January 2016 Issue

Posted On January 28, 2016
Categories Our Community

Our Community



Research Awards On Track

Annual research awards received in fiscal year 2015 at Georgia State exceeded the $100 million milestone for the first time in the university’s history, and are on track this year to surpass last year’s total.

The university has created two new research centers—the Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development and the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine—dedicated to health and medicine. Researchers in the centers have already procured more than $55 million in external research funding.

“The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development is continuing to advance the Georgia State research agenda, invest in new initiatives, expand research support services and boost the university’s commercialization potential,” said James Weyhenmeyer, vice president and research and economic development.

Researchers are working to tackle the problems cities are facing all over the country. Georgia State is a member of the MetroLab Network, a White House supported, multi-disciplinary research and educational initiative to research, design, develop and evaluate solutions to challenges affecting the economy and quality of life in metropolitan areas.

The university is also part of the i6 Challenge Grant, along with Georgia Tech, to develop innovation-led economic development activities in several underserved areas in Georgia. The university will work with and engage the disadvantaged population of metro Atlanta in the entrepreneurial process.
The university continues to add space for the growing research community at Georgia State. The Science Park Phase II Building, being built next to the Petit Science Center, will significantly increase the number of research labs and amount of lab support space on campus.

News Briefs

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New Housing Complex Named Piedmont Central

Georgia State’s new housing complex, being built at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and John Wesley Dobbs Avenue, will be called Piedmont Central. The facility, which will add 1,052 beds to campus in August, will focus on first-year students. It is part of the university’s continued mission to provide top-quality housing that enhances students’ personal and academic development by offering modern, safe and secure facilities, and provides opportunities for intellectual and social engagement while promoting meaningful interactions between residents and staff. The facility will feature modern social spaces, a large dining hall and a courtyard in the back of the building.


Student Recreation Center Undergoes Major Capital Improvements
The Student Recreation Center underwent more than $1.6 million in large-scale maintenance projects during the final months of 2015. Allen Wilbanks, assistant director of facilities for the Department of Recreational Services, said all of the improvements will ensure the building lasts longer and functions in a way that supports the university’s sustainability efforts.

Recreation Center Improvements:
-The building envelop repair ($829,000), which is now complete, included installing installation sub-straight with a PVC roof liner, new caulking on sloped glazing, installation of expansion joints and re-attaching ribbed metal paneling. These improvements were done to make sure the building is more energy efficient.

-The aquatics center, consisting of three bodies of water – the 37,850-gallon leisure pool, the 204,326-gallon lap pool and the 4,670-gallon whirlpool – underwent two major capital improvements. About $345,000 was spent repairing plumbing fixtures and valves in the systems of all three pools, repairing leaks in the main drain sump, properly grounding all pool ladders, poles and lights, and re-plastering the entire surface of the lap pool.

– Antimicrobial-coated bio-prism partitions were installed in the men’s and women’s locker room showers for $230,000. The partitions are now hospital grade and are guaranteed to remain mold- and mildew-free.



University Increases Police Presence On Campus
Because of the recent string of robberies in the university’s library, Georgia State is taking immediate action to vigorously address security issues. President Mark Becker authorized the University Police on Jan. 28 to double the number of police officers on each shift patrolling campus and to take steps to secure all exits and entrances, including having uniformed officers at each entrance checking the Panther IDs of faculty, staff and students. He also authorized police to install additional security cameras at the library and to temporarily close the library to the public while the university puts new security measures in place. The university will hold campus safety forums to hear concerns from the campus community. To voice concerns or suggestions on campus safety, fill out the safety feedback form here: http://www.gsu.edu/safety-feedback/


Gov. Nathan Deal Releases Budget Recommendations

Governor Nathan Deal released his budget recommendations to the General Assembly on Jan. 13. The House of Representatives and the Senate will review the spending proposal and reach an agreement before the end of the legislative session. The recommendations outlined his legislative agenda focusing on areas such as education, pay raises for teachers and state employees and job growth. The recommendations included a call for teachers and state employees to get a 3 percent pay raise and asked lawmakers to delay education reform until next year. The recommendations of interest to the University System of Georgia (USG) and Georgia State included $101 million for merit-based pay adjustments and new USG formula funds. These funds are critical in meeting enrollment demands, providing for maintenance of new facilities and funding strategic initiatives. The Georgia State Government Affairs team will seek $5.2 million in funds during the budget process for the construction of Alpharetta Labs and a Student Learning Center at Perimeter College, $5 million for the demolition of Kell Hall/Library Plaza and $4.2 million for the construction of Library North Entrance renovation.

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Thousands Visit Junior Achievement Center
Thousands of students visited Georgia State’s storefront in the Junior Achievement Center at Gwinnett during the fall semester. The center, which opened on Aug. 27, is on the campus of Gwinnett County’s Discovery High School in Lawrenceville. The facility’s Finance Park includes simulations that will allow students to experience making decisions about their financial futures and teach them about the value of education. In the Georgia State shop students can personalize a simulated dormitory room and learn about the value of higher education and the distinctive qualities of Georgia State.

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EDWS Introduces Wellness Reward Program
Georgia State faculty, staff and retirees can earn reward points for attending wellness activities and events sponsored by Employee Development and Wellness Services (EDWS). The points are redeemable for prizes for a limited time. To get started, participants will need to join the new Panther PERQs Plus Program sponsored by EDWS by creating a free account on the Cooleaf vendor Web or mobile platform. Registration will begin Feb. 1, and everyone who registers in the first 60 days will be eligible for raffle drawings to win a Misfit Tracker. To register, click here. EDWS will host an information session to introduce the new program and communication platform from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3, Student Center East, Room 218. For more information, call 404-413-3342.
Staff Spotlight


Jeannie Cho
Event Planning Manager at the Student Center

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Volkan Topalli, professor of criminal justice and criminology, will serve as acting associate provost for International Initiatives until the search for the associate provost is completed. As previously announced, Dr. Jun Liu is leaving Georgia State to become dean of international academic programs and services and vice provost for global affairs at Stony Brook University-SUNY.

The Georgia Health Policy Center participated in a 21-Day Walk to Win Challenge in December. Nineteen faculty and staff members from the center walked more than 2.9 million steps. Sacha Gayle, administrative assistant, was the individual winner after completing more than 372,000 steps. Mohammad Khalaf, research associate II, Debra Kibbe, senior research associate, and Rachel Campos, research associate II, were a part of the winning team, Team SHAPE, who walked a total of nearly 700,000 steps.

Online master’s degree programs in the College of Education and Human Development ranked 36th in the country in the U.S. News & World Report 2016 Best Online Education Programs rankings released on Jan. 12.The college’s ranking moved up from No. 54 in 2015.

Professor Lars Mathiassen, of the Center for Process Innovation (CEPRIN), doctoral student Vitali Mindel and former Ph.D. student Rajendra Singh (now of the University of South Carolina), won a best paper award for “IT-based Revenue Cycle Management: An Action Research into Relational Coordination” at the 49th annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, held Jan. 5-8 in Kauai. CEPRIN is part of the Robinson College of Business.

Charlie Garnett Benson, assistant professor of biology, in collaboration with the Winship Cancer Institute, has received a four-year, $792,000 Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society to fight cancers using a combination of therapies. Benson is the principal investigator on the grant which will be used to define ways to maximize responses to novel immune-based therapeutic approaches in combination with radiation treatment of cancer.
Yu-Ping Chen, associate professor of physical therapy, and Gerald Zavorsky, associate professor of respiratory therapy, have received a pilot grant from Healthcare Innovation Program/Atlanta Clinical Translational Science Institute (HIP/ACTSI). The ACTSI consortium, composed of Georgia State, Emory University and Georgia Tech, is part of a national effort to improve biomedical research nationally with a goal of taking laboratory discoveries and making them available in clinical settings to treat patients and develop the next generation of clinical researchers.

Alejandro Del Valle, assistant professor of risk management, participated in the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris as part of a panel formed by the World Bank.

Peggy Gallagher, professor of early childhood and special education, recently met with the vice chancellor and other administrators at the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka as part of a Fulbright Specialist Grant trip.

Jennifer Giarratano, public relations manager in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, has received The Academic Minute’s Most School Spirit Senior Superlative Award for 2015.

Associate Professor Kyong-Ah Kwon and the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education are hosting 12 students and one faculty member from Korea’s Ewha Womans University in January. While they’re here, these students will take a campus tour, talk with College of Education and Human Development faculty and do some teaching and observing at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy and Georgia State’s Child Development Center.

E.R. Lanier, professor of law emeritus, was appointed general counsel of the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) on Dec. 1. Lanier will have oversight responsibilities for legal matters in the OCA’s central administration, which includes parishes and dioceses in the United States, Canada and Mexico. 

Jacalyn Lund and Mike Metzler, professors of kinesiology, were recognized as fellows at the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education’s annual conference Jan. 6-9, in San Diego.

Alfred Mettler, Beverly Langford, Brandon Smith and William Bogner received the “Top Faculty” award from the Professional MBA (PMBA) class of 2015 at the Alpharetta and Peachtree-Dunwoody locations. The award is given at the end of each PMBA program to honor faculty members who not only have made notable contributions to their fields of study, but also have made special efforts for students.

Tim Sass, Distinguished University Professor of Economics, is highlighted in the 2016 “Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings” by Frederick “Rick” Hess, director of the American Enterprise Institute. The rankings spotlight 200 scholars who move ideas from academic journals into the national conversation.

The School of Public Health has received a grant of more than $867,000 from Pfizer Inc. to continue working with Chinese health officials to implement tobacco control programs in five major cities in China.

The World Affairs Council of Atlanta held its 5th Anniversary Founders Day Dinner on Dec. 14 in honor of Cedric L. Suzman who retired at the end of December. Suzman, who was the council’s executive vice president and director of programming, had attracted a host of world leaders in Atlanta through organizing more than 1,000 events during his career.

Leslie E. Wolf, professor of law and director for the Center for Law, Health & Society, was elected to the John Hopkins Society of Scholars and is the first lawyer to be inducted.

Richard Wright, professor and chair of criminal justice and criminology, gave a TEDX talk on “The Ripple Effects of a Cashless Society.”