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HIGHLANDER The official magazine of Georgia Highlands College

Spring/Summer 2018




Going to college is not the key to success

Student is one of only 5,000 falconers in the United States

GHC saves students more than $6 million with free textbooks

Table of Contents

in this issue 3

Message from the President


Keep on Charging! Graduate!


Campus News


Students Taking Charge


Focus on Faculty Special Section


Department Spotlight


Faculty Spotlight


Staff Spotlight


Student Spotlight


Alumni Spotlight


Alumni & Friends Update


Foundation Spotlight


Charger News


Editor and Designer Sheila Jones Photography Jeff Brown Writer Nick Godfrey

Donald J. Green, Ed.D., President The Advancement Division encompasses the GHC Foundation, development, communications, marketing, digital media, print services, and alumni relations. Vice President of Advancement & Executive Director of the GHC Foundation Mary Transue Senior Administrative Assistant to the Vice President Cindy Gomez Foundation Accountant Liz Jones


The Highlander is published twice a year by the Advancement Division at Georgia Highlands College 3175 Cedartown Highway Rome, GA 30161 • 706.802.5473

@GaHighlands @GHC_Athletics @ChargerInCharge


Georgia Highlands College is a multi-campus, state college of the University System of Georgia. Founded in 1970 as Floyd Junior College, it now serves more than 6,000 students in Northwest Georgia across five locations in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Dallas, and Douglasville. GHC currently offers an associate degree in over 30 areas of study, as well as a Bachelor of Science in nursing for registered nurses, a Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene, and a new Bachelor of Business Administration in healthcare management and in logistics and supply chain management. Ten areas of study are offered fully online.

Senior Director of Marketing & Communications Sheila Jones Director of Digital Media Services Jeff Brown Print Services Manager Ken Davis Communications Manager Nick Godfrey Digital Media Specialist Justin Sucre Alumni Development Specialist Alison Lampkin

is not the key to success

Every week I meet parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other family members who tell me about someone they know who needs to “go to college.” I politely correct them. I tell them: Going to college is not the key to success. Every year a large number of people “go to college.” Attending college is not the key to success… graduating is! I’m an advocate for college completion. This should not surprise you. But I’m not alone. Mark Cuban, entrepreneur billionaire, is a regular on ABC’s Shark Tank. When a seventeen-year-old named Ehan Kamat went on with his pitch, the young man said he was willing to forego college to work on his company. Cuban said, “That is a bad idea. Learn, Learn, Learn. The greatest competitive advantage is knowledge.” And he’s right. There is no investment that will provide a larger return than a college degree. I know this because I did my homework. On the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics webpage, you will find a graph of education, income, and unemployment rates for 2016 (the most recent data). In addition to an increased income, college graduates are more likely to remain married, retire comfortably, donate to charitable causes, live longer, and more. But notice, these benefits don’t come to those who simply “go to college.” These benefits come to those who finish! Unfortunately, many fail to graduate. We need them to complete. Georgia needs them to complete. America needs them to complete! Complete the associate degree and finish the bachelor’s degree. How does GHC contribute to completion? Quality and Convenience. We provide high-quality coursework on caliber with other institutions in the University System of Georgia and elsewhere, and we offer that coursework conveniently at locations all across Northwest Georgia. Affordability. At GHC, you can complete a full load of classes for less than $4,000 per year. With housing, the average university costs you over $20,000 per year. Plus over the last three years, GHC has redesigned many

of our text selections to reduce student costs. This year we will save students millions with free GHC President Don Green textbooks alone! (See page 10 for more on free textbooks.) Support. Attaining a degree isn’t easy. Not everyone immediately understands math and not every first draft of an essay is a masterpiece. That’s why we offer tutor labs to help students progress. And financial aid workshops. And counseling for stress, test anxiety, and career development. And a food pantry for students in need. In this issue, I invite you to read on page 5 about student success stories, from high school students to adult learners, like Mary-Kate Billings who completed high school and graduated GHC at the same time, Jenny Quan who chose GHC for her nursing degree and found a second home, or Oliver Robins who came back to college after working for a number of years and earned his degree and his dream job. Every one of these students completed their degree and moved on to additional education or a terrific career. We want that success for every student at Georgia Highlands College. We want that for every college student in Georgia! And remember, going to college is not the key to President Green hands diplomas to each new GHC graduate at the annual success… commencement ceremony in May. graduating is! | 3

From the President

Going to college...


OF YOUR FUTURE . Keep on Charging! Graduate! Your friends, your family, and every BuzzFeed “Top Five Things to do Before You Die” list all say the same thing: GO TO COLLEGE. Tons of potential college students hear this regularly on and off their whole life. But what if it’s not enough to just go to college? What if there is something missing in that statement? Georgia Highlands College thinks there is. In fact, at GHC you won’t hear the faculty and staff encourage you to “go to college.” At GHC, the message is a little more like: Go to college AND graduate. Too many students “go” to college, and not enough “go and graduate.” GHC is working to change that. GHC is so passionate about the idea that it has dedicated the next five years to a special project called “Quest for Success” to help students get the advising they need in order to both succeed and complete. GHC’s “Quest for Success” plan leverages the whole student experience at GHC by emphasizing advising as a core component of learning at the college level. Take a minute to read the next few pages to learn how to start #TakingCharge of your future AND how to keep on charging until you GRADUATE.

WHO CAN GO TO COLLEGE AND GRADUATE? It doesn’t matter at what stage in life you are. GHC has opportunities and programs in place to help you transition into college and have a successful experience. Now is the time to start #TakingCharge!

Take Charge in High School

Take charge of your future and take college classes in high school tuition-free. GHC accepts eligible students from all public, private, and home schools in Georgia. Take classes in fall, spring, or summer and work toward your two-year or four-year degree. Graduate with your full degree by the time you graduate high school or take all your courses to any other college in the University System of Georgia. In 2017, GHC had six students graduate with their associate degree the same time they graduated high school. It may not be easy to do, but it can be done! Just ask Mary-Kate Billings: “When I first started attending GHC, my advisor informed me that obtaining an associate degree could be done through the dual enrollment program. They said, however, that it would take large amounts of work and determination. Right at that moment, I made it my goal to graduate from GHC. The college Mary Kate Billings didn’t view or label me as a high school student. They simply saw me as an individual with potential, willing to make the most of my time here. Attending GHC has been one of the most enjoyable and beneficial experiences of, not just my academic career, but also my life.”

Take Charge in College

College may not be easy, but it will be one of the most rewarding and fun experiences of your life. There are a ton of options to choose from when you finally decide to go to college, but at GHC, you are getting the best value at one of the most affordable rates in the state. Chain that with the smaller class sizes, more personal attention, and the convenient locations, and you are well on your way to completing your first two years. Many students come here to succeed, and then they do! Just ask Jenny Quan: “Georgia Highlands is more than a college. It’s a community. My experience at GHC has been both the most difficult and rewarding experience of my life. You never know what you’re capable of until you’re pushed to your full potential. GHC has helped me reach the highest degree of personal success.” Jenny Quan

Take Charge of your Career Maybe you want to recharge your career. Maybe you’re ready to take the next step. GHC has a growing number of bachelor’s degrees, including nursing, dental hygiene, and business degrees in healthcare management and logistic and supply chain management. Take your career to the next level! Make the most of high-quality, affordable programs created to meet the need for these rapidly growing fields. At GHC, you’ll find a flexible, accelerated program for students just like you with a support system that will help you succeed! Whether it’s to get a promotion or find a better job altogether, students find a path to their ideal career choice by making the most of their time at GHC. Just ask Oliver Robbins: Oliver Robbins “I decided to return to college, because I had reached a ceiling as a probation officer and advancement meant that I needed a degree. I thought a paycheck was the way to measure success, until I gathered the courage to leave the security of my job, sign up for college classes and embark on the journey of finding happiness in the workplace. Adults who have never considered going to college, or are considering picking up where they left off, can tremendously benefit from taking some classes. There are so many professions that wake you with enthusiasm and leave you feeling accomplished in the evening. Finding this passion requires one to explore subject matter that is unfamiliar, and find a way to incorporate said subjects into a career that you have only dreamed about.” | 5


There are several reasons to complete your two-year degree here at GHC. Just with your associate degree alone, the average expected lifetime earnings increases by a million bucks! Here are a few more reasons to earn your two-year degree as soon as possible:

Save Money

GHC is nearly half the cost of larger colleges and universities.

Make More Money

Just a two-year degree alone dramatically increases your lifetime earnings.

Hold a Competitive Edge Some 60% of jobs in Georgia will require a college degree in the near future. Also, two-year grads earn up to 35% more than high school grads.

Get Hired

Employers prefer students with a two-year degree over those with no degree.

Transferring is Easier

Colleges and universities accept more transfer credits on average from a completed two-year degree, making it easier to start as a junior.

Be More Successful

Students who complete a two-year degree first are 72% more successful in completing their four-year degree.

Lock in your Progress

Completing a two-year degree “locks in” your college progress, meaning if you need to take some time off and start again later, your courses won’t depreciate over time.

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Have a Degree

Life happens! If you have to put college on hold while pursuing your four-year degree, already having your two-year degree means you are still a college graduate.

Represent your Work

Being able to show yourself, your family, friends, and employers you have the ability to set goals and achieve them is powerful!


TAKE CHARGE O Maggie Jackson Cartersville Site

Ali Robinson Floyd Campus

Amina Blackmon Douglasville Site

Lauren West Paulding Site

Anna Daniels Marietta Site

Breanna Moss Dual Enrollment


College isn’t easy for many reasons. Never has been. Never will be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. And no one expects you to do it all on your own. GHC works hard to provide students with all the resources they need to succeed. Here are a few obstacles and ways to overcome them.

“I have no

idea where to even start.”

While you can earn your two-year degree from GHC for less than $8,000 and GHC is currently the “Money is a fourth most affordable college degree in the nation, bit tight.” we understand students may still need a little bit of help. GHC has multiple ways to pay for college. You can set up a tuition payment plan by visiting MYCOLLEGEPAYMENTPLAN.COM/GHC and make payments as you go. Also, don’t be afraid to ask about financial aid. It’s out there for you to use. Use it! You can learn more about how to apply for financial aid by visiting the admissions office at any time or signing up for a First Friday FAFSA, workshops designed to educate about and promote the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Workshops are free and open to the public. To reserve your space in one of the upcoming free FAFSA workshops, please visit: And don’t forget, the GHC Foundation awards over $150,000 in scholarship and program assistance every year! Learn more about those and apply at: financial-aid/scholarships/

GHC has admissions counselors at every location – in Rome, Cartersville, Douglasville, Paulding, and Marietta. They would love to help you get started. Also, if you have questions during the process of applying or any time during your college career, you can always reach out to GHC on the GHC411 Ticketing System, which is available to students and guests 24 hours a day. Simply complete the form at HIGHLANDS.EDU/NEED-HELP with your question, concern, or request, and you can expect a response “I know what I want from the appropriate to do, but I don’t know department within 24 business hours. what classes I need to take to make that happen.”

DID YOU KNOW? Georgia Highlands College has saved students over $6 million by eliminating the cost of textbooks in specific courses. GHC’s faculty have been working since Fall 2015 to expand Open Education Resources (OER) courses each semester. Almost half a million dollars’ worth of student savings was yielded the first semester alone. The new OERs don’t just provide free textbooks either. Students also get video resources, software, labs and an enhanced textbook experience with hyperlinks to many other resources.

Remember that part about “Quest for Success.” Once you start at GHC, you will be paired with an advisor. Meet your advisor often! They will help you navigate and chart your “Quest for Success.” Advising can also be reached at: QEP Coordinator Elizabeth Tanner explains, “Quest for Success places advising at the forefront of student academic and personal success. With purposeful and holistic advising, students will be able to develop a meaningful educational plan, set academic and career goals, and achieve these with increased persistence and success rates. Elizabeth Tanner Quest for Success will help facilitate educational conversations and decisions with students and advisors, as well as QEP Coordinator help students progress through to graduation. Quest for Success aims to increase the value of the student experience at GHC by emphasizing advising as a core component of learning. First, students will participate in ongoing, goal-focused advising that includes investigations into cognitive and non-cognitive factors influencing the student’s progress towards graduation. Second, faculty and staff advisors will undergo intensive advising training that will allow them to effectively advise the student on his or her path to graduation. With the proper academic advising guidance, students will have a clear academic path that leads to completing a degree requirement.” | 7

Keep on Charging! Graduate!

Too often students use the “I need help! tutorial center as a last I’m struggling resort. What is the tutorial center in a nutshell? A free, in my classes.” invaluable resource available to students every day filled with tutors who are experts! Don’t believe us? Check out page 31 to read more about writing tutor Harold Campbell who is a longtime career journalist and world traveler. GHC gives you free access to experts! Not every future writer can easily articulate the Pythagorean theorem and not every future scientist can dissect a short story. The tutorial center is the best way to keep you charged up on your journey to graduation.

Just ask Director of Academic Success Jennifer Hicks: “Students who commit to visiting the Tutorial Center are making a smart choice to better prepare themselves for their studies. GHC’s Tutorial Centers, located on the Cartersville, Douglasville, Floyd, Marietta, and Paulding sites work with a variety of students each day to improve Jennifer Hicks Director of Academic Success skills and concepts students need to be successful in their coursework. In fact, the GPA of those who visit a tutor during the semester is a tenth of a point higher than students who do not visit. One of the main differences in learning from tutoring and learning in a classroom is the one-on-one aspect of tutoring. In a one-onone tutoring session, the tutor has the opportunity to get to know each student and work on ways to enhance the student’s strengths and address any weaknesses. Tutors work with students in a variety of academic subjects, as well as on important concepts like study skills and test-taking techniques. Overall, students who visit the Tutorial Center come away with a much deeper level of learning.”

“I thought

It is! College isn’t all textbooks and labs. college was You can be sure there are not many places on going to be fun.” earth where you will sit down to eat free pizza and watch someone juggling swords on a unicycle in the Student Center. At GHC, we call that Tuesday. Get involved in Student Life. It will be rewarding.

Just ask Director of Student Life John Spranza: “College is often called one of the most memorable times in your life, but who only wants memories of classes and homework? Getting involved on campus allows you to create memories and stories that John Spranza you’ll share with your grandchilDirector of Student Life dren! At GHC, the Department of Student Life wants to give you the opportunity to experience new things, meet new people, and learn how to connect your in-class learning with the world around you. Chances are Student Life has something for you - whether it be joining one of our nearly 50 student organizations, attending a performance of a touring musician or comedian, going on a college trip, becoming a student leader, playing intramurals, or creating artwork and media. Improve your resume, get extra credit, have fun, and create some memories through involvement with Student Life!” “So GH C wants me to graduate Yes, and GHC is here to help! Take advantage of all the is what you’re resources GHC has to offer. saying?” Start by visiting or email It will make a difference!



Georgia Highlands College has been named the most affordable four-year college in Georgia by Scholarship Owl, as well as the fourth most affordable in the country. GHC was also referenced in an article by Ebony magazine highlighting the research gathered by Scholarship Owl. In Ebony’s article called “A List of the Most Affordable 4-Year Colleges in Each State,” it explains how obtaining a degree has become important to landing a job in today’s economy, but going to college can sometimes be incredibly expensive. Ebony compiled a list of the most affordable colleges and stated that “some of the most affordable institu-

tions offer the best curricula.” Scholarship Owl notes that “getting a quality education doesn’t have to require a lot of spending.” Scholarship Owl goes on to point out that Georgia Highlands College is the most affordable four-year degree option in the state. Currently, students at GHC pay less than $1,700 a semester (for 12 credit hours), and can obtain a twoyear degree for less than $8,000 and a four-year degree for less than $16,000. To learn more about GHC’s tuition and fees, please visit: To learn more about how Scholarship Owl determines which colleges are most affordable, please visit:

GHC saves students more than $6 million with free textbooks | 9

Campus News

GHC named most affordable four-year college in Georgia, fourth lowest in the country

Campus News

More than $6 million saved with free textbooks Georgia Highlands College has saved students over $6 million by eliminating textbook costs and providing free digital options. GHC’s faculty have been working since fall 2015 to expand Open Education Resources (OER) courses each semester. OER course conversions are aided by the University System of Georgia’s Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) initiative which promotes student success by providing cost-free alternatives to expensive textbooks. The new OERs don’t just provide free textbooks either. Students also get video resources, software, labs, and an enhanced textbook experience with hyperlinks to many other resources. Through spring 2018, GHC’s faculty has helped students save roughly $6.48 million with offerings in 25 courses across 250 classes. Textbooks and course materials average $1,250 per student per year. Due to the higher costs of textbooks, replacing one or two with open educational resources can make an immediate impact to saving students money. For example, in a specific course at GHC: 720 students per year in a specific course; previous book and lab manual cost $361. Savings to students: almost $260,000 annually. Vice President for Academic Affairs Renva Watterson stated it is imperative that students have

JOB FAIR – GHC hosted a public job and career fair on its Rome campus. Participants had the chance to meet with representatives from a number of area businesses to learn about full and part-time positions as well as potential internships for students. Additionally, there was an alumni panel on hand to conduct mock interviews as well as someone providing assistance for people who wanted to freshen up their resumes.

10 | Spring/Summer 2018

access to these free OER textbook alternatives. “There are several reasons why many college students do not buy recommended and required textbooks, but one fundamental reason is they can’t afford them,” she said. “When you have students sitting in class and they don’t have a text, which is often an essential learning tool, then you put students at academic risk.” According to a survey by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, 65 percent of students said they had not purchased a textbook at least once because they had found the price too high. The group surveyed 2,000 students from across 150 campuses. GHC’s total cost savings is based on the cost of a new textbook multiplied by the total number of non-dual enrollment students enrolled in courses offering OERs. Textbooks are already included in the dual enrollment program and provided to dual enrollment students at no cost. Since OER is open to anyone for free, students, potential students or even the public can view these resources at any time. OER textbooks can be downloaded to any smart device, phone or tablet. To view, please visit: GHC plans to continue to offer OERs and expand into as many areas and courses as possible moving forward. For more information on the USG’s ALG initiative, please visit:

Military Advanced Education & Transition (MAE&T) has awarded Georgia Highlands College the designation of a Top School in its 2018 Guide to Colleges & Universities, measuring best practices in military and veteran education. GHC was also recognized by MAE&T in the 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions. The guide was recently released, and is available online at The guide presents results of a questionnaire of the military-supportive policies enacted at hundreds of institutions including private, public, for-profit, not-for-profit, fouryear, and two-year colleges. From community colleges to state universities, online universities and nationally known centers of higher learning, MAE&T’s 2018 Guide to Colleges & Universities arms students with information about institutions that are Top Schools for military and veteran students. Colleges like GHC are evaluated in a number of areas to be considered a Top School by MAE&T. Top Schools must meet a certain threshold of military-supportive actions, as identified by MAE&T staff. This could include a veterans center, a dedicated veterans counselor, and financial incentives for military-affiliated students, to name just a few examples. This year, institutions were evaluated on: military culture, financial aid, flexibility, general support, on-campus support and online support services.

Campus News

GHC named a Top School for military and veterans education for fifth year

“There are many different variables by which you could evaluate an institution, but we focus on the best practices that have been asserted by various higher education groups and reinforced by veteran groups. These best practices assure students that they have a high chance of success and support at their school of choice,” said MAE&T Editor Fodel. “That’s why we consider our survey to be the most detailed and informative in the industry.” Visit for MAE&T’s 2018 Guide to Colleges and Universities, or pick up a copy of the December issue of Military Advanced Education & Transition.

TEEN MAZE – GHC nursing students participated in the Rome Floyd County Teen Maze teaching high school students how to make smart choices. | 11

Campus News SERVICE EXCELLENCE – (Pictured above, left to right)

Dean of Natural Sciences and Physical Education Greg Ford; Vice President of Finance and Administration Jeff Davis; Cathy Green; President Don Green; Marietta Campus Dean Ken Reaves; Human Resources Manager Terri Cavender; and Cartersville Campus Dean Leslie Johnson. (Pictured right) USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley presents President Green with the Gold Award for Outstanding Institution of the Year and President.

GHC earns top honors at the 2017 Chancellor’s Annual Service Excellence Awards ceremony Georgia Highlands College brought home the highest honor for colleges in the University System of Georgia at the 2017 Chancellor’s Annual Service Excellence Awards ceremony. GHC and President Don Green were presented with the Gold Award for Outstanding Institution of the Year and President. This award goes to the institution and president that demonstrated the highest commitment and performance levels in service excellence across the institution over the last year, including “Best Practice” accomplishments and employee activities that foster service excellence. GHC and President Don Green were presented the Silver Award for Outstanding Institution of the Year and President Award in 2016. Consideration was based on participation in programs and initiatives that resulted in service excellence improvements; performance measurements (e.g. Key Performance Indicators-KPIs, customer satisfaction survey results, and achievements as reported in their Service Excellence Improvement

12 | Spring/Summer 2018

Plans); or other reports. Winners were selected based on seven attributes of service excellence: Respectful, Accessible, Informed, Supportive, Culture of Collaboration or Teamwork, High Morale of Employees, and Organizational Performance. Additionally, Dean of Natural Sciences and Physical Education Greg Ford was presented with the Silver Award for Outstanding Leader. This award recognizes administrator-level employees who, through their extraordinary leadership over the last year, demonstrated outstanding service to students, colleagues and other customers of the USG, and promoted a workforce culture that fosters “above and beyond” service experiences. The awards ceremony was held at Georgia State University in December. For more information on the Chancellor’s Annual Service Excellence Awards ceremony, please visit:

Around 25 students took advantage of a college success workshop organized and led by Georgia Highlands College President Don Green. The four-week workshop took place at the beginning of the semester. Dean of Natural Science and Physical Education Greg Ford and Dean of Health Sciences Michelle Boyce also worked with the students. The pilot workshop set out with four specific goals for the students to achieve by taking part. Those goals were: define your vision, set short term and long-term goals (personal and professional), learn how to achieve those goals, and introduce effective learning skills and strategies. President Green said learning these fundamentals early on in college can make a huge difference in a student’s life. “When I was 17, I left high school a year early and went off to Michigan State University to start my college education,” Green said. “I left one year early because I was supposed to be gifted. What I was not gifted with was maturity, an understanding of how to study, nor a clearly defined career path.” Green explained that college was very new to him and his attention was not on his studies the way it should have been, preferring more to play basketball than read or do his assignments. Later, he was even put on academic probation. Green stated he immediately shifted gears and took his college work more seriously, taking more notes, reading his books, and doing more work than was assigned. On top of all that, he made regular visits to the tutorial center. “My mistakes may seem obvious, and my solutions even more so,” he said. “But every day, we see students at GHC, like every other college, who are learning the same lessons. At GHC, we care about student success. We understand our mission of access and success. We help students take charge. And we continue to pursue new strategies to enhance that mission.” Dean Boyce said the four weeks really made an impact on the students who participated. The group discussed ways to effectively network and how to create a strong support system. “This was an outstanding opportunity for our students,” Boyce said. “We would love to continue this each year and get more faculty and staff involved.” Dean Ford also did a neuroscience/brain biology presentation to demonstrate how to improve the retention of information. “Our goal is to share our knowledge and experience to give students the tools to create an individualized learning strategy to improve success,” he said. Director of Academic Success Jennifer Hicks, Douglasville Site Director Julia Areh, and Campus Dean Leslie Johnson were also key in organizing the workshop and look forward to expanding and getting more students involved in the future.

Largin named the new dean of Mathematics and Computer Science Georgia Highlands College has appointed Melanie Largin as the new dean of Mathematics and Computer Science. Largin will oversee the division, which includes areas of studies in mathematics, computer science, computer information systems, and more. Largin graduated with highest honors from Georgia Tech (Georgia Institute of Technology) with a degree in industrial and systems engineering. She has worked in the computer industry designing and implementing automated manufacturing systems for printed circuit boards. She also worked for Georgia Tech as a field engineer in their manufacturing extension program, serving manufacturers in the Northwest Georgia area by working on individual company projects to improve productivity and quality and reduce cost. In 2002, Largin started teaching at Georgia Highlands College. “I decided to start teaching because a lot of the work I was doing for Georgia Tech at the time was in training about quality and statistical process control,” she said. “I looked forward to those projects most of all and decided to take the plunge and pursue a career in teaching.” Largin has worked at GHC for 16 years as an adjunct instructor, instructor, assistant professor, and associate professor. She said she looks forward to improving her area with increased focus on student success, equipping faculty with the tools they need, making sure GHC courses continue to meet the needs of the area workforce, and maintaining a STEM-focused curriculum. “Everything I want to accomplish can be wrapped up in one phrase,” she said, “continuous improvement.” Largin is from Norcross, Georgia. She has two children, three grandchildren, and just celebrated her 35th wedding anniversary with her husband. | 13

Campus News

President and deans head college success workshop

Campus News

CELEBRATING FIRST-GENERATION STUDENTS Georgia Highlands College held a FirstGeneration Student Celebration for all students, faculty, and staff who are or were first-generation college students in their family. GHC’s New Student and Retention Programs partnered with Student Life to have a table with buttons for all first-generation students, faculty, and staff, as well as a graffiti wall for students to voice why it is important to be the first in the family to go to college. New Student and Retention Edenfield Programs Manager Crystal Edenfield said it is important to champion student success, especially for those taking on the challenge of college as the first in their family. “This group of individuals can face many challenges when trying to navigate the processes of applying to college, getting financial aid, and taking on college coursework for the first time,” she said. “They may not feel comfortable asking questions or asking for help. More importantly, they may not know what questions to ask.” Edenfield is particularly invested in helping first-generation students, since she was the first person in her family to go to college, as well. “A college education opened me up to a world that was so much bigger than my small town. Just taking the step to begin college is a huge accomplishment for first generation college students,” she said. “I want them to know that the college is here to answer questions, to help, to support, and to celebrate milestones, such as finishing the first

semester strong, persisting from the first semester to the second semester, registering for classes a second year or completing their associate degree.” First-generation student Emily Cook said events like these are one of the many reasons she enjoys attending GHC. “I love the atmosphere at Georgia Highlands College,” she said. “If I ever need help, someone is always there to lend a hand.” Cook started at GHC in 2014. She is working on her business degree. She said it’s a special thing to be the first person in your family to go to college. “My advice to other students who are firstgeneration college students is don’t be so afraid. You may not know everything at first,” she said. “You will learn most of it as you go. College can be intimidating, but make sure you’re going for something that inspires you and gives you something to really look forward too. Always remember your goals.”

‘Next Step Fair’ helps students make long-term plans GHC introduced a “Next Step Fair” this year, which brought together several colleges and universities in Georgia for a chance to meet one-on-one with college representatives. The event took place in February and was open to students and the public. “We encourage our students to begin planning their college career from the very first day they step foot on a campus,” Academic Advisor Jillian Petro

14 | Spring/Summer 2018

said. “The Next Step Fair is designed to help students who are undecided on where to transfer after completing their associate degree at GHC.” Although the event is tailored for students thinking about transferring, Petro noted it is a great opportunity for college-bound students or students who may be considering going to college, as well.

A few years ago, Georgia Highlands College started a project called the Charger Food Pantry to help combat the nationwide problem of food insecurity among college students. GHC was recognized with the “Advocacy Award” at Wheelus the 25th Annual Georgia College Counseling Association Conference, which brings together counselors from over 50 public and private universities across the state. The GCCA honored GHC’s Student Support Services team with the award. Director Angie Wheelus said the problem arose from seeing so many students her department serves have so few resources and in some cases going without food while taking classes. “These included single moms of all ages, nontraditional and traditional-aged college students who had no family support, and more,” Wheelus said. “The problem afflicted students of all backgrounds.” GHC’s Student Support Services team decided it was time to make a difference, so they partnered with a local non-profit, Actions Ministries Rome, to set up and stock a food pantry at GHC’s Rome location as a pilot run. Wheelus explained that the pantry is stocked with staple items like peanut butter, tuna, spaghetti sauce and other non-perishable food items, as well as personal items. “It helps students who have fallen on hard times,” she said. “They can stop by and collect up to 12 items once a week with no questions asked.” Wheelus said students are given a bag after checking in with their GHC ID each visit, and

since the food and toiletries are provided through donations, there is no cost to student. But the SSS team didn’t stop there. They expanded the food pantry program to all of GHC’s locations in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Paulding and Douglasville. Wheelus and her department eventually partnered with GHC’s Natural Science and Physical Education division to create a greenhouse to provide fresh produce to the food pantry. A 160-square-foot plot of grow space split between a greenhouse and raised beds at GHC’s Cartersville location is responsible for over 350 pounds of produce for the pantry already. Wheelus stated the pantry has officially served over 1,000 students to date, as well. “It is an honor for me to lead such a vibrant, caring staff who will go above and beyond to care for students experiencing food insecurity,” Wheelus said. “The Student Support Services team has a front row seat not only to advocate for students in need, but also to watch as these students receive the blessing of the food and take charge of their success.” The SSS staff includes Counselors: Angie Wheelus, Dorothy Morgan, and Tara Holdampf. Disability Specialists: Kim Linek and Phillip Thompson; WIOA members: Megan Conner and Kyle Wheeless. Should you wish to donate to GHC’s Charger Food Pantry, please make monetary donations at any GHC business office in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Paulding or Douglasville. To make a donation to support the food pantry, please contact Student Support Services at: sss@ | 15

Campus News

Charger Food Pantry earns state award at the 25th Annual Georgia College Counseling Association Conference

Campus News



This award is designed for administrators who consistently project a positive image and who serve the college above and beyond the call of duty. This award recognizes an administrator who actively contributes to the success of the college and his or her staff.

This award is designed to recognize individuals who consistently support the mission and goals of the institution by routinely demonstrating our shared values and supports an environment of excellence.



This award is designed for staff members who consistently project a positive image and who serve the college above and beyond the call of duty. This award recognizes a staff member who actively contributes to the success of the college.

The mace bearer is selected each year by GHC faculty as an honor for an outstanding faculty member. The mace bearer serves as the ceremonial leader for commencement. The mace stands for the freedom of the academy to seek the truth and to teach it. The mace makes the statement that the academy must protect the ideals of order, liberty, and freedom to learn.



This award is designed to recognize individuals who significantly impact our community. This award recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates a passion for making a difference by sharing their spirit, positive attitude and time with others.

The Walraven Award is named in memory of Dr. Wesley C. Walraven, the academic dean at Floyd Junior College (now GHC) from its founding in 1970 until 1993. Walraven’s most memorable assets included an unselfish dedication to students, a quietly focused management style, and keen intelligence. The recipient is selected by the faculty.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT STAFF - SETH INGRAM This award is designed to recognize individuals who significantly impact our community. This award recognizes a staff member who demonstrates a passion for making a difference by sharing their spirit, positive attitude and time with others.

16 | Spring/Summer 2018

DEPARTMENT OF THE YEAR - DIVISION OF NATURAL SCIENCE & PHYSICAL EDUCATION This award is designed to recognize the department which consistently supports the mission and goals of the institution by routinely demonstrating our shared values and supports an environment of excellence. See the Department of the Year feature story on page 28.

CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF GREAT TEACHING This ongoing award is designed to recognize individuals who foster an environment of learning and motivate students to excel. Students, staff, and fellow faculty are invited to submit nominations on a continual basis. Jackie Belwood Jeff Davis Tim Floyd

Don Green Joy Hambrick Luba Ibrahim

Tracy Kight Yoursheko Owens Ken Reaves

Nearing Completion The new academic building in Cartersville is well on its way! Learn more about the building or watch the construction on our livestream by visiting

CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF CARING This award is an ongoing award designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate a caring attitude and behavior towards others. Staff, faculty, students, and community members are invited to submit nominations on a continual basis. Julia Areh Jeff Brown Lauren Burkhalter Terri Cavender Jason Christian Ana Clayton Fred Coble Linda Corbin Jeanette Eckles Jill Freeman Phil Gaffney Richard Grant Don Green David Horace

Jonathan Howard Seth Ingram Maggie Jackson Leslie Johnston Nivenitie McDaniel Dorothy Morgan Breanna Moss Brock Moss Danyel O’Neill Camille Pace Scottie Presley Laura Ralston Ken Reaves Mary Ann Sailors

Alonda Sanders John Spranza Susanna Smith Xinia Smith-Camacho Kristi Stevens Mary Transue Laura Walton Lauren West Angie Wheelus Tyler Wilson Karen Yerkes

February 2018

CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE This ongoing award is designed to recognize employees who consistently provide exemplary service and follow-through to all by going above and beyond one’s job description. Staff, faculty, students, and community members are invited to submit nominations on a continual basis. Amelia Blackmon Marckson Breny Lauren Burkhalter Ana Clayton Emily Farmer Jill Freeman Tony Gambill April Godfrey Charlene Graham Brian Hales Chris Harvey Haley Henderson Trish Hoitt Maggie Jackson

Jeff Linek Kim Linek Nivenitie McDaniel Judi Norwood Lynzee Patrick Ted Pence Josh Peterson Eric Proffitt Melissa Rogers Billie Saenz Alonda Sanders Clay Shiflett Mike Smithson Lyric Sprinkle

Rod Stidum Brittany Trapp Ricky Terry Mike Van Ham Tyler Wilson Amy Wise

March 2018

CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF A GOOD IDEA This award is an ongoing award designed to recognize individuals who suggest an idea that embraces creativity and innovation. Staff, faculty, students, and community members are invited to submit nominations at any time. Julia Areh

Sandie Davis

Jeff Linek

April 2018 | 17

Campus News

Almost 1,400 items collected!

Healthcare Management Cohort

Bachelor’s degree students help the homeless Georgia Highlands College’s new bachelor’s in business administration (BBA) students brought their first semester to a close with a service learning project aimed to help the homeless during the holiday season. GHC’s two new bachelor’s degrees in healthcare management and logistics and supply chain management started fall 2017. Students from both of the programs participated. The students teamed up with the Will2Way foundation, which is a local non-profit organization with a mission to serve the community by providing for the homeless, organizing disaster relief efforts across the United States, and providing mentoring services for youth. The organization has served over 40,000 individuals since 2014. Working alongside Will2Way, students organized donation drives to collect various items, such as gloves, blankets, shirts, socks and travel-sized toiletry items. The students collected almost 1,400 items.

Logistics and Supply Chain Management Cohort

18 | Spring/Summer 2018

“The goal of the service learning project is to meet the educational needs of students while also teaching students the importance of becoming an active member of their community which can have a lasting, positive impact and allow students to provide a service to those who need it most,” said BBA coordinator Mecole Ledbetter. Ledbetter stated the students were responsible for participating, performing, and documenting all aspects of the operation, including: appointing a liaison for each group and the organization itself; appointing a chairman to collect and track non-monetary donations; advertising/promotions; coordination and placement of collection boxes; sorting and packing; donation delivery to non-profit organization; and more. Following the completion of the project, a final report from each group was required for grading purposes. The report describes the project and each step taken in the planning, coordinating, and execution phases of the operations. “Because this is an Operations Management course, students will be graded based on how well they managed the operations of the project,” Ledbetter said. “Students will also be graded on their attempt to create the highest level of efficiency possible during the planning, coordinating, and execution stages of the service learning project.” The new BBA degrees in Healthcare Management and in Logistics and Supply Chain Management began fall 2017. To learn more about the program or to apply, please visit: bba.

Georgia Highlands College brought together a number of special guest authors for the Highlands Writers Conference, a one-day experience connecting acclaimed writers with the local writing community. The event was held in March at GHC’s Cartersville site. “This one-day program provided numerous opportunities for aspiring writers to learn about craft in a variety of genres as well as best practices for publication,” Assistant Professor Jessica Lindberg said. “We welcomed writers who have been practicing for years as well as those who have not yet set pen to paper.” Visiting writers included poet Conference lunch presentation featured GHC professor and artist Brian Barr. Kamilah Aisha Moon, who now teaches at Agnes Scott College in Decatur; mystery writer Trudy Nan ence working as a graphic novelist Boyce, who draws on her experifor the online series “Jackdaw.” ence as a 30-year veteran police A panel of members in the officer for the City of Atlanta, publishing industry talked about moving from beat cop to homicide publishing methods and how to detective to senior hostage negoreach both local and national audiFeatured Speaker tiator and now as a lieutenant; and ences. Members of the panel Jimmy Cajoleas screenwriter and retired Command included Director of the Georgia Sergeant Major Eric L. Haney, who served in the Writers Association Jenny Sadre-Orafai, who is army’s most demanding combat units as a Combat also the author of “Malak;” Gregg Murray, editor Infantryman, a Ranger, and ultimately, as a found- of “Muse/A;” and freelance writer Nicki Harris ing member of the army’s secret counter-terrorist Salcedo, author of “All Beautiful Things.” arm: Delta Force, and is the author of “Inside The featured speaker was Jimmy Cajoleas, Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counter- author of the Young Adult novel “Goldline.” In a terrorist Unit,” as well as a writer, producer, and starred review, Booklist writes that “’Goldeline’s’ technical adviser for the CBS television series heart-pounding race through the woods reveals based on his book called “The Unit,” which prea complex, magical world that will give readers miered in January 2006 and won the ASCAP Film much to contemplate.” Publisher’s Weekly calls and Television Music Awards in 2007 for Top TV the novel, recommended for readers age 10 and Series. up, a “suspenseful tale of self-discovery.” The lunch presentation featured GHC professor and artist Brian Barr, who discussed his experiCREATIVE WRITING CLUB – Georgia Highlands College’s Creative Writing Club spent a few hours at the Boys and Girls Club during Halloween. Professor Julie Kozee performed “The Big Toe,” which the kids absolutely loved (and kept asking her to perform again), and David (club president) read books related to monsters and being afraid. The kids then colored and decorated pants, which were drawn by the club treasurer, and they raced to see who could finish Halloween-themed word searches first to win candy. | 19

Campus News

Acclaimed authors come together for the Highlands Writers Conference

Campus News


Academic conference on the history, politics, society, and cultural aspects of doing business in China Georgia Highlands College continued its “Charging Across China: A Cultural Celebration” yearlong event with an academic conference jointly sponsored with Columbia University Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Ohio State University East Asia Studies Center, Middle Georgia State University, and The Nine University and College International Studies Consortium of Georgia. “This conference featured guests and attendees from across the University System of Georgia and the Northwest Georgia business community, as well as speakers on China from several prestigious institutions,” said Associate Professor of History Bronson Long. Sessions included topics on “U.S. and China Relations in a Historical Perspective” presented by Christopher Jespersen, dean of the college of arts and letters at the University of North Georgia; a session on “Contemporary Chinese Society” presented by Bin Xu, assistant professor of sociology at Emory University; a lunch session on “Cultural Aspects of Doing Business with China” presented by Patrick McAloon, SinoConnect & Founding Member of the Greater Columbus (Ohio) Chamber of Commerce; a track on “Multi-media Resources for Teaching about China and Asia” presented by Roberta Martin, director of Asia for Educators from Columbia University Weatherhead East Asian Institute in New York; and more. Long, who is also the director of global initiatives and study

Dr. Eric Sun of Middle Georgia State University speaks at the conference.

20 | Spring/Summer 2018

abroad, stated that the plan to have China be GHC’s “theme GHC Associate Professor of History country” this Bronson Long year came from discussions about ways to inspire students and the community to consider participating in GHC’s upcoming study abroad program in China set for May 2018. The study abroad trip will be focused on business and culture in China. The nine-day program will visit Beijin, Xian, and Shanghai, including trips to the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, and businesses like Coca Cola, Microsoft and Volkswagon. Student Life Director John Spranza and his team came up with the name “Charging Across China: A Cultural Celebration” and several student life events to compliment the trip. “When it seemed likely that we would have an overarching theme of China for this year, we brainstormed a bit about activities and events that could tie into that theme,” Spranza said. “We created an activity schedule that includes at least one Chinesethemed event each month at all locations.” Activities include creating a bamboo garden, watching the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company perform, learning how to cook Chinese cuisine with Chef Egg, and more.

Georgia Highlands “The teams competed College has launched a new in the robot game that robotics program for middle included 15 missions to school students called solve using the Lego EV3 Charger Robotics. Students robot with Lego Mindstorm from fifth grade through Technology,” Ford said. eighth grade were formed “The robots are engineered together into teams and comto complete the missions peted in the 100 Scholars using Lego parts. If the First Lego League Regional teams were successful, they competition last December had the opportunity to comat Atlanta Metropolitan State pete in the state competition College, facing 750 other in January.” teams collectively at various “The students are locations across the state. learning to use motors and The 100 Black Men sensors to drive the robotof Northwest Georgia and ics and manipulate objects Kemet Robotics are cowithin the missions. They sponsoring GHC’s program. are engineering a numThe program is supported by ber of accessories like lift the GHC-STEM Initiative mechanisms, robot claws Ford grant as an outreach proand levers that will attach gram to engage students in and detach to accomplish STEM (Science, Technology, specific missions. We will “Robotics is a great Engineering, and Mathematics). preview our competition opportunity to teach “Robotics is a great opporrobots and our mission stratSTEM in a fun and tunity to teach STEM in a fun egy in a practice competiand engaging way,” said Dean tion against the Clear Creek engaging way.” of Natural Science and Physical Elementary School team Education Greg Ford. “Students coached by Robin Morrow learn programming basics, and Shelly Abernathy, gifted about the technology behind the physical robot, teachers at the school.” engineering and design practices, and mathematics Ford explained the new robotics program puts to control how the robot moves and interacts with mathematics right in the center of everything they objects.” do, since national data has shown that math readiThe Charger Robotics program currently conness upon entering college is one of the biggest sists of 21 middle school students from all across obstacles for students wanting to choose a career Northwest Georgia. path in STEM. “We have a diverse population of public school, “The big idea is to grow the STEM workforce private school and home school boys and girls,” in the region to fill the high demand for a wellFord said. “From the program participants, we will educated 21st century STEM workforce,” Ford form two teams that will compete in the First Lego said. “When students are exposed to STEM early League Competition.” and often, there is a greater chance they will choose The competition was an all-day event that a STEM discipline in college. With five locations included a project presentation based on the theme across Northwest Georgia, GHC has a fantastic of “Hydrodynamics,” a poster competition, and a opportunity to really promote STEM and impact series of problem-solving “missions.” each student’s future.” | 21

Campus News

GHC creates robotics program for middle school students

Campus News

Augmented Reality

GHC constructs mobile augmented reality sandbox for elementary school and a larger stationary unit for the college

When the teachers at Clear Creek Elementary school received a grant for $500 to build an augmented reality sandbox, they came to Georgia Highlands College for help. Dean of Natural Sciences and Physical Education Greg Ford said the entire setup for a mobile unit would have cost closer to $2,000, so the Division of Natural Sciences and GHC’s Information Technology Services division put their heads together and got to work. The combined team decided the best way to help Clear Creek Elementary school build their sandbox on the $500 budget was to create everything from the ground up. Natural Sciences worked on building a mobile module, while Information Technology constructed a computer to run the augmented reality program. The end result was a fully functional, mobile augmented reality sandbox for under $500. Augmented reality is any technology that superimposes some type of computer-generated image on a person’s or group’s view of the real world. The sandbox allows teachers to create topography models by shaping real sand, which is augmented in real time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water. In short, if you create a pile of sand, it forms a mountain, or if you dig a deep enough hole, you’ll hit sea level and the hole will fill with water. “You can tell the height of things by the color. The computer notices the change in heights and sends that information to the projector, which then changes color based on the height,” Ford said. “Any changes to the map or terrain cues the projector, and then it takes all that information in and spits out an image in real time.” Teachers can use the system to teach geographic, geologic, and hydrologic concepts, including how to read a topography map, the meaning of contour lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees, and so on. Clear Creek Elementary now uses the mobile unit for course exercises in multiple classes. GHC didn’t stop there, however. The team behind the original project came together again to build a larger stationary unit for the college to use in multiple courses. The static unit was recently finished and can be found in a new geology room on the Floyd Campus. It features a much larger projector and image, upgraded graphics card and computer, and has several additional features, including the ability to demonstrate how rain affects a terrain in real time. It is constructed in the center of the room, so students can stand around it. “We can now show our students what science says happens over thousands and millions of years in segmented real time. We can show how you start off with a flat plane, then your plane shifts and forms a hill or mountain, then it rains, the rain pools, and an ocean is formed. We get to show all of that with augmented reality,” Ford said. The departments are planning to bring another stationary unit to the Cartersville site in the near future with plans to posProfessor of Geology Billy Morris demonstrates GHC new sandbox technology. sibly build additional mobile units, as well.

22 | Spring/Summer 2018

Brandi Rhodes is a mother of three. But the juggle of family life and attending college as a full-time student hasn’t kept her from maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. GHC chose Rhodes as its Board of Regents Academic Day representative for 2018. One student is chosen from each college in the University System of Georgia each year to be a Board of Regents Academic Day Representative. Rhodes was chosen by GHC, due to her outstanding scholastic achievement, as well as holding the mandatory 4.0 GPA. Rhodes stated she was “very honored” to be chosen “to represent such a great school.” And although it has been challenging having a husband and three kids at home while taking college courses at the same time, Rhodes said her family is the main reason she strives to do as well as she does. “Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a bit of a perfectionist. My husband and children give me a hard time about it all of the time. If I get a 96 on a test, I will become upset and they will actually laugh at me,” she said. “It is really just important to me that I am a good role model for my kids and that I show them what is possible when you give it your very best.” Rhodes will be completing her associate degree in business and psychology soon and plans to move

into GHC’s business bachelor’s in logistics and supply chain management. “The most important thing about going to college for me is gaining my independence,” she said. “It is also so important to me to show my children that it is never too late to go back and do something you should have done a long time ago. You can always move forward and achieve your dreams if you are willing to put in the time and energy.” Rhodes said her time at GHC has been memorable, even when she had doubts about what she

was doing. “Many times, I have looked around the classroom, at all of the younger students and asked myself what I was doing,” she said. “I would become discouraged and tell myself that I was too old for this. It was during these times that being at a place like GHC was so important. When I started getting down on myself, there was always a professor there willing to take the time to talk to me and remind me of how important my goal was and how far I had come.” Rhodes and the other Academic Day representatives were honored during a Board of Regents meeting and luncheon at the University System Office. She was also recognized again during GHC’s Honors Night in April.

SIDEWALK ART– Professor Brian Barr’s drawing classes worked on some amazing sidewalk chalk art during some warm days on campus. | 23

Campus News

Student balances school and family life raising three kids and maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA

Students Taking Charge


GHC students #TakingCharge during the holiday season by volunteering at the SWEEAC (Southwest Ecumenical Emergency Assistance Center) in Atlanta!


DENTAL HYGIENE GHC’s student organization Brother2Brother Douglasville Chapter President Elijah Bransford and VP Khyle Sorhaindo attended the Student African American Brotherhood Retreat and Associate Consultant Institute in Dallas, Texas. GHAME/B2B visited the 16th Street Baptist Church and Vulcan Park in Birmingham, Alabama

GHAME/B2B attended the National SAAB conference and win the “Outstanding Chapter of the Year.”

24 | Spring/Summer 2018

GHC’s Hinman Scholars were recognized at the 2018 Annual Hinman Scholars Luncheon in Atlanta.

Students attended Dental Hygiene Day at the Capitol.

Students #TakingCharge by volunteering at a Veterans Day event in Rome.


FOCUS ON FACULTY Taking charge in the classroom and beyond

PUBLICATIONS Instructor Jonathan Howard was published in the International Journal of Exercise Science in January of 2018. This research was his Howard master’s thesis over heart function during maximal effort weight training exercises. This research was looking at heart function with a new technique that would give a more practical method for measuring heart function while lifting weights. Professor of Communication Travice Baldwin Obas co-authored a book called Speech Shark: A Public Speaking Guide. The book Obas was created as an affordable textbook as a substitute for a more expensive required text for communication majors. In addition to the book, students receive a free subscription to the Speech Shark Speech Preparation App to assist with the creation and delivery of presentations. Assistant Professor Jessica Lindberg received an acknowledgement in the published edition as a reviewer for the Harbrace Lindberg Essentials grammar handbook. This is the gram-

mar textbook used by all sections of English 1101 impacting all students in those classes. Lindberg joined the reviewing team of this edition keeping the needs of GHC students in mind, considering what changes and additions might help them learn how to be better writers. She has recent poems published in the Santa Ana River Review, an online literary magazine based in California, and the summer issue of the Mississippi Review. The poem “Floyd County Poem” was selected as a finalist for the MR’s annual poetry contest. Instructor Abby Greenbaum’s short story, “Limits,” was selected for a Nan Snow Emerging Writer Award by a committee of writers Greenbaum and scholars at the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference, a national conference at the University of Central Arkansas. These awards honor new and unpublished writing that “shows considerable promise.” The conference organizers invited her to read from this story at the conference’s closing reception. Associate Professor of English Jake Sullins published his short story “Last Supper” in Split Lip Magazine’s December issue.

INNOVATIONS Professors Jayme Feagin, Steve Blankenship, Bronson Long, Sean Callahan, and Instructional Designer Katie Bridges formed a

team, which is in the process of converting World Civilization I and II (HIST 1111/1112) to an open educational resource for Fall Feagin 2018. The team is creating an interdisciplinary video textbook coupled with a repository of primary historical documents. This team also presented this project at the Blankenship Teaching Matters Conference at Gordon State College in March. This team also converted American History I and II (HIST 2111/2112) to an Long open educational resource in 2017. In the process of this conversion, the team made modifications allowing HIST 2111 to be aligned with the G2C changes. Callahan The driving force behind these conversion was to give students immediate access to these text books for the courses and reduce DFW rates. Business Instructor David Bridges and Instructional Designer Katie Bridges have redesigned a business course using an Affordable Learning FACULTY – continued on page 26 | 25

Focus on Faculty FOCUS ON FACULTY

FACULTY – continued from page 25

Georgia Grant. Applying over 25 years of USAF service and his graduate work in human resources and business management coupled with a free online textbook, David Bridges created a revised BUSA 2205 course for the Spring 2018 semester. At the end of the semester, data and feedback was collected from the students and the information will be used to make changes to the course over the summer. Part-time Instructor Michael Nangle led his Theatre Appreciation class in rehearsing and performing a one-act play called Screenagers. Dean of Humanities Jon Hershey and Assistant Professor Russel Cook, with funding from Georgia Hershey Council of the Arts, added an education page to the website of Paradise Garden in Summerville, providing lesson plans Cook to encourage teachers to bring their students to the art environment created over four decades by one of America’s most widely-known self-taught artists, Howard Finster. The interactive addition to the website was designed by Birmingham’s award winning BIG Communications, and currently features eight lesson plans for different age groups, with more to be added on an ongoing basis. To visit the site, go to, and click on the education tab near the top.

26 26||Spring/Summer Spring/Summer2018 2018

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Political Science Randy Green, Assistant Professor Green of Education Sherry Green, and Assistant Professor of Psychology Sean Callahan received a $10,800 Affordable LearnGreen ing Georgia grant from the University System of Georgia for CRJU 2111 American Police Systems and Education 2130 Exploring Teaching and Learning. This transformation grant will assist faculty members in the development of specific and approved courses that will require no cost for instructional materials. Students will benefit from this grant funding as professors transform the current course delivery with use of a textbook to a no cost textbook delivery of instruction. Several faculty members worked to put together a series of events surrounding Women’s History Month, including Professor Carla Patterson, Associate Professor Michelle Abbott, Librarian Jennifer Jacobs, Assistant Professor Stephanie Wright, Assistant Professor Randy Green, Professor Travice Obas, Professor Connie Watjen, Instructor Julie Kozee, Assistant Professor Alex MacMurdo, and Assistant Professor Christina Wolfe. Assistant Professor Jessica Lindberg, Instructor Abby Greenbaum, Assistant Professor Jake Sullins, and Dean of Humanities Jon Hershey conceived, organized, and hosted the first annual Highlands Writers

Conference. This event invited established writers, editors, and publishers to Cartersville for a workshop and panel presentation conference format. Professor Brian Barr discussed his work in graphic novels, and the Creative Writing Club, including faculty advisors Julie and Jeff Kozee, volunteered for the day. (See full story on page 19.) The math division in cooperation with the library and GHC’s Quality Matters specialist received a grant Pace for $30,000; Instructor Camille Pace, Professor Laura Ralston, Librarian Betsy Clark, and Ralston Instructional Designer Katie Bridges will be using the funds to write material, develop videos, and create an entirely D2L based homework system for GHC’s statistics course. The Division of Natural Sciences and Physical Education jointly received several Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) Textbook Transformation Grants. Since 2014, the division has been awarded nearly $200,000 in ALG Textbook Transformation Grants to transform 11 courses in biology, chemistry, and physical education. The cost of textbooks in these courses has been either eliminated or significantly reduced by adoption of free texts such as OpenStax, and the creation of ancillary materials. As many students are required to take multiple science courses as part of their STEM or Health Sciences pathway, the sav-

ALG Textbook Transformation Grants support transforming courses by adoption of Open Educational Resources. Grants were received by the following faculty members: BIOL 1020 - $10,800 – Tom Harnden, Katie Bridges PHED 1010/PHED 1130 - $30,000 – Scott Flynn, Lisa Jellum, Althea Moser, Jonathon Howard, Sharryse Henderson, Christin Collins, Amanda West, and David Mathis CHEM 1211K/CHEM 1212K $29,826 – Sarah Tesar, Allen Easton, Erin Kingston, Charles Garrison, Joseph Collins, Sharryse Henderson, Greg Ford, and Christin Collins BIOL 2161K - $10,800 – Veronica Morin and Andrew Dawson BIOL 2190/PHED 2202 - $30,000 – Lisa Jellum, Jason Hitzeman, Dr. Mark Knauss, Sharryse Henderson, Tom Harnden, and Cynthia Elsberry BIOL 2121K/BIOL 2122K $22,826 – Dr. Carol Hoban, Sharryse Henderson, Merry Clark, Kimberly Subacz, Christin Collins, and Amanda West BIOL 2107K/BIOL 2108K $30,000 – Jacqueline Belwood, Kimberly Subacz, Lisa Branson, Tom Harnden, Sharryse Henderson, Karin Bennedsen ALG Mini-Grants provide support to create and revise ancillary materials: BIOL 2121K - $4400 – Jason Christian and Veronica Morin PHED 1010 - $4800 – Althea

Moser, Scott Flynn, Lisa Jellum, and Jonathon Howard BIOL 2121K/BIOL 2122K $4800 – Carol Hoban and Sharryse Henderson CHEM 1211K/CHEM 1212K - $4550 – Sarah Tesar, Allen Easton, and Erin Kingston

PRESENTATIONS Assistant Professor Russel Cook exhibited art in juried/curated exhibitions. His work was at Magic City Arts Connection, Birmingham Alabama’s largest festival. The festival was curated by Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Cook received the Kinetic Communications Signature Award. Cook also had two solo exhibitions at the Creative Arts Guild in Dalton, Ga, and at the Georgia Highlands College Gallery. In December of 2018, he will have a solo exhibition at Lowe Mill Galleries in Huntsville, Alabama, which is the largest privately owned arts facility in the United States. As a songwriter and musician, he performed on the September 19, 2017 episode of Bloodfeast on Adult Swim. Professor Sam Baltzer produced and conducted the following concerts: NW GA WINDS, October 10, Baltzer 2017, ‘Cowboys and Aliens,’ Rome City Auditorium; Chamber Players of the South Orchestra, November 17-18, 2017, ‘Spirit of the Season,’ Rome City Auditorium (School show for over 1,000 children, and public family concert); NW GA WINDS, December 5, 2017, ‘ROME for the

Holidays,’ Rome City Auditorium; Clock Tower Jazz Ensemble, December 19, 2017, ‘A Clock Tower Christmas,’ Rome City Auditorium; NW GA WINDS, February 20, 2018, ‘Lift Every Voice: A Black History Concert for the Whole Community,’ with Rome’s Own Gospel Choir, Rome City Auditorium; Clock Tower Jazz Ensemble, March 3, 2018, ‘More of the Best of Frank Sinatra,’ with area guest vocalists, Rome Forum River Center. Additionally, Baltzer produced a Beatles ’67 concert with Atlanta rock band and Rome area orchestral musicians at the Rome Forum River Center; adjudicated Cartersville Middle and High School Bands Pre-Festival performance at the Cartersville High School Auditorium; guest lecturer for class taught by Carla Patterson on the topic of Music and Shakespeare; and facilitated donation of a new piano for Heritage Hall.

DEVELOPMENT & AWARDS Assistant Professor Paula Stover graduated with Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Georgia Stover College and State University. She gave several presentations, including a Sigma Theta Tau International presentation at the regional conference in Augusta with a report on nursing research, such as personal resilience, workplace civility, and staff retention in behavioral/mental health crisis stabilization units; a DNP Symposium poster presentation at Georgia College and State University with a report on nursing research, such as personal FACULTY – continued on page 29 | 27

Focus on Faculty FOCUS ON FACULTY

ings to students is significant:

Department Spotlight

Faculty and staff of the Division of Natural Science and Physical Education accept the Department of the Year Award at the 2017 annual fall in-service meeting held in at the Clarence Brown Center in Cartersville.

Division of Natural Science and Physical Education raises the bar During the 2017 annual fall in-service meeting, GHC honored its Division of Natural Science and Physical Education as the Department of the Year for going above and beyond for students, the college, and the community. The department launched a new robotics program for middle school students called Charger Robotics. Students from fifth grade through eighth grade were formed together into teams and competed in the 100 Scholars First Lego League Regional competition on December 16 at Atlanta Metropolitan State College, facing 750 other teams collectively at various locations across the state. (Read more about this on page 21). The division also put together a humble 160-square-foot plot of grow space split between a greenhouse and raised beds at Georgia Highlands College’s Cartersville location, which is responsible for over 350 pounds of produce being donated to GHC’s Charger Food Pantry. (Read more about this on page 15). Faculty and staff in this division have also worked to increase GHC’s free textbook programs made possible by Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) grants. For example: Veronica Morin and Andy Dawson received an AGL grant for $10,800 to transform the

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Microbiology (Biology 2161K) textbook. This course is a one semester course designed for allied health majors. The original textbook cost per student is $271.25 and 340 students are impacted each year for an annual savings of $92,225. Lisa Jellum and Jason Hitzeman received a $30,800 ALG grant to transform Principles of Nutrition (Biology 2190) and Principles of Human Nutrition courses (PHED 2202). This transformation included the PE faculty and several members of the biology faculty. This is a unique transformation that will result in our faculty writing a new textbook that will satisfy the learning objectives of both courses. This transformation will result in a savings of $97,890 and will impact over 700 students annually. Also, Carol Hoban and Sharryse Henderson lead the Anatomy I and Anatomy II (Biology 2121K & 2122K) teams that received a $22,826 ALG grant to transform the textbook and lab manual for the course. The lecture utilizes the OpenSTAX textbook and the team created the lab manual that is now utilized in the course. The textbook transformation began a few semesters ago across several sections. This ALG grant supported the team that has now transformed the textbook across all sections and resulted in the generation of a no cost lab manual. Total savings is $284,184 and impacts 1440 students annually. (For a full list of faculty ALG grants for

Department Spotlight

this division see story on College (GHC), the page 27.) Division of Natural The division also Science, and Physical saw the renewal of its Education designs, STEM grant. The STEM schedules, and delivers grant is a 3-year grant high quality science administered by the and physical educaUniversity System of tion courses, which Georgia STEM Initiative are an integral part of STEM Education the University System Improvement program. of Georgia core curThe goals of the GHC riculum and two-year STEM grant are to associate degrees improve STEM readioffered by the college. ness for K-12 students The division offers and improve retention courses in the disciof STEM majors which plines of astronomy, includes, Biology, biology, chemistry, Chemistry, Engineering, geology, integrated Geology, Mathematics science, physical and Physics. We are education, physical creating our own high science, and physics. quality, low cost STEM The division is comsummer camp. mitted to enhanced Additionally, the student achievement GHC’s Division of Natural Science and team worked with GHC’s in science and physical Physical Educations’s robotics program visits Clear Creek Information Technology education, emphasizing Elementary School for a night. Services division to conan education based on struct a mobile augmentthe college’s studented reality sandbox for a local elementary school and learning outcomes, recruiting and supporting highly a larger stationary unit for the college. (Read more qualified faculty, and providing excellent customer about this story on page 22). service to students through the division’s administraIn support of the mission of Georgia Highlands tive functions. FOCUS ON FACULTY – continued from page 27

resilience, workplace civility, and staff retention in behavioral/mental health crisis stabilization units; and two Georgia Association for Nursing Education presentations at the annual conference in Jekyll Island on communication labs (a vitally important teaching tool in low and high fidelity simulations) and about how DNP degrees are worth the effort. Stover also published her Doctoral dissertation at the Knowledge Box repository.

this degree primarily to stay current in trends regarding the use of educational technology to support effective learnHarnden ing. Additionally, he is serving as a resource for fellow faculty who may need help or are interested in infusing technology into their curriculum and classes.

Professor Tom Harnden completed his Masters of Education in Instructional Technology from Georgia Southern University. He completed

Director of Human Services and Professor Susan Claxton attended the Towards Zero Suicide Conference in Callaway Gardens, and

was selected to participate in a Pre-Conference Training to become a Certified Trainer for Suicide Prevention called QPR Claxton (Question Persuade Refer). She has also received a grant (1 of 30 in Georgia) to attend the Mental Health Train the Trainer. Instructor Nancy Mims was honored with the Board Member of Excellence Award in appreciation of her service to the Villa Rica Historic Preservation Commission. | 29

Faculty Spotlight

A DIFFERENT KIND OF WAR HERO GHC faculty member’s grandfather honored by Polish Embassy for secretly saving hundreds during the Holocaust

In the background of loud war machines, bombs, and the ballistic chaos of World War II, a silent savagery took place in the form of a “sacrifice by fire” called the Holocaust. Six million Jews, nearly two out of every three in Europe, were marched into camps and systematically murdered in an unprecedented state-sponsored persecution carried out by the Nazi regime in Germany. And it wasn’t until 1945, as the war came to an end, that the Nazi’s “Final Solution” was fully extinguished by Allied Forces… Behind the bloody lines drawn in desolate battlefields once towns, farms, and cities, a few brave men and women sought to do what they could to help save Jews until the Allied Forces could arrive and the Nazi regime could be toppled for good. In 2017, Georgia Highlands College Assistant Professor of Communication Alexandra Van Ryn MacMurdo Reiter was contacted by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Bern looking for more information about her grandfather. “As you may know, your grandfather, a former Polish consul in Latvia in the 1930s and a head of the Political Section of the Polish Legation in Switzerland during WWII, is one of the Holocaust rescue heroes of an operation orchestrated between 1942 and Reiter holds her grandfather’s passport 1943,” the Embassy informed her. Alexandra’s grandfather was Stefan Ryniewicz. “All I initially knew of my grandfather was that he was a Polish Diplomat who left Poland to go to Argentina,” Alexandra said. “Now I am learning that Stefan Ryniewicz was a true hero who saved many Jewish people from the horrors of the Holocaust.” Stefan, she was told, played a crucial role in a

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secret rescue operation: smuggling in fake foreign passports for Jews. He was responsible for maintaining contacts with the consuls of South American countries who were ready to disclose blank passports which were then filled with the names and photographs of Jews from the ghettoes. He was in close contact with the members of the Jewish organizations which were providing the necessary personal data for the passports. He was also responsible for the contacts with the Swiss authorities (ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice as well as Police) and the U.S. Embassy in Bern, in order to make sure everyone turned a blind eye on the procedure. In 1942, Jews with foreign passports issued by neutral countries or the U.S. were looked over by Germans, since they were more valuable later as a trade commodity for other German citizens held captive abroad. The ploy helped save hundreds of lives. “Stefan was directly responsible for saving countless Jewish lives during the Holocaust, and my heart is full of pride,” Alexandra said. “I am just overwhelmed with emotion thinking about what my grandfather did.” Stefan is buried with his wife in Buenos Aires. In addition to reaching out for more information on her grandfather for recognition in future articles, books, and documentaries, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Bern asked for the location of Stefan’s place of burial in order to lay a wreath on his tombstone. Alexandra was happy to provide that information and is proud to have this revelation about her grandfather brought to life. She stays in contact with her extended family who still lives in Argentina, but hopes to visit more. “I was able to meet my grandfather Stefan when I was a very small child visiting Argentina, but I was too young to remember anything,” Alexandra said. “I was able to last visit my family in Argentina at Christmas time in 2014 and take my daughters to meet the family they only knew through stories. I hope to return again to visit my family in Argentina in the next few years. In addition, one day I plan to visit Krakow, Poland, where my father was born. It is important to me to be able to see and experience first-hand where part of my family history began.”

Harold Campbell recounts the Watergate scandal, the end of the Vietnam War, and the start of the Iranian hostage crisis as he thinks back on his early decision to become a journalist during his first few years at Georgia Highlands College over 40 years ago. From 1976 to 1978, Harold went to GHC, what was then called Floyd Junior College. He had a workstudy position in the Public Information Office and was an assistant editor for the student newspaper Six Mile Post. “I should say that my career actually began here at Georgia Highlands College. I wrote many news releases which were published in area newspapers and broadcast over area radio stations,” Harold said. “During my sophomore year, I won my first reporting award from the Georgia Collegiate Press Association for investigative reporting.” Harold ultimately received his associate degree in journalism from GHC, before transferring to the University of Kansas, where he received his bachelor’s. Having cut his teeth early on journalistic writing, Harold left college with a fervent appetite to do more. “My first reporting job after graduation was at the Odessa American, where I was also a general assignment reporter and even helped out on sports. After a short time there, I returned to Kansas and worked at papers in Pittsburg, Independence, Chanute, and Salina. I also worked at the newspaper in Beatrice, Nebraska.” Harold went on to work for daily newspapers for 25 years. “I mainly covered local and state government and education, although I also wrote plenty of general news and features and even covered a murder trial or two,” he said. “I was interested in a lot of things as a reporter, but mainly how to communicate complex issues in an understandable way and giving a spotlight to people or places that might be forgotten or overlooked.” Harold continued to climb the reporting ladder, working as the assistant editor at the Independence

(Kansas) Daily Reporter from 1994-1999, and then later as the managing editor at the Beatrice (Nebraska) Daily Sun from 20052007. On top of his passion for journalism, Harold also had a passion for helping others. He soon found the opportunity to help those from other countries learn English. In 2010, Harold discovered a large demand for certified, native English speakers to teach English in Russia. And while speaking to a woman from Russia—who would one day become his wife—Harold decided he would move to St. Petersburg and begin teaching English. He and his wife taught together for some years before being asked to consider teaching in orphanages in India. “We were there for five months, three months in a city in northern India and two months in Bangalore, a city of 8 million in south India,” he said. “India is one of the most unique places in the world… the juxtaposition of poverty and wealth and the new and the traditional made this a time I will never forget.” Harold says his journalism degree, experience, and early years at GHC opened several doors for him. He has decided to spend some time back where he started, bringing with him years of journalism knowledge and a world view. Harold now works as a Campbell at an orphanage in Bangalore, India tutor on the Floyd Campus. “In general, I enjoy helping people, so I hope I can help students learn how to communicate more effectively,” he said. “What I love most about GHC are the smaller, more personal classes and how even as a student, I was always treated with respect Campbell in front of Red by faculty and staff.” Square in Moscow, Russia | 31

Staff Spotlight

Longtime career journalist, world traveler settles back to his roots at GHC

Student Spotlight

Taking charge of the skies

GHC student is one of only 5,000 falconers in the United States

Lex Vick clads his arm and hand with a simple leather gauntlet. He enters his aviary behind his house. And when he emerges, a large Red-tailed hawk rests on the end of his fist. It’s a magnificent bird with a predator’s dark gaze, a fierce angled beak, and talons with points as sharp as hypodermic needles and inclined to vice grip tendencies. Her name is Koda, which is a Sioux term for “companion.” She stalks and hunts her prey from the skies like a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. She is all about power and presenting power, Lex notes. And although there seems to be a close connection between Lex and Koda, he is quick to point out she is not a pet. It’s a working relationship. They work together on each and every hunt. Lex got into falconry several years ago. He has moved from apprentice to general and will be a master in 2018. Each rank requires years of training and different levels to unlock to do more and more with the birds. He explained falconry has a long history, dating back to even ancient humans. Falconers today hunt with falcons, hawks, and other birds of prey and are trained to work with a number of different species of bird. But the most interesting part of it all for Lex is being “in the front row seat of what happens naturally every single day.”

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“Just getting to see the natural world from the predator’s side is just amazing,” he said. “I’ve always loved animals. I was the type of kid that would just read encyclopedias on animals.” Lex is currently working on his associate in biology at Georgia Highlands College. He wants to continue on to Berry College to get a bachelor’s in animal science before attending veterinarian school at the University of Georgia. He does some volunteer education events for local schools now, but feels the urge to hunt with his hawk more than anything. And although now Koda is quick to return to him with one call of her name, it took time, training, and a lot of patience to get to that point. Lex’s training required him to go through several legal steps with the Department of Natural Resources, including a test, inspections, and more. It’s an arduous process. It’s estimated there are only 5,000 falconers in the country today. Once Lex was cleared to get a hawk, the tricky part began. “You have to trap a wild bird. It must be an immature juvenile bird, so you don’t take from the breeding stock.

They’re more impressionable anyway. They hatch in the summer, so if you find one in the fall, it is a good indication they know how to survive.” Lex uses a simple dome cage for trapping hawks. The way it works is he places a small animal, like a gerbil, within the dome cage. A number of flosslike tethers are arranged on the outside of the cage. Once he finds a hawk he thinks will work, he sets the cage near their hunting site and waits far away. The hawk will eventually dive onto the cage to take the animal inside, but the tethers wrap around its talons and keep the bird fixed and the animal within the dome safe. Then the training starts. “It’s a lot of time on the glove. At first, they’ve got their wings out and their mouth open, because they think you’re going to kill them. I spent the first day with Koda on my glove for five hours. Each day you do that, then you take her outside. Then it becomes a food based thing.” Over a two-week period, Lex feeds the bird, and with each feeding, he gives the bird more distance to return to him. Once the hawk becomes accustomed to its name and knowing that its name being called signals Lex has something for it, the first free fly happens. “All you can do is hope for the best in your training the first time you let them go. It’s an amazing feeling when you start walking and they are just following along with you from the sky.” Lex has been hunting with Koda for five years. The pair enjoy hunting in the fall after the leaves have left the trees and there is a better line of sight from ground to sky and vice versa. But preparing for the hunt is just as important as the hunt itself. “Just like a prize fighter, you want to have the bird in a good condition, at the right weight. If they are too high and too fat, they get lethargic, and if they’re too low, they don’t have the energy. There is a perfect medium called ‘yarak,’ where they are primed and at the peak of readiness for what they do best.” Once Koda reaches her ideal weight, Lex and his dog Molly set out with her to assist in the hunt. Lex and Molly try to kick up or scare small game, like squirrel or rabbits, while Koda patrols overhead. Lex says sometimes the prey they hunt become so fixated on Molly and him, they don’t even know Koda is

part of the hunting equation, giving her the element of surprise. “When she locks on to something, the game is over.” Every bird flies and hunts just a bit different from one another. Koda prefers powerful dives and strong aerial turns, as if to flex her privileged position on the food chain just a little before the attack ensues. Eventually, Koda will be released back into the wild. Lex says even though the two of them form a slight working bond, Koda’s natural instincts will always dictate her actions. Eventually, she’ll move on to mate and hunt again on her own, and Lex will need to start over with a new bird. Any attachment a falconer has for a bird is one sided, but the thrill of working together for even a short amount of time makes it worth all the while for Lex. For him, it’s not just a view of the “circle of life,” it’s a chance to experience it, to “be a part of it.” | 33

Alumni Spotlight

Alumnus builds business on academic foundation GHC helped him create

In 2002, Derrick Lepard may have been a shy high school student taking his first class at Georgia Highlands College, but now, he owns his own business in Atlanta called Cultivators. “GHC was a great stepping stone for me right out of high school,” he said. “I was somewhat reserved and shy right out of high school and the experiences at GHC helped get me outside of my comfort zone.” Derrick’s dream job was to one day become an architect, but his passion was in plants and plant life. He said that as a child he was always fascinated with plants, and since he grew up on a farm in Buchanan, Georgia, he was always outside. Eventually, as he tackled classes at GHC and went on one of his favorite college trips (the geology trip to Wyoming), he found out he could combine the two things he wanted most. Derrick decided he would become a landscape architect. “Landscape architects analyze, plan, design, manage, and nurture the build and natural environments,” he said. “Landscape architects have a significant impact on communities and quality of life. They design parks, residences, campuses, streetscapes, trails, plazas, and other projects that help define a community.”

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Derrick graduated from GHC and went on to the University of Georgia. After finishing college, he started his own company in 2010. “Cultivators is a design build landscape architecture company,” he said. “We are very hands on and work with residential and commercial clients in the Atlanta area.” Derrick’s team has over 15 years combined experience in landscape architecture, landscape design, horticulture, and agriculture. “I love the fact that every day is different, and I am my own boss at something that I am very passionate about.” Derrick stated GHC helped him create a solid foundation, noting how he loves GHC’s flexibility to work with students to determine their best needs for the future. “All the experiences I had at GHC have helped shape me into the person I am today,” he said, “and it has definitely helped me get where I am now.”

Alumni and friends update You are very important to us! We want to hear from you and share your news with the Charger community. Please fill out the form below to update us on what you are doing! Mail completed form to Alison Lampkin, GHC Office of Advancement, 3175 Cedartown Hwy, Rome, GA 30161 OR save a stamp, and send an email to or complete the form online at

Full name_______________________________________Maiden name _____________________ Spouse’s Name___________________________________________________________________ Mailing address ____________________________City__________State______Zip code _______ Primary phone (

) _______________ Primary email address ____________________________

(Please check one)



GHC Graduation year or year(s) attended______________________________________________ Major____________________________ Other Degrees__________________________________ Current Occupation_____________________________Employer __________________________


Floyd/GHC Retiree

Faculty or Staff (circle one) From ___________To____________


Friend of GHC

Occupation_______________________________Employer________________________________ News/updates (promotions/awards/weddings/arrivals/deaths): _____________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ Signature____________________________________________Date________________________ By signing this form, you have authorized the college to make changes to your biographical data and understand it may appear in both the print and online.

Hello Baby!

Savannah Ruth Powers and her husband Bryant, welcome a daughter, Lily Ruth, January 15, 2018

Dustin and Brittney Graham, welcome a daughter, Sydney Rae, November 4, 2017

Wendy and Kevin Blythe, welcome a daughter, Nora Claire, January 22, 2018

Lorrie Rainey and her husband Nick, welcome a daughter, Laurel Ann, November 6, 2017

Nick and April Godfrey welcome a son, Jamesly, January 27, 2018



Alumni & Friends Updates


Foundation Spotlight

Strong programs at GHC bring community partners together for increased scholarship funding

GENEROUS GIFT - Cathy Kerce (Executive of JEM Sales and Chair of the board of CCJF) and Greg Sumner (GHC Professor

of Criminal Justice and founder of CCJF) gifted $4,000 on behalf of the Community Criminal Justice Foundation (CCJF) to the Georgia Highlands College Foundation for the CCJF scholarship; Mary Transue (Vice President of Advancement and Executive Director of the GHC Foundation) and Don Green (President of GHC) accepted the check on behalf of the GHC Foundation. Pictured left to right: Lisa Smith (Executive Director of the Rome/Floyd County Visitors and Convention Center and CCJF board member), Randy Green (Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and CCJF board member), Evie McNeice (Accountant/Owner of Accounting Solutions Plus, City of Rome Commissioner and CCJF board member and treasury), Kerce, Sumner, Transue, Renva Watterson (GHC Vice President for Academic Affairs), Green, and Alan Nichols (GHC Dean of Social Sciences, Business, and Education).

The Georgia Highlands College Foundation awards over $150,000 in scholarship and program assistance each year. Those efforts are made possible by numerous donors and community partners. Since its inception in 2000, the Community Criminal Justice Foundation (CCJF) has donated and supported the efforts to provide financial scholarship assistance to students at GHC. The CCJF started providing a scholarship to GHC in 2001, which is used to cover a student’s tuition and books for a student in the field of criminal justice or pursuing a criminal justice degree. In 2013, the CCJF increased to three scholarships. Part of the reason the CCJF continues to support GHC’s criminal justice students is its goal to sponsor and support those who work in criminal justice at all levels (local, state, and federal.) The other is GHC’s dedication to providing strong educational programs, like its criminal justice program. GHC’s criminal justice program provides an affordable, flexible option for those looking for promotion in the field or for those looking to get the career they’ve always wanted. The two-year degree can also be obtained entirely online. “Possessing an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from GHC can open doors of opportunities for promotion for those currently in a career in criminal justice and future criminal justice professionals,” GHC Instructor Randy Green said. “A two-year degree is often required in many

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agencies to be considered for such ranks as lieutenant, captain, and higher ranks.” Additionally, GHC was approved by the Criminal Justice Curriculum Leadership Committee to begin offering a four-year degree in criminal justice online with onboarding beginning in fall 2018 and degree launch in spring 2019. GHC Professor Greg Sumner, who is also a founding member of the CCJF, and Green both agree that GHC’s Criminal Justice Program has a rich and long-standing history of producing top tier criminal justice administrators ranging from chiefs of police departments, emergency management directors, county commissioners, state and federal agents, lawyers and many ranking officers in departments. In addition to GHC’s strong criminal justice program, the police academy has returned to GHC. It gives students an option that is convenient and close to home, giving the community another outlet for producing a well-trained criminal justice workforce. GHC continues to work with community partners to provide access and affordability to its students while bolstering the local area with career-ready students with little to no debt upon completion. “Our collaboration with the Community Criminal Justice Foundation is an excellent example of how we work with the community in enhancing educational opportunities for those interested in an exciting and rewarding career in criminal justice,” Green said.

Jeff Watkins, Chairman Jeffrey A. Watkins, P.C. Luke Lester, Chairman-Elect Bond, James Bond Inc. David Caswell, Past Chairman Century Bank Dee Bishop, Treasurer Dellinger Management Services, LLC Mary Transue, Executive Director GHC Vice President - Advancement

taking charge - changing lives Fund an education. Fund a dream. Fund a future. The GHC Foundation has been committed to supporting the college and the students of Northwest Georgia since 1973. Your gift to the Foundation combines with others to have a powerful impact on the lives and future of our students.

Sarah H. Burkhalter Melanie C. Collier James Jarrett Mary Louise Lever Steve Moore Gregory F. Patton Randy Quick John Quinlivan


• Scholarships • Programs like the Academic Success Center or Foundation Camp • The college’s community and civic engagement • Athletics

Matt Sirmans Sue Spivey Tommy Strickland Mark Weaver

Did you realize a scholarship of $200 can frequently make the difference in whether or not a student is able to complete their degree? With the low cost of tuition and fees at GHC, not only can a student obtain an associate degree for less than $8,000, your contribution to scholarships goes a long way to meeting the needs of our students. Give today to the Georgia Highlands College Foundation and your tax deductible gift, no matter the size, will change lives. Simply go to, complete the form or mail your gift directly to: GHC Foundation Office • 3175 Cedartown Highway Rome, GA 30161 Should you wish to speak to someone about funding scholarships or supporting specific programs, please call Mary Transue at 706-802-5457. If you wish to honor someone you care about by making a donation in their honor or memory, contact Cindy Gomez at

Dr. Donald Green, Ex-Officio GHC President Jeff Davis, Ex-Officio GHC Vice President Finance & Administration Donnie Denson, Ex-Officio Alumni Association Chairman GHC ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS Donnie Denson Chairman Harold Boyd Retiree Representative Susan Claxton Michele Crowe Caleb Freeman Dan Knowles Dr. Lynn Plunkett

An acknowledgement note of your donation will be sent to the individual you wish to honor, advising them of your gift (without a dollar amount) and explaining that their gift will help change a student’s life at GHC.

Steve White | 37

Foundation Spotlight



Charger News

SEASON RECAP S Men’s Basketball Chargers pass the conference championship crown in fourth tournament showing

Heavy talent turnover and a shaky start to the new season put extra strain on the Chargers as they prepared to make a move on a four-peat conference championship crown. The road to another Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association and NJCAA Region XVII championship was rocky. A team who once entered the GCAA Final Four with a nearly unbeatable record of 30-1 found itself burdened with a 20-9 record and a much more difficult climb to its fourth conference title and three-year streak playing in the national tournament in Kansas. The Chargers were cut short in the conference tournament when they were taken out by South Georgia Tech’s Jets. The Jets flew past the Chargers’ 20-point lead established in the first half of the semifinal game of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. The Chargers season ended with a loss, 103-99. Head Coach Phil Gaffney noted turnover has become a factor in maintaining a dominant position in the region. As with most junior college teams, players often spend as little as a year in the program before transferring out. The Chargers have seen several players build a strong foundation in GHC’s athletics program, including Ty’lik Evans and Kyvon Davenport, who are finding success in NCAA Division I with Savannah State and Memphis, respectively, and Terrence Thompson, who is starting at Wake Forest, Kamar McKnight at Tennessee State, and Ty Cockfield at Arkansas State.

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GHC Head Coach and Director of Athletics Phil Gaffney was named Coach of the Year.

Gaffney and his team are happy to grow the players and have them move on to bigger programs, but it has caused a continuous need to refill big shoes in the roster. Despite some setbacks this year, the Chargers remain a strong championship program with high rankings that has grown from a zero-win team in its very first season. The Chargers did walk away with the regular season championship and are determined to make yet another national tourney showing in Kansas next year. Additionally, TaJuan Johnson was named 1st Team All-Region and DeMarcus Addie was named 2nd Team All-Region.

Early tournament win not enough for Lady Chargers to claim championship

The Lady Chargers flexed a well-tuned defense in the early round of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. Coming into the tournament with a 19-11 record may have had most marking GHC off in the first game against Andrew College, but the Lady Chargers brought a full seasons’ worth of training to the court. The Lady Chargers opened the game with a 16-2 run in the quarterfinal matchup as they held the visiting Lady Tigers to just 6 points in the first period and 11 for the first half. It was a strong 75-46 win over Andrew College with hopes of using that momentum to push through to the championship rounds. But in the semifinals, the Lady Chargers met the Lady Titans of Central Georgia Tech and lost by a nailbiting margin, 78-74. GHC got off to a fast start leading 10-3 but the Lady Titans fought back to take a 9-point lead 41-32 into the half. Central Georgia Tech stormed out to a 15-point lead, 64-49, midway through the second half. The Lady Chargers cut the Titans lead to 7 on a 10-2 run with six minutes remaining. The Lady Chargers Briana Davis back to back 3 pointers cut the Titans lead to 1, 66-65. Then both teams traded baskets down the stretch with Central Georgia pulling away for the win and upsetting the Lady Chargers chance at another conference championship.

CHARGERS GIVE BACK (Left) Men’s Basketball player D’Andre Bernard shares his story of success with Anna K Davie students. (Right) Women’s Basketball team visited Anna K Davie Elementary School and shared the importance of reading with the students! | 39

Charger News

SEASON RECAP Women’s Basketball

Charger News

Basketball teams raise cancer awareness with benefit game The Georgia Highlands College men’s and women’s basketball teams played to raise cancer awareness with a benefit game in February. The benefit game was in honor of Dean of Natural Sciences and Physical Education Greg Ford’s wife, Holly, who is currently battling cervical cancer. “This expression from the teams is more than we could have ever imagined. This is one of the many expressions of love and support we have received from our GHC family,” Ford said. Proceeds from the game ticket sales went to cancer research. All the players wore special cancer awareness shirts during warm-up, then all the cheerleaders and coaches wore the same shirts during the game. The players additionally wore a teal wrist band with #FordStrong on it to honor Holly and to help raise cancer awareness. “There are very few times in my life where I’m speechless and this is one of them,” Ford told the Daily News Tribune. “Holly never wants to be the center of attention, but she deserves this recognition for her hard-fought battle. Through it all, she continued to support GHC through volunteering for events, cheering on our sports teams and always wearing her GHC colors around town.” Holly is currently in treatment. She works at Cartersville Medical in the Labor and Delivery department.

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Georgia Highlands College baseball is led by Head Coach Dash O’Neill. The team competes in Region XVII of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association of the National Junior College Athletic Association of Division 1. The team is based out of the Cartersville site and plays all home games at LakePoint Sports Complex in Emerson, Georgia. For a full game schedule, team roster, and season updates, visit ghcchargers. com. Watch for baseball season recap in the next issue.

Charger Softball Georgia Highlands College

softball is led by Head Coach Melissa Wood. The team competes in Region XVII of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association of the National Junior College Athletic Association of Division 1. The team is based out of the Cartersville site and plays all home games at Stars Field in Cartersville. For a full game schedule, team roster, and season updates, visit ghcchargers.


com. Watch for softball season

Softball Veterans Day Game honors GHC military students and veterans.

recap in the next issue. || 41 41

Charger News

Charger Baseball

Charger Spotlight

SHAYLA SMITH - Utility I started playing softball when I was 4 years old because at that age I wanted to play many sports. My favorite aspect of competing are the moments in which you amaze yourself and the people around you. There’s been plenty of times when I’ve done something, and I had to take a step back and take it all in. The most challenging thing about being a student athlete is keeping yourself together and balancing things when they are not necessarily going in your favor. Natasha Whately has always been my role model. She was one person I could watch play softball at the level I wanted to be, who looked just like me. I want to be able to do that for a little girl one day. In five years, I see myself with a career or internship with a crime agency and furthering my interest in the forensic science field.


I always watched basketball as a kid, but I didn’t start playing until 10th grade. My favorite aspect of competing is proving others wrong. I like playing in hostile environments because all my life I’ve been considered the underdog, so whenever I play, I always play with a chip on my shoulder. My favorite sport’s memory was playing in Florida during the preseason. My coach had passed away the day before we left for Florida and I decided to play in memory of him and I did really well. The most challenging thing about being a student athlete is balancing your time between school, sports and social life. If you don’t find the right balance, it can be very stressful. My parents are my biggest inspiration. Nothing was given to them, everything was earned, and I respect and admire everything they’ve done to better my family’s lives. In five years, I see myself playing basketball and taking care of my family. I want a day to come when I can say that my parents don’t have to work another day in their life and I could take care of them and my future family members down the line.


I started playing basketball at 2 years old. My favorite aspect of competing is proving that I can be one of the greatest and help my teammates get better. One of the most challenging things as a student athlete is keeping up with my class assignments while having games. My mom is my inspiration. She has worked so hard for me and my family. One day I see myself playing professionally or overseas.


I started playing baseball at 4 years old. My favorite aspect of competing is the “how to win” aspect, and basically what I mean by that is how do you prepare mentally and physically compared to other programs, so that you come out on top in the end. My favorite sport’s memory would have to be my walk-off homerun against Allatoona High School, which was my last at bat of my high school career, and not to mention that they were undefeated going into this game. The most challenging thing about being a student athlete is trying to stick to a well-organized schedule so that I do not have to cram all my school work into one day. My inspiration are people who do not believe that I can do something that is beyond my so-called limit. I wish I could see myself in the Major Leagues in five years, but I’ve come to the realization that I am going to enjoy the remaining years that the game has to offer for me, and after I am done with baseball, hopefully I will get a job working for the DEA.

42 | Spring/Summer 2018

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GHC Dental Hygiene School

DENTAL CLINIC Appointments for adults and children age 3 and older include: Blood Pressure Screening Oral Cancer Screening Periodontal Evaluation Cleaning & Polishing of Teeth X-Rays (if needed) Cleaning of Dentures & Partials Brushing & Flossing Instruction Sealants ($15 extra per tooth)

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Children 12 and under: Cleaning & X-rays - $35

Morning & Afternoon Appointments Available 706-295-6760 James D. Maddox Heritage Hall 415 East 3rd Avenue • Rome, GA

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Spring/Summer18 Highlander Magazine  

Spring/Summer18 Highlander Magazine