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Faculty/staff input sought for UGA Sudent Learning Initiative

Faculty/staff input sought for UGA Student Learning Initiative

Athens, Ga. – Faculty and staff at the University of Georgia are invited to attend one of three public forums to be held in November to learn about and provide input on a Student Learning Initiative to be developed and funded as the university seeks reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Students and alumni are also being contacted in a variety of ways to solicit their ideas.

Forums aimed at faculty are scheduled for Nov. 5 and Nov. 10. The first will be held at 4 p.m. in Masters Hall of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel. The second will be held at 4 p.m. in the Chapel. A forum aimed at staff will be held Nov. 20 at 4 p.m. in Masters Hall of the Georgia Center.

A Student Learning Enhancement Team, composed of faculty, staff, student and alumni representatives, has been appointed to solicit ideas from the university community and then lead development of the initiative.

“The team will hold forums and conduct surveys and other activities to identify what single new initiative, if carefully planned and adequately funded, presents the university with the greatest potential for a transformative, positive change in undergraduate student learning at UGA,” said Bob Boehmer, associate provost for institutional effectiveness. “They will also review data such as the results of the National Survey of Student Engagement and key task force reports before recommending a topic for the initiative by the end of this academic year.”

The team is chaired by Rodney Mauricio, associate professor in the genetics department, who has served on University Council since 2006 and was a member of the Provost’s Task Force on General Education and Student Learning. Jan Wheeler, associate director for accreditation, staffs the team for the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. Also serving on the team from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness are Boehmer, Allan Aycock and Adam Wyatt.

Faculty and staff on the team include: Leslie Atchley, Student Affairs; Irwin Bernstein, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Joe Broder, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Paige Carmichael, College of Veterinary Medicine; Denise Gardner, Institutional Research; Loch Johnson, School of Public and International Affairs; Pamela Kleiber, Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities; David Knauft, Graduate School; Jerry Legge, School of Public and International Affairs; Jean Martin-Williams, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Luke Naeher, College of Public Health; Marisa Pagnattaro, Terry College of Business; Shannon Scott, Staff Council; Fran Teague, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; and Shannon Wilder, Service Learning.

Administrators include Jere Morehead, vice president for instruction; Art Dunning, vice president for public service and outreach; and David Lee, vice president for research. Others include Meg Amstutz, chief of staff in the President’s Office; Cheryl Dozier, associate provost for institutional diversity; Bill Potter, associate provost for libraries; Judy Shaw, associate provost for international education; Robin Tricoli, associate provost for strategic planning; and Barbara White, chief information officer.

Undergraduate students on the team are Katy Bowers, immediate past president of the Student Government Association, and Connor McCarthy, current president of the Student Government Association.

The alumni representative is Paul Chambers, an Athens native who serves as AT&T’s district manager for northeast Georgia.

“All of the team members are eager to talk with members of the university community as we begin this grassroots project,” said Mauricio. “The goal of the Student Learning Initiative is to have a direct, positive impact on student learning at UGA and to promote creative, engaging and meaningful learning experiences for students.”

Team members have done some research on projects implemented at other schools and links are provided on the Student Learning Initiative web site (

“The web site is the place where members of the university community can both access information about the development of the initiative and provide their input,” said Mauricio. “We are looking for comments and ideas, as well as brief pre-proposals on the area of focus for the initiative.”

During spring semester, the Student Learning Enhancement Team will hold open meetings to discuss pre-proposals, solicit and discuss full proposals, and make a recommendation to the SACS Leadership Team – composed of the president, provost, other senior administrators and faculty – as to which initiative to pursue.

The following year will be devoted to developing a detailed plan to implement the initiative, with a budget to support it. The plan will then be submitted to SACS for approval.

“It’s important that the focus of our initiative be data-driven and that we establish measurable outcomes,” Mauricio noted. “We also want the initiative to have broad appeal across campus and be financially feasible to implement.”