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HIGHLANDER The official magazine of Georgia Highlands College

Spring/Summer 2019


IN THIS ISSUE GHC among top in country for saving students money with free textbooks

Online bachelor’s in criminal justice now available

Alumnus named to International Association of Wildland Fire

Table of Contents

in this issue 3

Message from the President


Saving Students Money


Campus News


Department Spotlight


Faculty Spotlight


Staff Spotlight


Student Spotlight


Alumni Spotlight


Executive Partners Feature


Foundation Spotlight


Charger News


Charger Spotlight


Premier Partner Feature

The Highlander is published twice a year by the Advancement Division at Georgia Highlands College 3175 Cedartown Highway Rome, GA 30161 • 706.802.5473 highlands.edu Editor and Designer Sheila Jones Photography Jeff Brown Nick Godfrey Writers Nick Godfrey Jessica Cantrell

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

KEEP UP WITH GEORGIA HIGHLANDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA /GeorgiaHighlandsCollege /GHCAthletics /gahighlands

@GaHighlands @GHC_Athletics @ChargerInCharge


Georgia Highlands College is a multi-campus, state college of the University System of Georgia. Founded in 1970 as Floyd Junior College, it now serves more than 6,000 students in Northwest Georgia across five locations in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Dallas, and Douglasville. GHC currently offers an associate degree in over 30 areas of study, as well as four bachelor’s degrees. Ten areas of study are offered fully online.

Director of Digital Media Services Jeff Brown Print Services Manager Ken Davis Communications Manager Nick Godfrey Digital Media Specialist Justin Sucre Development Communications Coordinator Jessica Cantrell

The other day I was listening to CNBC and the dialogue was on student debt. The passionate discussion included this fact: Americans with education debt owe between $20,000 and $25,000 on average. That is the average, but our imaginations are always captured by the extremes. You’ve heard the cautionary tales about students graduating with a bachelor’s degree and $100,000 in debt. Let’s discuss a few ways to avoid this kind of scenario. GHC President Don Green To frame this discussion, I need to begin by saying, “You do not have to incur massive debt to get a college degree.” In addition, be careful when you read statistics. Average balances from “Americans with education debt” include students pursuing medical schools, law schools, and private schools. It also includes students who choose to make education loans a part their source of income. That said, a high-quality education does not need to be expensive. Here’s an example: At GHC our faculty have actively pursued Open Educational Resources (OER). OERs are high-quality digital alternatives to a physical textbook that are low cost or free. This year, GHC was named one of the top ten schools in the United States for saving students money on textbooks. Total savings in the 2018-19 academic year will be approximately $2.8 million. (That’s right, $2.8 million). Another example: GHC costs you $8,000 for an associate degree and $16,000 for your bachelor’s degree. Our Bachelor of Science in Nursing is ranked as the third most affordable BSN in the nation! Other universities will charge you over $40,000 for that same bachelor’s degree. Even if you earn your associate degree from Georgia Highlands College and transfer to a university for your junior and senior year, you will save at least $12,000 (and that doesn’t include your savings on university housing during those first two years). Clearly, there are alternatives to high-priced degrees and there are also ways to cut your costs as you pursue those higher priced institutions. Want to know more? Contact me to speak at your place of worship, company, or community event. I won’t sell GHC… Okay, I won’t just sell GHC, but I will provide more ways to lower the price of a college degree overall. Speaking of general tips on how to lower the cost of college, over the coming months, GHC will be introducing a new video series and webpage with 60-second infographic videos about how you can make the smartest financial decisions when attending college. Learn more by visiting: cutcosts.highlands.edu

From the President


TAKING CHARGE: President Green poses with GHC’s Leadership Award nominees and winners at the annual honors assembly held in April at the Clarence Brown Center in Cartersville. The Leadership Award recognizes students who best demonstrate the qualities of a positive leader, show exemplary leadership on campus and in community activities, and maintain high academic standards.

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$avi ng $ tudents M Students share their experiences with Open Educational Resources

The University System of Georgia highlighted Georgia Highlands College’s success with saving students money by using free textbook programs and free support materials like instructional videos and course guides. GHC President Don Green, Instructor of Chemistry Erin Kingston, and two GHC students, Tony Hernandez and Jacob Pirkle, presented “Charging Up Chemistry” at the Board of Regents meeting on the advantages and success of using free alternative course materials in GHC chemistry courses.

Photo courtesy of University System of Georgia

Left to right: Instructor of Chemistry Erin Kingston, GHC Student Jacob Pirkle, Chancellor Steve Wrigley, President Don Green, Dual Enrollment Student Tony Hernandez.

“CHEM 1212 was a definite challenge for me, especially since I took the class over the summer. The course covers a lot of material in a short amount of time. It was very helpful having 24/7 access to the Library Guide. It was like having my professor on speed dial at any time of day. I really appreciated being able to access the Library Guide from anywhere.” – TONY HERNANDEZ “As we seek continued growth, it’s important that GHC provides students pathways to completion, becoming career-ready graduates with little to no debt. To that end, GHC has worked to offer students more affordable degree options. GHC’s faculty, including those in our

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“The Peer-Led Learning sessions helped me reinforce the concepts learned in class and practice my problem-solving skills. Sessions were available each week and were scheduled on opposite lab days, so I didn’t have to worry about conflicts with other classes. During these sessions, my group and I practiced solving problems based on that week’s chapter. We would either do a worksheet or an activity. There was a student learning assistant there to answer questions and guide us when we got stuck.” – JACOB PIRKLE science department, have been working to expand courses offering Open Education Resources and have found innovative ways to help students be more successful by flipping the classroom and introducing student-led learning communities.” – PRESIDENT DON GREEN


“A few years ago, the chemistry faculty began looking at the barriers to student success, specifically in STEM. Some of the major challenges students face include the high cost of textbooks and materials, not being STEM ready, and lacking confidence to succeed in STEM. The goal of Charging Up Chemistry was to increase student success by improving student engagement and student access. In Fall 2017, we adopted the OpenStax Chemistry text. We also created free ancillary materials and a course Library Guide to house them. The Library Guide also links to the GHC Chemistry YouTube channel, where students can view over 100 instructional videos created by GHC chemistry faculty. We also began a Peer-Led Learning program in general chemistry this fall, designed to provide students with opportunities to engage in collaborative learning and deepen their chemistry knowledge.” – ERIN KINGSTON

GHC among top in the country saving students money with free textbooks Georgia Highlands College was listed by Rice University-based publisher OpenStax as one of the top 10 schools that has served the most students with the adoption of free college textbooks in the 201718 school year. GHC was one of only two colleges in Georgia listed. The University of Georgia also made the list. To date, GHC has saved students over $6 million by eliminating textbook costs and providing free digital options. GHC’s faculty have been working since fall 2015 to expand Open Education Resources (OER) courses each semester. On average, GHC has saved students over $2 million a year. 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. “GHC’s strong partnership with the

University System of Georgia to increase savings to college students has expanded and strengthened GHC’s mission of producing more career-ready graduates with little to no debt upon completion,” GHC President Don Green said. “Joint efforts like this are great examples of how GHC can continuously increase student success in the classroom, through graduation and into a career with the greatest possible return on investment.” GHC’s total cost savings is based on the cost of a new textbook multiplied by the total number of non-dual enrollment students enrolled in courses offering OERs. Textbooks are already included in the dual enrollment program and provided to dual enrollment students at no cost. Since OER is open to anyone for free, students, potential students, or even the public can view these resources at any time. OER textbooks can be downloaded to any smart device, phone, or tablet. To view, please visit: affordablelearninggeorgia.org GHC plans to continue to offer OERs and expand into as many areas and courses as possible moving forward.

Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice now available at GHC Students at Georgia Highlands College are now able to earn a bachelor’s in criminal justice entirely online. The new Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice comes from a partnership between GHC, Dalton State College, and Georgia Southwestern State University. Classes began in January. The new area of MAKING A DIFFERENCE study is offered completely online at GHC, as a part of the University System of Georgia (USG) eMajor initiative. The USG eMajor program has delivered flexible, online degree programs through multiple GHC’s Political Science & Criminal USG institutions Justice Club hosted Emmett Highland since 2012. The (pictured above, left), who is the purpose of eMaDiversion Outreach Coordinator jor is to provide for Atlanta’s Drug Enforcement affordable, qualAdministration (DEA). He spoke to criminal justice students about the ity, innovative, opioid epidemic in America, job high-demand opportunities with the DEA, and the programs importance of making a difference through traditionin the world through criminal justice al institutions, careers. such as GHC. “eMajor

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degrees are designed specifically for non-traditional students and include several benefits and student success resources in addition to those already available through GHC,” said Dana Nichols, GHC Vice President for Academic Affairs. “eMajor programs are ideal for those who need to balance work and family responsibilities with their pursuit of higher education.” The purpose of the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is to prepare students for employment within the criminal justice system in the areas of local, state, and federal law enforcement; corrections; juvenile justice, probation, etc. by providing students with a foundation of the knowledge, principles, theories, and functions common to the American Criminal Justice system. Upon completion of the new bachelor’s, students will demonstrate mastery of the essential content of the criminology core curriculum, demonstrate the ability to critically analyze major concepts, and theoretical perspectives in criminal justice. Students will also be able to demonstrate an understanding of essential elements of academic and professional writing; research; scholarship; and ethical values in the criminal justice field. “The Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice is excellent preparation for a career in criminal justice, as well as graduate or law school,” Nichols said. “Once you obtain a bachelor’s degree, you have achieved a significant milestone for any criminal justice career that requires a degree.” Highlights of the bachelor’s in criminal justice eMajor at GHC include: Affordable Tuition – eMajor tuition is $199 per CRIMINAL JUSTICE – continued on page 7

Georgia Highlands College led the University System of Georgia’s state colleges in enrollment growth for fall 2018 with a 2.8 percent increase. GHC continued to hold the second highest enrollment for state colleges in Georgia. According to the USG, fall 2018 enrollment in the USG’s 26 colleges and universities had an increase of 1.1 percent over the previous year, making this fall the fourth consecutive year that enrollment continued to reach an all-time high in the USG’s total student enrollment. “While the University System of Georgia continues to see modest increases in enrollment, more students than ever are graduating from our institutions,”

Chancellor Steve Wrigley said. “The number of USG students annually earning degrees is up 21 percent since 2011, when the Complete College Georgia initiative related to college attainment launched. With this success, we remain committed to our goals of making college more affordable and accessible, finding greater opportunities to be more efficient, and ensuring more Georgians enter the workforce with a college credential.” The enrollment numbers were released in the USG’s “Fall 2018 Semester Enrollment Report,” which breaks down enrollment by institution, class, race and ethnicity, in-state, out-of-state and international students, as well as gender and age.

GHC’s economic impact approaches $170 million The University System of Georgia recently released the USG’s total economic impact on the state of Georgia. Of the more than $16.8 billion reported by the USG as a whole, Georgia Highlands College’s contribution was over $168 million. The USG report is for Fiscal Year 2017 and is conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. GHC’s economic impact was exactly: $168,656,120. This represents an increase of over $19 million from the Fiscal Year 2016 report. The report found these economic impacts demonstrate that continued emphasis on colleges and universities as a pillar of the state’s economy translates into jobs, higher incomes, and greater

CRIMINAL JUSTICE – continued from page 6

credit hour and is the same for both in-state and outof-state residents. Student Success Coaches – outreach and support from the USG eMajor student success team. Free Online Tutoring – through Smarthinking and embedded librarians. Online and Accelerated Delivery – eMajor courses are offered entirely online in accelerated eightweek terms. POST Credit Accepted – Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) participation may provide officers with credit that can be directly applied to the

production of goods and services. “As we strive to graduate more students, keep college affordable, and increase the efficiency in delivering education, it’s important to keep in mind that higher education is an investment, and from these numbers it’s a smart one,” Chancellor Steve Wrigley said. “Communities across our state and the state as a whole are benefiting from the economic engine that is the USG and its 26 institutions.” The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents by Jeffrey M. Humphreys, Ph.D., director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. Current and past economic impact studies can be found at: usg.edu/news/archive/category/economic_ development Criminal Justice degree program, reducing time to degree completion. Over 30 credit hours have been identified from Georgia POST which could result in earned credit. In addition to POST credit possibilities, eMajor has identified several courses for which Credit for Prior Learning can be granted through challenge exams, portfolio submissions, or a hybrid of both. To learn more about the bachelor’s in criminal justice or to apply, please visit: sites.highlands.edu/ criminal-justice Questions about the bachelor’s in criminal justice can be sent to emajor@highlands.edu

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Campus News

GHC has highest enrollment increase among state colleges

Campus News

Nursing students participate in disaster training with local emergency responders Cathy Furtado and other Georgia Highlands College nursing students funneled into a small room at Heritage Hall in April where several disaster victims were awaiting help during a disaster training simulation with the Floyd County Police Department and other emergency personnel. The disaster victims were played by other nursing students who were given unique health problems, injuries and personality traits for the nursing students to deal with. Some were unresponsive. Some were “bleeding.” Some were yelling. But Cathy and her fellow classmates knew exactly what to do. “It was very surreal,” Cathy said, explaining this was the first time she had ever experienced this kind of exercise. “Our job was to go in, assess the situation, and begin triage. Your adrenaline gets going, but everyone on our team did really well.” Cathy stated she was very glad GHC and local first responders put her class through the disaster training exercise. Nursing student Betsy Chamblee echoed Cathy’s remarks. “It’s something we need to know this day and age. It’s a very good learning experience,” she said. “You’re really nervous going into it, but it was really cool to see how everyone jumps into action.” Betsy, who worked during the exercise to apply gauze and help victims out of the disaster area, said this was an experience she will never forget. The disaster drill took part in several different phases. One was instruction in how to respond to certain types of incidents that might involve police and first responders – sharing the “how” and “why” certain protocols are in place. The final phase included nursing students working through the triage scenario while assessment took place by instructors and public safety observers. “The best way to prepare our nursing students for disasters is through simulation,” Director of Nursing Rebecca Maddox said. “By involving police and EMS in our simulation, students have the opportunity to work on their collaborative communication skills in addition to utilizing their critical thinking and assessment skills for triage and treatment.”

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Georgia Highlands College has been listed by TopRNtoBSN.com as one of the “Best Online RN to BSN” options in Georgia. GHC was ranked second, just after South Georgia State College. The site touts GHC’s nursing program for its affordability, quality, and the opportunity for students to “complete in as little as three semesters when attending classes full-time.” The site also notes, “[GHC] is part of the state’s RN-BSN articulation plan, which allows nursing students to earn transfer credits from their ASN degree programs… [and] Georgia Highland College’s RN to BSN degree program is done completely online, allowing you the flexibility of scheduling course work at convenient times so you can continue to work.” TopRNtoBSN.com states nurses who only have an associate degree risk “losing their competitiveness on the job market” due to the American Nurses Association’s goal for “at least 80 percent of nurses to have at least a BSN degree.” The site goes on to explain that “nurses with a BSN on average make around $4,000 more per year…” TopRNtoBSN.com put its list together based on what it considers are the top nursing schools in Georgia that offer full online or hybrid options designed for professionals already working full-time. Additionally, the site states it has ranked the best online options for “budget-conscious working nurses” that are all regionally accredited. To see the full list or learn more about TopRNtoBSN.com, please visit: toprntobsn.com/ga/ online-rn-bsn

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Campus News

GHC listed for having one of the best online nursing programs in Georgia

Campus News





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

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


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


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

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

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


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


This award is designed to recognize the department which consistently supports the mission and goals of the institution by routinely demonstrating our shared values and supports an environment of excellence. See the Department of the Year feature story on page 22.

Georgia Highlands College has launched a new platform called Navigate to help students with everything from admissions and financial aid to knowing what classes to take and when. Navigate was created by the Education Advisory Board (EAB). EAB is a best practices firm that uses research, technology, and consulting to address challenges within the education industry. Navigate is designed to give students a college onboarding experience with tools that will help them create an academic roadmap to graduation and a timeline to degree completion, as well as serve as a primary communication channel with academic advisors. The platform promotes strategies on saving time and working toward degree completion on a successful track that, with the help of advisors, is built around a student’s goals, and commitments inside and outside the classroom. Early student feedback has been very positive. “Going to college can be frustrating and stressful for any student, and as a mom of three returning to college, I think Navigate will be a great guide that will give students like myself a more structured approach,” GHC student Shemetrice Davis said. “I look forward to using the system again when the full version launches.” Navigate is an objective-based system with clear

steps toward a successful experience at GHC. The program also includes tools for improving advising support services and business processes. “GHC is always looking for new and innovative ways to help students save time on their path toward graduating, and saving time also saves students money,” President Don Green said. “This new program bolsters GHC’s ability to provide each student a clear path to graduation with little to no debt upon completion.” Navigate enhances advisors’ ability to communicate, collaborate and work with students more quickly and efficiently than ever. The user-friendly program allows GHC faculty and staff to follow along on each student’s journey and communicate via text and email to help students move forward every step of the way. Navigate launched mid-November for a small pilot cohort of students, and then in spring 2019, GHC launched the program for all students. Throughout spring 2019, the Navigate Engagement Teams continued to build functionality to reach additional students and to incorporate additional departments. To learn more about Navigate, please visit: navinfo.highlands.edu To learn more about the Education Advisory Board, please visit: eab.com

Award-winning documentary features GHC students and faculty members Georgia Highlands College hosted a screening of the award-winning documentary “To Kingdom Come” featuring GHC students and faculty members in February at Heritage Hall. “To Kingdom Come” follows the citizen investigation of environment concerns by examining the complexity of contamination from manufacturing in Floyd County. It features GHC faculty, including Professor of Geology Billy Morris, Assistant Professor of English

Jessica Lindberg, and music by Assistant Professor of Art Russell Cook. The film also includes a number of GHC students. The film is directed by Berry College’s Brian Campbell, who teaches biology, and was named the Rome International Film Festival 2019 Audience Award winner. The showing was co-sponsored by Coosa River Basin Initiative and the Berry College Environmental Studies program.

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Campus News

New Navigate platform helps GHC students save time and money

Campus News

Douglasville author discusses new book Georgia Highlands College hosted local author Roger Johns at the Douglasville location in October. Johns spoke about leisure reading, creative writing, and his newest book “River of Secrets.” Johns covered topics on what leisure reading is and why it’s a great way to take a break, as well as creative writing, the writing process, and the mystery genre. GHC Librarian Karin Bennedsen was excited to bring the author in to speak. She hopes to bring more authors to GHC in the future. “I wanted to start having authors speak,” she said. “And, since he was local, I thought he might be a good person to ask.” Johns responded right away and said he was excited to be “back on campus.” He is a former corporate lawyer and retired col-

lege professor with law degrees from Louisiana State University and Boston University. During his nearly two decades as a professor, he served on the editorial staffs of several academic publications and he won numerous awards and recognitions for his teaching and his scholarly writing. Johns was born and raised in Louisiana. He and his wife Julie now live in Georgia. “River of Secrets” is his second novel. “River of Secrets” follows Baton Rouge Police Detective Wallace Hartman after a controversial politician is murdered in cold blood, as Wallace struggles to find the killer amid conspiracies and corruption. Johns signed copies of his book after the event. To learn more about Roger Johns or to purchase copies of his book: rogerjohnsbooks.com

Professor’s grandfather helped save Vermont author’s grandfather and hundreds more during the Holocaust

Reiter and Fishman

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Georgia Highlands College hosted “Passports for Life: Holocaust Rescue & Survival” in April at the Cartersville location. The event was sponsored by Students Without Borders as part of the Women’s History Series organized by the GHC Humanities Division. GHC Assistant Professor of Communication Alexandra MacMurdo Reiter and Vermont author K. Heidi Fishman discussed recent research findings of a clandestine scheme that saved hundreds during the Holocaust. Attendees heard the uplifting story of how Alexandra’s grandfather, Stefan Ryniewicz, helped save Heidi’s grandfather, Heinz Lichtenstern, among others throughout Europe, through the creation of fake foreign passports. Additionally, Heidi spoke about her award-winning book “Tutti’s Promise” and followed the presentation with a book signing. For more information on Alexandra’s grandfather: highlands.edu/2018/06/14/ghcfaculty-members-grandfather-honored-polishembassy-secretly-saving-hundreds-holocaust For more information on Heidi and her grandfather: popjeandme.com

Acclaimed authors present at the second Highlands Writers Conference Georgia Highlands College hosted the second annual Highlands Writers Conference in March at the Cartersville location. Attendees had the opportunity to spend the day with acclaimed authors, including prize-winning poet Christopher Martin, memoirist and Vice President of Membership for the National Book Critics Circle Anjali Enjeti, and Charles Thomas, screenwriter and host of the podcast “Atlanta Film Chat.” Full day registration included two workshops, a publishing panel, and a catered lunch presentation. Discount registration was available for all area high school and college students. “This one-day program provides numerous opportunities for aspiring writers to learn about craft in a variety of genres as well as best practices for publication,” Assistant Professor of English Jessica Lindberg said. “We welcome writers who have been practicing for years as well as those who have not yet set pen to paper.” The lunch presentation featured two-time Georgia Author of the Year recipient Raymond L. Atkins as the keynote speaker. Atkins resides in Rome. He teaches English at Georgia Northwestern Technical College and Creative Writing at Reinhardt University. His first novel, “The Front Porch Prophet,” was published in

2008 and was awarded the Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel. His third novel, “Camp Redemption,” was released in 2013 and was awarded the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction and the 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Fiction. A limited number of slots were also Photo courtesy of Professor available for manuJake Sullins script consultations with Atkins. The 2019 publishing panel included Will Donnelly, fiction editor and social media coordinator for “Juked” magazine, Anna Sandy-Elrod, current Editor in Chief of “New South” and Managing Editor of “Muse/A,” and Nury Castillo Crawford, local educator originally from Peru. To learn more about the event, visit hwc.highlands.edu or on Facebook at facebook.com/HighlandsWriters


Photos courtesy of the Rome Braves

GHC students and employees participated in a special night at the Rome Braves game. Bolt served as honorary coach, the Highland Heirs performed the National Anthem, and President Green threw out the first pitch.

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Campus News

GHC hosts Medical History Workshop with Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home Georgia Highlands College hosted a Medical History Workshop in October for students with the Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home. The focus was on the threat of epidemics in today’s society. “The academic workshop was organized for students and faculty and focused on two issues in medical history of both local and global importance,” Professor of History Bronson Long said. Long explained the workshop examined two important ways disease shaped the past, namely the role of disease in the European conquest of the Americas in the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries and the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 following the First World War. Associate Professor of History Matt Jennings from Middle Georgia State University presented on the impact of diseases brought over to the Americas by Europeans. His presentation was titled, “What Disease Did (And What it Didn’t): New Perspectives on the Entry of Europe into the Americas.” GHC Professor of History Jayme Feagin lead discussions on influenza epidemics with a presentation titled, “The Great Flu and the Great War: The Global Impact of Disease in the Early 20th Century.” Feagin’s history class also provided infograph-


ics on topics related to the history of wellness in Atlanta/Northwest Georgia. Additionally, Student Life hosted a free flu shot clinic for students in conjunction with the event. The Major Ridge Home, which is located in Rome, was transformed into a museum in 1971. Today, the Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home is open to the public as a historic site and presents interpretive exhibits (permanent and temporary), educational programs, and special events that pertain to the Ridge family and Cherokee history and culture.

STEMFIT ‘math boot camp’ continues After a successful pilot in 2018, GHC is continuing the STEMFIT “math boot camp” this summer. Its aim is to help incoming high school dual enrollment students or college freshmen start at a collegiate mathematic level of pre-calculus or higher. “In order to complete a STEM pathway in a timely manner and maintain momentum toward graduation, students should at a minimum start with pre-calculus,” Dean of the Division of Mathematics and Computer Science Melanie Largin said. “Often times, students enter at the lower college algebra-level but can take an exemption exam if their SAT/ACT scores are high enough to then get to pre-calculus.” The camp is one week at GHC’s Cartersville location with classes Tuesday through Friday from July 9 to July 12. The camp costs $25, but if a student takes the free in-house exemption exam offered at the end of the camp, they will receive a refund of $20. In order to qualify to enroll in the camp students must have an ACT of 22 or higher or an SAT of 550/28.5 or higher. STEMFIT is sponsored by the GHC Center for STEM Learning and a University System of Georgia STEM

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Initiative grant. Largin stated there are many perks to participating, including working one-on-one with college professors, learning in a real college classroom, and getting the opportunity to bypass college algebra saving time, money, and putting students one step closer to graduation. During GHC’s pilot group, 60 percent of students went on to pass the college algebra exemption test, while the other 40 percent went further and passed the pre-calculus exemption test, as well. Largin explained that for students who do not participate in some kind of preparatory class, like the STEMFIT camp, the pass rate for the college algebra exemption test is historically low due to those topics being covered early in a student’s high school career. To combat low pass rates, GHC developed its week-long “math boot camp” to prepare students for the first year of college and to increase their chances of passing the college algebra exemption test. This is particularly advantageous for freshmen BOOT CAMP – continued on page 17

Even after his retirement in 2015 as professor of physical education, Ken Weatherman still climbs the 4,000foot elevation of Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock, North Carolina for the annual ski and snowboard trip started decades ago at Georgia Highlands College. The most Photo courtesy of Ken Weatherman recent trip was the trip’s 40th consecutive year – and Ken’s, too. “I have gone with the students every year,” Ken said. “When we began the program, we had another instructor, and we cotaught the program for the first six years. I have taken the helm individually for the past 34 years. I retired in 2015, but I have continued to do this program as an adjunct professor.” The trip gives students a way to earn academic credit in the physical education category, while learning skills Ken says stick with you for a lifetime. “It’s a great program that allows students to enjoy skiing or snowboarding throughout their future lives. I will soon enter the eighth decade of my life, and I still enjoy skiing. The lifetime

Photo from one of the trips from the past 40 years

implications of these two winter sports activities have a lasting benefit to students’ future lives.” Ken explained the trip kicks off with three two-hour workshops during December each year. Students take an exam based on the workshop and required textbook readings. Additionally, students take exams on the trip and must go through a skills evaluation after some training and practice on the slopes. While on the trip, students are given lessons from experts at the French Swiss Ski College. Ken explained that the benefits – other than obtaining a lifelong skill – are the affordable cost (due to group rates) and an accelerated spring course, which gives students a chance to earn credit for PHED 1420 within a few weeks between workshops, the trip, and training with the French Swiss Ski College. The trip includes multiple sessions with instruction from professionals, equipment, and stay. The trip is also available to non-credit participants on a continuing education basis. To learn more about the trip, please contact Ken Weatherman: kweather@highlands.edu

“I have gone with the students every year. I retired in 2015, but I have continued to do this program as an adjunct professor.” – KEN WEATHERMAN

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Campus News

Physical education trip reaches 40th year teaching students how to ski and snowboard

Campus News

Business students choose Children’s Advocacy Center for service learning project Each semester GHC’s bachelor’s in business administration (BBA) students take on service learning projects that are focused on using the skills and knowledge they gain from the classroom to help out the community in some way. The students chose Children’s Advocacy Center in Cartersville for their fall community project. The Children’s Advocacy Center serves as a site for forensic interviews of children in possible neglect or abuse cases and also serves as the home office for the Positive Parenting Program curriculum of the Hope in Your Home program. The BBA students have scheduled out service days and managed a donation drive at each of GHC’s locations across Northwest Georgia.

BBA students pack boxes during the donation drive.

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During one of their service days, the BBA team organized a field trip for children at the center to visit Tellus Science Museum and eat pizza. At the same time, the BBA students also worked at the Children’s Advocacy Center to help with its landscaping, including constructing rock paths, laying pine straw, and pressure washing. The BBA team also helped inside with painting and cleaning some of the rooms. The donation drive consisted of donation boxes at each GHC location and scattered throughout areas where each of the students live and work. Bachelor’s in Business Coordinator Mecole Ledbetter stated GHC’s BBA program is more than just classroom lectures because professors include as many opportunities as possible to give students real world experience like this one. “Professional career management and development has also become a major part of our curriculum,” she said. “We want our students ‘workforce ready,’ and because of this, we have partnered with local companies such as Floyd and Cartersville Medical, Harbin Clinic, Shaw, Mohawk, Lowe’s Distribution, and more for expertise on industry challenges, opportunities, and trends that can help us keep our programs agile and responsive.” Ledbetter added that industry tours, service learning projects, and industry class speakers help accomplish this goal. To learn more about GHC’s BBA program, please visit: bba.highlands.edu To learn more about Children’s Advocacy Center, please visit: advochild.org/contact-us/a-better-way-childrens-advocacy-center

Georgia Highlands College hosted guest lecturer Karcheik Sims-Alvarado in Feburary at the Cartersville location for Black History Month. Sims-Alvarado has studied the history and culture of African Americans throughout the Black Atlantic World. Whether in the classroom, museum, or in the field, she has sought to document and to teach the African-American odyssey through various mediums. As the CEO of Preserve Black Atlanta, a nonprofit dedicated to identifying, recording, and preserving African-American history and culture, she has developed a model for utilizing historical and

cultural assets as a catalyst for economic and community development. She has worked with some of Atlanta’s leading institutions: The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta History Center, Herndon Home Museum, and Central Atlanta Progress. Sims-Alvarado spoke about preserving and celebrating Atlanta’s contribution to the Modern Civil Rights Movement and some about her newly published book, “Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968,” with Arcadia Press. To learn more about Karcheik Sims-Alvarado, please visit: atlantacivilrightsmovement.org/about

Cartoon Network Executive speaks about African American influences in cartoons and comics Georgia Highlands College hosted Cartoon Network’s Mark McCray at each of its locations for a special lecture series about African-American influences in cartoons and comics. McCray is a senior manager of programming operations for Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network, overseeing Adult Swim’s on-air promotion and scheduling strategy. His presentation discussed how Saturday morning programming competition fueled an animation boom that resonated across television; how black characters evolved in cartoons and comics; how Saturday morning marketing strategy impacted black youth in America; and how African American professionals fare in today’s animation businesses. Prior to Adult Swim, McCray helped launch the Boomerang Network and worked as a television programmer for Cartoon Network. He is the author of “The Best Saturdays of Our Lives,” which chronicles the origins of competitive Saturday morning programming. He is also an award-winning television writer who has been in the broadcasting industry for 18 years and has a passion for programming strategy, animation, and comic books. For more information on McCray, please visit: thebestsaturdaysofourlives.com/home.html

BOOT CAMP – continued on page 14

entering STEM fields, Largin added. STEM is an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM relates to academics and careers focused in corresponding fields. “We are excited that this effort will help to propel these students forward,” Largin said. “We look


McCray’s book chronicles the origins of competitive Saturday morning programming.

forward to continuing to expand this effort through our STEM grant, to utilizing some of the lessons used during the camp in our ongoing college algebra classrooms at GHC and to presenting our results to our colleagues across the state.” For more questions, contact math@highlands.edu or call (678) 872-8099.

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Campus News

Guest lecturer Karcheik Sims-Alvarado presents for Black History Month

Campus News

SGA collects nearly 300 pounds of relief items to aid Gulf Coast State College in aftermath of Hurricane Michael

The Student Government Association (SGA) at Georgia Highlands College collected nearly 300 pounds of relief items and travelled to Panama City, Florida, to aid Gulf Coast State College in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida in October 2018. It was one of the most intense hurricanes to hit the United States in recent years. To date, over 70 deaths and almost $25 billion in damages have been attributed to the storm. Gulf Coast State College (GCSC) was one of many places affected by the hurricane. Shortly after the storm in October, GHC’s COMPASSIONATE PAWS SGA started a relief drive to collect items for those at GCSC, a college comparable in size and structure to GHC. By the end of the drive on November 16, students had collected items from all GHC’s locations. The SGA packed and loaded nearly Few things relieve stress more than a 300 pounds of visit from a good dog! Compassionrelief items, ate Paws helps GHC students continue including boxes #TakingCharge as the semester draws of assorted to a close and finals begin. clothing, over 60 pounds of

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nonperishable food, cases of water, tarps, various toiletries and hygiene products, sleeping bags, and an assortment of other items like cleaning supplies, flashlights, bungee cords, and storage tubs. Just before Thanksgiving, SGA drove all the supplies down to Panama City. It took nearly six hours to reach their destination. “When we were about an hour away from GCSC, the damage and destruction from the storm started to appear along the side of the highway as entire wooded areas were flattened in all directions,” Student Life Director John Spranza said. “Once we arrived in the city limits of Panama City, the vast amount of damage was heartbreaking. Very few buildings were not damaged or covered in tarps, debris still lined the roads and it seemed every tree had been snapped in half.” Once the SGA students arrived at GCSC, they learned the college had lost one building and the rest of the campus was damaged by flooding and broken windows. GCSC’s SGA students even reported that half a dozen boats had been displaced from the nearby bay and were blown onto their campus, which had to be removed before they could re-open. GCSC was closed for three weeks after the storm. Immediately after the storm, the college opened its library for 24-hours a day so students would have access to a place with wi-fi. Additionally, GCSC provided one free meal a day to all students, faculty and staff. “I was able to meet the SGA president at Gulf Coast State College. He was extremely grateful for our contributions to their relief efforts,” GHC SGA President Danielle Griesemer said. “Overall this trip was productive and heartwarming. It felt nice to do good and give back. I hope this serves as inspiration for SGA and GHC as a whole to focus on more humanitarian efforts.”

A new student organization at Georgia Highlands College is well on its way to a full membership with the Southeast Collegiate Soccer Alliance and a chance to compete in state championship tournaments. The new GHC Soccer Club was started in 2017 by students who wanted to play extramural soccer at GHC. Extramural teams travel and play against other club sports teams from other colleges. “We started last spring with some co-ed teams playing in adult leagues with the Rome YMCA and LakePoint in Cartersville,” Director of Student Life John Spranza said. He also serves as coach for the GHC Soccer Club. “This year, we joined the NIRSA (National Intramural & Recreation Sports Association) Region 2 soccer league, also called the Southeast Collegiate Soccer Alliance.” The SCSA has both men’s and women’s leagues and any college in the region can join to play within a state-based conference. Currently, the GHC Soccer Club is an “Affiliate member” and must create its own schedule of at least 3 games versus other SCSA members to qualify for full membership next season. Once the team receives full membership, it will be eligible to compete in post-season championships. The GHC Soccer Club currently has two teams. The men’s team has a roster of 24Wheelus and the women’s team has a roster of 15. The teams are made up of students from across GHC’s locations, but they meet and practice in Cartersville. The GHC Soccer Club will play against other colleges, including Bryan College, Jacksonville State University, the University of West Georgia, Dalton State College, and more. “It’s sometimes difficult to get enough students involved to play intramural sports, so Club sport teams like the Soccer Club offers an outlet where students passionate about something can still be competitive and have some fun,” Spranza said. “We have students from nearly all of our GHC locations playing on both the men’s and women’s soccer teams, so it’s built relationships with students that they might not have otherwise met just because of the distance between campuses.” Spranza said there are a lot of students at GHC who really like to play soccer and who have played throughout high school or in other adult leagues. He stated home games are very popular and usually get quite a few in attendance to come watch and cheer them on. “The GHC Soccer Club gives them the opportunity to play for GHC and instills pride and school spirit with them, their friends and family,” he said. To learn more about the GHC Soccer Club, contact the Student Life Office at the GHC location nearest you.

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Campus News

New soccer club brings extramural sports to GHC

Campus News

Phi Theta Kappa chapter celebrates another award-winning year The Alpha Psi Omicron chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) at Georgia Highlands College once again has much to celebrate as the 2018-2019 academic year ends. The year began with chapter members Caitlyn Ingram, Samson Jean, and Cindy Mendoza each winning a CocaCola Leaders of Promise Scholarship, awarded to only 200 PTK members nationwide each year. Meanwhile, Karishma Patel was selected as a semi-finalist in the highly-selective Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Later in the fall semester, the chapter hosted the Georgia Region’s Fall Leadership Conference at GHC’s Cartersville site after being elected to Regional Vice-Presidential Chapter in spring 2018. The chapter was later chosen to serve regionally yet again as the Regional Office of Chapter Relations for the next academic year. The chapter will attend the Honors Institute at San Diego State University on a scholarship this summer to prepare for these upcoming duties. The spring semester brought even more honors. In March, PTK members Vanessa Cornejo, Tajera Davy, Lisa Donohue, Cindy Mendoza, Karishma Patel, and Nicholas Whitmire were selected for the Coca-Cola All-Georgia Academic Team and honored at an awards luncheon in Atlanta. At the organization’s Spring Regional Conference, the chapter brought home more awards than any other chapter in the region for the fourth consecutive year. The chapter as a whole earned designation as a REACH Chapter. REACH stands for Recognizing Excellence in Acceptance and Completion with Honors and is awarded to PTK chapters that achieve or exceed a 15 percent membership acceptance rate for the year. The chapter also won the Distinguished

Issue award for the group’s Honors in Action Project centered on a theme of “The Powers of Connection.” The chapter’s officers, Lexii Daniels, Tajera Davy, Lamya Khateeb, Karishma Patel, and Cindy Mendoza, were recognized together as a Distinguished Chapter Officer Team. Cindy Mendoza, chapter vice president of membership, was also honored individually as a Distinguished Chapter Officer and with a regional Hall of Honor award. Karishma Patel, chapter vice president of social media, received the Sarah Anne Staples Award. GHC alumna Elle Summers was recognized as a Georgia Distinguished Alumnus at the conference. Serving PTK as a chapter officer as a student, Summers earned her Associate of Arts in psychology from GHC in 2017. Summers is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in sociology at Oglethorpe University. GHC faculty and staff were also recognized for their contributions to PTK. Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Jones received the Georgia Distinguished Administrator Award while Betsy Clark received the Horizon Award for New Chapter Advisors and the entire chapter advising team won Top Distinguished Chapter Advisor Team. This team consists of Betsy Clark, Mackleen Desravines, Karen Huggin, Vincent Manatsa, and Greg Smith. Distinguished Administrator Award winner Todd Jones says he is proud to support PTK and is thrilled that the chapter and its advisors are receiving welldeserved recognition. “Although I am honored to receive the Distinguished College Administrator award, it is the faculty that have served and continue to serve as advisors to PTK that deserve the special recognition as they are the one’s investing in the lives of our PTK members,” says Jones. PTK – continued to page 21

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Georgia Highlands College’s student-run newspaper the Six Mile Post (SMP) is celebrating another successful year with several awards from the Georgia College Press Association (GCPA), the Southern Regional Press Institute (SRPI), and the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP). In February, staff from the paper attended the 2019 GCPA Press Institute at the University of Georgia. While there, the SMP won second place in its division for Best Campus Community Service – Features. The SMP competes against Georgia schools with enrollment below 8,000 for overall awards. Individual staff members representing all GHC instructional sites were also honored by the GCPA. For these awards, GHC students competed against freshmen and sophomore students from all 20 GCPA member newspapers. Catie Sullivan, editor-in-chief, won second place in sports photography; Nick Whitmire, managing editor online, won third place in investigative news; and James Alewine, staff writer, won third place in column writing. Joseph McDaniel, managing editor of design, brought home two awards, third place for editorial writing, and second place for entertainment feature. SMP former staff were also honored at the award presentation. Moises Ledesma won first place in entertainment feature, while Michael McClain, Latonya Kilgore, and Jeimy Celon-Alcantara won second place in column writing. Three SMP editors later traveled to Savannah State University for the 68th annual Southern

Regional Press Institute in March. After taking in conference sessions on diversity in journalism, staff attended the Milledge-Owens Awards Luncheon, where Trevor Gonzales, sports writer, received the award for second place in sports writing. The SMP also won on the national college journalism stage. In the fall, the ACP awarded former SMP staff member Moises Ledesma fourth place in the Cartoon of the Year editorial division. This represents the sixth consecutive year that a staff member of the SMP has been recognized for their work with a national ACP Individual Award. With the SMP team the entire way have been Professor of English Kristie Kemper, lead advisor, and Professor of English Cindy Wheeler, assistant advisor. Kemper is pleased by the awards but even happier with the work students put in to the publication that connects GHC students, faculty, and staff across instructional sites. She’s also proud of the skills gained by students through participation in the newspaper. “Working for the Six Mile Post improves obvious things like writing skills and talking to people, but also overall interpersonal ability, ability to do things on deadline, keeping up with people all over, and managerial skills,” she said. “Former staff members have gone on to become lawyers, teachers, emergency management workers, wildlife biologist, nurses, anything you can point to.” Copies of the award-winning publication can be found at each GHC location or online at sixmilepost. com

PTK – continued from page 20

History Karen Huggin. PTK wrapped up the year with a basketball tournament fundraiser for JamQuest, an organization the group connected with at the Fall Regional Conference. The 3-on-3 tournament took place at GHC’s Floyd campus in April. GHC graduates, friends and family also joined the chapter at its reception at GHC’s commencement activities in May. For more information on GHC’s award-winning PTK chapter, visit facebook.com/ptkghc

The advising team was honored again at the International Spring Catalyst Conference in April as a Distinguished Chapter Advisor Team at the international level. GHC’s PTK chapter was also recognized for its leadership role in earning the Georgia Region top Five-Star Regional Status and winning an international Excellence in Service Award. “I am just so proud of our amazing students and grateful for everyone who helps and supports PTK,” said PTK lead advisor and Associate Professor of

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Campus News

Six Mile Post wraps up winning year

Department Spotlight

Beyond traditional benefits, onboarding, and pay...with a dash of humor

Georgia Highlands College Human Resources builds partnerships within the college community through programmatic knowledge, a continuous commitment to excellence in innovation and progressive HR services, a focus on overall organizational wellbeing, and a passion for supporting the mission and goals of the college’s strategic direction. During the 2018 annual fall in-service meeting, GHC honored its Office of Human Resources (HR) as Department of the Year for being an example of excellence, hard work, and for having a strong passion to aid the college community. Using a team approach, HR collaborates to serve 600 full-time and part-time employees as well as 150 retirees. HR staff and managers have offices at multiple locations the institution serves, or they spend time at them, on a regular basis. Each HR staff member has one or more client group to support. The department provides a full-range of HR services (see list on the following page of examples of

basic services and process improvements). During 2018 HR led the OneUSG Connect implementation project for the college, which required HR, and Finance and Administration employees, to be offsite the better part of two months consecutively while maintaining their normal duties. During this time, the need for consultation on employee relations issues, Title IX, compensation administration, selection, performance management, and other HR services continued. The quality of interaction did not diminish, however, as evidenced by HR hiring practices being identified as benchmark in the comprehensive administrative survey that was conducted during this time period.

Charging Up Wellness Having been the institution that introduced the first wellness initiative to the university system in 2015 (sixinstitution walking challenge), GHC continues on its path of being a wellness-focused college community. Coming in first, out of the 26 USG institutions, in a 2019 survey that gauged the degree to which wellbeing is encouraged and welcomed on campus, it is evident that individuals of all status in the college community are informed and involved. Alex Moon, Human Resource Programs Administrator, the GHC Wellness Committee, and each location’s Wellness Champions keep wellbeing activities planned,

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marketed, and available for engagement. Examples of activities are Money Mondays focused on financial wellbeing, monthly campus wellness walks, heart and diabetes educational sessions, the development of a healthy recipe cookbook along with a Taste of GHC luncheon, the Unlikely Hikers monthly excursions, and Yoga sessions. In addition to those involved in planning wellness events, President Don Green is a role model for wellness at GHC. HR partners with him and his wife, Cathy, to offer BODYPUMP sessions, and Don and others are involved in weekly basketball games at the two locations with


Pictured left: (back row, left to right) VPHR/Chief Human Resource Officer Ginni Siler; Faculty Affairs Administrator Krissy Shanahan; Human Resource Programs Administrator Alex Moon; Human Resource Manager Terri Cavender; and Senior Human Resource System Administrator April Godfrey; (front row, left to right) Senior HR Manager Stephanie Stewart, and Human Capital Management Technician Damaris Mendoza      

Process Improvements

• Implemented OneUSG – TWICE OneUSG Benefits Connect and the OneUSG Employee Self Service Portal • Coordinated the scanning of employee records for electronic storage and usage • Completed a compensation refresh study • Conducted Benefits Open Enrollment labs across all locations • Updated the process and records for EV5 transition to OneUSG • Trained search committee chairs • Implemented a new background check system • Implemented a new employment verification program • Conducted meetings related to succession planning • Implemented the new Careers job application portal

Professional Development

• Coordinated a variety of professional development and mangers’ training programs during 2017-2018

• •

Promoted GHC successfully in order for the institution and individuals within it to receive USG Excellence in Customer Service Gold Awards Conducted OneUSG Go Live training sessions across all campuses • Arranged and conducted multiple Town Hall Meetings across the institution


• Promoted USG and GHC health challenges • Applied for, was awarded, planned and executed events to use a Get Fruved Grant (for student involved wellbeing activities) • Hosted USO Money Monday events • Gathered and supported various Wellness Champions and activities across all locations

Benefits • •

Provided daily benefit-related communications in GHC Inform Organized monthly Valic employee sessions

There are more opportunities being planned for additional wellbeing activities. Grant funding has been approved for wellness resources and equipment (bikes, volleyball, tennis, and workout equipment).

basketball courts. A recent addition is that Don welcomes new hires during the monthly onboarding sessions, encouraging them to think not just about their current circumstances but to make good financial planning choices for

long-term stability and wealth. There are more opportunities being planned for additional wellbeing activities, as grant funding has been approved for wellness resources and equipment.

Onboarding for New Employees Planning was started in the fall of 2018 for a new employee onboarding program to acclimate individuals entering the GHC workforce to much needed information and resources. The program was planned by gathering input from existing staff, managers, administrators, faculty, and deans. A GHC New Hire Guidebook was created in both an electronic flipbook and a hard copy format. The guidebook includes a wealth of information, including, contact lists, the institution’s academic calendar, a timeline of what to expect in the first year of employment, benefits at a glance, a summary of the functions within many of the larger divisions, and campus maps. In addition to providing the guidebook, in both formats, to new regular full-time and part-time employees, a monthly Shared Success Meeting is conducted. The meetings, which began early in 2019, are kicked-off by the President and contain fun and informational topics shared in a trivia format via Kahoot! The Shared Success Meetings also include topics such as Charge Up Your Wellness, diversity, equity, and inclusion, perks of being a USG/ GHC employee, departmental highlights including IT Security, Payroll and Travel, and a quick review of goal setting. Also included in the onboarding program are 30, 60, and 90 day touch base sessions with a HR Professional. These meetings are designed to ensure that during the first 90 days the new employee has the resources needed and is communicating often and effectively within their division and with their managers.

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Faculty Spotlight

Barr illustrates children’s book In February, the Georgia Highlands College Lakeview Art Gallery in Rome hosted an art show from GHC Professor of Art Brian Barr’s drawings for a children’s book series called “Martin the Guitar.” The collection of artwork was produced for the second and third book in the illustrated book series: “Martin the Guitar on the Road” published in 2017 and “Martin the Guitar in the Big City” published early 2019. The story follows Little Martin the Guitar, who once lived in Mr. Beninato’s Music Store in New York City, before he was picked up by his new owner, the famous folk singer Robert. Now, the two have been invited to perform at the most famous concert hall in the world. Along with the book and illustrations were links to audio, featuring music to accompany the story. Barr has been working alongside author Harry Musselwhite for several years throughout the production of the series. Barr said he approached the project with a careful eye. “While the style of children’s books illustrations is very different than my normal style of drawing and painting, the process is not that dissimilar,” he said. “Once I had the script, I tried to figure out what parts of the story would best be represented visually. Then I worked on several sketches for each illustration until I found the composition that I thought worked the best.”

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Barr chose to bring the fictional world to life with color pencils so that he “could get a strong color saturation.” “I started working up the main objects and backgrounds in strong, flat colors, then I modeled the forms by adding cooler colors to bring out greater structure,” he said. “One of the most difficult aspects was trying to design each illustration so that it could be cropped easily, depending upon how the designer would need to fit them into the overall layout.” Barr has always had a passion for art and decided early on to pursue it as a career. “I took classes wherever I could up until college, where I focused on studying drawing at the University of Central Florida. After that, I finished my education with an MFA in Painting from the New York Academy of Art. Over the years, I’ve been lucky to have several exhibitions of my work, but, lately, I have focused on doing illustrations.” Barr is no stranger to drawing for publications. He has worked with fellow artist Kelly Shane to create a graphic novel called “Jackdaw” and has even dabbled in nonfiction with artwork for a Civil War biography. He has been teaching at GHC since 2002. “Perhaps the thing that I love most about GHC is that, for so many, it represents a true opportunity for a new direction, a new life,” he said. “I have had many students in my classes that have never been able to have any art training at all, so we are providing a true beginning for them.”

Instructor of Physical Education Jonathan Howard climbs onto the tables at the front of his class. He is about to demonstrate to his students how to measure the intensity of exercise by how easy it is to talk while increasing the speed of activity. He runs along the tables in front of the class as he lectures. The students are laughing… but more importantly, says Howard, they are learning. Howard was honored as the 2018 Cobb County Chamber of Commerce teacher of the year for Georgia Highlands College for his devotion to students and his unique approach to teaching. “The biggest thing is I make sure that students stated that he “loves to teach these courses” because can relax while they learn by trying to make sure the content “directly relates” to students and can be they can laugh throughout class,” Howard said. explained through “examples all students have gone “Students can ask questions at any time and I will through.” always do my best to answer them, even if we have Howard said he was honored to represent GHC to find that answer together in class. If students are and be chosen as the 2018 Cobb County Chamber of interested in something, we will make class about Commerce teacher of the year for the college. those topics instead of what the textbook may be “This honor is very meaningful,” he said. “When trying to have us cover that day.” I won this award, many people showed me how Howard started at GHC in 2016. He holds a much influence you can have on those around you. Master of Science in Applied Exercise and Health This award also reaffirmed that I am doing what is Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology right to help this institution and my students.” from Kennesaw State University. He was drawn to work at GHC because he “saw how much the instiE.C.O. RIVER EDUCATION CENTER tution cared about the students and how closely they work with them to help them succeed.” Howard’s own formula for student success is to be as interactive as possible. “The best part of teaching is coaching students to answer questions that they have no clue on how to answer,” he said. “You start by letting them tell you what they know and then guide them with small questions that they can connect to answer complex question. When you see the face of student when everything connects Rome-Floyd E.C.O. River Education Center Director Ben Winkelman and they can fully explain it, it is a spoke to students in a special topics course at GHC about his work worthwhile experience.” and time as a wildlife biologist and his efforts with the E.C.O. Center Howard teaches a variety of based in Rome. courses, including physical education courses and science labs. He

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Faculty Spotlight

Jonathan Howard honored by Cobb County Chamber of Commerce

Staff Spotlight

Climbing over any obstacle

Mathis conquers 52 hikes a year challenge When Andrea Mathis tells you to “take a hike,” she might very well literally mean “take a hike.” Andrea has become a bit of a veteran hiker with three continuous years of 52 hikes a year. That’s right. Andrea has committed to 52 hikes each year for 2017, 2018, and 2019. She hikes as a part of a program called the 52 Hike Challenge, which includes challenges to hike near waterfalls, forests, or national parks, as well as more interesting twists like “stewardship” hikes where the goal is to provide trail maintenance or picking up trash along the way. “I have been an outdoor walker for most of my adult life, then I started diligently walking outdoors about 12 years ago with regular walks during my lunches at work and on some weekends with occasional day hiking thrown into the mix,” she said. “Nothing makes you feel more alive and more accomplished than several hours or a day on a trail out in nature.” Andrea came across the 52 Hike Challenge while looking up hiking information online. “I immediately thought, ‘That’s it. I am doing this,’” she said. “I found it to be exciting, and it is like a competition with myself to get it done no matter what obstacles come my way.” Andrea said the first year was all about proving to herself that she could accomplish 52 hikes in a single year. She said she was thrilled to complete the challenge for the first time in 2017, despite some setbacks with having to have a surgery the same year that took her off the trail for a few weeks. But it wasn’t her will to complete or her surgery that proved the most difficult obstacle to hiking nearly every single week of the year. It was the weather. “Weather, weather, weather,” she said. “I will hike in the rain and I will hike in the cold—my coldest hike was in 20s—but I will not hike in the cold when it’s raining.” To get around the weather, Andrea said she likes to double-up on her hikes early in the year or anytime she has the chance to take an extra hike so missing some weeks doesn’t affect her challenge. Currently, Andrea has clocked in hikes on a number of trails in places like Red Top Mountain, James H. Floyd State Park, Fort Mountain State Park, Sweet Water Creek, Cloudland Canyon, Cascade Springs, Kennesaw Mountain, Crooked River State Park, St. Andrews State Park, and many more. But Andrea’s absolute favorite place to check off one of her 52 hikes is at Desoto State Park in Fort Payne, Alabama. “It is beautiful there, and in places, it looks like another world,” she said. “Some of the trails remind me of scenery from ‘Lord of the Rings.’ I highly recommend the Wild Flower Weekend the first weekend in May each year.” On top of her 52-week challenge, Andrea also recruits employees from GHC to join her and the “Highlands Unlikely Hikers” for off-campus hikes once a month. She said it’s a great opportunity to share her passion for hiking with others and to get those who have never hiked before a chance to start on some beginner hikes. Andrea has been working at GHC for over 18 years. She works in Client Technology Support for GHC’s Information Technology department. She said GHC has been a wonderful place to work. “I love that GHC strives to make learning attainable for everyone,” she said. “I love how everyone works together toward a common goal of success for our students.” To keep up with Andrea’s hikes, you can follow her on Instagram (@hikingkeepsmesane).

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Admissions Counselors draw on their experiences as former GHC students MAGGIE JACKSON SENIOR ADMISSIONS COUNSELOR CARTERSVILLE

Maggie Jackson has been #TakingCharge since she first enrolled at GHC as a freshman over a decade ago. As a student, she got involved as much as she could. She attended leadership conferences, joined Phi Theta Kappa, and worked for the Office of Student Life. After graduating from GHC, Jackson went on to earn a bachelor’s from Shorter University and is currently pursuing a master’s from Georgia Southern University. She credits her time as an orientation leader, the small class sizes, and the supportive faculty and staff at GHC for her success as senior admissions counselor.


Eriq Colon works to be an “ally on the inside” to each prospective student he encounters. As a first-generation college student, he knows firsthand the stress that comes with applying to college. Colon chose to attend GHC because its affordability allowed him to build a foundation without breaking the bank. After graduating from GHC in 2016, he transferred to the University of Georgia where he earned a bachelor’s in history. Colon says his experience as a GHC student means he can relate to prospective students as an admissions counselor since he was in their shoes just a few short years ago.


Qwaunzee Jones’ goal as an admissions counselor is to not only to help future GHC student navigate the admissions process, but to also make them feel welcome. He feels like he’s just repaying the favor from when GHC welcomed him with open arms in 2011. Not only did Jones grow as a student through connections with faculty

and staff, Jones also secured his first job as a student front office assistant at GHC. He says he matured as an individual because of his time as a Charger, which allowed him to graduate in 2015 and go on to earn a bachelor’s from Kennesaw State University. Jones hopes his story and ability to relate to prospective students can show them the great quality of education they can receive at GHC.


Erin Nicholson may not have known it at the time, but the classes she took in pursuing her Associate of Arts in Communications at GHC were preparing her for her current position as an admissions counselor at GHC’s Douglasville site. She says GHC was the best option for her out of high school because she could commute, save money, and get a great education. After graduating in 2016, she transferred to the University of West Georgia where she earned a bachelor’s degree. Nicholson is excited to use her GHC-earned communications skills to promote her alma mater by speaking to her personal experiences as a student.


Taylor West hopes her personal experiences as a GHC graduate can show prospective students why the school could be the right fit for them. She chose GHC to begin her college career because it was close to home and affordable. West believes the small class sizes and oneon-one attention helped her on her journey to graduate from GHC and go on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of West Georgia. She says the entire faculty and staff have always been there to answer any of her questions, from her time as a student to her new role as admissions counselor, and now she is ready to do the same for future Chargers.

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Staff Spotlight

Pictured left to right: Maggie Jackson, Qwaunzee Jones, Taylor West, Eriq Colon, and Erin Nicholson

Student Spotlight

Mendoza chosen as Board of Regents Academic Day representative Cindy Mendoza may be the first person in her family to go to college and she may be starting a little later in life than some, but that hasn’t stopped her from holding down a nearly perfect 4.0 GPA, working as the vice president for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK), and earning her degree in biology from Georgia Highlands College. Each year, one student is chosen from each college in the University System of Georgia to be a Board of Regents Academic Day Representative. Mendoza was chosen for GHC for her outstanding scholastic achievement. “I find it difficult to speak to my family about my academic progress,” she said regarding her being the first in her family to go to college. “I realize they cannot always comprehend the full significance of my achievements, but I’m filled with joy knowing that my professors and wonderful mentors at GHC do. This recognition means that someone notices my hard work and that is motivation to continue pushing myself.” Mendoza started at GHC in 2017 and graduated in spring 2019. During her time as student, she served as the vice president for GHC’s PTK student organization and led a student-run initiative to create a video series for social media giving advice to students from students. “I love being able to help others,” she said. “I feel an immense sense of accomplishment when I can be of any assistance to my fellow classmates, professors and others in my community.” The new PTK series debuted on GHC’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube channel. Mendoza led the charge with videos focused on her experience as a non-traditional student with advice for other nontraditional students. As a GHC graduate, Mendoza is planning to pursue a doctorate program in optometry. She stated a career path continuing to help others is her ultimate goal. MEETING THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR “Obtaining a degree that will allow me to improve the quality of life for thousands of people is the most important thing for me,” she said. “My drive is the ability to help others.” Mendoza and the other representatives were honored during a Board of Regents meeting and luncheon at the University System Office. She was also recognized GHAME/B2B members went to see the play “The Royale” at the Baltzer Theater during GHC’s Honor in Atlanta. Tom Key, the Artistic Director for the Theatrical Outfit, talked about Night in the spring. the production and his theater company. The members also had an opportunity to meet and talk with the actors after the play.

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“All that glitters ain’t gold,” flashes across the screen, stark red against a dark background. The trailer for “Ark Ridge.” the latest film from awardwinning filmmaker and Georgia Highlands College alumnus Trey Squire, takes an ancient expression adapted by the likes of Shakespeare and Tolkien and turns it on its head once again. “Ark Ridge,” billed as a short film in the horror genre, is a project of Squire’s independent film company, Imprint Studios. He co-owns the company with a former Georgia State University classmate, where he attended after graduating from GHC with an Associate of Arts in Communications in 2013. Squire went on to graduate from GSU with a bachelor’s in film in 2015. Squire’s mother first presented GHC as an option following high school. “It was close to home, affordable, and I liked the culture of the campus,” he says. While at GHC, mentors helped Squire find his inner drive to succeed. And succeed he has. Squire’s previous short film, “Midnight Blue,” won numerous awards, including Best Film Noir Short, Gold Award in the April 2018 Independent Shorts Awards, Special Mention in the 2018

Global Shorts competition, and recognition as a Semi-Finalist in the 2018 Los Angeles CineFest. The ode to film noir was also shown locally at last year’s Rome International Film Festival. Amazingly, Squire wrote the script for the award-winning drama in three days. The film itself was filmed in just three days, as well. After benefiting so greatly from mentors at GHC, Squire credits his time in GHC’s Brother 2 Brother chapter with inspiring him to become a better leader and mentor himself. “It’s not always about me. There are filmmakers, photographers, and others who are motivated to be great but may not know how to advance to the next step of their journey,” Squire says. “There are people who are looking for guidance or a hero. I’m not sure about being a hero, but I believe I can make an impact and help those who are in need.” Squire also hopes to bring awareness to mental health issues through his work. “I’ve battled this in my lifetime and I wish to use my voice to help others. It is important that everyone know

that they matter and it’s okay to seek help when in need.” Outside of filmmaking, Squire has also been recognized for his photography and writing, including his original stage play, “Marvin’s Room.” In 2017, the play was named a finalist in the New York Screenplay Contest. Squire and his co-owner at Imprint Studios are currently putting the final touches on “Ark Ridge.” Learn more about Squire and his work at treyvisions.com

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Alumni Spotlight

Alumnus is e g r a h c g n i tak of the n e e r c S r e v l Si

Alumni Spotlight

A self-described ‘fire-loving country boy’ follows his passion to the national stage A raging fire blazes across a field, crackling and popping and blackening the bark on tree trunks as it passes, leaving a wake of scorched, ashy earth behind. Plumes of dark smoke as thick as rain clouds billow and expand into the sky. And at the start of this fiery force of nature is a man in yellow with a flaming torch. That man is Johnny Stowe. The fire may seem destructive, at first, but performing regular prescribed fires actually reduces the risk of wildfires by consuming fuels, and it restores biodiversity and ecosystems while helping restore nutrients to the ground. Johnny can tell you all about it. He is a wildlife biologist, forester, and ecological philosopher among other things… but he likes to make it clear he’s also a “fire-loving country boy” from Cedartown. His love of fire is much deeper than you might think. For Johnny, fire is a fundamental part of the human race and serves not only as tool but as a symbol that transcends time and generations and has become an integral part of the human story. “It’s in our heart. It’s in our core. It helps define who we are,” he said. “Who among us cannot remember a fire they looked into and just got lost and mesmerized in thought, who had inspiration for something that might not have come to them otherwise? It was while sitting in circles around fires that oral histories were first shared and became our earliest cultures.” Thinking about prescribed fires through the lenses of science, history, and philosophy all

together may seem different, but Johnny credits Georgia Highlands College for helping him take such a rounded, multicultural, and interdisciplinary approach to a career he has spent over 20 years of his life doing. In 1988, Johnny decided to start his path toward a position with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources by enrolling at Georgia Highlands College (then Floyd College). Johnny took classes on the Floyd Campus before transferring to the Warnell School of Forest Resources at the University of Georgia. He holds a master’s in wildlife ecology and management. “The people at GHC provided me with knowledge and challenged me. They taught me how to think and learn and what my talents were and how to develop them,” he said. “GHC gave me invaluable experience and encouragement and made college immensely satisfying.” Even after being away from GHC for so many years, Johnny recalls his professors, classes, and experience writing for the Six Mile Post with great clarity. The most salient in his mind include Professor Glenn Singleton’s economic classes, Professor David Cook in the science department, Professor Kristie Kemper for English and journalism, and Professor Philip Dillard’s world literature class. “The professors at GHC were outstanding. They were always well-prepared and very good at conveying concepts and techniques and information,” he said. “It was clear—and I cannot overemphasize this–it was clear that they really cared about teaching me.” After his time at GHC and UGA, Johnny eventually found himself as the Heritage Preserve Manager with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. And recently, Johnny was named to the board of directors of the International Association of Wildland Fire. The International Association of Wildland Fire, based in Missoula, Montana, is an independent organization whose membership includes experts in all aspects of wildland fire. STOWE – continued on page 32

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Thank you to our Executive Partners

Bond, James Bond, Inc. Bond, James Bond, Inc. was founded in 1992 as a Bail Bonds, Risk Management Company and began with one owner and one office. We have since grown to ten offices, each open 24/7, along with new employees and many of the original employees. Our core principles and values have always remained the same with customer service being at our forefront. We realize our clients find themselves in challenging situations and we appreciate the opportunity to help them. We also value the opportunity to give back to the communities we serve in and appreciate all the people that have been so good to us. Bond, James Bond, Inc. supports Georgia Highlands College’s efforts to provide support to help our youth with an affordable and convenient quality education when they are first starting out or helping non-traditional students seeking to advance their current careers. For more information visit: BondJamesBondInc.com

Century Bank of Georgia, originally known as Century Bank of Bartow County, opened for business on June 29, 2000, becoming the second state-chartered bank headquartered in Bartow County and ushering in a new era of community banking. We are Cartersville’s only locally owned community bank with offices in Cartersville, Rockmart, and Calhoun. We pride ourselves on offering the latest technology combined with hometown personal service and are dedicated to building strong, long-term relationships with our clients. Invested in our communities, we proudly support numerous local business, schools and non-profit organizations. Century Bank of Georgia is insured by the FDIC, member Equal Housing Lender. Century Bank of Georgia believes in GHC’s mission of providing a quality and affordable post-secondary education. GHC is a great asset to Northwest Georgia and Century Bank of Georgia is proud to partner with GHC! For more information visit: centurybanknet.com

Juneau Construction Company was founded in 1997 by husband-wife duo Les and Nancy Juneau. Since then, Atlanta-based Juneau has consistently ranked among the top contractors in the country within the core markets that they operate in. For the last several years Juneau has appeared among the Top Builders of Institutional, Multi-Family, and Hotel Buildings in the country. Juneau is also a Top Miami and Atlanta Contractor, ENR Top 400 Contractor, and the #1 ranked woman-owned construction firm in Georgia. Core markets include Higher Education Auxiliary Facilities (Housing, Dining, Student Centers, Parking Decks), Higher Education Academic Buildings, Recreation & Athletic Facilities, Multi-Family & Mixed-Use, Senior Living, Hospitality, and Historic Restoration. Juneau Construction Company first collaborated with Georgia Highlands College (GHC) in 2010 when Juneau built the new Student Recreation Center at the Cartersville site. Most recently, Juneau completed GHC’s new STEAM Academic Building at the Cartersville site in time for the fall 2018 semester. From the beginning, Juneau’s mission of striving to be best in class mirrored GHC’s purpose to provide high quality classes for enhanced educational options with little or no debt upon completion. Juneau is proud of the relationship it has established with GHC. For more information visit: juneaucc.com

The Community Criminal Justice Foundation (CCJF) is a non-profit Foundation established in 1999 to provide opportunities to all levels of those who serve in criminal justice. The Foundation provides annual college scholarships and supports fellowship through an annual BBQ for anyone (local, state, and federal) in the profession of criminal justice. The intent of the BBQ is to express gratitude for their service and provide an opportunity to network and form positive working relationships with each other. The scholarship is a representation of the Foundation’s desire to promote higher education in criminal justice and a better quality of life for the citizens whom they protect and serve. The CCJF provides $3,000$5,000 annually for higher education scholarships. As an access institution, GHC has a strong reputation for providing a quality education for a responsible price. The board of directors for CCJF wants to ensure it can maximize the funds they raise, on behalf of its donors, to increase the number of college graduates who work in the profession of criminal justice. This has been a tacit effort since the beginning that has paid dividends that change the trajectory of life for its recipients and the community, state, and country they serve.

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Executive Partners

We would like to thank our Corporate and Foundation Partners for supporting Georgia Highlands College and the impact their contribution has on our local communities. Please learn more about our Premier Partner Georgia Power on the inside back cover and our Executive Partners listed below. To learn more about GHC’s Corporate and Foundation Partnership Program, contact Vice President of Advancement and Executive Director of the GHC Foundation Mary Transue at mtransue@highlands.edu or 706-802-5457.

Foundation Spotlight


The Georgia Highlands College Foundation has supported GHC and the education, dreams, and futures of students since 1973. The Foundation relies on your support and that of likeminded donors to make this mission a reality. A scholarship of just $200 can make the difference in whether a student is able to complete their degree. Your gift, no matter the size, will make a tangible impact in the lives of students. Your contribution to the Foundation will directly support programs like: Scholarships • Athletics Foundation Camp • and more! Join our legacy of giving by contributing to the Foundation today. Give online at highlands.edu/givetoday or by mail at GHC Foundation, 3175 Cedartown Highway, Rome, GA 30161. To learn more about how you can take charge and change lives, contact Mary Transue, Executive Director of the GHC Foundation and VP of Advancement, at mtransue@highlands.edu or by phone at 706-802-5457.



STOWE – continued from page 30 Stowe is a S.C. Registered Forester and Certified Wildlife Biologist in SCDNR’s Pee Dee/Catawba Region. He has managed SCDNR heritage preserves with prescribed fire for 23 years. He represents the department on wildland fire management, policy, education and outreach issues, and he helped form the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council. Stowe lit his first fires 50 years ago on the family farm that he still burns today. His passions and energy center on the cultural and natural heritage of prescribed fire and its connection to human ecology, on putting good-fire on-the-ground to restore

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and maintain the integrity of imperiled ecosystems, and on engaging and mentoring the next generation of wildland fire leaders and managers. “Modern fire science began in Southeastern North America and using controlled burning to reduce fuel loads and enhance public safety and to provide a wide range of ecological, economic, and cultural benefits, is a deeply rooted part of Southern history,” he said, “and it is more important now than ever. Anything I accomplish in my professional life, and so much of the fulfillment I have had in my personal life is directly due to my education at GHC.”

Luke Lester, Chairman Bond, James Bond Inc. Dee Bishop, Chair Elect Dellinger Management Services, LLC Jeff Watkins, Past Chairman Jeffrey A. Watkins, P.C.

The Georgia Highlands College Foundation contributes over half a million dollars to scholarships and programs each year. Thanks to financial support from our community of trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends, we are proud to highlight the story of two recent recipients. After deciding to go back to college at age 41, single father J.D. Chambers had only one hesitation: how to afford his education. With community support, the Georgia Highlands College Foundation was able to provide J.D. the assistance he needed with a Go Back, Move Ahead Scholarship. “Receiving the scholarship gave me the confidence to approach the future with optimism for the first time in a long time. I would like to thank the kindness of the donors that made the GHC Foundation scholarships a reality.” Natalie Eckert was excited to attend GHC but did not want to create a financial burden for her parents and four brothers. Thanks to GHC Foundation donors, Natalie was chosen to receive the Bobby Lee Cook Scholarship. Now, Natalie and her family were able to afford a quality education. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. You have absolutely no idea what saving that money meant for me and my family. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity!”


We want to know about your life after GHC! Whether you’ve taken one class or completed a degree, you’ll always be a part of the GHC family. Update your contact information so we can stay in touch. Also, let us know where you’re working, what you’ve accomplished, and anything going on in your life.

Visit alumniupdate.highlands.edu to update your info now!

Gregory F. Patton, Treasurer Patton Financial Associates Mary Transue, Executive Director GHC Vice President - Advancement Sarah H. Burkhalter David Caswell Melanie C. Collier James Jarrett Mary Louise Lever Steve Moore Randy Quick John Quinlivan Matt Sirmans Sue Spivey Tommy Strickland Mark Weaver Dr. Donald Green, Ex-Officio GHC President Jeff Davis, Ex-Officio GHC Vice President Finance & Administration Donnie Denson, Ex-Officio Alumni Association Chairman GHC ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS Donnie Denson Chairman Harold Boyd Retiree Representative Susan Claxton Michele Crowe Caleb Freeman Dan Knowles Dr. Lynn Plunkett Steve White

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Foundation Spotlight


Charger News

SEASON RECAP S Men’s Basketball Regional championship just out of reach for the Chargers

The Georgia Highlands College men’s basketball team was entrenched in an embattled season with great effort to maintain the level of success and accomplishment that has become the Chargers’ trademark. The Chargers’ season came to an end after losing to Central Georgia Tech 75-65 in the NJCAA Region XVII championship game in Cuthbert. The loss came less than 24 hours after Georgia Highlands had knocked off the No. 1 seed in the tournament with a 92-80 win over Andrew College in Friday’s semifinals. The Chargers have fought through adversity all year due to injuries, losing five players for the season along the way, but continued to grind out wins, finishing the season with a 23-10 record. “I am so proud how this team has fought through all the adversity this year. We have had so many injuries, but they found a way to battle and overcome every obstacle,” head coach Phil Gaffney said.

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Lady Chargers claim spot in finals, but fall short of big win

The Lady Chargers made a thrilling comeback in the semifinals of the NJCAA Region XVII tournament, but they weren’t able to make it happen twice. After overcoming a feisty Central Georgia Tech team to win 80-78, the Lady Chargers battled topseeded South Georgia Tech on its home court in the region and conference finals in Americus, falling short 75-57. Less than 24 hours earlier, the Lady Chargers were celebrating on the court in Americus after posting a come-from-behind win in the region semifinals. “Conference runner-up is never a goal of our program when we start the season, but I am proud of what this team was able to accomplish,” said coach Brandan Harrell. “Our players really battled all season long. This was a great group to coach all season long. I appreciate all of the effort and hard work that this group put into the season and we are going to miss our sophomores next season.”

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Charger News

SEASON RECAP Women’s Basketball

Charger News

Gaffney honored for 500th win Contributed by the Rome-News Tribune Jonathan Blaylock

There are a lot of things that make a good coach, and for Georgia Highlands men’s basketball coach Phil Gaffney, winning games is just a small part of it. But the coach’s success on the court was in the spotlight in January as Gaffney was honored for earning his 500th career win, with his coaches and players gathered on their home court during halftime of a women’s game. The milestone win for the coach and athletic director came on January 16 in a 97-91 road victory against Albany Technical College. Assistant athletic director David Mathis talked about Gaffney’s past success and a video was shown featuring players who were coached by Gaffney and fellow coaches giving their congratulations. “I’ve been very fortunate to coach these guys,” Gaffney said during the ceremony. “You get 500 wins if you coach long enough, so that’s what that proves. Perseverance — that’s about it.”

gle inspries


Legendary Coach Tony Ingle spent some time with the Chargers recently. Coach Ingle had a 44-year career coaching men’s basketball, leading two teams to national championships.

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The ceremony highlighted some of Gaffney’s accomplishments with GHC, which include leading the Chargers to four regular-season Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association titles, three National Junior College Athletic Association XVII Championships, and three NJCAA national tournament appearances reaching the Final Four in 2015 and 2016 and the Sweet 16 in 2017. “Coach Mathis is a wonderful guy,” Gaffney added. “He set it all up behind my back, and I got snookered today, but I do appreciate it. Somebody went to a lot of work and I’m very appreciative.” Gaffney and the Chargers also own the longest winning streak of any college team in Georgia regardless of level with 56 wins over the 2015 and 2016 seasons, with Gaffney amassing a record of 162-70 during his time with the team. But the number of wins Gaffney has garnered over his nearly 30 years of coaching experience isn’t what he focuses on. It’s the impact on the players he looks for. “I don’t look at the 500 wins,” Gaffney said. “I look at the hundreds and hundreds of athletes I’ve been fortunate enough to coach — the ones that have gone to play pro, major D-I, but even the guys that have gone to play D-3 or just became high school coaches. That’s where the coach has the impact … they tell you how much you meant to them or how much you helped get them where they wanted to be. That means a lot to me.” Gaffney shared a moment with sophomore guard Derrick Cook after a win against East Georgia State College during which he highlighted his appreciation for his players. “I like to win better than to lose, but I like for him to win (pointing to Cook),” Gaffney said. “I want him to go out and win. I want him to have a great experience, and 10 years from now I want to see him as a great family man, great in his community and dominating at whatever he does.” Prior to his seven-year stint with the Chargers, Gaffney began his coaching career in 1993 at GAFFNEY– continued on page 37

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

Charger News

Charger Baseball Charger Softball

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

GAFFNEY – continued from page 36

Columbia Green Community College in Hudson, New York, before moving on to Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York, in 1998, and Guilford Tech Community College in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2005. The wins came along with Gaffney connecting with his players, and Mathis sees Gaffney as a valuable asset to the college in more ways than one. “We were fortunate to get that quality of coach, but more importantly the quality of the individual, who is more concerned about graduating his kids than he is about winning basketball games,” Mathis said. “He built this program from scratch, and that’s not an easy thing to do. He’s made a huge difference in lives of student athletes along the way, not just here, but at all his stops.”

INgle inspries

SPORTS HALL OF FAME HONORS MATHIS Congrats to GHC’s Assistant Director of Athletics on his induction into the Rome-Floyd Sports Hall of Fame for 2019. David Mathis was honored on Feb. 25 at Berry College’s Krannert Center.

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Charger Spotlight

BLAKE BRADY - Outfield/First Baseman/Catcher

I started playing baseball when I was five years old because a lot of my friends were playing. I enjoy having the opportunity to compete with teammates to achieve a common goal against an opponent, as well as having the inner drive to outperform the competition. My favorite sports memory is playing against Summerville High School in the state championship and competing in front of thousands of people. I think the most challenging aspect of being a student athlete is time management. In college, it is crucial to have time management skills and when you add a sport to go along with that, it makes it even harder, so I think if you can have good time management skills, it really helps stay organized through a busy season. My father is my inspiration because he hasn’t always had the easiest road or path to where he is today, but he always finds a way to get the job done and stay positive about it. He has always been there for me and is a major reason why I am the person I am today. After my baseball playing career is over, I see myself pursuing a career as an orthodontist.


I first started playing basketball when I was ten because I had a number of friends and family that had played the sport. I really enjoy the competitive nature of the game, especially winning. One of my favorite basketball memories is when I earned the opportunity to play in the FIBA European Division A Championship. The most challenging part of being a student athlete is managing your time between basketball and studying while making sure that each is a priority. My inspiration to be the best student and basketball player I can be comes from my family. In five years, I see myself with a college degree while continuing the play basketball at the highest level possible.


I started playing basketball when I was in the seventh grade. I started playing because I got injured playing football. Winning and being able to compete while still having fun with it is what I love most about the sport. My favorite sports memory is beating the state champions in high school and catching dunks off the backboard here at GHC. Time management is the most challenging part of being a student athlete. Juggling school work and basketball is always a struggle. My daughter and my own personal story of where I came from and who I turned out to be inspires me to strive for the best. In five years, I see myself as an NBA overseas pro with a college degree, or I could see myself being a coach.

SIERRAH GANI - Second Base

I started out playing both softball and baseball but quit baseball at sixteen to focus on my softball career. My favorite aspect of competing is the excitement of winning while still knowing you can’t always win everything - sometimes you will fail, which is a very important life lesson. My favorite sports memory is last year’s GCAA Region 17 Tournament when we came back in the Georgia Military College game and beat them to go to the championship game, when we hadn’t beat them all year. The most challenging part of being a student athlete is definitely having time to study while still having softball practice, workouts, and games, but still being able to have fun outside of school and softball with family and friends. My inspiration is Derek Jeter because he was an awesome player on and off the field. He was a leader and always hard working. In five years, I see myself having my bachelor’s degree in secondary education, working on getting my master’s degree, and working as a high school math teacher and possibly coaching high school softball.

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Thank you to our

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New jobs have a powerful effect. Every factory or tech firm that opens its doors makes surrounding communities that much stronger. That’s why Georgia Power works hard to bring new businesses here, creating over 134,000 new jobs in the last 10 years alone. And showing people across our state more possibilities than ever before.

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Students at Georgia Highlands College are Take Chargers. They know that compared to other colleges, they won’t find a better education with a better value anywhere. They come to GHC to succeed and you can, too. Choose from two-year and four-year degrees to charge up your future or recharge your career.

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Profile for Georgia Highlands College

The Highlander Magazine - Spring/Summer 2019 issue  

The Highlander Magazine - Spring/Summer 2019 issue