Georgia Impact

UGA launches program to boost rural Georgia research

Kroger Professor Henry Young works with Pulaski County Archway Partnership at Taylor Regional Hospital in Hawkinsville to research hospital re-admittance. (Photo taken before March 2020)

Workshop, seed grants to give faculty chance to make impact across state

A new program at the University of Georgia will connect academic faculty who want to do research in parts of rural Georgia with existing UGA Public Service and Outreach and Extension networks throughout the state.

Twenty academic faculty members, representing 12 of UGA’s 17 schools and colleges, are participants in the inaugural Rural Engagement Faculty Workshop, which kicked off Jan. 22 and will continue for four additional virtual sessions. The workshop will conclude April 30 with a visit to a rural community. The College of Public Health and the School of Social Work are partnering with Public Service and Outreach to deliver the program.

Sessions will include an in-depth examination of rural Georgia’s demographics and trends; an overview of current UGA Public Service and Outreach and Extension initiatives benefiting rural Georgia communities, small businesses, farmers, governments and nonprofits; and a review of high-impact community engagement practices for rural Georgia.

“The University of Georgia is committed to using our resources, including our research enterprise, to increase prosperity throughout the state,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “This new program will create opportunities for faculty to grow research, innovation and entrepreneurship at UGA while contributing to the success of rural Georgia.”

At the end of the workshop, 10 teams of academic and Public Service faculty will be awarded a $5,000 seed grant to pilot a rural engagement research initiative. The Office of Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost S. Jack Hu is supporting the seed grants with $50,000.

“One of our key priorities is strengthening partnerships across the state,” said Hu. “Through this new workshop and seed grant program, we seek to greatly increase the number of faculty who apply their expertise to the pressing needs of individuals, businesses and communities.”