Category: UGA

Why support Franklin College?

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Privately funded scholarships have a direct and personal impact on UGA students and provide opportunities for them to achieve their dreams. Often the impact is life changing and can best be understood in the words of the students themselves. Below are the words of one of our students, junior psychology major Toni McKoy, whose life has been changed through the generosity of a scholarship donor.

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This has been a critical past year for me, I've had to juggle classes, work, and club activities in order to stay on top of classes and financially support myself. After a rough first semester and unfortunate events following, I decided to pursue what I thought would make me a happier person in life. I continued my studies in Japanese and I made a critical decision to switch my major from Animal Science to Psychology. I even decided to become more active in the Japan Club at UGA. I ran and was elected as the advertiser, historian, and dance coordinator for the club. After all of these changes and accomplishments, I decided to further challenge myself. This school year I hope to begin my music minor and join even more clubs and organizations around campus. Next summer I wish to be able to study abroad in Japan to strengthen my language skills.

Now that I have more goals I'll have to try even harder to keep my grades up, stay active in activities and work throughout the year. Last school year I worked at the Georgia Museum of Art as a security guard. While it would be nice to get that position again, I would like to expand my work experience which, at the moment, includes my work as a security guard and as a youth coordinator at a local Atlanta organization called Project South. I've been working for Project South for the last three summers as a coordinator and a team leader of a youth summer program in the Atlanta area. This experience made me realize that I enjoy working in the field, doing research based work, and helping others. This was important to realize, because by pursuing my degree in Psychology, I can work in all three areas. After obtaining my Bachelor's degree, I plan to find a job and begin my Master's degree. After that, I want to be able to do research based work and maybe travel around the country or even the world. At the same time, I still want to be able to enjoy things I love like studying music and the Japanese language and culture.

It is crucial that we continue to offer the opportunity of the UGA experience to the widest possible array of students. Read more stories about what scholarships mean to our students here.

Careful on campus

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OldCollege_snow 2014

Okay and...we're back.

Great snow, terrific sense of 'found time,' whether you used it well or not. But now we're back and you need to look out for falling ice - especially Old College, New College, Libraries, Peabody, Administration every building on campus for at least the next few hours.

The Athens-Atlanta Connection

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Very interesting juxtaposition of forces arrayed this week, highlighted in separate articles, connected by a major weather event and both predicated on an issue critical to the state and UGA: economic development.

First, the Columns article, Downtown Connector, about the importance of linking the new Office of Economic Development to important partners in Atlanta:

Sixty-five miles is the distance between UGA's hub in Athens and Atlanta, Georgia's economic hub.

That challenge can create another kind of distance between UGA and the state's economic development agencies and industry leaders. The university is overcoming the challenge through its recently established UGA Office of Economic Development in Atlanta, directed by Sean McMillan.

The Atlanta office, located in the Centergy Building on the Georgia Tech campus in midtown Atlanta, positions McMillan to be responsive to industry needs and stay abreast of trends. It allows him to stay in touch with changing economic development needs throughout Georgia. 

Then Tuesday's dusting of snow over the region caused the kind of havoc usually reserved for big-budget feature films. An article by UGA Grady College (and Emory University) professor Rebecca Burns in Politico laid out the dire consequences of Atlanta's physical development:

Metro Atlanta’s patchwork of local governments is rooted in early Georgia history; the state has more counties—159—than any other in the country, save Texas. But while other metro areas strove to consolidate city and county operations in the mid-to late twentieth century, Atlanta grew more balkanized. In the 1970s, while then-mayor Richard Lugar helped to consolidate Indianapolis with Marion County, creating Unigov and making Indianapolis one of the largest cities in the country, the city of Atlanta witnessed an exodus of 160,000 people. The white flight of the 1960s and 1970s, triggered by integration of schools and housing, was followed by reverse migration as blacks from the Northeast and Midwest returned to the Atlanta region but opted to move into the suburbs of DeKalb, Fulton and Clayton counties. Atlanta the city, became—and despite a slow uptick in population, remains—the commercial district to which people commute from Atlanta, the suburbs.

So on Tuesday, as schools, businesses and governments, announced plans to close early, everyone who works in Atlanta headed for the freeways to get home or collect their children. In a press conference Wednesday morning, Mayor Reed reported that one million vehicles were part of the mass exodus from downtown. We’re not morons, Northerners: The problem was not one of Southerners’ inability to drive on icy roads, but of too many cars headed for congested highways.

Emphasis in the original. Granted, everyday is not an emergency of this magnitude. But every news report we read about the hours and hours trapped in cars on highways or children marooned all night in school cafeterias were all textbook exercises in burying the lede. People commuting 40 miles (often more) each way to work is the issue that can lead to majors problems such as those experienced Tuesday. The snow is atmospherics; any number of things can cause massive disruptions when a region is as tenuously connected as this one is.

To then speak of the very meritorious concept of economic development, the transportation/sprawl issue must be front and center. Past planning and politics have left no other choices. The issue has become more difficult, but will only grow more so. The very first step in connecting UGA and ATL should be a literal one, one that also connects all of communities in between.

Build the train.

The role Classical Music will play in America's future

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So this is really what blogs are for - to publicly follow up on a story, a note, an idea, an event. To add context. Here's some.

Related to the prior post on the piano recitals next week in Hodgson School of Music, I saw this interview with Richard Zimdars in Fanfare Magazine from February 2012, on the occasion of the release of his new recording. Let's pick it up wih the final question, in which Dr. Z brings the light:

Q: I am very concerned about the role that classical music will play in America’s future, what with the dwindling of music classes in public schools, and the evident aging of audiences at classical music events. As someone who has enjoyed direct contact with young people for many years, what is your perspective on the future of this art form? What kinds of changes have you witnessed over the years?

A: I share your concern with developing a future audience for classical music in America. Growing up attending the Chicago Symphony’s 10-concert season in Milwaukee was my prime formative classical-music experience, along with my piano and horn lessons. Attendance at those concerts was by no means restricted to the upper classes or elderly in those days, although much German was spoken among the older crowd during intermissions. A Central European ambience was surely in evidence. At home, the music played on our record player was the standard repertoire from Bach to Debussy. This music, and also the sounds of singers like Björling, Milanov, Warren, Albanese, Flagstad, Lotte Lehmann, John Charles Thomas, and Risë Stevens were—fortunately!— the sounds locked into my brain at an early age. Musical memories are involuntary and reflexive. My tastes were formed early by my parents’ choices in recorded music: rock and roll was excluded, but not jazz or American musicals. Alvin and the Chipmunks crept in, too!

The distributors of broadcast and mechanically reproduced music exert tremendous power to form taste, their goal being financial profit. The huge economic organization of music distributors is predatory in the extreme. The vast majority of the distributed product is utterly unimaginative, fostering a worldwide appetite for generic styles directed toward the youth market. This product, marketed to appeal to the concerns of its audience, actually suppresses expression while sending a dumbed-down message of identity to listeners and potential purchasers. The infliction of this narrow musical choice on the public is masked by its seemingly limitless sources of distribution.

How to break the cycle? It cannot be broken, but now and again people do escape from its orbit. I’ve seen this happen often during my academic career. Recently I taught a one-day-a-week one-credit class to about a dozen freshmen at the University of Georgia who were not music majors. I had graduate piano students play Schumann, Chopin, and Liszt for the class. They were entranced by the skills of the young pianists, and peppered them with questions. After one class, a student I’ll call Elberta told me that despite the value that her metropolitan area high school placed on her athletic skills, she had longed to participate in music as well. Shortly thereafter my class was assigned to attend a University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra concert, and I saw Elberta with an athlete friend at intermission. Our orchestra is capable of performing works like the Mahler Fifth and Sixth symphonies, and since Elberta and friend had never been to a live symphony concert, they could not believe how good their fellow university students sounded. They asked, with innocent sincerity, what the purpose of the conductor in front of the orchestra was. This was enough to get us talking for the whole intermission, after which they enthusiastically returned to their seats!

It is never too late for people to expand their interests, and I think live concerts are the best way to do it. The earlier children are exposed to live music of quality, the better. Opportunities to sing or learn an instrument should be available in every U.S. school system, public or private. 

Gladly. There's more at the link

UVA's Sullivan to present 2013 McBee Lecture

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sullivan head shotWhere do we get all these great candidates for administrative positions in higher education? The faculty, of course, though sometimes that process might not seem as symbiotic as it is. To shed light on that topic and more, UGA welcomes University of Virginia president Teresa A. Sullivan to campus on Friday Dec. 6 at 11 am to deliver the 2013 Louise McBee Lecture in the chapel:

Louise McBee Lecture 2013 “Great Expectations: Making Administrative Careers Attractive to Faculty

Dr. Sullivan’s time at the University of Virginia has been extraordinary in several respects.  After being pressured by university board members, she resigned from the presidency in June 2012.  She was reinstated a few weeks later, following extensive attention in the national media and a remarkable outpouring of support from university faculty, students, and alumni. In the year since the upheaval, the University of Virginia has completed a large capital campaign and President Sullivan is presenting a new strategic plan before the university board in September.

If you haven't kept up with goings on at UVA during Dr. Sullivan's tenure, the narrative of events is instructive. We look forward to her visit to campus and public lecture on Friday in the chapel.

Image: Teresa A. Sullivan, courtesy of the UGA Institute of Higher Education.

 

Ruppersburg named interim Vice Provost

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ruppersburg head shotIt is with a heavy heart but great pride that we share reports that senior associate dean Hugh Ruppersburg has been named interim vice provost of UGA:

Ruppersburg served as interim dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences from 2011 to 2012 and has served as its senior associate dean since 2005. Earlier this year, he was named University Professor, an honor bestowed selectively on UGA faculty who have had a significant impact on the university in addition to fulfilling their normal academic responsibilities.

His appointment as interim vice provost, which is effective Aug. 1, was announced by interim senior vice president for academic affairs and provost Libby V. Morris.

"Dr. Ruppersburg has repeatedly demonstrated his deep commitment to the University of Georgia by serving with distinction in a variety of administrative roles," Morris said. "He brings a wealth of experience to the Provost's Office, and I look forward to working with him during this transition period."

A tremendous advocate for and practitioner of the liberals arts, Ruppersburg has been a great leader and friend of the Franklin College for many years. We are confident this will continue as he takes a well-deserved place at the top of the university leadership. Congratulations, Dr. Ruppersburg, and best of luck in your future endeavors. 

'UGA-1785'

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UGA-1785 star system illustrationNASA and a Franklin alumnus have made a very magnanimous gesture toward the College and UGA:

The University of Georgia and its Franklin College of Arts and Sciences received the honor after the Kepler mission, NASA's first mission capable of finding earth-size planets, confirmed in 2012 the existence of three new planets in the system known as Kepler-37. This year, NASA authorized the nickname designation of this planetary system as UGA-1785.

The announcement was made in a letter from NASA Ames Research Center Director S. Pete Worden to Franklin College Dean Alan T. Dorsey in March 2013. Roger C. Hunter, a Franklin College alumnus, presented the letter to Dorsey during a recent visit to campus.

It has been a very big week for NASA and Kepler Mission and we are proud to be a small part of it. This is a great story, and one we will tell often in the years to come. Our thanks to Roger Hunter for this terrific honor. Let us continue to boldly go.

Image: NASA illustration of 'UGA-1785'

Harshman to lead First-Year Odyssey program

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harshman_melissa portraitThe First-Year Odyssey program has been an important innovation in teaching but also in introducing freshman to the university setting. The FYO now has a new director:

Melissa Harshman, an associate professor in the University of Georgia's Lamar Dodd School of Art, has been named faculty director of the First-Year Odyssey Seminar program. Through the program, small-group academic seminars taught by tenured and tenure-track faculty are offered to all incoming freshmen. Harshman follows Tim Foutz, who served as director in the founding year of the program from 2011-12.

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"The First Year Odyssey program not only allows freshmen to work with some of the most distinguished faculty on campus, but also introduces them to the myriad of exciting opportunities at the University of Georgia," said Harshman. "I'm delighted to be leading such an auspicious program."

My own bias aside(!), it's important to have an art professor and artist rotate into this position. A lot of what we do at the university is preparing people to be active citizens, critical thinkers and leaders, if they are so inclined. The arts are a crucial aspect of the university experience as preparation for an engaged citizenry - what one contributes to them as well as what one receives. 

Congratulations to the program and to Harshman.

AIDS-Memorial quilt on display at UGA-Gwinnett

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quilt_stitch_patchworkSections of the internationally celebrated AIDS Memorial Quilt-the 54-ton, handmade tapestry that stands as a memorial to more than 92,000 individuals lost to AIDS-will be on view through Dec. 4 at the University of Georgia Gwinnett Campus in Lawrenceville.

The quilt display is hosted by the UGA department of student affairs for extended campuses. Visitors may view the display weekdays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
The NAMES Project Foundation, established in 1987-the international caretaker of the AIDS Memorial Quilt-works to preserve, care for and use it to foster healing, advance social justice and inspire action. The quilt began in San Francisco almost 25 years ago with a single 3-foot by 6-foot panel. Today the tapestry includes more than 47,000 panels from every state in the nation.
According to the NAMES Foundation, in a war against a disease that has no cure, the AIDS Memorial Quilt has evolved as a potent tool in the effort to educate against the lethal threat of AIDS. By revealing the humanity behind the statistics, the quilt helps teach compassion, triumphs over taboo, stigma and phobia while inspiring individuals to take direct responsibility for their own well-being and that of their family, friends and community.

Image: Interactive quilt-stitch patchwork, via the NAMES Project Foundation.

The Arts at UGA

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The fine and performing arts units in the Franklin College - the Lamar Dodd School of Art, the department of dance, the department of theatre and film studies and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music - have long been the heart of the university. Not only do these units provide performance and exhibition opportunities for our students, they are important venues for the cultural life of the campus community and they are visibly engaged in our wider mission: educating a cultivated citizenry for Georgia. These units welcome school children and alumni alike, and quite often for the public, attending a concert or opening is their first experience on campus. So these units are constant ambassadors for UGA. 

But the arts at UGA are represented by far more than these Franklin units. From the Georgia Museum of Art to the Georgia Review and the UGA Press, many UGA Units are engaged in bringing the cultural life of our campus to the community and beyond. The University, under the leadership of Vice Provost Libby Morris, has brought together the leaders of all the arts units to form the UGA Arts Council. The Council is a new conglomeration formed to build support, and audiences, for the arts units on campus. One of the important outcomes of this new collaboration is a new UGA arts website, which is a great all-in-one-place web destination for information on the arts.