April 2016 Issue

Posted On April 18, 2016
Categories Our Community

Our Community



Sign Up To Get Text Alerts During Campus Emergencies

Georgia State is urging employees to register or update their emergency contact information in the Panther Alert system.

The university will use the system to send text messages to inform community members in a more timely manner about crime incidents, such as armed robberies, shootings or assaults.

Text messaging is opt-in, but in the past, the alerts were triggered only by weather or emergency events that required the community to take action.

As new information becomes available after an incident, the university will post updates to the university’s Twitter feed.

“Since the Virginia Tech campus shooting in 2007, there has been a big push in alerting campus communities of an emergency,” said Keith Sumas, director of emergency management. “Text message, social media, text message, social media, I can’t say it enough. These are the fastest ways to get an immediate message out to the community and it is our goal to get everyone to use these two channels.”

Fourteen hundred college and universities and 40 percent of the U.S. student population rely on the Rave Alert Emergency Notification System for student, faculty and staff safety on and off campus. More than 82 percent of colleges and universities use text messages to reach faculty, staff and students during emergencies, according to a Campus Safety Magazine survey.

Georgia State will continue to distribute a university-wide broadcast email message that contains a description of the incident, its date, time and location, and precautions to take.

The university will also activate the Panther Alert system via a variety of channels, including email, text, phone call, the university’s website, social media and indoor and outdoor speakers in the event of severe weather or an ongoing life–threatening emergency.

Employees can sign up or update their information by clicking here. The system allows employees and students to add up to three emergency contact numbers that will be notified when there is an emergency.

University officials are continuing to step up other safety measures, including:
– Fully integrating exterior video surveillance cameras at the university with the Atlanta Police Department’s Operation Shield Video Integration Center, enabling Atlanta police officers to monitor video footage from 253 campus cameras. The Georgia State cameras are joining a network of more than 6,000 cameras that are already operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

– Beginning a search for an experienced law enforcement professional whose sole focus will be campus safety. In the interim, Deputy Chief Carlton Mullis is acting chief of police.

– Increasing the number of security officers on campus and is in the process of doubling the police force.

– Introducing a Crime Stoppers Prevention Program so the university can have preventative measures in place to gather timely and accurate information more quickly and prevent crime instead of just responding to it.


New Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) 
Brings Together Cross-Campus Faculty Support

Faculty have a new resource for exploring effective teaching techniques and innovative academic tools. The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) opened its doors in room 100 of Library South on the university’s Atlanta campus on April 15.

“CETL’s goal is to foster a university community where the best practices of engaged teaching and learning are supported and promoted through a range of programs for all instructors, from first-time graduate assistants to longtime faculty,” said Laura Carruth, director of CETL and an associate professor in the Neuroscience Institute. “CETL will help faculty enhance their skillsets and will support them in advancing the discipline of teaching.”

The CETL team brings together under one name the Center for Instructional Effectiveness and the Center for Instructional Innovation at the Atlanta campus as well as the Center for Teaching and Learning at Perimeter College.

“The new center will provide faculty with a wide range of assistance for creating successful student learning experiences,” said Julian Allen, senior director of learning innovations for Instructional Innovation & Technology. “CETL is both a new, state-of-the-art facility that centralizes faculty support and a broad team of professionals who can assist faculty with everything from selecting learning technologies to increase student immersion to examining teaching practices that lead to positive learning outcomes.”

The center’s combined team offers a variety of workshops and consulting services to assist with creating and evaluating courses and academic programs. CETL’s joint resources also include a number of grants, fellowships and programs designed to encourage effective and inventive teaching.

“We want to provide resources that result in improved student experiences and that help faculty meet students’ learning needs,” said Pamela Moolenar-Wirsiy, CETL director at Perimeter College.

CETL will work with faculty on everything from integrating academic technologies into courses to imagining new learning environments to providing opportunities for students to gain digital skills and apply knowledge.

Many of CETL’s staff will be housed in the new CETL facility in Library South. The new
facility includes a simple-to-use video recording studio, audio recording studios and an interactive classroom that showcases emerging technologies to provide faculty access to the latest teaching equipment.

“In addition to offering access to technology and media creation capabilities, there are a number of spaces that invite faculty from across campuses to meet and discuss their goals with instructional support or to casually get together with one another to build community and make connections,” Allen said.

News Briefs

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Transformation Council Examines Digital Technologies

Georgia State has formed a new cross-institution Transformation Council to examine how to accelerate the success of recent innovation on campus and broaden digital capability. Leadership from across the university, including University Research, Perimeter College and Enrollment Services, will guide the initiative.

“Technology is blurring the physical boundaries that define the concept of a campus,” said Phil Ventimiglia, chief innovation officer. “The new council will help position the university to extend the campus experience with emerging digital possibilities.”

Today’s students are accustomed to data-enabled, smart online environments and up-to-the-minute access to information about the processes they’re engaged in on their mobile devices, Ventimiglia said.

“We already use predictive analytics to help students stay on track to graduation,” he said. “However, there are many additional opportunities to leverage analytics and digital communications in order to deliver more seamless experiences that support student life and engagement with the university.”

The focus of the Transformation Council will be to increase the university’s ability to implement the institution’s strategic plan by leveraging emerging digital technologies. Possibilities range from something as simple as recommending campus events that might provide students additional value based on their interests to using more involved analysis to enable one-click class registration.

“The council will ensure Georgia State continues to lead in reshaping the higher education experience,” said John Bandy, chair of the Transformation Council and deputy chief information officer for instructional innovation and technology. “We will focus our effort on improving the student experience, process digitization and enhancing business models to make impactful changes that drive the university’s strategic plan.”


Georgia State Recognized Nationally For Student Success
President Mark Becker and Tim Renick, Georgia State’s vice provost for enrollment and student success, have been canvassing the nation this spring to share the university’s success in helping more low-income, underrepresented students earn degrees.

Renick was invited to the White House in early April to talk about Georgia State’s $8.9 million First in the World grant from the U.S Department of Education. The grant funds a four-year research study in partnership with the University Innovation Alliance (UIA) to examine the effectiveness of predicative analytics and proactive advising in helping 10,000 low-income and first-generation students complete their degrees across the UIA’s 11 member campuses. Of 700 proposals submitted to the highly competitive federal program, Georgia State’s project was one of two funded at the highest level.

U.S. Secretary of Education John King and Undersecretary Ted Mitchell recently toured the university’s newly renovated advising center and met with students and advisers to learn more about what Georgia State has done to help students succeed. Secretary King tweeted that Georgia State is a “leading force in improving college completion rates” nationally and later cited Georgia State as a model during a national meeting I attended on Pell grants and college completion.

Becker and Renick gave presentations at this year’s SXSW Edu conference in Austin, Texas, sharing the Georgia State story with education leaders from around the country.

They shared details about how the university continues to receive national recognition for the Panther Retention Grant program, which has helped more than 7,000 Georgia State students stay enrolled over the past four years. The Lumina Foundation has been so impressed with the innovative program it has awarded seed grants to nine universities so they can initiate similar programs on their campuses.

Understanding that financial problems remain the No. 1 reason students drop out of college, the university recently announced plans to open The SunTrust Student Financial Management Center, a first-of-its kind program to help students address financial issues. Becker accepted the $2 million gift from SunTrust CEO Bill Rogers late last month. The university will use a new financial alert system to identify when students’ financial problems first arise. The center staff then reach out to help, supplemented by SunTrust volunteers who will serve as mentors. Because many students and their parents have limited ability to be on campus during the day, the center will offer online and phone counselors after hours. The center will also provide financial counseling and outreach to low-income and hard-to-reach families that rarely have access to financial guidance from credible institutions.



University Approves New Cyber Security Charter
The Administrative Council recently voted to implement a new Cyber Security Charter for the university. The charter lays out roles and responsibilities for safeguarding confidential and sensitive data at the university and is intended to ensure the university can comply with important regulatory requirements for protecting information.

“In today’s world, where information storage and processes like monetary transactions are increasingly carried out digitally, we all see instances in the news where unauthorized data access has put large numbers of people’s personal information at risk,” said Ren Flot, chief information security officer and director of cyber security services. “As a large organization, we are stewards of a variety of sensitive data, so solid information security practices are vital to protecting our students, faculty and staff, as well as all those who conduct business and research in partnership with the university.”

Protected data include a range of information, everything from data about students’ academic performance to medical records to financial files. Protecting these data can require a number of digital and everyday business processes the Cyber Security Charter seeks to ensure are implemented effectively.

“As an institution that carries out a variety of research, and with the recent addition of Perimeter College to the university community, as well as potential new plans around the acquisition of the Turner Field area, issues around information security continue to grow in complexity as the university expands,” said Dennis Rose, chief technology officer. “We want to make sure that protecting the university community is a top priority.”

The university recently started providing information security awareness training. The training, which is required for faculty and staff, covers basic security awareness, explores a variety of concepts related to information security best practices and provides tips users can incorporate into their work habits and to secure their own personal information.

To assist with implementing the charter, the university’s http://technology.gsu.edu/technology-services/it-services/security/Cyber Security team is available to help identify sensitive information, assess whether confidential information may be at risk and find ways to protect that information, in digital format or on paper. Cyber Security Services will also be working with various departments to identify more targeted training for employees who handle sensitive data as part of their job duties.

“Communicating and responding to a suspected breach or incident appropriately is very important,” Flot said. “The university has to react properly to legal inquires for instance, providing required access to requested information as stated in various regulations, while still protecting related information.”

Staff Spotlight


Brittany Garner
Social Media Coordinator, Office of Undergraduate Admission/PRMC

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The College of Law is one of only two law schools accepted this year into the national honors society for legal education, the Order of the Coif. The Order of the Coif is an honorary scholastic society that encourages excellence in legal education by fostering a spirit of careful study, recognizing law students who attain a high grade of scholarship and honoring lawyers, judges and teachers who attain a high distinction for their scholarly or professional accomplishments.

Mike Townsend of International Student and Scholar Services was re-elected as 2017 chairperson for the Georgia International Leadership Conference.

Barbara Hopkins, undergraduate program director for nutrition and clinical assistant professor, has received the Nutrition and Dietetic Educators and Preceptors’ (NDEP) Area 3 Outstanding Dietetic Educator Award in the Dietetic Internship category for 2016. NDEP is a subgroup of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Colleen Joyce, director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Assistance at the Robinson College of Business, has received the Volunteer of the Year Award from Atlanta Habitat for Humanity.

Daphne Orr of International Student and Scholar Services was awarded a $750 grant from Region VII of NAFSA: Association of International Educators to participate in Advocacy Day in Washington D.C.

Daniel Deocampo, associate professor and chair of geosciences, attended the White House Water Summit on March 22 to share his plans for bringing new technologies and workforce development to the water economy of the southeastern United States.

The project team of Susan Willey, clinical professor of legal studies in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Zoe Salloom, instructional design specialist in the Center for Instructional Innovation, and Emerson Stewart, a Georgia State student, won an Affordable Learning Georgia Textbook Transformation Award for their work on a digital textbook for Legal and Ethical Environment of Business.

Cathy Amanti, clinical assistant professor of early childhood and elementary education, recently published “Critical Views on Teaching and Learning English Around the Globe: Qualitative Research Approaches,” a book that takes a critical look at English language learning and highlights the voices and experiences of students and teachers engaged in the process across the globe.

Faye Borthick, professor of accountancy, has received the Outstanding Education Case Award sponsored by the Institute of Management Accountants at the AIS Section Midyear Meeting for her credit score case.

The faculty of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business are among the world’s most productive researchers in their disciplines, according to new rankings from the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). In the UTD Top 100 Business School Research Rankings, Robinson advanced six spots to No. 35 for faculty research productivity at business schools worldwide and five places to No. 30 for research productivity at North American business schools.

Catharina Chang, professor of counseling and psychological services, has been named an American Counseling Association Fellow, a designation given in recognition of “significant and unique contributions in professional practice, scientific achievement and governance, or teaching and training.”

Songqi Liu, assistant professor of managerial sciences, has won the annual William A. Owens Scholarly Achievement Award given by the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology for the publication in a refereed journal judged to have the highest potential to significantly impact the field of industrial-organizational psychology. The awards committee selected his publication, “Effectiveness of Job Search Interventions: A Meta-Analytic Review.”

Perry Binder, legal studies professor in the Robinson College of Business, has written “99 Motivators for College Success” to inspire college freshmen to succeed the moment they enter college. The book was selected for the Book Award Program by Randolph College in Lynchburg, Va.

David Bruce, clinical professor in the Institute of International Business, has been elected president of the Georgia-Pernambuco chapter of the Partners of the Americas for a two-year term.

Iman Chahine, associate professor of mathematics education, has been awarded two three-year grants ($1 million and $1.3 million, respectively) from the National Research Foundation in South Africa to study curriculum development.

Shelby Frost, clinical associate professor of economics, is president-elect of the Georgia Association of Economic Educators.

L. Lynn Hogue, professor of law emeritus and program director of the LL.M. Program for Foreign-Trained Lawyers at the College of Law, was honored by his alma mater, William Jewell College, at its annual Achievement Day in March.

Wael Jabr, assistant professor of computer information systems, has been awarded the Top Professor Award by the master of science in information systems 2015 cohort.

Lauren Sudeall Lucas, assistant professor of law, has been appointed chair, Constitutional Law Section, Association of American Law Schools.

Michelle Nelson, clinical assistant professor of nursing, has been named the new president of United Advance Practice Registered Nurses of Georgia.

Kathy Plitnick, clinical assistant professor of nursing, has been named to the editorial board for the Madridge Journal of Nursing.

Cynthia Puranik, associate professor of educational psychology, special education and communication disorders, is one of 105 researchers across the country named as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers.

Tim Sass, a distinguished university professor in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, and his co-authors Ron Zimmer at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College and senior fellow Brian Gill and senior researcher Kevin Booker of Mathematica Policy Research, released a study that shows charter school graduates earn more than students who attend conventional public schools. The study was published April 4 in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, a journal of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Charity Scott, the Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law, has been elected president, Board of Directors, American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics.

Jessica Todd, nutrition coordinated program director, has received the Distinguished Service to the Greater Atlanta District Award by the Georgia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Jonathan Todres, professor of law, published “Human Rights in Children’s Literature: Imagination and the Narrative of Law” (with Sarah Higinbotham, Oxford University Press) in January. The book explores how children can grow to realize their inherent rights and to respect the rights of others.

Tonya Cook, program specialist, was featured as an honoree for 2016 “Who’s Who in Black Atlanta.”

Brenda Pitts, professor of education, is the 2016 recipient of the North American Society for Sport Management’s (NASSM) Diversity Award. The award recognizes an individual for exceptional contributions to promote diversity and inclusion within NASSM and related sport management disciplines.

Greg Lewis, professor and chair of public management and policy, presented “LGBTs in the Federal Service: An Update” at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Research Summit at American University in Washington, D.C., March 8-9.

E. Namisi Chilungu and Rhina Fernandes Williams, clinical assistant professors in the College of Education and Human Development, recently co-authored a chapter on multiracial students and educational policy in “Race Policy and Multiracial Americans,” a book that offers a closer look at the effects of multiracial citizens on race-related policies.

Brett Wong, assistant professor of kinesiology, is one of the researchers who recently received a four-year American Heart Association grant to study the effect of long-term thermotherapy on vascular function and walking tolerance in patients with intermittent claudication.

Deborah Shapiro, associate professor of kinesiology and health, helped Recreational Services establish the university’s first wheelchair basketball intramural program, “Pushing Panthers.”

Deirdre Oakley, professor of sociology, and Erin Ruel, associate professor of sociology, have received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study community land trusts, one way American cities can address the shortages of safe, affordable housing and their effects on residents. The researchers are working with Mary Clare Lennon of the CUNY Graduate Center and lead investigator Susan Saegert of the CUNY Graduate Center.