Category: International

Exploring UGA's global connections


DiscoverUGA.jpgHaving spent some time recently with one of our terrific (and longest-running) study abroad programs, I can vouch for the impact they have on our students. The echo of these experiences reverberate back on campus, in our classrooms, in the lives of our students as they resume their studies back in Athens, and in the host countries and cities our programs call home (away from home).

To get an even better idea of this multiverse of scholarly engagement, our colleagues in UGA public affairs put together a terrific interactive map that documents what our students and faculty are doing around the globe. Take a look

Kagel on ZDF TV


MK_tv.jpgEven during the summer, our faculty are in great demand in the media - at home and abroad. Martin Kagel, A.G. Steer Professor and head of the department of German and Slavic Studies, was recently featured as an expert on a documetary broadcast on German television (SAT3/ZDF), the primary German public television channel for arts programming. The subject of the documentary was the 100th birthday of the German-Jewish writer, George Tabori. Kagel and theatre and film studies depertment head David Saltz are planning a conference on Tabori and Holocaust theater in general for February, 2015. Stay tuned. 

Discover UGA Abroad - Austraila


man jumping on rocksIt is the time of year when so many of our students are expanding their academic horizons around the globe. From Costa Rica to Zanzibar, our classrooms are taking the shape of the world. Just yesterday, I ran into a colleague who had just returned from teaching in one of our programs and he was excited about maymester in Australia:

The program begins with several days in Sydney, considered one of the world’s best cities to live and play, taking classes and local field trips with UGA faculty and Australian experts. In Sydney, we visit iconic places including the Opera House, Harbor Bridge, and Darling Harbor, head to Bondi or Manly beach to explore heritage and tourism conservation, as well as take a free day for independent exploration. We then head north to Queensland for our field trips: We stay on an isolated island eco-resort on the Great Barrier Reef, travel to Noosa and the Sunshine Coast to explore sustainable development and ecotourism issues, visit the Outback at Carnarvon Gorge, and travel to the Gondwanaland rainforest at Lamington National Park. We finish the program in Brisbane, one of Australia’s most vibrant and modern cities. One of the unique features of the program is the activities we have along the way: Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, experience Aboriginal bush life, discover koalas and kangaroos, and hike tropical rainforests, as well as receive guided tours of Sydney and Brisbane.

This sounds like a great experience blending travel with learning - one open to all students, with opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and honors students in Anthropology, Biology, Ecology, Forestry and Natural Resources, Foods and Nutrition, Geography, International Affairs, and Recreation and Leisure Studies. Discover UGA in Australia. 

REFOCUS program benefits students, scientists


Projectfocuslogo2_000.jpgMore great news today for the future of STEM-related careers. Veteran scientists and engineers will share their love of science and math with the next generation through a program known as REFOCUS.  The program will train professionals to work with teachers in Clarke and six surrounding counties to provide regular science and math enrichment activities to students. 

The program is meant to help students in K-12 understand math and science concepts and expose them to new STEM career choices for the future. The program is based on a program that’s been in place at UGA for the past 12 years.  David Knauft, a professor of horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, began a program called FOCUS in which UGA students studying STEM subjects were paired with elementary and middle school teachers in Clarke County.

REFOCUS will expand on the Project FOCUS framework, allowing science, technology, engineering and math mentors to be in even more Clarke County classrooms and in classrooms in surrounding counties.

"For quite some time, we have wanted to expand Project FOCUS to include graduate students, postdocs, faculty and retired scientists," said David Knauft, professor of horticulture in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and STEM education advocate. "Thanks to this AAAS funding, we will be able to do so.

"Also, because these individuals have more flexible schedules, we hope to bring REFOCUS to nearby counties, something we haven't been able to do with Project FOCUS."

Another great example of collaboration, between disciplines at UGA and between UGA and area school systems.  Knauft worked with the Clarke County School District; Julie Luft, the Athletic Association Professor of Mathematics and Science Education in the UGA College of Education; and Chuck Kutal, associate dean of the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, to secure a $14,800 grant from American Association for the Advancement of Science to help develop the REFOCUS program.  

The REFOCUS project will start recruiting its first class of STEM mentors this summer and debut the program in Clarke County classrooms this fall.

To get involved in Project REFOCUS, contact Knauft  For more information on Project FOCUS, see

Franklin alumnus, former POW gives perspective on Bergdahl’s release


Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 3.36.43 PM.pngA Franklin College alumnus is at the forefront of national news this week, offering a unique perspective on the recent release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity.  Col. Lee Ellis, a UGA history graduate (A.B. ‘65) and retired Air Force Colonel, was a POW during the Vietnam War for five-and-a-half years. In interviews with CBS News and CNN, Ellis recounts his own experience and offers his take on what challenges may lie ahead for Bergdahl.

Ellis, who was held captive alongside others including Senator John McCain during his service in the military, offers sound advice for Bergdahl’s family and friends: 

What helped for Ellis was never giving up hope.

"I think you always survive everything one day at a time. You keep walking forward until you come out the other side. Hope is so important."

He said Bergdahl will also have to find people who understand and can relate to what he's been through.

"Life is not easy for any of us, and he's going to have to work through those experiences also. And that's where he's going to need help, and I would say he's probably going to need some counseling. That would be good for him and helping him because he's probably going to have some degree of PTSD also."

While Ellis was held captive in Vietnam with others, Bergdahl was a lone prisoner, and this could factor into his recovery, Ellis said.

"We had a couple of guys that were in China, held for more than five years and several were in solitary confinement for several years, but they did know there was some support around. I think for Bowe, it's going to be much more difficult because he was so alone, and knowing who to trust, who not to trust and just feeling safe and letting his hair down a little bit - I do think it will complicate it significantly."

Ellis is stepping forward to help the public understand and provide context at a critical moment in history. Another great example of a Franklin College graduate’s contribution to the world. Bravo! You can read more about Ellis here or visit his blog here.

Welcoming a New Class: Orientation is Under Way



It’s a beautiful summer morning here at the University of Georgia.  Some students are on their way to summer classes, but some of the newest class of Bulldawgs is on campus for orientation.  Sessions are held all summer long, and this Monday marks the second group of students welcomed onto campus in the UGA tradition. The orientation experience provides a foundational memory, as students plan for the future, make friends and take in the beauty of the UGA campus. 

A team of outstanding orientation leaders mentors these new students as they embark on their academic paths.  Franklin College is well represented in this leadership group, as you can see here, with orientation leaders pursuing degrees in communication studies, English, sociology and psychology.  They advise on campus traditions, choosing a major, and getting to know the town of Athens. We commend these student leaders for imparting their wisdom and inspiring the incoming class.  

Congratulations and welcome to the incoming class of UGA students! Have fun at orientation!

Research Magazine Highlights Franklin Contributions


UGAresearchmag.jpgAs a research institution, the University of Georgia is host to a bevy of researchers from all areas of academics--the arts, humanities and sciences.  Franklin College, a collection of 30 departments and an additional 30 institutes and centers, is the proud home of many of those research projects.  Each semester, the University’s research achievements and narratives are told via the campus publication Research Magazine.  The Spring/Summer 2014 issue has just been released and it’s  full of research from departments in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

This issue serves to highlight just what a vast impact the arts and sciences has on the University at large.  Research on dementia and the origin of the thymus gland, books on Chilean politics and modern architecture and so much more are highlighted in the most recently released edition.  Don’t miss the feature on a unique project combining the art of dance, physics and animation or the opinion piece from UGA history professor James Cobb. There’s even an interview with Franklin College Associate Dean Noel Fallows on the sport of jousting.  

Each issue serves to highlight the importance of academic research on campus, but without the contributions of Franklin College researchers, the pool of research would be much smaller. Kudos to all who contribute to the large pool of research, but especially to the Franklin College researchers highlighted in this issue.  Congratulations are also in order to the magazine’s editorial team.  Campus research writers, graphic designers and host of others contribute to this magazine to make it happen each semester and the results are always worthwhile.  Take a look at the issue here.

Photo: The most recent cover of Research Magazine.  Courtesy of UGA Research Magazine.

Record number of Gilman Scholarships for UGA students


The Gilman Scholarship - worth up to $5,000 to apply towards study abroad program costs and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs - is a nationally competitive needs-based scholarship that aims to diversify the students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. 2014 saw a record number of UGA students awarded the scholarships, with 10 of the 14 from the Franklin College:

Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies-making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.

"UGA has a long history of students successfully winning this prestigious award, and this group of students is a great addition to that tradition," said Kasee Laster, director of education abroad at the UGA Office of International Education. "We are particularly proud of the range of subjects students will be studying."

The university worked to promote the Gilman Scholarship on campus and to help UGA students make their applications competitive, said William Smith, education abroad adviser. "This was a joint effort between the Office of International Education, Multicultural Services and Programs, the Office of Institutional Diversity and other units around campus to make this opportunity known to our underrepresented populations in study abroad," he said. "This is just the beginning and we look forward to doubling our numbers next year."

With as much emphasis as we use to highlight the utility of the study abroad experience, these scholarships from the State Department are very important. Aagin, for funding the learning experience as well as the prestige of winning the scholarship itself. Very well done. Congratulations to these students.

Hodgson Singers take First Prize in Ave Verum Choral Competition


The great news keep rolling in from the UGA Hodgson Singers European tour, where they have won the Grand Prix Aveverum, 1st prize & best interpretation at the International Ave Verum Choral Competition, held in Baden Austria.

Here's the announcement:


And now some music:


Lots other great features on their travel blog, so check it out. Congratulations to choral director Dan Bara and all of our students.

International student associations


signers GLobeDid you now there are 37 international student associations on campus? From the the Russian Student Association to the Caribbean Student Association, the Asian American Student Association, the Brazilian Student Association and the Japan Club, many on-campus efforts flow into the creation of global citizens: