March 2, 2017 Issue

Posted On March 1, 2017
Categories Our Community

Our Community


Renovation Projects To Transform
Campus Near Woodruff Park

The university has renovated the front entrance of the 58 Edgewood Ave. building and opened a new lobby study space on the ground floor.

“Our design intent was to establish a formal entrance to the building, spruce up the façade with Georgia State signage and activate the lobby along Edgewood Avenue with social space,” said Ramesh Vakamudi, associate vice president of facilities management. “We also wanted to replace the old single pane rusted metal windows with energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing windows. I think we are successful in achieving it.”

The new lobby, which is open to the Georgia State community, has seating for 32 people and two Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible restrooms. The building also houses Georgia State’s CollabTech Business Incubator and LaunchGSU, which opened this semester as an event venue for startup-centric events and a work space for students.CollabTech

“The project took 15 months to complete and the lobby opened to the Georgia State community at the beginning of February,” said project manager Keith Martin. “The contractor is still working through a few small items, but I expect all construction on the project should be completed by mid-March.”

The façade and lobby renovation at 58 Edgewood Ave., which is sometimes referred to as the 25 Park Place annex or the CollabTech building, is the first of several projects at Georgia State being funded by a $22.8 million Robert W. Woodruff Foundation grant to help improve facilities and streetscapes in the area adjacent to Woodruff Park.

The grant will also fund renovation projects at 25 Park Place, a complex which consists of a 26-floor tower, a low-rise, three-floor building, a 1,400-car parking deck and a six-floor annex building.

Pavilion Renovation for the Creative Media Industries Institute
The three-floor low-rise building, commonly referred to as the Pavilion, is being renovated to house the Georgia State Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII). This project, which is scheduled for completion by May 2017, consists of three core facilities – a Media Production Hub, Media Industries Incubation Center and Digital Media Research Center. The first floor includes an entrance lobby with two-story video display screen, production studio, student meeting rooms and a virtual reality lab. The second floor has meeting rooms, a training room, collaborative space and post-production rooms. The third floor consists of a data visualization lab, applications development lab and multipurpose room that opens into a roof terrace. Technology enhancements are scheduled for completion by September 2017.

Plaza Improvements
Georgia State is in the programming and planning phase of renovation work for the 25 Park Place Plaza. The triangular plaza is enclosed by the tower and low-rise building on two sides and Park Place Street on the third side. The intent of this project is to create an attractive, vibrant and dynamic urban plaza to encourage pedestrian activity and social gatherings. The plaza, which is adjacent to Woodruff Park and served by the Atlanta Streetcar System, will complement the Creative Media Industries Institute and its programs, by serving as an exterior venue for events and for public interaction with CMII-based activities. In addition to the plaza design, concepts are being proposed for the adjoining street areas, which will require discussions with and the approval of the City of Atlanta. These concepts include new pavement material, planters with seating, Georgia State signs, landscaping, street furniture and lighting. Plaza enhancements are scheduled for completion by December 2017.

News Briefs

commencementGeorgia State A Top Performing Institution For Black Students
Georgia State continues to lead the nation in graduating black students, according to a new report of “Top Performing Institutions for Black Students” released March 1 by The Education Trust.

The report examines graduation rates for African-American students and the completion gap between black and whites at 676 public and private nonprofit institutions, as well as four-year, for-profit institutions. The report highlighted that black students at Georgia State graduated at a rate of 56 percent, a rate six percent higher than white students, under a weighted average of data from 2012 to 2014.

The Education Trust report found that closing the completion gap between black and white students requires simultaneous work on three fronts: addressing inequities in completion within individual institutions; changing enrollment patterns so selective institutions enroll more black students; and improving graduation rates at institutions where black students are more likely to attend.


Presmeeting photoident Becker Meets With U.S. Secretary Of Education
President Mark Becker was one of 11 public university presidents and chancellors from across the country who met with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Feb. 23. The leaders, who were in Washington D.C. attending the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Board of Directors meeting, discussed key issues affecting their institutions, students and faculty. They also discussed ways the Department of Education can work with public universities to help increase access and affordability, boost degree completion, improve transparency and accountability, better prepare students to enter and succeed in the workforce, and streamline and lift burdensome regulations.


Wellness Interest Survey Results Released
The Office of Employee Development and Wellness Services (EDWS) released the results of the campus Wellness Interest Survey conducted during the fall semester. Nearly 1,000 Georgia State faculty and staff participated in the survey. Check out the results:



Top Five Areas of Health Focus:
• Physical Activity
• Weight Management
• Stress Management
• Nutrition
• Financial Management

Top Five Wellness Activity Preferences:
• Challenges
• Yoga
• Meditation
• Walking Club
• Nutrition

Top Five Wellness Topic Interests:
• Stress Management
• Physical Activity
• Weight Management
• Nutrition
• Financial Health

Top Two Preferences for Participation in Wellness Topic Courses:
• Computer/Virtual (Webinar)
• In-Person

Top Two Best Ways to Communicate about Wellness Offerings:
• Email
• Department/Staff Meeting Announcement

EDWS will be offering Wellness on Wheels outreach services each month at Perimeter College’s Clarkston, Decatur and Dunwoody campuses. Services will include workshop presentations, health screenings and individual health coaching (including nutrition, weight management and physical activity). For more information, call EDWS at 404-413-3342.

robinmorrisRobin Morris Returns To Faculty

Dr. Robin Morris, associate provost for strategic initiatives and innovation, will be returning to his position as regents’ professor of psychology at the end of the academic year. As associate provost, Morris oversaw the successful implementation of the university’s strategic plan, including providing critical support for the Council for the Progress of Cities, the Urban Studies Institute, the Global Studies Institute, the Global Partnership for the Development of Cities, the Creative Media Industries Institute, Institute for Biomedical Sciences and the College of the Arts, among others. Morris also developed and administered the Second Century Initiative program with the accompanying University Graduate Fellowships, resulting in the recruitment of dozens of outstanding new faculty in a variety of cross-disciplinary areas. He designed the successor to the initiative, the Next Generation program. Morris has continued an active research program, successfully leading a number of large, multi-site, federally funded projects that have studied reading interventions and dyslexia/reading disabilities as well as a program to help children to learn to read where there are no teachers or schools. His recent research has been sponsored by the Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society. An internal search will be conducted to identify a successor.


Register For The Healthy Trails Challenge
Registration for the University System of Georgia’s six-week well-being challenge opened on March 1. During the Spring HealthTrails Challenge, which runs from March 20 – April 30, Georgia State faculty and staff will be tracking steps taken, water consumption and acts of kindness. For Georgia State to qualify for the challenge, the university needs 10 percent of the benefits-eligible staff/faculty involved, about 500 people. For more information and important dates, click here. Employee Development and Wellness Services will be hosting a HealthTrails kickoff event and walk on Thursday, March 2 at 11 a.m. in Hurt Park.



Faculty and Staff Assistance Online Services
Faculty and Staff Assistance, the internal Employee Assistance Program that provides confidential short-term counseling, assessment and referral service at no cost to Georgia State faculty, staff, retirees and eligible dependents, will now provide an online video conferencing platform. The new counseling option will be available for people who don’t have the time to travel to see a counselor. For more information, call EDWS at 404-413-3342.



Staff Spotlight


Sakinah Grant
Senior Administrative Coordinator, Physics and Astronomy

Read More »


The Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia has selected the Department of Physical Therapy for the 2017 Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award for Departments and Programs. The Physical Therapy program was chosen unanimously for the department’s emphasis on service-learning and community engagement. In addition, the BOR committee noted the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) graduates high pass rate on state licensure exams. The DPT program holds a three-year 98 percent average pass rate.

Professor Lars Mathiassen, academic director of the Executive Doctorate in Business program, will be director of the new Center for Engaged Business Research that will be housed at Georgia State’s Buckhead Center.

Fran Mohr, director of customer service for Perimeter College, has been honored as Toastmaster of the Year for 2015. She is a member of the Gwinnett-Tucker Toastmasters Club #833. The club also gave its 2014 and 2016 awards at the same meeting.

Assistant Professor Thomas Crisp was chosen for the International Youth Library Fellowship program, which promotes research on international children’s and youth literature illustration. Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers fellowships for up to 15 individuals around the world each year, and a person can only receive one in a lifetime.

Georgia State’s 2016 Faculty Awards Committee named Susan Willey, clinical professor of legal studies, a recipient of the Instructional Innovation Award for her creation of a new digital textbook for the Legal and Ethical Environment of Business course.

Michael Eriksen, dean of the School of Public Health, has been elected chair of the Legislative Committee of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. His term will begin March 18.

Robbie Land, lecturer of film and media, had a film selected to be in the National Weather Center’s Biennale video installation, curated by Joe Goode. The film is titled, “North Atlantic Wind through Window Screen.”

Xiangming Fang, associate professor of health management and policy, has been invited by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund Nigeria to serve as an international consultant to conduct an analysis of the economic burden of violence against children in that country.

The Center for Leadership in Disability presented its annual Georgia Winter Institute in Columbus, Ga., in January, bringing together people from all walks of life to learn more about building communities that include and engage all citizens in building communities where people with disabilities can become full participants.

Karen Minyard, director of the Georgia Health Policy Center, has been unanimously selected by the AcademyHealth Board of Directors to serve as chair-elect for the Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy for 2017.

Prevent Child Abuse Georgia (PCA Georgia) delivered a day-long session to Georgia College and State University to train their human resources directors and other staff who directly or indirectly supervise children on campus. PCA Georgia used its recently developed Mandated Reporter Training Curriculum, intended for professionals who have a need to train staff or others in their organizations who are required to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.

Christina Fuller, assistant professor of environmental health, was the lead author on an article titled, “Phenology of a Vegetation Barrier and Resulting Impacts on Near-Highway Particle Number and Black Carbon Concentrations on a School Campus” for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Andrew Butler, associate dean for research in the Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, has been recognized by the editors of Journal of Hand Therapy for writing one of the five most highly cited papers, “A meta-analysis of the efficacy of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation for upper limb motor recovery in stroke survivors.” The paper was first published in 2013 and continues to be cited.

Fayron Epps, assistant professor of nursing, has been elected to the Board of Directors for National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence.

Kinsuk Maitra, chair of Occupational Therapy, has been chosen to receive the 2017 Meritorious Service Award presented by the American Occupational Therapy Foundation Board of Trustees.

Martha Polovich, assistant professor of nursing, will receive the 2017 Rose Mary Carroll-Johnson ONS Distinguished Award for Consistent Contribution to Nursing Literature Award presented by the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). She will receive the award at the ONS conference in May.

Ngozi Nkongho, director of the associate degree nursing program, has been re-elected for a second term to the National League For Nursing Board of Commissioners on Nursing Education Accreditation.

Lucy Popova, assistant professor of health promotion and behavior, was the lead author on an article titled, “Do Emotions Spark Interest in Alternative Tobacco Products?” in Health Education & Behavior.

Flora Brooke Anthony, a visiting lecturer, art historian and Egyptologist, has published her first book “Foreigners in Ancient Egypt.”

Leslie Wolf, professor of law and director of the Center for Law, Health & Society, was appointed to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP) in December. The committee provides expert advice and recommendations to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on issues pertaining to the protection of human subjects in research. Wolf will be one of 11 voting public members. SACHRP members are appointed to four-year terms. 

School of Social Work faculty members presented the following at the 19th annual meeting of the Society for Social Work and Research in New Orleans, Jan. 13-18:
Robin Hartinger-SaundersSusan Snyder and colleagues made a poster presentation, “An Examination of Mediators Between Victimization and Offending Among Young Men: The Application of General Strain Theory.” Snyder also presented the following papers with Darcey Merritt (New York University’s Silver School of Social Work): “Is Inhalant Use Influenced by Youths’ Perceptions of How Well Their Caseworkers Listen?” and “Risk Factors for Inhalant Use Among Child Welfare System Involved Adolescents.”
Kristie Seelman and Terri Lewinson presented the paper, “Sexual Minority Seniors: Coping Strategies for Health Needs in Late Life.” Seelman also presented with other authors the paper, “Physical, Mental, and Sexual Health Among Transgender Adults: Domestic and Global Implications for Research and Practice.”

Cassius F. Butts, former regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, has joined the Robinson College as an executive-in-residence. He will focus on the university’s entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives.

V. Kumar, Regents’ Professor and executive director of the Center for Excellence in Brand & Customer Management, received the 2016 Society for Marketing Advances Distinguished Scholar Award at the organization’s annual conference, held in Atlanta.

Timothy D. Lytton, Distinguished University Professor and professor of law, was elected to the Executive Committee for the Section on Torts and Compensation Systems of the Association of American Law Schools.
Cass Brewer, associate professor of law, coedited The Social Enterprise Zoo: A Guide for Perplexed Scholars, Entrepreneurs, Philanthropists, Leaders, Investors, and Policymakers, which was published in 2016.

The American Marketing Association and the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing Editor Search Committee has announced Pam Ellen, associate professor of marketing, as an editor of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. Her term will begin on July 1.

Tamer Cavusgil, professor of international business, has had his paper, “Do Barriers to Export Vary for Born Globals and Across Stages of Internationalization? An Empirical Inquiry in the Emerging Market of Turkey,” identified as one of the top five most cited, influential papers published in International Business Review since 2013.

DeKalb Early College Academy (DECA) student Sydnie Cobb and DECA professor Jason Butler are one of 15 pairs of scholars from across the country selected to participate in “Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute,” a World War II program that will include a semester’s worth of online study and a two-week, all-expenses-paid summer institute in Washington, D.C., and Normandy, France, where they will select and study a “fallen hero.”

Tiffany Flowers, assistant professor of cultural and behavioral sciences online, recently conducted the workshop, “Empowering Black Males to Read Literature in Grades K-12,” at the National Black Child Development Institute Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Gregg Murray, assistant professor of English, recently released the spring 2017 issue of his literary journal, Muse/A. The publication is a collection of poetry, short stories and art from authors around the nation.

Bettina Benoit Durant, instructor in communication and journalism, has been initiated into Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. Kappa Delta Pi is dedicated to scholarship and excellence in education. Durant is an instructor in communication and journalism.

Six College of Education of Human Development faculty members have received grants from the Spencer Foundation, which supports high-quality investigation of education through its research programs. Their research projects will address a range of issues facing educators today, from the effects of students grading each other’s work to the connections between teacher beliefs and writing instructions and assessment:
·Professor Nicole Patton Terry, assistant professor Kevin Fortner and associate professor Gary Bingham were awarded a $400,000 grant to assess the state and quality of early education in Atlanta Public Schools.
·Assistant Professor Hongli Li was awarded a $50,000 grant to study the effect peer assessment has on learning and determine the factors that influence its effects.
·Assistant Professor Chenyi Zhang was awarded a two-year, $70,000 postdoctoral fellowship to incorporate writing instruction into routine activities in preschool classrooms that primarily serve low-income communities.
·Assistant Professor Nadia Behizadeh was awarded a $46,000 grant to better understand how teachers can provide more interactive, meaningful writing instruction to diverse groups of students.

Gordon Vernick, coordinator of jazz studies, gave a lecture on the Nat King Cole Trio at The Ramsey Lewis concert, tribute to Nat King Cole at the Rialto Center for the Arts on Jan. 21.  He also hosted the Georgia jazz Educators Jam Session at the Foundry in Athens, Ga. and discussed on Feb. 10 the movie “Body & Soul: An American Bridge,” hosted by The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

Hollie Lifshey, assistant professor of trumpet performed at the International Trumpet Guild Archives Showcase Recital on Jan. 14 during the Trumpet Festival of the Southeast at Columbus State University.

Christa Watson-Wright, assistant professor of environmental health, was the lead author on an article titled “Toxicological implications of released particulate matter during thermal decomposition of nano-enabled thermoplastics” in NanoImpact.