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The official magazine of Georgia Highlands College

Spring/Summer 2017

In This


Breaking New Ground

Groundbreaking for new academic building

Special section highlights faculty accomplishments

Chargers win third straight regional championship

Table of Contents

...in this issue 3 4 19 23 24 25 27 30 31 32 33 34 36

Message from the President Campus News Focus on Faculty Special Section Faculty Spotlight Department Spotlight Student Spotlight Staff Spotlight Alumni Spotlight Alumni News Alumni & Friends Updates Foundation Spotlight Charger News Charger Spotlight

The Highlander is published twice a year by the Office of Advancement at Georgia Highlands College 3175 Cedartown Highway Rome, GA 30161 • 706-295-6366 highlands.edu Editor and Designer Sheila Jones Photographers Jeff Brown Nick Godfrey Writer Nick Godfrey Contributors Ginni Siler, Terri Cavender Rome News-Tribune

Keep up with Georgia Highlands on social media /GeorgiaHighlandsCollege /GHCAthletics /GHCAlumni

@GaHighlands @GHC_Athletics @ChargerInCharge

ABOUT THE COVER: After holding the third highest enrollment increase in the state in 2015 and witnessing a consistent swell in enrollment, GHC pursued funding for the construction of a new academic building with a focus on S.T.E.A.M.-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) areas of study at the Cartersville site. GHC was approved for funding under the fiscal year 2017 state budget which was approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Deal. The April 26th groundbreaking event recognized the start of construction. Pictured in the cover photo are: (L to R) Vice President of Academic Affairs Renva Watterson; Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Jones; Cartersville Campus Dean Leslie Johnson; USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley; GHC President Don Green; Vice President of Advancement Mary Transue; Student Government Association President Lucas Lester; and Vice President of Finance and Administration Jeff Davis. For more on the groundbreaking ceremony, see page 4. 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 locally, nationally, and internationally across its five locations in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Dallas, and Douglasville, as well as online. GHC offers associate degrees 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 Bachelor of Business Administration in logistics and supply chain management, and in healthcare management.

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

The theme for this issue is “Breaking New Ground” and there is a lot of ground to cover! When I was a boy, I was what you might call a “muck farmer” in Michigan. To grow vegetables, you had to plow and plant. That fine black soil would get into every pore of your body. At GHC, we are breaking ground and so are the people affiliated with our institution. Georgia Highlands College continues to bloom with personal, social, structural, and intellectual growth. As you read through this issue, I ask you to pay attention to the amazing work being done by students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Rendering of new GHC students S.T.E.A.M. academic Owen Witcher and Rena building Couzzart are making great strides in competitive pursuits, like cycling and martial arts. The ability to focus both mentally and physically, to dig deep, is providing a harvest for them to succeed. At GHC, we strive to cultivate that multidimensional desire for excellence in all of our students. That desire is apparent in alumni like Wrayanne Glaze Parker and Victor Williams. After overcoming her own challenges in life, Wrayanne is nurturing others in our society as she clears away the destructive influence of drugs and alcohol across the State of Georgia. Victor continues to build a career as a journalist. His hard-hitting reporting style has led to several moves and promotions as a television news reporter. And what about GHC itself? Our sixth straight semester of enrollment

increases shows we are growing, too. We had the groundbreaking in April for our GHC President Don Green new academic building in Cartersville. That building will accommodate large numbers of S.T.E.A.M. laboratories (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) that will give rise to a new generation of talent available to move the Northwest Georgia economy forward. Within our college, we have created a new Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning with the intent to continue the enrichment of our faculty. We have hired a coordinator for our newly sprouted bachelor’s degrees in logistics and supply chain management and healthcare management. Finally, we are building a healthier environment for Georgia overall. Our award-winning pollinator garden, the brainchild of Jackie Belwood, will help cultivate new stocks of honeybees for natural local pollination. The first garden was developed in Cartersville, but a new one has just been planted at our Paulding site! By breaking ground, the students, alumni, faculty, and staff of GHC are nurturing the institution, our citizens, new labor markets, and individual careers. Like that muck from my childhood that would penetrate every layer of clothing, I hope GHC’s passion to succeed and make the world a better place sticks to you and motivates you to join us as a partner, student, employee, or donor today.

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From the President

Breaking New Ground

Campus News

Groundbreaking event kicks off construction of new academic building Over 250 people joined together in late April for a groundbreaking ceremony on the Georgia Highlands College Cartersville site for the forthcoming S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) academic building, a $22.5 million project. GHC students and employees along with elected officials, the GHC Foundation Board, USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley, community members, alumni, and more spent time at the site learning about what the future holds for GHC. The 52,000-square foot structure will be opening in fall 2018. It was designed by Stanley Beaman & Sears and will be constructed by Juneau. President Don Green opened the event and was followed by Chancellor Steve Wrigley. Other speakers included Vice President of

SGA President Lucas Lester

Advancement Mary Transue, Vice President of Academic Affairs Renva Watterson, Cartersville Campus Dean Leslie Johnson, and Student Government Association President Lucas Lester. “This new academic building helps us maintain quality two-year and four-year degree programs that are affordable for students across Northwest Georgia, which remains one of GHC’s highest priorities,” President Green said. “I’m glad we can continue to offer a full associate degree for less than $8,000 and a four-year bachelor’s degree for less than $16,000. Not only is this a great return on investment for our students, it also fuels a growing Georgia economy with much-needed college graduates who will become career-ready with little to no debt upon completion.”

Juneau Construction Company CEO Nancy Juneau and USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley

Enrollment increase has GHC ranked as the state’s second largest two-year college Georgia Highlands College continues to grow with a consistent swell in enrollment year after year. Spring enrollment is up 3.9 percent. This increase follows a 4.6 percent increase in fall, a 9.9 percent increase last summer and a 6.3 percent increase last spring. This is the sixth consecutive enrollment increase for GHC, positioning the college as the state’s second largest two-year school.

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President Don Green stated the value of a GHC education is one of the driving factors for GHC’s continual enrollment increases. “GHC remains one of the most affordable, accessible, and valuable USG options in Northwest Georgia,” he said, “and our enrollment increases prove that. I’m glad we offer our students the same Enrollment – continued on page 7

Georgia Highlands College’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapter’s stellar year reached a new height spring semester 2017 when the team brought home more honors than any other college in attendance at the All-Georgia Academic Team Awards luncheon in Atlanta. Mykayla Jeter, from the Paulding site, was selected as a Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar, winning a $1,500 scholarship, and MaryKate Billings and Elle Summers, each from the Cartersville site, were both selected as Coca-Cola Academic Team Bronze Scholars, winning a $1,000 scholarship each. Only 50 students from across the nation are chosen as Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold, Silver, or Bronze scholars each year. Six PTK officers and members were selected as GHC’s All-Academic Team at the luncheon, as well. Those students are: Mykayla Jeter, Bryce Pitts, from the Floyd campus, Mary-Kate Billings, Elle Summers, Amanda Lewis, from the Cartersville site, and Lacey Turner, from the Douglasville site. In addition to these honors, GHC’s PTK also served as the 2016-2017 Regional Presidential Chapter and hosted the PTK Regional Spring Conference in April. The team earned multiple awards and top regional

honors: the Distinguished Officer Award and the Hall of Honor Award went to Mykayla Jeter; the Sarah Anne Staples Award was given to Bryce Pitts; MaryKate Billings took home the Janet Walker award; and Assistant Professor Karen Huggin was recognized as this year’s Distinguished Advisor. Together, the team brought home the Distinguished Officer Team Award, Distinguished Honors in Action Theme Award, Distinguished Honors in Action Award overall, Distinguished College Project Award and the Distinguished Top Regional Chapter Award. This is the second year in a row the chapter was honored with the Distinguished Top Regional Chapter Award. The chapter also won two scholarships to the Honors Institute this summer at Loyola University in Chicago and was selected for another regional office of secretary for 2017-2018. Additionally, the GHC chapter won big at the international conference held in Nashville, winning the Distinguished Honors in Action Theme Award for Theme 6-Natural and Engineered, the Distinguished Honors in Action Project Award and the Distinguished Chapter Award. Mykayla Jeter won a Distinguished Chapter Officer Award and Bryce Pitts won the Prepared Speech Competition held at the conference and won a $500 scholarship. Additionally, GHC’s PTK was also recognized as a Top 100 Chapter.

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Campus News

PTK chapter brings home more honors than any other college at the All-Georgia Academic Team Awards luncheon

Campus News

Bringing college courses to area high schools Georgia Highlands College is working with high schools and college and career academies throughout Northwest Georgia to offer students more accessible college courses while they are still in high school. “Part of our access mission is to make courses available to students in a variety of formats and times to meet their needs,” Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Jones said. “Many of these students do not have the ability to commute to a campus and this format allows them to enroll in college without having any travel expenses.” Dean of Natural Sciences and Physical Education Greg Ford stated having these satellite campus locations offers students who may not have access to one of GHC’s campuses the opportunity to participate in the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program at their local college and career academy. “We are continually striving to offer a quality education to the residents in Northwest Georgia communities. Without this arrangement, many of these students who are academically prepared for this college experience would be limited by their access to a local college campus or the need to complete a blend of high school courses and MOWR college courses,” Ford said. He added, “This will also allow students to continue in their extracurricular activities like sports and band, while earning college credits through this program. Also, because the MOWR pro-

gram pays full tuition and book cost, there is a significant cost savings which benefits families in the region, as well.” Currently GHC offers Chemistry 1211K and 1212K at the Bartow County College and Career Academy; Biology 2107K and 2108K at the Floyd County College and Career Academy; Spanish 1001 and Spanish 1002 at Trion High School; and seven courses at the Polk County College and Career Academy. But Ford said this is just the beginning. “The program has had a very strong start and we are already in discussions to expand program offerings,” he said. “Also, through our five campuses, we are working with city and county school districts to expand programs across the region.” Jones stated that although these classes are taking place in high schools and local college and career academies during regular high school hours, parents and students alike should understand the course load and instructors will be on a college level. “The instructors that teach the courses are hired through the GHC online job portal and must meet the same qualifications as any instructor at GHC. The exams and work load are going to be significantly different from what they are accustomed to in high school,” he said. “Although these courses may be offered in a secondary school facility, these students know prior to the start of class that they are enrolled in a college course and need to come prepared to study on that level.” Students wishing to participate in programs like these are encouraged to talk with their Guidance Counselor at their participating school for more information about signing up prior to GHC MOWR application deadlines. Jones explained that a GHC MOWR committee has been formed to continue expanding the programs to other schools throughout Northwest Georgia.

Annual Chili Cook-Off GHC employees participated in a Chili Cook-Off at each location last fall to raise money for charities and find out just who has the best pot of chili in Northwest Georgia.

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Military Advanced Education & Transition (MAE&T) has awarded Georgia Highlands College the designation of a Top School in its 2017 MAE&T Guide to Colleges & Universities, measuring best practices in military and veteran education. GHC was also recognized by MAE in the 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions. The Guide was released late December, and is available online at mae. kmimediagroup.com The Guide presents results of a questionnaire of the military-supportive policies enacted at more than 600 institutions, including private, public, for-profit, not-for-profit, four-year, and two-year colleges. From community colleges to state universities, online universities and nationally known centers of higher learning, MAE&T’s 2017 Guide to Colleges & Universities arms students with information about institutions that go out of their way to give back to our men and women in uniform. Now in its tenth year of publishing the Guide, MAE&T was the first publication to launch a reference tool of this type. This year, institutions were evaluated on their military culture, financial aid, flexibility, general support, on-campus support and online support services. Each school’s performance

rating by category is represented by an easy-to-recognize dashboard. This enables prospective students to quickly target schools that follow best practices in military education, and then put these in context with other academic or career considerations. With input from an advisory board of educational and government experts, and criteria based on recommendations from the VA and military services, MAE&T’s Guide to Colleges and Universities provides the foundational information a prospective student would use in framing his or her educational needs. Not only is the 2017 Guide printed in the December issue of Military Advanced Education & Transition, but also published in a searchable database online. Students will have access to all the survey questions and answers provided by the schools, as well as explanations about critical issues like activation and deployment policies, withdrawal policies, scholarship and financial aid information and important support information. Visit mae.kmimediagroup.com for online access to MAE&T’s 2017 Guide to Colleges and Universities, or pick up a copy of the December issue of Military Advanced Education & Transition. For more information about Georgia Highlands College Veterans Affairs, please contact Veterans Affairs Coordinator Amy Wise at awise@highlands. edu.

ENROLLMENT – continued from page 4

classes as larger institutions at half the price with a full associate degree for less than $8,000—one of the many reasons GHC was acknowledged as the best return on investment for state colleges in Georgia.” Green also noted that “maintaining quality twoyear and four-year degree programs that are affordable for students across Northwest Georgia remains one of GHC’s highest priorities.”

He went on to say, “Not only is this a great return on investment for our students, it fuels a growing Georgia economy with much-needed college graduates who will become career-ready with little to no debt upon completion.” For the full USG enrollment report for fall 2016, and spring 2017 visit usg.edu and click on policies and reports.

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Campus News

GHC ranked Top Military-Friendly College

Campus News

GHC holds Fall Expo at Douglasville site On November 3, Georgia Highlands College held a Fall Expo at the Douglasville site. GHC President Don Green said it was the perfect opportunity for future students, parents, businesses, community members, and other potential partners of the college to come see what GHC is all about. “GHC’s faculty and staff strive to remain actively involved and attentive to the needs of the communities we serve,” said Green. “We never want to become an insular college. GHC succeeds when our students succeed, and that happens when there is a strong partnership with GHC and our communities. It’s this togetherness of college and community that will continue to benefit the students and future workforce of Northwest Georgia beyond anything else.” Green stated he enjoyed this opportunity to personally meet and greet those in the Douglasville area at the GHC site and to introduce the new Douglasville campus dean, as well as admissions officers, college leadership, and more. The event included light refreshments, a chance to win a number of door prizes, and many faculty and staff members were on hand to answer questions, help navigate the admissions/financial aid process and provide information about the many opportunities GHC

Director of Nursing Rebecca Maddox (left) talks to visitors about the GHC nursing program.

has to offer. “GHC is full of friendly and familiar faces. Our students love to say how GHC feels like home to them and how the faculty and staff treat them like family,” Green said. “Holding a community reception like this one allows us the opportunity to show those who may not be taking classes every day that same dedication GHC shows its students on a daily basis.” Green noted that due to the closure of ITT Technical Institute in Douglasville there have been a number of questions surrounding students who have been affected, and he stated that GHC is ready to work with those students to see what options are available, should they wish to attend GHC. “GHC works hard to be the most affordable, high-quality University System of Georgia degree option in Northwest Georgia,” Green said, “and it is wonderful to give the Douglasville community a chance to see more of GHC and learn more about what GHC offers its students and communities like.” Bolt and student ambassadors greet guests.

Japanese students visit GHC Japanese students from Kumamoto visited GHC in March, touring many of its locations. Kumamoto is one of GHC’s sister cities, promoting cultural ties between the U.S. and Japan. The city is located in the southern part of Japan.

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Theresa Arthen has been working full-time while pursuing her Associate of Science in Nursing from GHC since 2013. She’ll be the first to tell you it’s not easy. But she’s quick to say, it can be done. And all this comes from a student who holds a perfect 4.0 GPA. One student is chosen from each college in the University System of Georgia each year to be a Board of Regents Academic Day Representative. Arthen was chosen for GHC, due to her outstanding scholastic achievement, as well as holding the mandatory 4.0 GPA. Arthen’s drive to succeed comes from her family—and more specifically from her mom. “My mother grew up in a small village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and taught me to be grateful for all the opportunities and conveniences this great country has to offer,” she said. “I feel it is a crime to waste time, talent, and especially knowledge, when so many throughout the world are not afforded the same education.” But Arthen doesn’t just excel in the classroom. She also helps as an anatomy tutor for other students at GHC. “There’s nothing quite like the feeling of helping students navigate the incredible challenging nursing pre-requisites,” she said. “One particular time, I was helping a student understand the exceptionally difficult process of how the kidneys regulate fluids and elec-

trolytes. She felt defeated. But her determination was remarkable. When she finally understood, I watched her eyes light up with excitement as she successfully explained the process to me.” Her desire to help others is part of her motivation to a be a nurse. Arthen has plans to pursue GHC’s bachelor’s degree in nursing after she has completed her associate. After that, she even has plans to continue her education with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice as a Nurse Anesthetist. “Anesthesia is an art form in its own right,” she said. “Nobody else in the operating room can do what CRNAs do, and few try because of the tremendous stress of the job. This intensity and high level of critical thinking, combined with the nurse’s compassion and soothing presence needed to calm pre-op patients will constantly challenge me both intellectually and emotionally.” Arthen stated GHC has been a wonderful experience for her and she is glad and honored to represent the college during the Board of Regents Academic Day. “GHC has become my second home,” she said. “I have met some wonderful professors and lifelong mentors here.” Arthen and the other representatives were honored during a Board of Regents meeting and luncheon at the University System Office. She was recognized again during GHC’s Honor Night.

First Latino Literature class at GHC to be offered in 2017

Georgia Highlands College will be offering its first Latino Literature class for fall 2017. The ENGL 2135 course is potentially one of the first Latino Literature surveys offered on the sophomore level in the University System of Georgia. Dean of Humanities Jon Hershey stated GHC has had such a good response with its African American Literature course (ENGL 2133) that creating a Latino Literature survey is a great next step toward widening course options at the college. “There are so many Spanish speaking countries and so much outstanding literature that has originated from these countries that the course will have a tremendous

amount of literary work to select from,” Hershey said. “The literature will be offered in English translations, so knowing Spanish will not be a requirement for the course.” Hershey explained that the course is a survey of Latino literature from the 16th century to the present, including writing from Chicano, Cuban, Puerto Rican and Dominican-American traditions, as well as from other Spanish-speaking countries. The first class will be taught by English Instructor Jessica Lindberg at the Cartersville site. “We’ll ask questions like: what does ‘Latino’ mean? Latino – continued on page 14

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Campus News

Theresa Arthen chosen as Board of Regents Academic Day Representative

Campus News

Boyce named the new dean of Health Sciences Michelle Boyce has been appointed as the new dean of Health Sciences. Boyce will oversee the Division of Health Sciences, which includes nursing and dental hygiene. GHC currently offers an associate and bachelor’s in both nursing and dental hygiene. Boyce is a Registered Dental Hygienist with an Associate of Science Applied Technology in Dental Hygiene, Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene, a Graduate Certificate in Public Health, a Master of Health Science and a Doctor of Health. She is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. in Health Science program at Nova Southeastern University and her research interests include “Interprofessional Education and Collaboration.” Boyce started teaching at GHC in 2011. Before this position, she served as assistant professor of dental hygiene. She is also an active member of the Georgia Dental Hygienists’ Association and the Vice-Chair for the Georgia Oral Health Coalition. Prior to becoming an educator, she practiced clinically full-time at both general and periodontal practices. She has a passion for community health promotion and disease prevention and has volunteered her time to help organize and attend many health fairs and screening events. She has also traveled abroad on numerous occasions for dental mission trips. “I love that GHC is my large extended family,” Boyce said. “We support and help each other to be successful. And this continues beyond graduation. I’ve had people mentor me and I’ve been able to do the same for students. It is such a great feeling when a graduate contacts me and says, ‘Thank you for providing me the best education at GHC.’” Boyce stated that as dean of Health Sciences she would like to continue the interprofessional collaboration between the health science programs at GHC, as well as eventually add new programs. “I would also like to work with local health care organizations to determine the need for and expansion of health science offerings and programs at GHC,” she said. Boyce is from Austell, Georgia, where she graduated from South Cobb High School. She currently lives in Dallas, and enjoys running, bicycling and traveling with her family to warm places to scuba dive.

Wise and Patrick join the Cobb Education Consortium Leadership Academy Georgia Highlands College selected two new members to the Cobb Education Consortium (CEC) 2016-2018 Leadership Academy. Representing Georgia Highlands College for 2016-2018 are Amy Wise, veterans affairs coordinator, from the Cartersville site and Lynzee Patrick, Amy Wise enrollment management specialist, from the Marietta site. They join current GHC representatives from the

2015-2017 class, Travice Baldwin Obas, professor of communication, and Jillian Petro, advisor, both from the Cartersville site. Participants in the CEC Leadership Academy are chosen at the institutional level, usually through a competitive process. The leadership academy prepares Lynzee Patrick employees at member institutions for greater leadership roles in the community and the institution. Consortium – continued on page 11

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It’s a Sunday afternoon at the local Starbucks. GHC students have taken over the place. They’re working on their chemistry homework. And right in the center of it all is Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sarah Tesar helping them. “I guess I just try to be as involved as I can, as they let me,” she said. “Chemistry is usually one of the most intimidating subjects and classes for college students. I try to be a mentor for students, and provide support and help where I can. I remember being a freshman in college and sometimes feeling like I had no idea what I was doing.” She admits she can’t help but aid her students when they need it most—even if it’s over the weekend or by text. It’s reasons like these Tesar was honored as a 20162017 Cobb County Chamber of Commerce teacher of the year for Georgia Highlands College in October. Tesar earned her bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2006 and her doctorate in chemistry from Tulane University in 2012. Her doctorate research focused on theoretical physical/ quantum chemistry. “After my first semester as a teaching assistant, I knew that I wanted to teach–but I also knew I wanted to teach at a small school where teaching was the main focus,” she said. Tesar started at GHC in 2013 and never looked back.

“I love the atmosphere,” she said. “I am constantly challenged by my students each semester. I embrace the diversity of students at GHC, which provides me the opportunity to grow and develop my skills as an educator.” Tesar explained she works hard to keep her classes from becoming stereotypical boring PowerPoint lectures. Her goal, she said, is to keep students actively engaged with terms and examples anyone can relate to. “Often it is difficult for students to grasp chemistry concepts that are intangible, abstract, or impossible to fathom in the macroscopic world,” she said. “So I try to come up with ways to explain chemistry that students can relate to and can visualize.” Tesar listed a few examples you might see come up in her class on any given lesson: marriage and long distance relationships to explain bonding, tug of war to explain polarity, electronegativity and acid strength, an MLB pitcher to explain the difference between classical and quantum mechanical motion, and a sinking boat to explain chemical kinetics and equilibrium concepts. “It might be a little unorthodox,” she said, “but students are engaged.” “I suppose I am very passionate about my students learning, but I don’t believe that my sole purpose is to just teach the chemistry subject matter,” she went on. “I strive to teach my students problem solving, critical thinking and study skills on a broader level. These skills are essential for our students to succeed.”

Consortium – continued from page 10

The first academy year provides participants the opportunity to network and experience a variety of seminars and presentations, retreats, school visits, governmental activities, guided readings and interaction with the CEOs. During the second year, members tackle a community-based group project under the guidance of a committee of specialists, designed to further their professionalism and expertise. The CEC is composed of public educational entities in Cobb County, Georgia: Chattahoochee Technical College, Cobb County School District, Georgia Highlands College, Kennesaw State University, and

Marietta City Schools. These CEC members enroll over 140,000 students from throughout their service areas. For nearly 25 years, the CEC has been dedicated to improving the quality of education among its member institutions. The consortium is a unique, solution-based collaborative with the participating schools, colleges and universities working together unselfishly for the benefit of their students. Cobb Education Consortium website: cobb-ed-consortium.org

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Campus News

GHC Teacher of the Year honored by Cobb County Chamber of Commerce

Campus News

Education grant to enhance Paris Lake and the Wetlands at Floyd campus

Georgia Highland College was awarded a $1,000 education grant from the North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA). The Gerald C. Corcoran Education Grant is a highly competitive grant with only two projects awarded in 2016. The grant money will go toward the Division of Science and Physical Education’s “Wetlands Experience.” “This grant specifically provides funding to create informational signage around Paris Lake regarding the diversity of North Georgia’s freshwater habitats and the purchase of bathy scopes (used for underwater viewing of specimens) to enhance our ‘Wetlands Experience’ program,” Associate Professor of Biology Veronica Morin said. Morin explained GHC’s “Wetlands Experience” aims to provide local public school students the opportunity to explore wetland habitats and learn about wetland ecosystems and conservation. “The NANFA grant will allow us to enrich our current program by placing informational signs on various aspects of freshwater ecosystems and the

threat of invasive species around Paris Lake,” she said. “The reach of this grant extends far beyond the ‘Wetlands Experience,’ and will provide opportunities for everyone in the GHC community to learn interesting facts about freshwater habitats as they enjoy time spent around Paris Lake.” Instructor of Biology Jason Christian worked with Morin to secure the grant. He stated the informational signage will add a nice touch to GHC’s already beautiful campus. “The grant will help to enlighten any visitor to GHC’s wetlands on the biodiversity that can be found in their backyard,” he said. The award was established in memory of past NANFA President Gerald C. Corcoran, who stressed public education regarding the continent’s native fishes. NANFA is an organization made up of home and professional aquarists, university and other professional researchers, conservationists, anglers and naturalists. As its name implies, the group is dedicated to the study and conservation of North America’s native fishes.

Wildlife abounds Paris Lake was home to a new family of eagles last year. The eagles could be seen traveling around the lake gathering food and pieces of wood for their nest, which resides across the road from the lake. (Photo by Gena Flanigen)

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For the first time potentially ever, Paris Lake was visited by a family of pelicans. The birds flew in early in the morning and spent the day bathing in the lake before heading off to their next destination. (Photo by Rome News-Tribune)

The 7th annual GHC Public Speaking Competition was held in April at the Cartersville site. The event had three rounds and student competitors gave the same speech for different sets of judges to progress to the final round. The winners listed below include their home campus and speech title: 1st - Amanda Lewis (Cartersville) Take the Road Less Traveled 2nd - Jenee Smith (Marietta) Puppy Mills: The Best Money Maker 3rd - Tadd Steffner (Cartersville) Eat Healthy and Exercise Regularly 4th - Luke Keeney (Cartersville) Maintain Censorship on Television 5th - Makenzie Allen (Cartersville) Dog Breeders and Puppy Mills GHC student organization members served as judges to determine which semifinalists deserved special recognition for best representing GHC’s values of inclusiveness and freedom of expression.The following students were semi-finalists: Shanna Salcedo (Douglasville) Discrimination in the Media

Finalists (L to R)– Jenee Smith, Amanda Lewis, Tadd Steffner, Makenzie Allen, and Luke Kenney

Andrew Beard (Marietta) End to Addiction Aarod Dodd (Floyd) Is Drug Testing for Welfare Beneficial? April Hughes (Douglasville) Free College Tuition Gage Walker (Cartersville) Perils and Positives of Multitasking

Wolfe chosen to study in South Africa Georgia Highlands College Assistant Professor of Sociology Christina Wolfe was chosen to take part in the University of South Carolina’s International Perspectives on Higher Education (IPHE) in March. Wolfe joined a group of other college faculty and staff from around the country on a visit to South Africa. “We [visited] universities throughout Johannesburg and Cape Town to explore how education has changed in post-Apartheid South Africa,” Wolfe said. Wolfe stated that the goal of the trip was to discover South Africa’s rich cultural, historic and educational experiences while learning as much as possible about educational transitions at institutions of higher education after Apartheid. “I love to travel and have never been to the African continent, so I was very excited about seeing the country,” Wolfe said. “Cape Town is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I was particularly excited about visiting Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela—along with many other political prisoners—were held during the Apartheid era.” Wolfe received a competitive scholarship through Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) to help cover expenses for the trip. Wolfe said the best part of participating in the IPHE

program is going to be what she will be able to bring back with her to share with her students at GHC. “[This trip will] help me bring back experiences to globalize our courses and increase connections in my students’ understanding of how sociological issues are present in their own lives and the lives of others,” Wolfe said. “This program is directly related to my current curricula in ‘Introduction to Sociology’ and ‘Introduction to Social Problems,’ which include discussions of apartheid and its relationship to race, social stratification, power structures in societies and institutionalized discrimination.” Developing her classes is also a benefit Wolfe noted, saying, “I am particularly interested in the program’s focus on service learning as I seek to implement and improve experiential education for student success in my own courses.”

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Campus News

Seventh annual GHC Public Speaking Competition held in Cartersville

Campus News

GHC becomes one of eight USG colleges to launch a pilot kiosk for digital doctor visits Georgia Highlands College has joined eight other University System of Georgia colleges in launching a system-wide pilot for LiveHealth Online Kiosks, a live two-way video machine with a board-certified doctor. In 10 minutes or less, employees/students can see a physician for things like cough, cold, flu, sinus infections, urinary tract infections, and more. The doctor can answer questions, check vitals, make a diagnosis, provide treatment, and even write a prescription, if needed. The Kiosk has a touchscreen and phone. It also has several attachments, including a forehead thermometer, blood pressure monitor, pulse oximeter, stethoscope, otoscope, derm camera, and scale, as well as a hand sanitation center for use before and after interacting with the Kiosk. LiveHealth Online reports that 80 percent of consumers surveyed who have used the system stated they saved two or more hours by using LiveHealth Online and were able to completely resolve their medical issue. The LiveHealth Online Kiosk costs $49 per visit or less, or if you have BlueCross BlueShield, the equivalent of an office visit copay. Currently, GHC has only one Kiosk for use on the Floyd campus to help launch the pilot program.

Vice President for Human Resources Ginni Siler explained the installation of the Kiosk comes on the heels of GHC’s proactive interaction with the system office on well-being initiatives for the college. “We [GHC Human Resources and President Don Green] have been instrumental in the creation of well-being challenges between the USG institutions, which the system office has coordinated as pilots,” Siler said. “Our initiative and support of these challenges for the past 12-plus months has, in part, resulted in the opportunity to pilot a LiveHealth Online Kiosk. We are constantly looking for ways to enable our students and employees to live healthier, happier, more active and productive lives. It is part of the culture at GHC.”

LATINO – continued from page 9

How is that different from ‘Hispanic?’ How did native populations and European explorers write about each other during colonization? How are the literary traditions and styles of Mexico different from the literary traditions and styles of Chile? How have all of these voices contributed to the multilayered story of Hispanic culture and identity?” Lindberg said. The class will read letters by a man called “El Inca,” who was the first man born in the Americas

14 | Spring/Summer 2017

to enter the Western literary canon, as well as stories from the Frontier, some popular poetry from Southwestern newspapers, and poetry by William Carlos Williams, the wellknown Modernist poet, and documents by the activist leader, César Chávez. More contemporary readings will include works by Junot Diaz, who just won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2008, and Judith Ortiz Cofer, who lives in Georgia.

“Studying the literature of any group of people means listening to their stories. When we listen to their stories, we hear their joys, their sorrows, their triumphs, and their tragedies,” Lindberg said. “In each of these, we hear reflections of our own stories. We connect. As the Hispanic population of the United States continues to grow, it makes sense to study the stories that define this rich and historic culture.”

Service Excellence - (L to R) VP of Finance and Administration Jeff Davis; VP of Human Resources Ginni Siler; VP of Advancement and Executive Director of the GHC Foundation Mary Transue; Director of eLearning Jeff Linek; Librarian Jeanne Blakely; USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby (retired); Interim Dean of Libraries and College Testing Susan Vines; Instructional Designer Katie Bridges; Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Jesse Bishop; Cartersville Campus Dean Leslie Johnson; Librarian Laura Gargis; and President Don Green.

Georgia Highlands College brought home more awards collectively than any other institution in the University System of Georgia at the 2016 Chancellor’s Annual Service Excellence Awards at Georgia College in Milledgeville. GHC earned two Gold Awards, one Silver Award, and a Bronze Award. The Chancellor’s Service Excellence Awards recognize individuals, teams, leaders, ambassadors, process improvement projects, and institutions that have demonstrated outstanding, “above and beyond” service to the students, colleagues and other customers of the USG over the last year. Among the 28 USG institutions, GHC received the following recognitions: Library and College Testing won the Gold Award in the Outstanding Process Improvement: Increase Effectiveness and Efficiency award category for the College Testing Initiative. This award recognizes teams, departments or divisions that designed and implemented process improvements or initiatives over the last year that significantly increased effectiveness and efficiency. Projects were considered on the basis of improved service times, improved quality of service, and the significance of the positive impact on their customers (students, colleagues, community). Interim Dean of Libraries and College Testing Susan Vines accepted the award on

behalf of the Library and College Testing. In its nomination narrative, the Library and College Testing was touted for integrating COMPASS testing and re-testing; offering the SAT on campus for potential students in the Move on When Ready program; implementing an online scheduling system to manage the process for over 20 proctors across six campus locations; and much more. The GHC Quality Matters Initiative was awarded the Gold Student Improvement Initiative of the Year Award in the Outstanding Process Improvement: Increase Service to Students award category. This award recognizes teams, departments or divisions that designed and implemented process improvements or initiatives over the last year that significantly improved service to students. Projects were considered on the basis of improved service times, improved quality of service, and the significance of the positive impact on their customers (students, colleagues, community). Quality Matters Initiative Project Leader Katie Bridges accepted the award on behalf of the team. In its nomination narrative, the Quality Matters Initiative was touted for holding on campus sessions to train faculty members on the Quality Matters Rubric and increasing the number of Quality Matters trained full-time faculty to 76 percent and more. Excellence – continued on page 17

highlands.edu | 15

Campus News

GHC takes top honors at the 2016 Chancellor’s Annual Service Excellence Awards

Campus News

Outstanding faculty and staff honored at annual in-service meeting Contributed by GHC Human Resources Every year during Fall In-Service, GHC presents awards selected from nominations submitted by employee peers and managers. Here are some highlights from the event:

VIvian Benton Staff Award Jonathan Twilley Building Maintenance Supervisor Jonathan Twilley was awarded the Vivian Benton Award. It is a coveted award named after a former GHC employee and is intended for staff members who consistently project a positive image and who serve the college above and beyond the call of duty. Jonathan has also been the recipient of many Caught in the Act awards.

DEPARTMENT OF THE YEAR The Advancement Division, which is made up of the GHC Foundation, Alumni Relations, Marketing and Communications, Print & Design Services, and Digital Media, won Department of the Year for their outstanding teamwork and impact on the GHC community. See more in their department spotlight on page 24. Employee of the Year Sharryse Henderson Her work supporting the mission and goals of the institution in her daily obligations and her volunteer efforts earned Professor of (L to R) President Don Green and Jonathan Biology Sharryse Henderson Twilley joined by Maggie Murphy and Rob the GHC Employee of the Year Latrallo who presented the award. award. In her work on and off campus, Sharryse exhibits a positive attitude towards fellow employees, students, and the public. This is demonstrated by her availability, cooperation, courtesy, friendliness, helpfulness, and presence on the job.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT FACULTY Travice Obas Professor of Communication Travice Obas’s commitment to community service within the walls of GHC, and outside in the community, earned her the Community Involvement Award for Faculty. Travice uses her communication focused skills to enrich the lives of GHC students and the surrounding communities. She has been a Student Success Coach, a panel judge for the Junior Miss Program, a judge for numerous local literary and speech competitions, among many other roles while serving on various committees to better serve GHC students.

GHC SUPERLATIVES Outstanding A fun recognition for individuals Administrator during 2016 Fall In-Service, based Ginni Siler solely on peer nominations was Vice President of Human GHC Superlatives. Employees (L to R) President Don Green and Sharryse Resources/CHRO Ginni Siler Henderson joined by Connie Watjen and nominated others in the following Mary Transue who presented the award. received the Outstanding categories: Administrator Award for the manner in which she performs her leadership role in HR Most Customer Focused was awarded to Lisa Garrett and the institution. Ginni ensures that Human Resources from Financial Aid and Ian Fleming from is focused on providing progressive HR services for Information Technologies. employees and managers utilizing technology to gain efMost Likely to Hit it Out of the Park went to Lorrie ficiencies whenever possible. She ensures that the college Rainey from Athletics and Rob Laltrello from community has access to HR through herself and other Information Technologies. HR staff being present often at each of GHC’s locations. Most GHC Spirit was awarded to David Mathis from She looks for ways to enrich the GHC culture through ini- Athletics and Terri Cavender from Human tiatives such as the first GHC Walking Challenge against Resources. several of the smaller USG institutitons (the program Most Innovative Thinker went to Katie Bridges of the is now USG-wide). She also introduced the Share Your Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Story event which encourages students, faculty, staff, and administrators to document, through video and storyboards, their life experiences.

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Vice President of Human Resources Ginni Siler won the Bronze Award for Service Excellence – Outstanding Leader (Administrator level). 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. In the nomination narrative, Siler was touted for organizing a college Wellness Campaign; working as the cochair for the system-wide HR conference; coordinating the first “Share Your Story” program with GHC students and employees promoting diversity and marketing efforts; and much more. The college, as a whole, under President Don Green won the Silver Award for Outstanding Institution of the Year and President. This award recognizes an 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. 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 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, Organizational Performance. In the nomination narrative, the college and President Green were touted for adding two new four-year programs; having continuous increases in enrollment; holding one of the highest retention rates in the state for colleges in its sector; being listed as the “best value” for a two-year degree in the state by a federal report, and more.

Caught in the Act of Great Teaching Kim Wheeler Katie Bridges Vincent Manatsa Maggie Murphy Sarah Tesar Jason Hitzeman Annette Maddox Camille Pace Sharryse Henderson Denie Burks Lisa Branson Meredith Ginn Randy Green Sherry Green Steven Blankenship

Caught in the Act of Caring Rick Watters Camille Pace Mike Smithson Madison Harris Brent Griffin Leslie Johnston Jesse Bishop Lyric Sprinkle Nancy Swafford Ginni Siler Tony Gambill Christina Henggler Abraham Ortiz Jake Watkins Clay Shiflett Lauren Baker Katie Bridges Angela Wheelus Seth Ingram Jonathan Twilley Ralph Mallad Rebecca Maddox Vicky Drnek Julia Areh

Outstanding service Kay Geibel, GHC customer service representative at the Cartersville site, was recognized for her customer service efforts with students at the Georgia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Conference as with the Outstanding Employee award. One nomination by her peer sights that she makes the fact that she is the first point of contact for the 2,200 students who attend her campus look effortless.

Melanie Largin Virginia Siler Rhonda Sosebee David Horace Leslie Johnson Sherry Green Kay Geibel Betsy Clark Judi Norwood Terri Cavender Ted Pence Jillian Petro Sharryse Henderson Greg Ford Kristie Kemper Carol Souders Andrew Dawson Jesse Bishop Jason Hitzeman Cindy Wheeler Phil Gaffney David Mathis Lorrie Rainey Don Green Mark Knauss Alison Lampkin Mary Transue Dash O’Neill Brock Moss Paige Presley Angelyn Riaz Scottie Presley Lindsay Little Rebecca Maddox Amy Wise Rick Watters Jeanette Eckles Angela Wheelus Susan Claxton

Caught in the Act of Good Customer Service Eileen Walker Sherry New Lauren Burkhalter Jeff Linek Jeannie Blakely Angela Delgado Tony Gambill David Dellis Amanda West Christopher Perry Ted Pence Xinia Smith Camacho John Spranza Clifton Puckett Danny Young Haley Henderson Leonard Hall Rob Laltrello

Campus News

2016 Award Recipients

Excellence – continued from page 15

Cynthia Parker Sherri Beideck Brian Hales Sumer Lang Rod Stidum Andrea Mathis Jonathan Twilley Mary Ann Sailors Stephanie Loveless Jeanette Eckles Sherry Stephenson Rick Watters

Caught in the Act of a Good Idea

Diane Langston Leslie Terrell-Payne Justin Cleveland Lynn Herman Dale Carroll Paula Stover Misty Smith Debbie Amason Sue West Joyce Bouknight-Gant Lyric Sprinkle Leon Bull Karen Yerkes Outstanding Administrator Ginni Siler Vivian Benton Award Jonathan Twilley Mace Bearer Harvey Moody Walraven Award Margie Frazier Community Involvement Staff Terri Cavender Community Involvement Faculty Travice Obas Employee of the Year Sharryse Henderson Department of the Year Advancement Division

2014 Award Recipients highlands.edu | 17

Campus News

GHC Players host first medieval murder mystery theater Contributed by the Rome News-Tribune Students at Georgia Highlands College offered a little mayhem and murder with a holiday theme during the college’s mystery dinner theater. “Murder Under the Mistletoe,” a medieval murder mystery written by, directed by, and starring GHC students, was put on in December at Heritage Hall. The GHC Players just started this year, student Bryce Pitts explained, because so many students at GHC wanted to participate in the arts. “It is hard at a community college to have a big arts program,” she said. “We wanted to show that there is a lot of talent at Georgia Highlands.” The dinner theater was being put on as a fundraiser for the Players, Pitts said. “We had a group of people at the school who get

Walk to Wellness New walking path signs have been placed around Paris Lake at the Floyd Campus. The signs help walkers keep track of their trek around the nearly two-mile hike. GHC once again joined the eight-week HealthTrails Well-being Challenge, which promotes employees spending time each week walking and counting steps. GHC is competing with five other USG institutions to get the most combined steps.

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together and sing,” she continued. “We were singing carols one day and thought it would be fun to perform. Then we started talking and all of these ideas came up, so we decided to write a Christmas mystery play and incorporate the carols into it.” Pitts wrote the script along with fellow student Kendalyn Millsap. The production [was] directed by GHC student Autumn Townsend and the group’s faculty advisor is Julie Carver. “We are really proud of the fact that students are able to write and direct the production,” Pitts said. “It’s completely student-driven.” The play tells the tale of King Androse and Queen Rosalind who want to marry their daughter Princess Juno to a prince. They enter into an agreement with another kingdom they’ve been feuding with and agree to a party at Christmas time. “Suddenly, something goes very wrong and someone is murdered on Christmas Eve,” Pitts shared. “The Royal Fool takes the audience on an adventure trying to find out who the murderer is.” The Fool breaks the fourth wall of the production and narrates the action, she added. Right before dessert, cards were passed out to the audience, who were asked to write down who they thought the murderer was. After dessert, the truth was revealed. The Players are hoping to do another, bigger production in the spring, Pitts said. “This dinner theater will help us fund that,” she said. Students from two of GHC’s five campuses comprise the group, with the production being manned by Floyd and Cartersville students. “If we have a good response, we hope to keep doing this,” Pitts said. “We hope to make this a tradition and expand the arts programs at the school.”

Georgia Highlands College

Focus On Faculty A new Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at GHC

us to provide opportunities for faculty, but we’re also working to document more of what good work happens in our What is CETL? classrooms.  CETL stands for Center For example, we’re seeing for Excellence in Teaching and great returns on our investLearning. We’re the faculty supment in Quality Matters, a port and development wing of program focused on improvthe newly established Academic ing course design in online Collaborative for Excellence. classes. Katie Bridges, The CETL organizes and leads Instructional Designer and a variety of workshops, training QM Coordinator, has done an sessions, and activities focused amazing job helping faculty on helping faculty memlearn more about how to build bers in the classroom. We do courses that set students up Jesse Bishop and Katie Bridges discuss plans for CETL. some technology training and for success. As we’ve trained consultations, as well as one-onmore faculty in QM prinone and small group instructional design consultations.  ciples, we’ve seen the success rates of online classes improve. With just a little bit of guided discussion and practice using some tools, Why is it important? faculty are able to learn more about instructional design practices Faculty members who engage in support and development and theory and more importantly to apply that new knowledge and activities help students achieve at a higher-level, according to reskill in their courses.  search in the field. CETLs exist to help arrange and lead these kinds As much as QM has been successful, it’s really a testament to of activities. Our faculty are so busy teaching, advising, and serving our faculty. The fact that so many instructors have taken the basic the college that they often do not have time to set up these activities QM training and then gone on to complete more advanced courses or create these opportunities on their own. That’s where the CETL and workshops is due to the outstanding dispositions of those folks. comes into play. We’re here to align a variety of opportunities with They want to be and do better. We’re really lucky to have so many institutional and individual needs.  amazing professors--brilliant, engaging, and innovative folks--at For years, faculty developers “felt” that what they were doing GHC. Condon, et al., (2015) noted that college faculty members made a difference. In 2015, William Condon and a group of colwere generally geared toward improving--whether formally or leagues set out to determine whether or not faculty development informally, they seek out support and development activities. The really made a difference in student learning. Faculty Development CETL is here to formalize some of those opportunities.  and Student Learning: Assessing the Connections, the book that We want to be a place where innovation and experimentation resulted from that project, highlights the numerous ways in which happen, where our students benefit from faculty who are encourfaculty development has a direct, measurable impact on student aged to try new teaching strategies and technologies. Having a learning. Faculty who participated in some kind of development dedicated program where our colleagues can come and seek supactivities saw measurable gains in student learning outcomes (and port is in line with the notion of creating lifelong learners. I cannot gains in other areas such as engagement, retention, progression, think of a better way for us to model that idea for our students than etc.). to commit to it with the CETL. We want the CETL to be  At GHC, our CETL efforts are geared toward working across where faculty come to experiment, innovate, and disciplines to help faculty at all stages of their careers, so that we share their experiences.  can foster these same kinds of learning gains for our own students. – continued on We have some tremendously talented faculty, many of whom are next page innovators in the classroom. We want to begin sharing some of that innovation and facilitating more of it where we can. It’s important for

Q&A with Director of CETL Jesse Bishop


A unit of the University System of Georgia

– continued from previous page

Who all is a part of CETL? The CETL at GHC is staffed by Instructional Designer and Quality Matters Coordinator Katie Bridges and myself as director of CETL and associate professor of English. There are a number of faculty members who are currently helping us launch this effort. We could not do this work without our faculty and the support of a variety of staff.

Focus on Faculty


Associate Professor Steve Blankenship converted his face-to-face lectures for history classes he teaches into short 10-minute video lectures that can be accessed by students online. Courses included HIST 1111, 1112, 1121 and 1122.

Assistant Professor Bentley Gibson developed a special topics class called “Psychology of Prejudice.” The course has an innovative way of teaching in which the students learn their actual implicit prejudice scores at the What does CETL have beginning of the class, and after a reflecplanned for the coming years? tion exercise and numerous other diversity We have so much planned! training exercises, they get tested again at In Spring 2017, we launched the end of the course to see if bias has been a Faculty Learning Communities reduced. Gibson uses a metric from Har(FLC) project. This allowed faculty vard to generate a bias score at the beginmembers to get together across ning and end of the course. departments to read a book and work around a specific topic. Our Dean of Natural Sciences and Physical first three FLCs were on How We Education Greg Ford has led a team in Learn (Carey), Minds Online designing, building, and maintaining a (Miller), and Mindset (Dweck).  brand new greenhouse at the Cartersville We have more FLCs planned for site. Outdoor classrooms are a great way the next academic year.  to introduce classroom concepts in a We’ll be maintaining the Quality real world setting. With the growing Matters (QM) program, which helps population, concerns about food access ensure strong course design for online and food safety, increased developclasses, as well as continuing to ment of GMOs, etc. a greenhouse develop and refine our Accessibility program can incorporate into a numBy Design program. Both QM and ber of classes across the academic ABD are led by Katie Bridges, who division. The structure is 16x16 won the Chancellor’s Service Award in with a pea gravel floor and wood/ 2016 for her work with QM.  clear ridges sides and roof. It also We’re also developing an online includes a solar fan, a fenced area, teaching program to complement our and two raised beds. Inside, the QM program. Where QM is focused on team has constructed a planting design, the new program will focus on table, stair-step planting beds, delivery--that is, what online instructors and a featured aquaponic sysdo in terms of activities and behaviors that tem. Aquaponics is a symbiotic support student learning. We’re currently relationship between aquatic working with the Faculty Senate to ensure animals (utilizing native that we’re addressing faculty needs and fish species) and plants in a concerns as we build this program.  system of water tanks. The We’re currently working to turn room F126 fish excrete waste which on the Floyd campus, where the CETL lives, into is broken down and the an Active Learning Lab. And in the summer and by-products (nitrates) are fall, we’ll be hosting more workshops and used to feed the plants. meetings in that space.  The plants filter the The CETL is also involved in a number of water and return in to ongoing initiatives, including Complete College the aquatic system for Georgia, Beyond Financial Aid, Gateway to the fish. Aquaponics Completion, Liberal Education and America’s is currently being Promise, and our Quality Enhancement Plan. 

used all over the world to address limited access to food in poverty-stricken regions of the world. This has become an excellent educational opportunity for students from K-12 to colleges around the country. Associate Professor Melanie Largin worked to create an eClassroom for courses in Learning Support Math. The learning platform can accommodate non-traditional, working students more effectively by allowing them to take the course from their home, or any other location, outside of the normal daytime class hours. The class is unique in that it is not a typical online class where students are expected to learn on their own, but instead they log-in for real-time, interactive instruction and receive a video of the class sessions for further review. In addition, the platform allows more flexibility for instructors who can also teach from any location that has a computer. Associate Professor of Biology Jackie Belwood has worked with the Green Highlands student organization to help create the pollinator garden in Cartersville. Belwood also started the Greater Atlanta Pollinator Partnership that works to combat the growing problem of decreasing pollinators. In 2015, Belwood, her husband, and others earned a Conservation Award for their efforts in urban pollinator conservation in Georgia by Wings Across the Americas. Georgia Highlands College faculty are working with high schools and college and career academies throughout Northwest Georgia to offer students more accessible college courses while they are still in high school. These satellite campus locations offers students who may not have access to one of GHC’s campuses the opportunity to participate in the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program at their local college and career academy. The Humanities Division will be offering its first Latino Literature class for fall 2017. The ENGL 2135 course is potentially one of the first Latino Literature surveys offered on the sophomore level in the University System of Georgia.

Focus on Faculty


Professor Susan Claxton completed her suicide prevention specialist course and passed her exam for the American Association of Suicidology. She is now the college and university suicide prevention specialist for GHC. She is also active in the Floyd County Coalition for Suicide Prevention and is a co-facilitator of the Healing Hearts Support Group for Survivors of Suicide. Additionally, Claxton completed her laughter yoga certification in 2016 from the Laughter Yoga International University. Laughter is medicine and as a part of her ongoing holistic approach to the Human Services curriculum, Susan is now a certified laughter yoga leader.

joined a group of other college faculty and staff from around the country on a visit to South Africa.

Assistant Professor of History David Hensley has been accepted to teach at the Berlin site of USG’s European Council Study Abroad program for summer 2018.

Professor of Communication Travice Baldwin Obas serves as the 20152017 GHC faculty representative for the Cobb Education Consortium (CEC). Participants in the CEC Obas Leadership Academy are chosen at the institutional level, usually through a competitive process. The leadership academy prepares employees at member institutions for greater leadership roles in the community and the institution.

Assistant Professor of Sociology Christina Wolfe was chosen to take part in the University of South Carolina’s International Perspectives on Higher Education (IPHE). Wolfe

Bentley Gibson-Wallace was named to “40 under 40” for outstanding achievement and recently appointed regional director of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges.


Focus on Faculty Assistant Professor Josh Stovall presented at a community study session at the Georgia Sociological Association 2016 annual meeting. The title of his presentation was “From Mass Consumer Society to a Society of Consumers: Consumption and the Experience of Community in Late Modernity.” The abstract for his presentation was: Scholars argue that consumption of goods and services has eclipsed the local community as the focus of contact between the individual and

society. Residents of two Mississippi Delta communities, in 1996 and again in 2007, were asked how often they shopped for consumable items outside of their communities. Logistic regression demonstrates a significant interaction effect between year and out shopping. These results may reflect larger shifts in society, as the function which community traditionally served may have been replaced. Assistant Professor of Sociology Christina Wolfe partnered with University of West Georgia Assistant Professor Winston Tripp for the Georgia Sociological Association 2016 annual meeting.


Their workshop focused on data analysis and data visualization tools, including their application in the classroom. The abstract from their presentation was: In the last decade, the U.S. has entered into the age of “Big Data,” in which everyone is constantly awash in data. Because of this, data analytics has become an important tool for many organizations and a desirable skill to learn for college students. This workshop examines ways to make data analysis more accessible to the public by discussing ways to simplify analyses and tell a more compelling story through the visual presentation of data.

Focus on Faculty Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sarah Tesar was honored as a 2016 Cobb County Chamber of Commerce teacher of the year for Georgia Highlands College. Professor of Biology Sharryse Henderson was named 2016 GHC Employee of the Year for her work supporting the mission and goals of the

institution in her daily obligations and her volunteer efforts. Professor of Communication Travice Obas recieved the 2016 GHC Faculty Community Involvement Award for her commitment to community service within and outside the walls of the college.

Instructor Althea Moser was presented with the “Safe Zone Certificate of Excellence - for excellence in advocacy and education as a Safe Zone ally.” The award was in response to the World Aids Day events & education that she organized in Paulding County.

aving students S money

GHC saves students nearly $4 million by eliminating textbook costs

Georgia Highlands College has saved students $3.8 million over the past five semesters 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. To date, GHC has saved students $3,843,664 in textbook costs. 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. Vice President for Academic Affairs Renva Watterson stated it is imperative that students have 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. The average textbook cost for each class is between $200 and $300. “GHC is saving our students a great deal of money,” Watterson added. “We are here to educate, and we want to know all the ways we can best keep money in our students’ pockets, so they can continue to go to school and complete.” The increased savings for students has also promoted higher retention and graduation rates. “When you compare the pass and fail rates of students in one of our science courses who were taught using Open

Education Resources in the spring of 2016 and students who were taught using a traditional textbook in the fall of 2015, you will see an increase in the pass rate among those who were provided a cost-free alternative,” said Dean of Natural Sciences and Physical Education Greg Ford. Ford stated the pass rate rose 13 percent when students were provided OERs. GHC’s total cost savings is based on the cost of a new textbook multiplied by the total number of non-Move On When Ready (MOWR) students enrolled in courses offering OERs. Textbooks are already included in the MOWR program and provided to MOWR students at no cost. Nursing student Theresa Arthen has been one of the students who has benefited from OERs. She recently completed the pre-nursing program with a 4.0 GPA, and is very happy with the switchover. “My Anatomy II class provided an online textbook for all students to use,” she said. “You wouldn’t believe the collective sigh of relief when the professor told us that the $300 latest-edition textbook was not required. Not only did I save, I didn’t spend a dime on a book that semester since an alternative was provided for free.”   Arthen said Georgia Highlands is “already an incredible value with abundant opportunities” for students to work toward a career, “but adding free online textbooks is almost too good to be true — almost.” 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: affordablelearninggeorgia.org GHC plans to continue to offer OERs and expand into as many areas and courses as possible moving forward.

Affirmative Action/Equal Employment and Educational Opportunity Institution

Pollinator garden featured in PBS special

The 250-square-foot garden sits right in the middle of a lawn between asphalt, a parking lot and a major highway at the Georgia Highlands College Cartersville site. But the pollinators don’t mind the busy world around them. They are too busy in their own little world. Butterflies, caterpillars, bees, and more all give movement to the purple and yellow flowers. Associate Professor of Biology Jackie Belwood says the morning is just as busy as the afternoon, as she points out a bee with a yellow coat of pollen on its back digging around the inside of a flower. Four years ago, a student walked into Belwood’s office at the Georgia Highlands College Cartersville site with a hummingbird in her hands. The student explained how she had watched the bird fall from the sky on her way to class. “This was during a time when the hummingbird would have been migrating,” Belwood said. “Those little hummingbirds are going to travel 800 miles between northern areas and warmer climate. Some of them will go as far as Mexico or the Caribbean.” It was clear to Belwood what the problem was: the college now sits where native vegetation used to be, and in the absence of flowers and other plants that may have once been more common, the hummingbird couldn’t find any place to stop and eat on its journey south.

What’s worse is this wasn’t the first time this had happened. “It was just bothering me,” she said. “There was nothing for them to feed on outside. They are such small animals and they are on such a limited energy budget, I finally said, ‘That’s it. Not on my watch.’” Belwood met with student group Green Highlands that same year and together they created a pollinator garden with raised beds and perennial plants. Meanwhile, Belwood was also working with her husband on a large-scale project they would eventually call the Greater Atlanta Pollinator Partnership. “We were very concerned about the fact that wild habitat is being lost around the country due to development and all kinds of other things,” she said. “Pollinators are taking a pretty big hit, because when you take places that used to have plentiful plants and flowers and native vegetation and turn it into parking lots and lawns and things like that, wildlife and pollinators don’t have a place to go.” Belwood stated this is a growing concern, given onethird of all food we eat is a result of the action of a pollinator. Belwood said she and her husband were originally tasked to sponsor a single garden, but they came to a consensus that one garden just wasn’t enough. “We drew a 25-mile radius circle around Atlanta, and we

said we should be looking at a space like this for a pollinator conservation program,” she said. “We knew it had to be a pollinator partnership.” From that, the Greater Atlanta Pollinator Partnership was born. It now holds a number of partners in the Greater Atlanta area who are all working to combat the growing problem of decreasing pollinators. “We have a tendency to think of honey bees as the sole pollinators, but it’s not just honey bees. Pollinators by-andlarge are in trouble,” Belwood said. “If you look at the billions of dollars’ worth of crops that are pollinated by these things, a lot of growers are extremely concerned. The almond crop farmers in California truck in GARDEN – continued on page 29

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Faculty Spotlight

Jackie Belwood leads the charge in pollinator conservation efforts

Department Spotlight

Advancement Division has award-winning year During the 2016 annual in-service meeting, GHC honored its Advancement Division as the Department of the Year for successfully accomplishing numerous goals in 2015 and 2016. Advancement is multifaceted and encompasses alumni relations and development, marketing and communications, digital media, design and print services, government relations, and the GHC Foundation. The division brings together talented staff and dedicated board members to advance Georgia Highlands College by raising awareness, promoting the college, and building relationships and resources needed to support educational opportunities and success for all GHC students. In 2015 and 2016, the Collegiate Advertising Awards program also gave the division top marks among more than 900 entries from across the United States representing a diverse field of educational facilities from small community colleges to very large schools and universities. The team brought home two Silver Awards and a Bronze in 2015 and three Gold and three Silver Awards in 2016. Additionally, the Advancement Division received the 2016 Overall Institutional Excellence in Advancement award. The annual award is given out by the Georgia Education Advancement Council (GEAC), which selects a winner from all public, private and technical colleges and universities in Georgia each year. Among the accomplishments the Advancement Division was noted for were: an extensive overhaul of GHC’s brand, image and messaging; the revitalization of the Highlander magazine; being a crucial part of the last six consecutive semester enrollment increases; organizing and executing the President’s Inauguration and Presidential Gala; increased funding for scholar-

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ships; working to secure approved funding for new construction under the fiscal year 2017 state budget; and much, much more. “Our Advancement team keeps raising the bar and I am very proud of everything our team has accomplished,” said Vice President of Advancement Mary Transue. “The creative collaboration our team shows on a daily basis is impressive. We have a very dedicated and talented group of individuals and it is evident by the number of goals we have been able to accomplish.” President Green, who nominated GHC’s Advancement team for the GEAC award, echoed Transue by saying he was proud to see GHC bring home the muchdeserved award. “More than ever, GHC’s awareness in our service areas is increasing,” Green said. “GHC is no longer a peripheral topic in the community. It is a part of the conversation. And our Advancement team has a large part to do with that.” The Georgia Highlands College Advancement Division consists of: (pictured above) (Back row, L to R) Nick Godfrey – Communications Manager Justin Sucre – Digital Media Specialist Jeff Brown – Director of Digital Media Sheila Jones – Senior Director of Marketing & Communications Ken Davis – Print Services Manager (Front row, L to R) Cindy Gomez – Assistant to the Vice President & Foundation Accountant Mary Transue – Vice President of Advancement & Executive Director of the GHC Foundation Alison Lampkin – Alumni Relations Specialist

Student takes Top Ten spot at USA Cycling Collegiate National Championship in downhill bike racing Owen Witcher readies himself on the face of Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. He is 4,848 feet above sea level. On a bike. Looking down 1,500 vertical feet of descent. His bike rolls into position. He kicks off. It’s 42 miles per hour straight down. And in five minutes, he’ll be named one of the top ten racers at the USA Cycling Collegiate National Championship. “I’ve known about this race for two years,” Witcher said. “I knew last year I wanted to get into it this year. I’m turning pro this year.” Witcher thought the experience would help him in his transition to professional racing. What he didn’t know was he would beat out over 100 other racers from across the country. Witcher started the Georgia Highlands Cycling Club. He was the only one from the student organization to compete in the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championship in West Virginia. The competition notes that Snowshoe Mountain is considered to have some of the best trails for top-tier mountain bike racing. Participating in such an extreme sport may seem scary to some, but to Witcher, he feels right at home. “I have been racing BMX since I was seven. I did that for eight years before I started mountain biking,” he said. “Then I got into downhill racing about five years ago.” The speeds and intense terrain require a bike with a lot of suspension, Witcher explained. But, he added, it takes a lot of mental preparation and physical endurance if you want to train yourself to go faster and win. “The downhill bike has a bunch of suspension to soak up the bumps,” he said, “but some drops can be as high as eight feet to flat.” Witcher said he has competed all over the country in the category just below professional, winning and even breaking a

few bones along the way. For him, biking is just part of who he is. “I’ve always loved riding my bike,” he said. “One day when I was a kid I just told my mom, ‘I want to race my bike.’ She found a BMX track close to where we lived and I’ve been doing it ever since.” Witcher is currently studying to pursue a degree in Geographic Information Systems, so he can potentially one day build trails and scope out mountains for large bike competitions and tournaments. Witcher is a freshman at GHC and takes classes at the Cartersville site. He said he is happy he chose GHC, noting the affordability and the location close to home.

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Student Spotlight

The road less traveled

Student Spotlight

Three-time state martial arts champion

uses skills to conquer college

Georgia Highlands College student Rena Couzzart has a few extra skills to help her navigate her college courses. She holds a black belt in two Korean martial arts: Taekwondo and Hapkido. Rena says the journey to completing anything in life, including college, is fueled by dedication and passion. “Getting a black belt is all about dedication. You can’t get it without putting in the effort,” she said. “Every black belt was once a white belt who had no idea what they were doing. If you don’t have the passion and dedication to keep going, then you can’t be a black belt.” Rena earned her black belt in 2014. She has competed in over 35 tournaments over the years. She has traveled and competed in North and South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, Nevada, Michigan, and in a couple state, national, and international events. “Most of the tournaments we attend consist of sparring (fighting), and poomsae (forms or patterns),” she said. “I compete in poomsae most of the time.” Rena is a three-time state champion of Georgia. She holds a silver medal in team poomsae from the 2015 nationals, and also placed 10th out of 40 competitors in individual poomsae that same year. Overall, she holds over 50 medals with 33 being gold. Rena is currently pursuing a degree in early childhood education at GHC. She notes GHC has been a great first choice for her because it is “close to home and affordable” with “something for everyone.” Teaching in a classroom is an easy transition for her. She currently teaches martial arts at Roman Martial Arts

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in Rome. “I’ve always loved teaching,” she said. “The best part is when we go to tournaments, and my athletes use what we’ve tried teaching them in class, and it works. There’s nothing better than seeing the happiness on an athlete’s face, and you know you were a part of getting them there.” Rena stated that her martial arts training has helped her quite a bit in school. “Martial arts are all about dedication. You can’t get a black belt without dedicating years to the art,” she said. “Martial arts have boosted my self-confidence tremendously. I used to be so nervous in front of people. Now, I can’t wait for the opportunity to step up and show what I can do.”

Staff Spotlight New bachelor’s degree coordinator ready to head the BBA program Mecole Ledbetter has joined Georgia Highlands College as its new bachelor’s in business administration coordinator to work with students, faculty, and the community as GHC launches two new bachelor’s degrees in healthcare management and logistics and supply chain management for 2017. Ledbetter is a GHC alumna who was born in Pennsylvania, but was raised in Columbus, Georgia. She received her associate degree in business administration from Georgia Highlands College, and then went on to earn her Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Kennesaw State University. Ledbetter has worked for a number of companies, including Total System Services (TSYS), Synovus Financial Corporation, Cartersville Medical Center and Chattahoochee Technical College. She said she can’t wait to get the new bachelor’s programs up and running at GHC just in time for fall semester. “These programs will be important to our students, because it offers students a high quality, affordable four-year degree option in two of the most rapidly growing fields,” she said. “Having both programs housed in a geographic area with an existing and rapidly increasing job market is also beneficial to our students.” Another benefit, Ledbetter noted, was the fact that the programs offered are in diverse industries with a wide variety of sectors. “What this means is that students will have

several career or occupational options to choose from within each field and will not feel confined to just one specific area,” she said. Ledbetter says she hopes to build an effective, agile and relevant program that helps to meet the educational needs of students, as well as the professional needs of local industries. “My goal is to ensure that both programs equip students with the critical thinking, analytical and leadership skills needed for the test they will face in the workforce,” she said. “We also want to ensure that we hire and retain quality faculty members to teach our new bachelor’s courses, which will ensure that our students are fully equipped with the foundational knowledge and practical skills needed for success in the industry they choose.” Ledbetter said she is also working to build and maintain positive relationships with community businesses and corporations who are interested in hiring graduates from these programs to both supply the needed workforce, as well as give students opportunities to work in internships related to the industry and career they choose. The new Bachelor of Business Administration in Healthcare Management and the Bachelor of Business Administration in Logistics and Supply Chain Management will begin this fall. To learn more about these programs or to apply, please visit: bba.highlands.edu

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Brighten that Smile

Georgia Highlands College Dental Hygiene School - Dental Clinic Adults and Children age 3 and older appointments 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) Fees: Adults Regular Cleaning & X-rays - $55 Deep Cleaning & X-rays - $95

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

GARDEN – continued on page 23

bees from other states to service the almonds. Bees are moving around the country from place to place in trucks, and that’s common practice now.” Belwood explained this is a very poor short-term solution. “The long-term problem is we will begin to see a lack of food, and then food prices will go way up,” she said. “If you start to look at all the things you really like to eat, like fruits and vegetables, spices, coffee, herbs—those all need pollinators.” The Greater Atlanta Pollinator Partnership has slowly become a model for how to promote pollinators on a very large scale. In 2015, Belwood, her husband and others earned a Conservation Award for their efforts in urban pollinator conservation in Georgia by Wings Across the Americas. More recently, a PBS special called “Growing a Greener World” featured Belwood and the pollinator garden at GHC. Belwood notes although the pollinator conservation effort is growing in Georgia, more focus should be given to these issues. And the seven-year associate professor of biology added, it doesn’t take a lot to help make a big difference for pollinators near you—just look at the pollinator garden at GHC. “We’ve added more beds over time,” she said. “It’s amazing the huge number of pollinators it attracts. Every time I see them I think about that initial hummingbird and how it all started. I’m happy to say we have become a fuel station on their migration highway.”

I’m really proud to have made my start at Georgia Highlands College. GHC has really given me a chance to make a lot of great connections. I love how one-on-one it is. The school provides so many different opportunities, and it has helped give me the education I need to move forward. Brianna Stoddard

Georgia Highlands College has injected itself into my life so much, from the people that I call my closest friends to my academic agenda. GHC was built with the community in mind. I really love this place. It is incredible. There’s not one person walking down the hall I don’t love to see coming. Everybody here just wants to grow and build one another up. It’s truly amazing. Leonard Hall

I feel like I am where I am supposed to be at Georgia Highlands College. I love the openness of the people that work here. In most facilities trying to reach the president is impossible. Here, he’ll sit with you and have coffee. If you say, ‘I need help with this,’ they find a way to help you. People at GHC are open. The doors are open. You don’t feel restricted. There’s always somebody available and willing to help you. And GHC has taught me that that the opportunity is there. All you have to do is go out there and find it, and they are here to help you do it. Michelle Edwards

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Alumni Spotlight

Alumna follows passion to ‘save the world’ and now helps those with the same addictions she has overcome Wrayanne Glaze Parker’s story doesn’t start with much promise. She grew up in Polk County, Georgia, spending most of her childhood and young adult life struggling with drug and alcohol addictions. But she knew this was not the life she wanted. So she moved to a long-term treatment program in Rome to break her addictions. Little did she know, she would eventually help operate programs just like this one all across Georgia. After graduating the program, she was ready to start a new life with kids and family. And she told herself she wanted to go to college. “I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do at the time, but I knew I wanted to help people who live with some of the same issues I had,” she said. Wrayanne immediately applied to Georgia Highlands College. On her first day of class, Wrayanne told her professor she wanted to “save the world.” Thinking back on it, she admits it sounds kind of silly, but that didn’t stop her from earning her associate degree in human services, and then moving on to complete a bachelor’s in psychology from Ashford University and a master’s in mental health counseling from Walden University. Wrayanne now works as the women’s program coordinator for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. “I work in the division of Behavioral Health in the Office of Addictive Diseases (OAD),” she said. “We are tasked with developing and monitoring compliance, financially supporting programs with federal and state funding through block grants, and developing the workforce. My job specifically is focused on women’s treatment programs for substance use disorders.”

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Wrayanne said the office she works for has programs in regions all over the state, serving more than 1,200 women each year. What she does is special to her for more than a few reasons. “I am actually a graduate of one of the women’s programs that I now manage, which is such an amazing blessing,” she said. Her drive to succeed has been fueled by the destructive addictions of her past. “I knew from my own experiences that I was not alone and there were many, many other people out there struggling with an addiction they hated, but didn’t know how to escape from and that every time they got up the courage to ask for help, it was met with judgment from a society that doesn’t understand mental health challenges or addictive diseases,” she said. Wrayanne added that helping people with addictions is not as hard as it may seem and helping communities see that is one of her number one goals. “My ultimate purpose is to help others and change social norms, fighting stigma and reducing the shame people feel when things get out of control,” she said. “Until each community learns to separate the person from the addiction and come together, then people will continue to be afraid to ask for help and addiction will continue to plague our communities.” Wrayanne touts that she is the perfect example of someone who not only recovered, but has continued on to be successful. “I want people to know recovery is real and people get well, regardless of what they have done or been through,” she said. “So honestly, I still feel that way and I still want to save the world. It’s just a bigger job… and it’s going to take everyone – not just me.”

Victor Williams remembers his seventh grade news station like it was yesterday. He was one of many who helped operate and record the weekly televised middle school show. Serving as a reporting anchor was among his duties. After earning a communications degree from Georgia Highlands College, Victor followed his passion for journalism. He continued on to Georgia State University and later interned for Channel 2 news in Atlanta. Victor now works for WLOX in Mississippi. He says it’s a stressful job, operating as a one-person cameraman, journalist, editor, presenter, and more for each story he covers. But he loves it. “This is something I believe I was born to do,” he said. “I can’t stress the fact that if it wasn’t for GHC, none of this would have been possible. I don’t see any of this happening without me going to GHC first and getting that strong foundation. I’m just taking life one day at a time, and doing what I can to make sure I make the best out of every single opportunity.” One day you’ll most likely see Victor on Atlanta’s Channel 2 or even reporting national news for CNN or MSNBC. But for now, you can catch him reporting live or anchoring on WLOX in Mississippi.

Alumni News

Alumnus follows passion after graduating from GHC

READ what our Alumni are saying about GHC...


WE ARE I graduated with an GHC and the educational experiassociate degree in business ences I received while at GHC played administration in 2006. It took an important role in the launch of my me a while to get through career. The knowledge that I acquired GHC, I started at Floyd and the critical thinking, analytical, College in 2000. I worked leadership, and communication skills a full-time job as a Human I obtained while enrolled in GHC’s Resource Administrator. Georgia Highlands College business administration pathway not While working at a local only helped to confirm my strong company in Cartersville, interests in business, but continues to I was the president of the orientation team, which serve as an asset to my everyday performance. The enormous was an amazing experience! After graduating, I support and encouragement I received from faculty & staff went on to pursue my bachelor’s degree from the stirred up a passion inside of me to return and assist students in University of Georgia graduating in 2008 with a the same way that I was helped in the pursuit of my education. bachelor’s degree in secondary education-business I am very blessed to now serve as GHC’s Bachelor of Business education. I then returned home to the Chicago Administration coordinator. GHC is truly “where excellence area and started teaching. I have been teaching begins.” business-related courses for the last nine years. In 2010, I returned to school, attending Purdue UniverMecole Cooley-Ledbetter sity, for my master’s degree in school administration, graduating in 2013. Georgia Highlands College holds a special place in my heart. I am grateful for the years spent at GHC and all the wonderful people I met and are still friends with. I am especially grateful for all the professors and counselors that worked with me to get me through successfully. GHC is a wonderful place to begin your future.

It’s where I was first challenged and shaped academically. It’s where I developed better time management skills, and learned how to more efficiently and effectively balance my responsibilities. Taken together, I learned so much at GHC, and couldn’t be anymore thankful to have had the opportunity to begin my college career here. Proud to be an alumnus!

Lisa Melendez

Christopher Yarrell

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Alumni & Friends Updates


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 alampkin@highlands.edu or complete the form online at highlands.edu/alumniupdates

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.

In Memoriam Alumni Matthew Rhinehart September 3, 2016 Leslie Steinhoff February 16, 2017 Odete Estes March 29, 2017

Retirees Adrian Short Bowers April 5, 2017

Glenda Buttram Morgan April 12, 2017

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Hello Baby! Matt Montgomery and his wife Chasity, welcome a daughter, Mattie Grace, November 14, 2016 Shandi Shedd Cain and her husband Brook, welcome a son, Mason Lee, January 20, 2017

GHC Foundation Board of Trustees 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 Sarah H. Burkhalter Melanie C. Collier

Whether it’s a birthday, holiday, or just a token of gratitude, tribute gifts to the GHC Foundation are the perfect way to honor someone you care about and provide an opportunity for many students to pursue their dream of earning a college degree.

James Jarrett Mary Louise Lever Steve Moore Gregory F. Patton

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 an explanation that their gift will help change a student’s life at GHC. Take time to give something truly special today by contacting Cindy Gomez at cgomez@highlands.edu.

GIVE TODAY Fund an education. Fund a dream. Fund a future.

Give today to the Georgia Highlands College Foundation and your tax deducible gift, no matter the size, will change lives. We have made it easy to give. Simply go to highlands.edu/givetoday, complete the form, and start making a difference in the lives and futures of our Georgia Highlands students. You may also mail your gift directly to: GHC Foundation Office 3175 Cedartown Highway Rome, GA 30161

Randy Quick John Quinlivan Matt Sirmans Sue Spivey Robby Stewart Tommy Strickland Mark Weaver Dr. Donald Green, Ex-Officio GHC President Jeff Davis, Ex-Officio GHC Vice President Finance & Administration Dan Knowles, Ex-Officio Alumni Association Chairman GHC Alumni Association Board Members Dan Knowles Chairman Harold Boyd Retiree Representative Susan Claxton Donnie Denson Scotty Hancock Tim Hensley

Should you wish to speak to someone, please call Mary Transue at 706-802-5457.

Dr. Lynn Plunkett Steve White

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Foundation Spotlight

Want to give a truly special gift to someone in your life?

Charger News

Charger Champions

Chargers secure third-straight region championship, suffer upset loss in nationals The men’s basketball team held the throne at home this year, fending off other Region 17 teams and ending their regular season with a third-straight NJCAA Region 17 Championship win. The Chargers found themselves back in Hutchinson, Kansas, after a 99-80 win over South Georgia tech in the championship finals. It was the men’s third NJCAA National Tournament appearance. The team went into nationals with a nearly unbeatable record of 32-1, which netted them the #3 seed in the tournament bracket. The Chargers first game was against Motlow State (30-5). It was the Chargers first game in two weeks, and the rust was apparent in the first half. Motlow State scored the first 7 points of the game. GHC had a rare 18 turnovers in the first half and Motlow had a great start playing in their second game of the tournament. The first half was all Motlow leading by as many as 16 points. The Chargers found their rhythm late in the first half pressuring Motlow and cutting the lead to 6, 40-34 at the half. The Chargers took over early in the second half leading by as many as 14 points with 8:01 to go in the game, but Motlow found a way to chip away at

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the Chargers lead, hitting two threes while GHC went cold down the stretch, giving Motlow the lead again at the 2:16 mark of the game (66-65). The Chargers fought back again tying the game at 69 with 33 seconds to go. Motlow hit two foul shots and took the lead 70-68. GHC hit a foul shot late to cut the lead to 70-69 and had a chance to move ahead on the board, but missed two free throws at the end of the game. GHC was led by Ty Cockfield with 18 points, Ty’Lik Evans had 17 points, and Antonio Wade who had 12 points. Donovan Ham had a great game with 10 rebounds, as well. Prior to the game, Charger Head Coach Phil Gaffney was named NJCAA District Coach of the Year. The men’s team also received several Conference Awards: Kyvon Davenport was named Conference Player of the Year (17.1 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.9 blocks, 20 double-doubles); Ty’Lik Evans was named Defensive Player of the Year and added to the 2nd Team All – Conference (2nd in Nation in steals per game 4.7,11.7 ppg, and 6 assist per game); and Ty Cockfield made 1st Team All – Conference (16.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and 3.3 assist per game). The Chargers ended the season as Region 17 Champions with a solid record of 32-2.

Charger News

Photo by: Andrew Carpenter/Digital Fox Photography & Graphic Design

Chargers vs. Motlow at NJCAA National Tournament


Coach of the Year Phil Gaffney

Scenes from

another winning seasoN

For more great images from all GHC sports and events, visit highlands.edu and click on the flickr icon at the top.

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Charger News

Great season ends with a nail-biter championship loss The Lady Chargers battled the Lady Jets down to the wire at the end of the season this year, but came up short (65-63) in the NJCAA Region XVII Championship game. The team persevered through the loss of three players due to injuries before the season even started, pushing hard to secure a 19-14 season record. The Lady Chargers took on Andrew College in the first round of the NJCAA Region Championship fighting off the determined Lady Tigers to get the 57-53 first round win and advance to the Final Four. The team found themselves in a back-and-forth affair in the game before the finals with East Georgia State. The fight throughout the first half kept the game close. East Georgia tied the game at 12 with 7:45 still left in the first half. GHC went on a 6-0 run to go into halftime with a 20-18 lead, and ultimately found a 56-49 win and a spot in the finals. GHC led 16-12 after the first period of play against South Georgia Tech in the championship round. The Lady Chargers tied the game at 25 at the end of the first half, but South Georgia Tech ran ahead in the second and secured a 64-60 lead with 8 seconds remaining. GHC’s Taylor Farley drove the length of the floor and hit a three to make it a 64-63 game with 5 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, the Lady Chargers were forced to foul and South Georgia Tech made its free throw ending the game in their favor at 65-63.

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Charger News

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 recap in the next issue.

Baseball 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.

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Charger Spotlight

Rebecca Meade - Pitcher

My twin sister and I started playing at the age of five for the local recreation department. My parents signed us up to keep us active and learn extra social skills at a young age. Softball has molded me into the person that I am today. Always competing at the highest level possible has taught me that you have to work hard to perform against some of the best in the country. Risk is something that has really inspired me in my softball career. Softball is a game of failure. To achieve success, we inevitably must face a large amount of failures along the way. This has taught me to be positive and set myself up for success instead of letting the game set me up for failure. I plan on giving back to the sport of softball since it has given me so much over the years. That could be coaching, lessons or volunteering on the local rec softball board. I have always believed in “paying it forward,” and hopefully by doing this, another young girl could fall in love with the same sport that I did and be given the same opportunities that I am so grateful to be given.

Kyvon Davenport Power Forward

I started playing basketball in the ninth grade. It was something me and my friends really liked to do. One of the moments I’ll always remember is scoring my 1,000th point while playing in college. My family really keeps me going and keeps me focused on my dream of one day playing in the NBA.

Pamela Diokpara Power Forward/Center

I started playing basketball in elementary school when my dad noticed how tall I was getting and he thought I would be good at it. My parents are the ones who inspire me to succeed. They have given me everything and have attended nearly every game I have played. After I finish at GHC, I plan on obtaining my bachelor’s degree in biology and eventually going to medical school.

Jonathan White Infielder/Outfielder

I started playing baseball when I was four years old. The most challenging thing with being a student athlete is the student part. I have never been the best in the classroom, so it takes the most out of me to get good grades and stay on course with my academics. My dad is a big inspiration to me. Without him I would not still be playing baseball at the level I am today. He always had a very busy schedule with his job, but he would always take me to my games and he made sure I had the best gear. He always comes to my games since I have been in college and he does not live right down the street. He is definitely my biggest fan. Realistically, I see myself still playing baseball in five years. I will never lose that faith, because I believe in my abilities and I know that I will keep getting better.

38 | Spring/Summer 2017

The Georgia Highlands College basketball teams held a tournament in honor of Dana Davis, who passed away in 2016, called the Dana Davis Classic. The tournament with four games over two days. Assistant Director of Athletics David Mathis said the Charger and Lady Charger Basketball teams lost a dear friend when Dana Davis passed in 2016. She served 10 years as college relations director at GHC before retiring in 2014. “The Dana Davis Classic is in honor of former GHC employee and one of GHC basketball’s biggest fans Dana Davis,” Mathis said. “Since the men’s and women’s basketball teams were formed, she could be found cheering at every game right behind the players’ bench. She also provided game night desserts, meals at her home, and financial and counseling support for the players. Her spirit, smile and generosity will never be forgotten by the Charger family.”

Davis congratulating players after a game.

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$25 per set. Set includes 11”x17” timeline posters. To place an order, call Alison Lampkin at 706-368-7772 or email alampkin@highlands.edu. highlands.edu | 39

Charger News

Basketball tournament honors former employee and fan Dana Davis

Profile for Georgia Highlands College

Highlander - 2017 Spring/Summer  

Highlander - 2017 Spring/Summer  

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