UGA focusing on learning environment

Building a world-class learning environment is a top priority for the University of Georgia.

That was the message delivered by UGA President Jere W. Morehead in his 2015 State of the University address Jan. 21 in the Chapel on North Campus.

“Let me begin with a simple but compelling truth: The state of the University of Georgia is stronger now than at any point in our 230-year history,” Morehead said. “The evidence for this statement can be found in the world-class learning environment created by our outstanding faculty, staff and students.”

Among the recent accomplishments at UGA:


  • The most academically qualified class of first-year students in its history.
  • Record high six-year graduation rate.
  • An outstanding faculty that receives national accolades.
  • A dedicated support staff.
  • Construction of the state-of-the-art Science Learning Center.
  • Renovation and expansion of Baldwin Hall, which house the School of Public and International Affairs.
  • The upcoming dedication and opening of the Veterinary Medical Center.
  • A new UGA in Washington facility.
  • 25 more academic advisors hired.
  • A new research assistantship program for undergraduates.


“As you can see, the University of Georgia is building a world-class learning environment where our students flourish academically,” Morehead said.

Students are quick to come up with good memories of the learning environment. When asked this question – “What has been the best or most enriching learning experience you have had at UGA?” – this is how some recent UGA Amazing Students responded:

Student: Joey Sharp
Graduates: Spring 2015
Major: Biology, psychology
Answer: While first semester of freshman year can be a hard transition period for many young college students, Maria Navarro ensured that I not only felt comfortable in a college class but that I learned to love class itself. Dr. Navarro utilized the most important teaching method of them all: instilling a passion for learning. Not only did I love the class Dr. Navarro taught, I discovered that all of my classes shared the same qualities, and I fully invested in each of them for the sake of learning itself. I have employed this mentality in each of my activities over the last four years, and I plan to utilize it as I begin medical school next year. While the individual facts we learn in chemistry or history are important, far more important is the mentality we take from the experiences we have in the classroom. With the help of some special professors at UGA, I have broadened my world-view and become a lifelong learner.

Student: Tuan Nguyen
Graduates: Spring 2015
Major: Biochemistry and molecular biology, mathematics
Answer: My most important learning experience at UGA has definitely been the close mentorship with my professors that has been fostered by the Honors Program. This has been instrumental in opening unexpected opportunities in research and internships beyond the campus. As a student, I owe much of my progress to the close relationships with the professors I have here at UGA.

Student: Sara Chamberlain
Graduates: Spring 2015
Major: Marketing, theatre
Answer: It is rather difficult to pinpoint a single experience that I have found as the best or most enriching experience here at UGA because I have enjoyed such a diverse college experience. A big part of the reason I chose UGA was that such a large school with so many different departments would allow me to pursue very different areas of study, business and theatre at a high level. One benefit of such a large university is that students come in contact with leaders in their fields. For example, in the marketing department one of my professors, Jennifer Osbon, was great about bringing in speakers who are leaders in the realm of digital marketing, giving her students a chance to get advice and network with these accomplished individuals. Through University Theatre, the students have the opportunity to work with guest directors with impressive professional credits to their name.

Student: Jim Thompson
Graduates: Spring 2015
Major: Psychology, public relations
Answer: During my time at the University I have been fortunate enough to participate in two study abroad programs-one to Greece, another to China.

Learning and living abroad provides an unparalleled academic experience, because your learning is not confined to three weekly meetings in a brick-walled classroom. Abroad, the streets are your desk, and your senses are your notebook, carefully noting every lesson. You gain knowledge through unexpected and profound conversations. You become enveloped in a culture distinctly different from your own, expanding your cultural awareness. And you learn the true value of being a global citizen.

I have many memories from my two tours abroad, but the lesson that has had the greatest impact on my life came just a few days after I first arrived in Greece three years ago. While in Athens, we met with Judy Boyle, the founder of “The NO Project,” an international campaign against human trafficking and slavery. Boyle spoke to us about the emerging importance of media and mass communications in social justice movements. This meeting with Boyle led me to identify ways in which I could combine my interests in digital communications and public service. Now, I am a fourth-year student pursuing degrees in psychology and public relations and a minor in political science with aspirations to a career in public policy.

From Athens, Georgia, to Athens, Greece; from Beijing to Shanghai, and everywhere in between; studying abroad has given me an incurable wanderlust, but even more, a career path that is no longer indeterminate as a result of wandering interests.

Student: Madison Berger
Graduates: Spring 2015
Major: Animal science, dairy science
Answer: One of the most enriching learning experiences I’ve encountered at UGA was my “Dairy Production” class. Not only did the class provide a detailed overview of the dairy industry as a whole, but it also showed how classroom lectures applied in the real world in our weekly lab periods out at the UGA teaching dairy. I started the class with very little knowledge of the subject, but thanks to Dr. Fain’s unparalleled enthusiasm and expertise I have a newfound appreciation for the dairy industry. My career path is to become a large animal veterinarian, and I believe the knowledge I gained from this class will be extremely beneficial when dealing with future clients from this industry.

Student: Amy Webster
Graduates: Spring 2015
Major: Genetics, mathematics
Answer: Each spring semester, the genetics department offers special topics courses as electives. Last spring, I took a course on epigenetics, which is relevant for the research I plan to pursue. As one of only three students in the class, it was easy to ask questions or get guidance throughout the semester. I was able to delve deeper into a topic that might just be covered briefly in a typical class.

Student: Brittany Feldhaeusser
Graduates: Spring 2017
Major: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Answer: I would say that my most enriching learning experience has been my pathology classes with Corrie Brown. She is an amazing, award-winning professor for good reason! She would much prefer to have us in the lab touching specimens and experiencing real-life scenarios, but if she must do a traditional lecture, it is given in a relaxed, humorous manner that engages everyone and facilitates learning in a low-stress environment. The goal is always to learn concepts for life, not to memorize and regurgitate minute details. It is obvious that she wants us all to succeed and has put a lot of thought and effort into making that happen. We have done everything from practice cases, lesion identification in lab, and even presented skits and music videos to our fellow classmates! Even though I probably will not go on to be a pathologist, I am sure that what I have learned with Dr. Brown will remain with me and benefit my future professional endeavors.

Student: Omar Martinez-Uribe
Graduates: Spring 2015
Major: Biology
Answer: The most enriching learning experience I have had at the University of Georgia has been being able to work in a research lab under Julie Moore. In my time here at UGA I’ve been blessed to have had great teachers and lecturers, but the Moore lab has helped me to apply my knowledge and to think critically about pressing problems.

Student: Sokngim Kim
Graduates: Spring 2016
Major: Civil engineering
Answer: The most enriching learning experience I have had at UGA is having the opportunity to do a research project with my professor. I won an award from the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities to do a research project on designing and analyzing trusses using the Matlab program. I just started my project this semester. I found that my understanding in my major, civil engineering, has improved a lot. I learn more by doing things on my own. Another learning experience I have had at UGA is using new engineering tools and new technology programs on the computer. I am interested in these technologies because technologies in my country, Cambodia, are not as advanced as here. I believe that these technologies will help me to achieve my goal to help develop my country.

Student: Colby Ruiz
Graduates: Spring 2015
Major: B.S.A. in biological sciences
Answer: As a student of the Honors Program and a recipient of the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Honors Scholarship, I began participating in undergraduate research in my first semester. I am studying a family of proteins that includes Ras, which is mutagenic in 30 percent of all human cancers. I have presented my research numerous times including at the UGA CURO Symposium and a regional research conference within my field. While I’ve made a very small contribution to the scientific community, I can’t begin to convey the value of my work to my learning experience; this project has taught me to manage my time, approach complex problems and communicate complicated ideas to audiences with a range of scientific understanding. The lessons I have learned though my research involvement couldn’t have been taught in a classroom, and I am forever thankful to CURO for providing such a valuable learning experience.