animals.
There were plenty of adoring "oohs" and "ahs" from the class of 15 students as they toured the existing Veterinary Teaching Hospital with Ward and got to see animals of various sizes receiving treatment. The students were especially excited in the large animal wing of the hospital when they found a sick calf taking solace with its mother in a stall.
But the tour wasn't just about looking at sick animals. Students also were introduced to the wide-ranging specialties in veterinary medicine. Ward said there are nearly as many medical specialties in treating animals as there are in people medicine-including cardiology, anesthesiology, orthopedics and neurology.
While one function of the class is to get students to think deeply about human-animal interaction in society, it's also an opportunity for students to explore careers that deal with animals. 
Elizabeth Davis, a biological science major from Adairsville, grew up on a farm with chickens, goats and horses. She is considering career options with animals beyond being a veterinarian.
As she has found out in the class, there are many options.
"I've learned a lot about being a vet and other careers," she said.

Precisely so. Hands-on experience with a variety of subject matter allows students to think broadly about their future, even if they have already decided on a career. Refining our ideas about what we want to do and the best route for our talents is one of the great luxuries [and responsibilities] students enjoy at UGA. The Franklin College plays a crucial role in thse opportunities, providing the space and breadth of faculty expertise for your imagination to roam - and your perceptions to sharpen.

Transgender Awareness Week


The transgender community is an important constituency that helps inform institutional diversity efforts on campus - not unlike many other groups on campus. Where they differ significantly from other groups, however, is the threat of violence that transgender individuals face on a far too consistent basis. To bring added attention to this situation, the University of Georgia Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center will observe Transgender Awareness Week with several events Nov. 18-20:

Transgender activist Luna Merbruja will conduct a workshop titled "Liberation From The Margins: How To Fight Racial, Gender, and Queer Violence" on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. in Room 141 of the Tate Student Center. The workshop will focus on the struggles and violence that queer, transgender and/or people of color face in their homes, workplaces and intimate relationships.

Participants will be given an opportunity to share their experiences of survival, resistance and strategies to address violence, as well as skill sharing to create communities that support one another.

Merbruja will deliver a keynote monologue at 6:30 p.m. in Room B2 of the main library. The performance will be dedicated to the memory of activist Sylvia Rivera and other transgender women of color who fought for liberation.

The performance will illustrate how four decades of resilience has created a platform for queer and transgender liberation to permeate mainstream culture, in which there are visible queer and transgender people of color on news channels, in network series, in magazines and on the New York Times Best Seller list.

See the link for information on more events this week. The LGBT Resource Center does important work in our campus community and the Franklin College supports all efforts to make our community more inclusive. Take advantage of some of these wonderful opportunities this week to learn, acknowledge and celebrate.

Georgia Debate Union wins Virginia tournament


Feinberg_Boyce_0.jpgA two-person UGA team-Amy Feinberg of Canton, an international affairs and public relations major, and Tucker Boyce of Alpharetta, an economics major - compiled a 9-1 record and emerged victorious at an intercollegiate debate tournament featuring 32 teams from East Coast colleges hosted by Liberty University in early November. The competition included teams from Boston College, Emory University, University of Florida, Georgetown University, University of Kentucky, University of Minnesota, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, Vanderbilt University and Wake Forest University.

This was Feinberg and Boyce's fourth tournament of the season. They have compiled an overall record of 23-12. Their next tournament will be at Wake Forest University, typically the largest intercollegiate debate competition of the fall semester.

"It was great to see Amy and Tucker win a tournament that attracted some of the best debate programs on the East Coast," said Edward Panetta, professor of communication studies and director of the Georgia Debate Union. "They have worked hard with their coaches since early August, and it paid off with a string of solid victories.

"Any time a team wins nine of 10 debates at one tournament, it is a significant accomplishment."

Feinberg and Boyce defeated teams from Florida, Wake Forest and Georgetown on their way to victory. Feinberg also was recognized as the sixth best speaker at the tournament. Congratulations - great job, great students.

Criminal Justice Day at Griffin


320px-Col-Johnson-Liberating-an-Unfortunate-Debtor.jpgCrime and its punishments continue to evolve in the U.S., and the UGA-Griffin campus will hold an informative conference this Friday, "After Mass Incarceration: Charting a Path to the Future," that will offer a look at promising trends in society as well for professionals in the field:

[The conference] will provide an opportunity for professionals from varied areas of criminal justice—law enforcement, law and the courts, corrections and the faith community—to convene and discuss these reforms and their impact on communities and to suggest alternatives to incarceration. Registration is free, but seating is limited.

"State budgets are straining, and recidivism rates have been virtually unaffected after decades of prison population growth, as the national conversation about crime and punishment has shifted," said Elizabeth Watts Warren, a lecturer in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of sociology on the UGA Griffin campus. "Georgia has been at the forefront of that conversation, enacting sweeping criminal justice reforms in 2012 that appear to be paying off as Georgia's prison population has declined each year since the reforms were implemented."

Additional presentations will explore new directions in prosecutions—especially drug offenses, evidence-based strategies to reduce recidivism, innovative practices for strengthening inmates' parental ties, the toll of human trafficking on communities, forensics and the need for broadly trained criminal justice professionals.

The interdisciplinary studies bachelor's degree with concentrations in sociology or psychology offered by the Franklin at the UGA-Griffin campus prepares graduates for a range of careers, including many fields within criminal justice. The conference is free but registration is required. For more details, visit

Taking a closer look at workaholism


What does it mean when work becomes our life, our identity, our primary devotion? The question itself is a function only of higher considerations, a luxury hopefully of which we become availed as society advances. One of the fundamental spilts between the approach to social policy in the U.S. and Europe is over how we see this very question: Workaholism - how does it work?

workaholism tends to produce negative impacts for employers and employees, according to a new study from a University of Georgia researcher.

The study, "All Work and No Play? A Meta-Analytic Examination of the Correlates and Outcomes of Workaholism" published in the Journal of Management, uses existing data to relate the causes and effects of workaholism, including its similarities to other forms of addiction.

"Though there is some disagreement on whether it should be conceptualized as an addiction, some researchers go so far as calling workaholism a ‘positive addiction,'" said Malissa Clark, an assistant professor of industrial/organizational psychology at UGA and lead author on the study. "We recognize in this study that it brings a negative outcome for yourself and the people around you. The mixed rhetoric and research surrounding workaholism provided the need for a thorough quantitative analysis."

Just so, and this is a great point. There's already a lot of research on the subject out there, but the need to understand workaholism remains. Meta-Analysis a statistical technique that involves combining and analyzing the results of many different individual studies devoted to a specific topic, that allows researchers to get a better look at overall trends and identify possible relationships that might exist. That's exactly what Clark and colleagues have done here and the results are very interesting. How to improve the workplace in a way that benefits employees and employers should be of paramount concern. The health of our society is no small part depends on how we appraoch this question, as well as the others that branch our from it. Clark is doing a great job of informing this discussion and we look forward to more.

Halloween edition


pumpkins_.jpgHaunted college campus lists aside, Happy Halloween everyone! What's better than a ghost-y campus - where do we think all that venerable tradition, character and culture comes from, anyway? - than a town that knows how to celebrate Halloween? Hopefully it's one of the many great experiences UGA students take with them wherever they go from here. Tonight's the night - although, in Athens tonight started one week ago and runs through Sunday - so get out and have fun.

Image: wonderfully carved Cucurbits in the grand tradition.

Faculty in the Media, October 2014


From the Ebola outbreak to the eclipse of the Hunter's Moon to securing the White House, Franklin faculty answered reporter queries and authored popular press articles on a variety of subjects. A sampling from over the past month:

UGA to share National Science Foundation grantTina Salguero, assistant chemistry professor, is on one of nine research teams across the country to share an $18 million NSF grant “to investigate the promise of 2-D layered materials.”  Salguero will work with three University of California-Riverside researchers.

Sea floors host surprise methane-munching microbes, reports  “This is a niche that has been completely unaccounted for,” said professor of marine sciences Samantha Joye.

Is U.S. ready for a pandemic?Bloomberg essay by associate professor of history Stephen Mihm:  “Although the likelihood of a large-scale outbreak of Ebola is almost immeasurably tiny, Americans have begun to ask, ‘Who, really, is in charge of snuffing out a potential epidemic?’”

Guest Op-ed by Athletic Association Professor of Social Sciences Marshall Shepherd in the Washington Post on the Lesson from the weather community on Ebola

“Of Myself I Sing” – A New York Times column on narcissistic posts on Facebook quotes psychology professor W. Keith Campbell that those who are narcissistic offline also narcissistically overshare online.

Distilling more than a century of American Indian history into a digital map – history professor Claudio Saunt’s online interactive map is “a lesson in the power of public history, and a case study for a profession grappling with how to encourage and evaluate digital experimentation,” writes the Chronicle of Higher Education in a feature story.

Study by Ashley Barr, a recent doctoral graduate in the department of sociology explores connections between romantic relationships, health – Health Canal

Seeking Congressional ‘Buy In’ – The approach of asking Congress to approve a military operation “isn’t what the Founders imagined whey they envisioned the powers of ‘war and peace’ in the new United States,” Stephen Mihm wrrote in Bloomberg View.

Northrop Grumman joins NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador Initiative – Space Ref. Marshall Shepherd, past president of the American Meteorological Society and UGA Athletic Association Professor participated in a panel discussion on Sept. 18

Weather Channel’s Sam Champion to headline event on climate change – AJC article says the event will feature a discussion with a panel of experts, including Marshall Shepherd, director of UGA’s Atmospheric Sciences Program

Humans altering climate is nothing new, but today's scale is more massive – ABH article quotes Victor Thompson, anthropology professor

Q&A on the News (Israeli and Palestinian situation) – AJC answer includes Kevin Jones, assistant professor  of history

Kanye West: Narcissist of the Day – Time Magazine article quotes Keith Campbell

“Heart, mind and eye – the art of Lamar Dodd” – The Saporta Report recalls the life of the eminent UGA-based artist and faculty member on the 105th anniversary of his birth.

Air Force removes God from chain of command – San Antonio Express-News column by Stephen Mihm, associate professor of history, for Bloomberg News, syndicated widely.

Kudos, October 2014


Signing_Reitz.jpgFranklin faculty and students continue to astound with extraordinary achievements and major contributions in scholarship, research and service. As sampling from the past month:

Elizabeth Jean Reitz was among one hundred-sixty four influential artists, scientists, scholars, authors, and institutional leaders who were inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at a ceremony in Cambridge on Saturday, October 11.

Distinguished Research Professor of Physics and founding Director of the Center for Simulational Physics David Landau has been appointed to the Academic Advisory Council of the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Wendy Zomlefer, associate professor of plant biology, received $74,385 from the National Science Foundation as part of a $2.5 million collaborative grant comprising 12 institutions, headed by Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

Professor of industrial/organizational psychology Kecia Thomas was appointed associate dean for leadership development and diversity for the Franklin College.

Wenxuan Zhong, associate professor in the department of statistics, has been awarded a $1.44 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop predictive statistical models based on epigenetic change patterns.

A national exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, is highlighting the work of two alumni and one faculty member from the University of Georgia's Lamar Dodd School of Art.

Researchers in the department of psychology have developed a unique method of diagnosing the earliest stages of dementia by applying tasks commonly used to gauge levels of impulsive or risky behaviors related to financial decisions.

Melissa Harshman, associate professor in the Lamar Dodd School of Art and professor of psychology L. Stephen Miller will gain a deeper perspective on modern academic leadership as 2014-2015 SEC Academic Leadership Development Program Fellows.

The Academic Leadership Development Program Fellows program at UGA is part of the broader Academic Leadership Development Program of the Southeastern Conference.

University of Georgia researchers, led by Distinguishex Reseach professor and co-P.I. Michael Pierce have received a five-year $850,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish a glycoscience training program for pre-doctoral graduate students that will help train a new generation of carbohydrate researchers.

A team of students in the department of statistics recently won first place and $5,000 at the national SAS Analytics 2014 Conference in Las Vegas a national competition. The SAS Analytics Shootout Team from UGA is comprised of Wenbo Wu, Hejiao Hu, Linwei Hu, Lina Liao, Fei Liu, Xijue Tan, and Guannan Wang. Congratulations ot the team and faculty advisor Jaxk Reeves.

Image: Elizabeth Jean Reitz, Professor of Anthropology, signs the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Book of Members, a tradition that dates back to 1780.

Shepherd: Lessons on climate from Ebola outbreak


shepherd_crop.jpgAthletics Association Professor in the Social Sciences and nationally-recognized expert on climate Marshall Shepherd took to the pages of the Washingtom Post last week to point out connections between the latest Ebola outbreak and the challenges presented by climate change:

'State of the Art' exhibition includes UGA professor, alumni


crystal-bridges.jpgImagine you're a major research university, with aspirations for rising in the ranks. Everything from your endowment to annual extramural funding dollars can be included in quantifiable metrics you use to measure your progress. But there are other aspects of your impact that can be more difficult to quantify. For example, how good is the history department? How strong is your art school? Clear metrics on those endeavors rarely pop up, but when they do, as in a survey of contemporary artists in a national exhibition, we should take notice:

A national exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, is highlighting the work of two alumni and one faculty member from the University of Georgia's Lamar Dodd School of Art.

"State of the Art : Discovering American Art Now," on view through Jan. 19, features more than 100 American artists selected as the result of over 1,000 studio visits by Crystal Bridges curators who traveled the country seeking to discover artists whose work had not yet been recognized nationally.


"A large national exhibition featuring 100 prominent working American artists today provides a terrific survey of the creativity and inventiveness from across the country," said Chris Garvin, director of the Lamar Dodd School of Art. "To have three artists and one curator affiliated with UGA as part of this exhibition is a great distinction that places us at the forefront of artistic practice in the United States."

Just so, professor Garvin. What Crystal Bridges is attempting to do is very ambitious - create a national museum of international renown, deep in the heart of Arkansas - but what our art school is doing is no less ambitious. A very important constituent part of the learning environment in a major research university, a thriving art school would be missing if we didn't have one. But we do.