October 2015 Issue

Posted On October 28, 2015
Categories Our Community

Our Community



Results of Campus Climate Survey Released

Results of Georgia State’s Staff Climate Survey indicate staff members reported a significantly improved university staff climate in the areas of environment, job functions and performance and communications.

The results are based on responses from 1,173 employees, which amounts to a response rate of 43.8 percent.
“The results of the survey indicate a more positive mood among the staff,” said Charles Gilbreath, chair of Staff Council, director of Institutional Research and chief data officer. “I believe the survey accurately reflected an overall improvement in staff satisfaction, and the trick now will be to show an even higher level in 2017.”

The survey, which was developed in collaboration with the university’s Staff Council, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the Office of Institutional Research, provides information about staff perceptions on the nature of their work, policies and practices and the general climate at Georgia State.

“By carefully examining the various data sources we have at our disposal, we can identify areas or practices that might need improvement,” Gilbreath said. “And it is important to note that instruments like the staff survey give us the ability to more than just count heads. We can gain insight into behaviors and attitudes.”

Respondents to this year’s survey, which was administered in June and July, indicated employees have a high overall satisfaction with their job environment, Gilbreath said.

“For example, in the 2013 survey, the number of respondents who indicated they had seriously considered leaving outnumbers those who indicated they had not,” he said. “In 2015, the majority indicated that they had not seriously considered leaving the university.”

As in 2013, staff gave job function and performance items generally high scores. Staff responses showed that communication with supervisors and administrators has increased since the 2013 survey.

“They believe their department/unit supports an inclusive understanding of diversity and they have developed close relationships with their colleagues,” the report noted.

The inability of departments to deal effectively with poor performance by staff remains the lowest scoring item. Staff members who have considered leaving the university also noted a lack of career advancement and adequate compensation as reasons cited for considering leaving the job.

Georgia State continues to have a highly educated workforce who have taken advantage of mentoring and training opportunities. Just under half of the respondents said they have graduate degrees and more than a quarter of the respondents have mentors.

“There is a significant relationship between training and job satisfaction,” the report stated. “Those who have not had training or opportunities for professional development score lower on the majority of satisfaction and subscale items.”

The Staff Council survey committee presents the survey results to the Staff Council, university administration and other decision-making groups to help them be better prepared to develop and maintain programs that support staff and work to enhance the effectiveness of the university.

“By addressing issues that are raised by staff members through comments and suggestions, the university demonstrates that it does hear our voices and acts when it can,” Gilbreath said.


State Charitable Contributions
Program Seeks Donations

Georgia State University employees can donate to more than 1,000 charities during this year’s State Charitable Contributions Program (SCCP) campaign that will run until Nov. 15. Donate
The program enables state of Georgia and University System employees to contribute to the charity of their choice through payroll deduction or a one-time donation.

“The Georgia State Charitable Contributions Program is a true demonstration of the love for mankind,” said LaToya Wimbush, chair of the SCCP. “These state employees are everyday people, making a difference in the lives of others by sacrificing from their paychecks to ensure those in need have what they need. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

In the last 17 years, the State Charitable Contributions Program (SCCP) has raised more than $43 million to help support local and nationwide charities. More than 100 independent charities and federations participate in the SCCP, and more than 114,000 state employees are eligible to participate. Last fall, more than $1.39 million was pledged across the state.

“It’s amazing to see what others can do in such a small amount of time when given the challenge,” Wimbush said. “Overseeing this effort is one of the most rewarding benefits of my job.”

Project Health Grandparents, a community service research project of the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, is one of the many organizations that could benefit from donations to the State Charitable Contributions Program.  The program offers support and health interventions to help grandparents raising their grandchildren remain healthy and effective as care providers through home visits and early intervention services for children with developmental disabilities, as well as support groups and parenting classes.  
“The funds that Project Healthy Grandparents receive help make a difference in the lives of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, as well as enable us to continue providing services to families,” said Benasha Shine-Berry, program manager for Project Healthy Grandparents.

To give, click here. Employees who donate will be entered into a drawing to win Georgia State men’s basketball season tickets.

News Briefs

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University Kicks Off Burning Bright Campaign

Georgia State kicked off its $300 million fundraising campaign this month, the second campaign in the university’s history. The Burning Bright campaign will build on the university’s national leadership in improving student success, support its world-class faculty in their teaching, research and creative work, and ensure Georgia State remains a vital force in downtown Atlanta. The university has raised about $195 million towards its goal. Find out more at burningbright.gsu.edu.


Georgia State President Mark Becker Delivers
State Of The University Address

President Mark Becker delivers his annual State of the University address on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. in the Student Center East Ballroom. President Becker will highlight the university’s many recent successes and chart the course for future growth and development. The event is free and open to the public, with a reception to follow.



Campus Toys For Tots Drive Under Way
Auxiliary and Support Services and University Athletics are teaming up again for the 13th annual GSU Toys for Tots drive on campus. Students, faculty and staff can donate a new, unwrapped toy between now and Dec. 8 at the Office of Auxiliary and Support Services and at Toys for Tots drop boxes across campus, as well as at any home football or men’s or women’s basketball game. Faculty and staff will receive free admission to the Friday, Nov. 27 basketball games if they bring a new, unwrapped toy. There will be a donation box at the 2015 Benefits and Employee Information Fair on Nov. 2 in the Student Center Ballroom.


Tuition Assistance Deadline Is Nov. 13

The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application submission deadline for spring 2016 is Friday, Nov. 13 at 5:15 p.m. This program is available to full-time benefits-eligible employees who have completed at least the first six-month employment probationary period. TAP pays for a maximum of nine credit hours per semester based upon the undergraduate or graduate rate of the University System of Georgia (USG) institution a student is attending. Employees must follow the regular admissions process applicable to each institution.

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Reminders For Open Enrollment
Open Enrollment will be held from Monday, Nov. 2 – Friday, Nov. 13. During this time the ADP Portal will be open for employees to enroll or make changes to benefit selections for 2016. Changes and enrollments for 2016 must be done during this time. Here are tips for open enrollment:
• The deadline is Nov. 13. There will be no exceptions, except in the event of a system or administrative error on the part of the Institution so please enroll early and do not wait until the last day to enroll or make changes.
• The Georgia State Benefits Fair will be held on Monday, Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. During the Fair, employees can meet vendors, learn about the changes for plan year 2016, receive help with ADP Portal enrollment and register to win giveaways.
• When you make changes to your benefits in ADP, print a copy of your confirmation statement to double check that your enrollment choices are correct and to have a ready reference of the changes you made should you need it in the future.
• Open Enrollment this year is a passive one for benefits and the tobacco surcharge. If you do not make any changes or new elections for 2016, your coverage (with the exception of the FSA’s (Flexible Spending Account)—you must elect these each year) and your tobacco user status will remain in place for 2016. The tobacco surcharge will remain at $75 monthly in addition to the cost for medical insurance and applies to employees and dependents age 18 and over.   
• Do you want to get benefit updates and reminders during Open Enrollment? Sign up for text messaging by texting “USG” to 23613 and receive messages delivered to your cell phone.
• For more information about your 2016 Benefits plan to attend an Open Enrollment meeting or a Benefits walk-In session to see a list of where and when these events will be held visit http://employees.hr.gsu.edu/files/2015/09/2016OEDates.pdf.
• University System of Georgia (USG) is continuing to move to a defined contribution pricing for benefits. In 2016, there will be rate increases for USG healthcare plans, dental plans and long-term disability insurance. There are no changes in premiums for Short Term Disability, Vision and Life Insurance plans. Please see the 2016 USG Comparison Guide for details.

• Moving to the Consumer Choice HSA for 2016? If you’re moving to the Consumer Choice HSA plan and have an FSA now, make sure your FSA balance is zero by Dec. 31, 2015. Otherwise, you cannot open an HSA until April 1, 2016.
• In 2016, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) members can talk face-to-face with a board-certified doctor through a mobile device or computer with a webcam at livehealthonline.com for less than a visit to the doctor’s office. LiveHealth Online doctors provide medical advice for common concerns like the flu, colds, allergies and more. They can also send a prescription to a pharmacy. It’s faster, easier,and more convenient than a visit to an urgent care center. Available with all BCBSga plans (including the HMO).
• Employees and their family members enrolled in health insurance will not receive new medical cards for 2016 unless they are making a change to a new plan. If you have misplaced a card you may print one by going to the insurance company’s website or phoning the company to request a new one.
• Employees can increase their Voluntary Life during Open Enrollment by 1XSalary up to the lesser of 3xSalary or $500,000 without Evidence of Insurability (EOI). EOI is required if you are enrolling in STD or LTD for the first time during Open Enrollment.
• If you add a dependent to your coverage during Open Enrollment (or as a result of a qualified life event) you will be required to submit proof of your newly added dependent within 30 days. If documentation is not provided within 30 days, dependent coverage will be removed and a new confirmation statement will be sent to you.
• Are you planning on retiring soon? If you or your covered dependents are 65 or older your health coverage options at retirement will be different from active employees beginning next year. It is important that you notify the Benefits Office at least three months prior to your retirement and learn about your new healthcare coverage options. Your dental, vision and life insurance coverage will remain the same. Please see the USG Retiree Checklist, Preparing for Retirement Healthcare Benefits Checklist for more information.
• Don’t forget to update beneficiaries on Life plans, if necessary.
leadership logo

Advancement Of Women Accepting

Applications For Leadership Academy

The Advancement of Women (AoW) committee is accepting applications for the next cohort of women leaders to participate in the Executive Leadership Academy for Women (ELAW). ELAW provides professional development for Georgia State’s junior and senior female managers with the goal of advancing female staff to top leadership positions within higher education. Applicants must hold the position of assistant director (or equivalent) or higher and have at least one year of full-time service with Georgia State. They must demonstrate high performance in professional experience and be considered a high potential applicant for future advancement. Before submitting an application, applicants should review the Program Summary and the ELAW Application Packet. Packets must be submitted electronically by Dec. 1 to [email protected] for consideration.

Staff Spotlight


Denita Hampton
manager of user services and technology support,
University Library

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Pamela Brannon, coordinator of faculty services for the Law Library, has been appointed to serve as vice chair of the American Association of Law Libraries’ Copyright Committee. The committee is responsible for informational and advocacy efforts on behalf of the American Association of Law Libraries relating to copyright and intellectual property issues.

Tineke Battle, director of talent management programs, has completed the Harvard Institute for Higher Education – Management and Leadership in Education Program. 

Don Davis, assistant professor of counseling and psychological services, has been awarded a three-year, $1.8 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation for a series of projects investigating spiritual and psychological growth following natural disasters.

Nicole Iannarone, assistant clinical professor in the College of Law, has been elected treasurer of the Atlanta Bar Association. She was also appointed as the co-chair of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism Aging in the Law Taskforce and vice chair of the State Bar of Georgia’s Professionalism Committee.  

Dawn Aycock, assistant professor of nursing, will be inducted as a fellow in the American Heart Association in November.

Sheila Blanton, director of the Professional Excellence Program in Social Work, has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award in Training by the National Staff Development & Training Association, an affiliate of the American Public Human Services Association. The award recognizes her outstanding efforts in training and development in for employees in human services programs.

Linda Nelson, associate vice president for human resources/diversity education and planning, and Deborah Wilson, director of organizational development and consulting services, presented at the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources annual conference, Oct. 11-13.

Renee’ Schwartz, associate professor of middle and secondary education, is the recipient of the 2015 National Association of Biology Teachers Research Award.

Charles Courtemanche, associate professor economics, presented “Revisiting the Effect of Smoking on Obesity: Evidence from a Randomized Trial” at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Sept. 22.
Vikas Agarwal, professor of finance, has been appointed the H. Talmage Dobbs, Jr. Chair of Finance.

Daniel Bauer, associate professor of risk management and insurance, has been named to the New York Life Professorship of Insurance.

Alfred Mettler, clinical associate professor of finance, has been appointed to the H. Talmage Dobbs Jr. Professorship for Teaching Excellence in Finance.

Stephen H. Shore, associate professor of risk management and insurance, has been appointed to the R. Means Davis Jr., CPCU Endowed Professorship.

Jon Wiley, associate professor of real estate, has been appointed to the Richard E. Bowers Professorship in real estate.

Chara Bohan, professor of middle secondary education, has received a $132,588 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a two-week teacher institute for U.S. history teachers.

Dennis Gilbride, professor of counseling and psychological services, has received a $149,217 continuation award from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration for a grant project to train students working with people with mental illnesses. Gilbride and Assistant Professor Franco Dispenza also received a five-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration to prepare rehabilitation counselors for positions in the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, vocational rehabilitation agencies in other states or affiliated programs.

Peggy Gallagher, professor of early childhood special education, has been awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant for a project focused on special education curriculum development. She will spend three weeks in December working with the Department of Disability Studies at Sri Lanka’s University of Kelaniya to help create a graduate program for students interested in working with children with special needs.
Jeff Ashby, professor of counseling and psychological services, has been awarded a three-year, $372,970 Project AWARE-Community grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for a project that prepares school personnel and other adults working with local youth to provide mental health services to students.
Julie Washington, professor of education, was the keynote speaker for the Division for Early Childhood’s 2015 Conference at the Hilton Atlanta, Oct. 7-9.

John R. Lutzker of the School of Public Health and Susan Kelley of the Brydine F. Lews School of Nursing and Health Professions were featured experts at the 2015 Prevent Child Abuse Georgia (PCA GA) Conference. PCA GA is the state chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America and is housed in the Center for Healthy Development in the School of Public Health

Christina Hemphill Fuller, assistant professor of environmental health, is a co-author of a recently published article, “Passive methods for improving air quality in the built environment: A review of porous and solid barriers,” in the journal Atmospheric Environment. 

Betty Lai, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, is a co-author of a recently published article titled, “Trauma and Child Health: An Introduction to the Special Issue,” in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 

School of Public Health Dean Michael Eriksen and Shanta Dube, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, co-authored the paper “Protobacco Media Exposure and Youth Susceptibility to Smoking Cigarettes, Cigarette Experimentation, and Current Tobacco Use among U.S. Youth,” published in in PLoS ONE.

Kymberle Sterling, associate professor of health promotion and behavior, is the lead author of “The Most Natural Tobacco Used: A Qualitative Investigation of Young Adult Smokers’ Risk Perceptions of Flavored Little Cigars and Cigarillos,” published by the Oxford Journals’ Nicotine & Tobacco Research journal.

The Society of Actuaries has awarded Robinson College of Business a three-year grant to study longevity trends. The research will be conducted by Associate Professor Daniel Bauer and Professor Liang Peng of Robinson’s Department of Risk Management and Insurance. The grants are open to higher education institutions designated as Centers of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries.

Charlotte Alexander, assistant professor of risk management and insurance, has earned the Distinguished Proceedings Paper Award and the Holmes-Cardozo Award for the Outstanding Conference Paper for her paper on “Misclassification and Antidiscrimination.” She received the awards at a recent Academy of Legal Studies in Business meeting.

Ann-Margaret Esnard, professor public management and policy, was invited by principal investigators from Lehigh University and Florida Atlantic University to serve as a co-investigator and subcontractor on a three-year $1.9 million National Science Foundation- funded project: Collaborative Research- CRISP Type 2: Probabilistic Resilience Assessment of Interdependent Systems (PRAISys). As co- investigator/subcontractor to Lehigh University, Esnard and Georgia State will receive $88,307 over the three-year period.

Charles Courtemanche, associate professor economics, presented “Revisiting the Effect of Smoking on Obesity: Evidence from a Randomized Trial” at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on Sept. 11.

Ann-Margaret Esnard, professor of public management and policy, spent a week in South Africa from Sept. 14-18 in her role as a Mellon Visiting Professor, and as a participant in Georgia State’s Comparative Urban Research Partnership initiative with the University of Pretoria.