CSU to Swear-In Mark Lott as University Police Chief on Thursday

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A ceremony to swear in Mark Lott as Columbus State University’s new Chief of Police will take place tomorrow, March 25, at 2 p.m. in the lobby of University Hall on CSU’s main campus. Lott has held the position on an interim basis since last fall.

Lott has served as assistant chief with the Columbus State University Police Department since 2006. His experience, expertise, service to CSU, and the respect he has garnered within the department and across campus made it easy to appoint Lott to the chief’s position, said Gina Sheeks, CSU’s vice president for student affairs.

“Mark Lott has been preparing for this role since he stepped onto CSU’s campus,” said Sheeks, who serves as Lott’s supervisor. “After extensive conversations within the department, across campus and at the system level, it was clear Mark is the right person for this important role at CSU.”

Lott oversees a department that currently employees 24 sworn officers and 10 security personnel. He’s ultimately responsible for the safety of about 8,400 students, 800 employees, countless visitors and several off-campus outreach learning centers.

“Chief Lott is well respected in Columbus and throughout the state,” said CSU President Chris Markwood. “He understands that the safety of our campus and the CSU family is of the utmost importance.”

Lott is a 30-year law enforcement veteran with municipal, county and campus experience. Before coming to CSU in 2006, he was an investigator at the Troup County Sheriff’s Office and a deputy marshal with the Muscogee County Marshal’s Office. His previous campus policing experience includes stints at the University of Louisville and the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

He holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and a Master of Public Administration, both from Columbus State University. He also has earned his FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Certification and Command College Certification. Lott serves as an instructor at the regional police academy, with the Columbus Office of Homeland Security, at the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College and as an adjunct faculty member for CSU’s Department of Criminal Justice.

Lott has an extensive training record, including in areas such as crisis intervention, community policing, executive protection, police use of force, and homeland security.

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity,” Lott said. “I will continue to build on partnerships with the university and Columbus community, and I look forward to forging even stronger relationships between our department and CSU students, faculty and staff.”

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CSU Summer Camp to Bring Future Teachers, Kids Together for Ultimate Educational Experience

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University is hosting an innovative educational summer camp this June that will have young students and teacher candidates learning together.

Children ages 4-11 are invited to enroll in Summer Spectacular, offered by CSU’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) program in the Department of Teacher Education. Summer Spectacular combines two experiences in one. ECE students will gain valuable teaching experience, while young minds will engage in hands-on, enriched learning activities. Parents can rest assured that their children will receive personal attention from students of a nationally accredited program that was named the 2016-2017 Distinguished Program in Teacher Education by the Georgia Association of Teacher Educators (GATE).

This year’s Summer Spectacular theme is “Exploring Georgia.” Using science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM), teachers and students will team up to learn about three regions of the state: the Coastal Plains, Piedmont and Northern Georgia.

Kmiko Johnson, a CSU ECE major and Summer Spectacular teacher candidate, plans to construct a river with her campers, complete with running water, a canoe, campsite, plants and animals that are representative of Northern Georgia.

“Summer Spectacular is a project-based learning experience,” said Johnson. “It’s really an exploration. By building and creating, it’s amazing how much students can learn, and I’m learning at the same time.”

ECE students receive 12 credit hours for their participation in Summer Spectacular, the equivalent of a semester’s worth of coursework. More importantly, CSU students are gaining confidence.

“Summer Spectacular will give me the confidence to manage a classroom of 25 students,” said Summer Watson, a senior ECE major. “CSU sets you up so that you are learning hands-on. You get to learn your own teaching style.”

“CSU’s Department of Education absolutely has the best professors,” said Ieshia Davis, a senior ECE major, who is planning to teach about the Piedmont region with Watson. “Our professors have all had experience in the classroom, so they have prepared us for this full-on experience.”

Summer Spectacular runs June 5-29, Monday-Thursday, from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Registration is $40 per week per child or $140 for all four weeks and includes a t-shirt, all supplies and snacks. Registration is first-come, first-served. Up to 75 spots are available per week. Camp will take place at Gentian Elementary School. For more information or to register, please visit coehp.columbusstate.edu/summer-spectacular.

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Double Standards Do Exist According to New Study Co-Authored by Business Professor

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Female faculty members hoping to advance to the highest ranks of academia face significant barriers due to male-dominated environments at colleges and universities, according to a new study co-authored by Frank Mixon, professor of economics in Columbus State University’s Turner College of Business.

“One of the striking findings is that female management professors exhibit, on average, the same degree of job mobility — captured by the number of prior academic appointments held — as their male counterparts, yet face a lower probability of holding a named (endowed) professorship,” said Mixon.

The study, published in the Journal of Management, suggests that a masculine-gendered environment dominates colleges of business, leading to shifting standards when it comes to the highest senior appointments in academe. While the data was collected in business schools throughout the United States, the researchers believe their results would be replicable in other academic settings and in other masculine-gendered environments, said Len Treviño, professor of management in FAU’s College of Business, who led the research team.

“We looked at lifetime productivity and found irrefutable evidence that, in line with double-standards theory, women have to do a lot more work than men to get similar rewards,” Treviño said. “It’s true there’s a double standard. We tested it.”

Mixon, Treviño and their fellow researchers Luis R. Gomez-Mejia at Arizona State University and David B. Balkin at the University of Colorado analyzed appointments to the rank of named professorship by gender via a sample of 511 management faculty at top American research universities with 10 or more years of experience since receiving their Ph.D. They found that women are less likely to be awarded named professorships and that they derive lower returns from their scholarly achievements when it comes to appointments to endowed chairs.

The research seems to show it’s not a conscious decision to make things tougher for female faculty, but women do face biases that are so deeply embedded in the processes followed by leading academic institutions that they may not even be noticed until they are eradicated. Treviño hopes that this study will help increase awareness of the problem.

“There has to be a conscious decision that this is not right and we have to change it,” Treviño said. “And you have to keep at it because people forget.”

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Octavia Spencer Announced as 2017 JBLF Keynote Speaker

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer has been added to the 2017 The Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum (JBLF) speaker lineup. The two-day event, August 28-29, hosted by the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, brings the best and brightest minds in the world to Columbus. Spencer will be the keynote speaker for the Monday night dinner.

A veteran character actress and one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents, Spencer has become a familiar fixture on both television and the silver screen. Her critically acclaimed performance as Minny in DreamWork’s feature film “The Help” won her the 2012 Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award and Broadcast Film Critic’s Choice Award among numerous other accolades.

The Leadership Institute is now accepting question submissions for Spencer. To submit your question, or for more information, click here.

Other guest speakers include Ron Clark, “America’s Educator” and best-selling author; Dan Rose, vice president of Partnerships, Facebook; John O’Leary, inspirational best-selling author; David Perdue, U.S. senator and former Fortune 500 CEO; Chris Conlee, author and lead pastor of Highpoint Church; and Eric Wesley, commanding general of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence.

Registration for the full conference is $529. Tables of eight are available for $4,200. Tickets and tables also are available to CSU departments, faculty and staff at a discounted rate of $499 per ticket and $3,900 per table. Register today.

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Criminal Justice Students Present Jail Survey Results

COLUMBUS, Ga. – A group of Columbus State University students in Steven Glassner’s criminal justice class recently presented their findings of an extensive survey of inmates currently housed in the Muscogee County Jail.

The students visited the jail and collected data from inmates as part of the Muscogee County Jail Project. The results of the survey will be used to address overcrowding in the correctional facility and to raise awareness of other concerns that might need to be addressed in the facility and in the court system.

Dennis Rome, dean of CSU’s College of Letters and Sciences, also attended the presentation, as did Superior Court Judge Gil McBride, attorney Katonga Wright, Columbus City Councilor “Pops” Barnes and members of the Muscogee County Jail Project Committee.

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Columbus State Alumnus, Lecturer to Speak at Local Graduation

Natasha David-Walker, Columbus State University alumnus and English lecturer, will deliver this year’s commencement address at Columbus’ Rothschild Leadership Academy on May 25.

The former news editor for the Saber has been Rothschild’s choice for commencement speaker for two consecutive years.

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Professor of Communication Authors Top Teaching Paper

Chris McCollough, assistant professor of communication at Columbus State University, earned recognition for having the Top Teaching Paper in Public Relations at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s 2017 national conference for his paper titled, “Competition and Public Relations Campaigns: Assessing the Impact of Competition on Projects, Partners, and Students.”

The study is the product of McCollough’s evaluation of student learning, student project quality, and community impact from a year-long, comprehensive service learning project that he and students in his public relations campaigns courses conducted on behalf of CSU’s Pasaquan, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, and the town of Buena Vista, Ga. in the fall of 2015.

McCollough will present his paper and be recognized for his accomplishment at the annual meeting of AEJMC in August in Chicago.

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Clearview Hall Meets Green Building Standards

Clearview Hall, Columbus State University’s newest student housing project, was awarded “Two Peaches” for meeting the requirements of the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Construction Act. Peaches are awarded as part of the Georgia Peach Green Building Rating System, which is designed to rate and recognize buildings owned or managed by the State of Georgia that optimize energy performance, increase the demand for materials and furnishings produced in Georgia, improve the environmental quality in the state, conserve energy, protect the state’s natural resources, and reduce the burden on the state’s water supply.

Kelly Wilson, director of maintenance and construction, and Mike Medlock, assistant vice president for facilities, received the award for CSU during the annual conference of the Georgia Association of State Facilities Administrators on April 25 at the Georgia Aquarium.

Clearview Hall opened last fall on CSU’s main campus. The $25 million, 121,000-square-foot building is home to 457 first-year students, four learning communities and one faculty-in-residence member.

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CSU Worker Graduates in Building He Has Been Cleaning for Years

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Gary Freeman, 59, has been a custodian at Columbus State University for nine years. Recently promoted to a team leader, he is responsible for cleaning a variety of buildings around campus, including the Frank G. Lumpkin Center, home to CSU basketball games and other major events.

Friday night, the Lumpkin Center hosted a graduation ceremony for the College of Education and Health Professions. Gary was there on his usual shift until 1:30 a.m., cleaning up after a packed house.

Saturday, he was back in the Lumpkin Center.

But this time, he was there in a cap and gown, not his work uniform.

After working toward his degree one class at a time, when he had the time, Gary graduated on Saturday with a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a major in Management Information Systems.

“I consider it very special to graduate in the building that I have been cleaning for nine years,” he said shortly before walking across the stage and shaking the president’s hand.

Monday, he was back at work, proudly doing his rounds and humbly accepting hugs from co-workers. Still, he wanted to make sure his supervisor was OK with him taking a call on his cell phone about his degree since he was working.

He said it felt “great” to be a college graduate, and he was planning to send out resumes soon in the hopes of finding a job “in his field.”

“Gary is a great example to us all,” said Steve Morse, senior director of University Support Services, the division that encompasses custodial services at CSU. “Not only is he the kind of worker we want at CSU, he is a reminder of why we are all here at this university: to provide an environment where people can get a higher education that can improve their lives.”

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CSU and Albany Technical College Sign Articulation Agreement

ALBANY, Ga. – Columbus State University and Albany Technical College (ATC) signed an articulation agreement Monday, May 15, during a ceremony held on the ATC campus.

Academic programs in the new agreement include Accounting, Law Enforcement Technology, and Early Childhood Care and Education. ATC students in these programs would be eligible to transfer to CSU to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice, or Bachelor of Science in Education (BSEd) in Early Childhood Education.

“We are excited to announce this agreement which begins a new era of opportunities for future CSU students from Albany Technical College on their journey to the next level of their education,” said CSU Interim Provost Tina Butcher. “We are committed to working with other educational institutions in the region to provide students with innovative programs to assist them in transitioning to a four-year institution and attaining degrees that prepare them for productive careers.”

Last fall, one Albany Tech associate degree graduate, Teraycia Lovett, continued her education at Columbus State. A Move On When Ready (MOWR) student from Dougherty High, Lovett earned her associate’s degree in electronics technology with a specialization in biomedical instrumentation. She is now a biology major at CSU and her career goal is to design prosthetics.

“This partnership signifies the strength of our institutions both in the Technical College System and the University System,” said Anthony O. Parker, president of Albany Technical College. “We look forward to the new partnership with Columbus State University.”

To be eligible for the transfer credit, ATC students must be in good academic standing and meet the appropriate admissions requirements to attend CSU.

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More than 1,000 Students Graduate During Ceremonies on Campus

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Students, families and friends of Columbus State University’s spring 2017 graduating class returned to campus over the weekend to celebrate during the institution’s 114th commencement ceremonies.

Commencement was moved back to the Frank G. Lumpkin Center and divided up by colleges to accommodate the growth of CSU’s graduating classes. CSU graduated more than 1,000 students on Friday and Saturday.

Among them was senior music education major Amy Melton, a third generation graduate of CSU’s Schwob School of Music. Melton’s mother, father and grandmother were all Schwob music education majors. Melton was CSU’s 2017 University System of Georgia (USG) Academic Recognition Day Award recipient, presented to the student who exemplifies outstanding academic achievement and success.

Melton celebrated her accomplishments on Saturday, May 13 at 3 p.m. with the rest of the graduates of the College of the Arts and CSU’s Turner College of Business. Students of CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions graduated Friday, May 12 at 5 p.m., and students of CSU’s College of Letters and Sciences graduated Saturday at 10 a.m.

College of Education and Health Professions | Friday, May 12, 5 p.m.

Col. (Retired) David Fivecoat delivered the keynote address to the graduates of CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions. During his 24 years of service in the Army, Fivecoat participated in contingency operations in Kosovo and Bosnia, three combat tours in Iraq, and a combat tour leading the 3rd Battalion,187 Infantry in Afghanistan. His final assignment was as the commander of Ranger School, the Army’s premier leadership school. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Military History from the United States Military Academy, a Master’s in Military Arts and Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and a Master’s in National Security Strategy from the National War College. While in uniform, Fivecoat earned four Bronze Star medals, the Army Commendation Medal with V Device, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Ranger Tab and Master Parachutist wings.

College of Letters and Sciences | Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m.

City Manager Isaiah Hugley delivered the keynote address to the graduates of CSU’s College of Letters and Sciences. Hugley is a 1975 graduate of Spencer High School; a 1979 graduate of Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in History/Pre Law; and a 1980 graduate of Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, where he received a Master’s of Public Policy and Public Administration. Hugley began his career at the Consolidated City/County Government as assistant director of the Department of Transportation/METRA in 1984. He was appointed director in 1988, deputy city manager in 1998, and city manager in 2005. Hugley is responsible for more than 3,000 employees and a budget of $270 million dollars. Isaiah is also an adjunct professor at CSU, where he teaches local government management.

College of the Arts and Turner College of Business | Saturday, May 13, 3 p.m.

CSU associate professor of marketing Edward O’Donnell delivered the keynote address to the graduates of CSU’s College of the Arts and Turner College of Business. O’Donnell has more than twelve years of program management and corporate turn-around experience in the aircraft and hydraulic industries. He graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Akron, where he also earned a Master’s of Accounting. He earned his Ph.D. in Marketing from Kent State University. O’Donnell was the recipient of CSU’s Faculty Research and Scholarship Award in 2011, the University System of Georgia Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching Award in 2013, CSU’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2014, and, most recently, was named CSU’s 2017 Educator of the Year.

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New Policy, Guidelines and Training for Protection of Minors on Campus

To: All CSU employees

Re: New Policy, Guidelines and Training for Protection of Minors on Campus

Columbus State University is committed to the safety and protection of all individuals.  In keeping with this philosophy, CSU, as well as the entire University System of Georgia (USG), is committed to the establishment of best practices that will provide a safe and healthy environment for all individuals who participate, volunteer, or work at CSU events, particularly minors/children. To that end, CSU has established a thorough set of guidelines, standards, and required training for employees, students, and volunteers who interact with minors on CSU’s campus.

This policy applies to most events, programs or activities involving minor children that is sponsored by CSU, or by any third party using any university facilities. (See Section III for events that are exempt.)

Required documents now include: Volunteer and Staff Code of Conduct that each person who is working an event involving minors under the policy has to sign; the new event enrollment form for when a department wants to create a new CSU sponsored event; and the waiver of liability, medical release, and media release form for minors that parents should fill out and sign when signing up their children for camps.

For questions, please contact Ric Barrow, CSU’s Director of Risk Management, at 706-507-8233 or barrow_richard1@columbusstate.edu.

Policy Name: CSU Code of Conduct for Protection of Minors on Campus
Policy Owner: Office of Vice President for Business and Finance
Responsible Office: Office of Enterprise Risk Management
Approval Date: Jan. 1, 2017
Effective Date: May 1, 2017

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Columbus State University Takes Next Step to Help Homeless Students

COLUMBUS, Ga. — For many students, Columbus State University means studying, performing, researching and finding your way in the world. To others, such as Tearionia Miller, CSU means she finally has a home.

Miller, 20, enrolled at Columbus State University in 2015 as a first-year student, an aspiring artist, and a homeless youth. Before joining CSU, Miller and her mother were living in a homeless shelter. Before that, the pair resided in a friend’s two-bedroom trailer with six other occupants, mostly children; and, before that, they lived in a house without basic necessities.

“Where we lived, it had no lights, no water, no gas,” Miller explained. “It was just a shell.”

Then she came to CSU and met Lisa Shaw, director of CSU’s Academic Center for Excellence, students’ central resource for information on academic programs and student support services. With help from Shaw and a team of dedicated philanthropists from First Baptist Church Columbus, Miller found a place to live and work. She holds a steady work-study position in CSU’s Department of Art, and she is finishing her second year at CSU this month in pursuit of her Associates of Art.

Miller’s is not an isolated case. Homelessness impacts CSU and communities across the country. In Georgia, 37,791 homeless youth were enrolled in public schools in 2014-2015. Nationwide, the number of homeless students enrolled in public schools exceeded 1.2 million in 2014-2015. According to the Muscogee County School District’s website, 2.05% of enrolled students are homeless.

It was Miller’s story that spurred CSU to join Embark Georgia, a statewide network of postsecondary professionals and institutions that works to increase college access for fostered or homeless youth. Embark is a project based out of the JW Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia.

To coincide with its new partnership, Columbus State University created a foundation account, aptly named “Embark,” to collect and distribute funds to current or aspiring CSU students living in transient situations. Funds will be used to purchase housing, food, clothing and other essential items so needy students may start or complete their degrees.

The account supports the network’s vision that: Any person who has experienced foster care and/or homelessness will have ample academic, financial, social, and emotional supports to access, navigate and complete a postsecondary education.

“These funds and donations not only help students finish their degrees, but they change lives, families’ lives, and potentially the lives of an entire community,” said Shaw, who has a background in social services.

Shaw was the first person Miller reached out to for help. Since the Embark account did not yet exist, Shaw worked with CSU’s Office of Financial Aid to secure more than $7,000 in scholarships, emergency funds and vouchers for Miller, which she used to purchase housing, a meal plan and textbooks.

CSU’s dedication to retention, progression and graduation has benefitted other students in need.

Delicia Wynn, a criminal justice major who graduated last December, was driving six hours daily from Valdosta to CSU and back to attend classes. CSU found $1,300 in emergency funds for temporary housing and a meal plan so Wynn could finish her last semester.

“All things are possible if you only believe,” said Wynn. “Ms. Lisa reached out to me after she heard the news, and she helped me in ways I couldn’t imagine. She was very encouraging and caring. As students, we all need that.”

“These students have the grit and the perseverance to finish their degrees,” said Shaw. “I’m cheering on the sidelines, giving them what they need to be successful.”

In addition to Embark, CSU has instituted the following programs or policies to help students in need complete their degrees:

— Student housing remains open during holiday breaks.
— CSU is one of three University System of Georgia partner institutions providing child care subsidies for undergraduates.”
— CSU has developed strong partnerships with community food and clothing banks so items are readily available for students.
— CSU faculty and staff are taught how to recognize students in need and recommend appropriate resources.

“Our campus resources are phenomenal,” said Shaw. “Many are willing to provide support quickly and effectively.”

Despite these campus resources, students in transient living situations are still in need of help, and many are unwilling to seek it to avoid being labeled “homeless.”

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a federal law addressing the needs of homeless people, defines homeless children and youth as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.”

For Valarie Thompson, a CSU graduate currently pursuing her second degree in CSU’s Master of Public Administration program, “homeless” meant surfing her friends’ couches. For others, it means sleeping in a car.

“Homelessness does not have that someone-sleeping-in-the-street look,” said Thompson.

Thompson recently shared her story on Facebook after months of keeping friends and family in the dark.

“I didn’t want people to think I was a bad person,” she explained. “I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I graduated in the top of my class in high school. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English, and I finished in four years – and, I am homeless.”

After years of struggling to find shelter for herself and her son, she is opening up to encourage other students to come forward and seek help.

“Don’t be ashamed,” she said. “You are not alone.”

Thompson plans to found a non-profit organization that provides financial and emotional support for children with craniofacial disorders when she graduates. She currently lives with her two-year-old son in an apartment that she rents from a CSU alumnus.

How to Donate

To donate to Embark, visit CSU’s online giving page. Under “Designate Your Gift,” use the drop-down menu to select “Embark Program.”

CSU employees may also give through one-time or recurring payroll deductions. For assistance, please contact Ashley Lee at 706 507 8945 or lee_ashley3@columbussstate.edu.

If you are a homeless, transient or fostered student attending CSU or interested in attending CSU, please contact Lisa Shaw at 706-507-8787 or shaw_lisa@columbusstate.edu or visit ace.columbusstate.edu/embark/index.php for more information.

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Mixon’s Research Informed New California Law

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Research by Frank Mixon, professor of economics in Columbus State University’s Turner College of Business, was used in the creation of a new California law that protects students against bullying and mobbing, a group form of bullying.

The law mandates that universities and colleges in the California State University and University of California systems adopt and publish policies on harassment, intimidation and bullying in the rules and regulations governing student behavior, which, at a minimum, includes each campus’ website and any printed materials concerning student behavior.

By publishing policies on bullying, the California legislature is expecting they can be more easily practiced.

“This law will help if the policies that are published are followed,” said Mixon.

 

Mixon’s study, “An Economic Model of Workplace Mobbing in Academe,” published in 2012 in Economics of Education Review, examined the presence and implications of mobbing against a university professor by university administration. He used differential game theory to develop an economic model that predicts whether or not, or under what conditions, a faculty member might be forced to resign.

Mixon’s own experiences as a victim of mobbing at a former institution motivated the study, which he authored with João Ricardo Faria of the University of Texas at El Paso and Sean P. Salter of Middle Tennessee State University. After exposing a controversial administrative action, Mixon was saddled with an overly burdensome course schedule that included unnecessary travel to a campus more than 70 miles away. He was able to leave the institution quickly thanks to a curriculum vitae packed with current research that improved his career mobility. Others are not so lucky.

While Mixon’s research dealt exclusively with administration-on-faculty or faculty-on-faculty mobbing, his model can be easily adapted to understand student-on-student mobbing. His study was listed as a resource used to draft the California bill in 2015. The law (CA Educ Code § 66302) was approved last year, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Mixon is the director of the Center for Economic Education at CSU. He was recently recognized during CSU’s 2017 Faculty & Staff Recognition and Excellence Awards ceremony as the winner of CSU’s Teaching Excellence Award.

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“Campus Carry” Legislation

To:   CSU faculty, staff and students

From:   President Chris Markwood

Yesterday evening, Governor Deal signed House Bill 280, the “campus carry” legislation.

The chancellor and I — and many other university presidents — are on record as saying that we supported current law. Nonetheless, as we near the July 1st effective date of this new law, the system office will be issuing implementation guidance to all institutions, including Columbus State University. We will not be making any changes to policies until we receive this final guidance.

We recognize that many have strong feelings about this new law. It is important that we all work together now to implement the new law appropriately, and continue to provide a top-quality education to our students.

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CSU Holds Special Graduation Ceremony for Student-Athletes

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University held a special graduation ceremony Thursday afternoon for seven student-athletes who might not be able to participate in the university’s regular ceremonies because they will be competing in post-season tournaments.

CSU’s graduation ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13. If things go as planned, CSU’s baseball team will be competing that weekend in their conference championship tournament, and CSU’s men’s and women’s tennis teams will be in Orlando in the NCAA Round of 16. It will be the Lady Cougars’ sixth straight appearance in the Round of 16 and the men’s first appearance since 2014.

When Director of Athletics Todd Reeser heard about the conflict, he and President Chris Markwood quickly huddled and found some free time this week when they could honor the student-athletes.

“This is a recognition of the ultimate of victories for these student-athletes,” Reeser said. “We did not want them to miss graduation. We wanted them to feel special.”

The ceremony was held in the Lumpkin Center, which will host CSU’s regular graduations later this month. The students wore caps and gowns and the graduation march music played from a nearby computer. The president and other senior administrators wore full academic regalia. They even had a commencement speaker: the 2016 Muscogee County School District Teacher of the Year, Stefan Lawrence. Lawrence is a two-time graduate of Columbus State University and used to be a starting guard on the CSU basketball team.

“We are so proud of our graduates and thankful you could be here today,” Markwood told the graduates, who were being watched by a room full of parents, coaches, friends and administrators. “One of the things I think is so special about graduation is that while it is an individual effort, it is also a team accomplishment. That is even more true today.”

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Department of Biology Dominates at Regional Conference

Several students and faculty members from Columbus State University’s Department of Biology recently attended the annual conference of the Association of Southeastern Biologists, the largest scientific professional organization in the Southeast.

Lauren Whitehurst, a graduate student enrolled in CSU’s Master of Science in Natural Sciences program, and Kevin Burgess, professor of ecological genetics, took home three awards for their presentation of “Implementing a DNA Barcoding Pipeline to Prevent the Introduction of Invasive Species in the Port of Savannah.” Those awards were:

— The Ecological Society of America’s Eugene P. Odum Award (Southeast Chapter);
— The Botanical Society of America’s Southeast Section Award (student award); and
— The Southern Appalachian Botanical Society Award.

CSU’s Mu Omicron Chapter of Tri Beta, the national biological honor society, won the District II Outstanding Chapter Award. With 21 members in attendance, CSU also delivered the most delegates to the conference. Out of all Tri Beta participants:

— Rachel Pearson and professor Lauren King were awarded first place for their presentation of “Detection of Neutrophil Apoptosis in Response to Haemophilus influenzae.
— Lauren Johnson and professor Katey Hughes were awarded second place for their presentation of “The Involvement of Estrogen Receptors in Astrocyte Survival.”
— Rowan Pitts and professor Lauren King received an honorable mention for their presentation of “Intracellular Survival of Acinteobacter baumannii in Human Neutrophils.”

Other Tri Beta presentations:

— Amy Adams and professors Elizabeth Klar and Michael Newbrey – “The Seasonal Prevalence of Female Sex Cells in Gonads of Male Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) in the Columbus, Georgia Area of the Chattahoochee River”
— Jeramy Belt and professors Elizabeth Klar and Michael Newbrey – “A Comparison of Age and the Prevalence of Intersex Within Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) in the Columbus, Georgia Area of the Chattahoochee River”
— Michael Rohly and professor Brian Schwartz – “Altruism in Colonies of Yeast Sarccharomyces cerevisiae and the Effects of Nutritional Parameters on Colony Growth and Cell Viability”

Other Association of Southeastern Biologist presentations:

— Professors John Barone and Kevin Burgess — “Plant / Grasshopper Food Webs in Prairies and Longleaf Pine Savannas Using DNA Barcodes” (poster)
— Marissa Granberry and professor Clifton Ruehl — “Cold Tolerance in Introduced Apple Snails Along a Latitudinal Gradient” (poster)
— Lauren Johnson, Rowan Pitts, Rachel Pearson and professor Katey Hughes – “Effects of Estradiol and Progesterone on Nerve Activity of Procambarus clarkii
— Aaron Thomas and professor Clifton Ruehl — “Nutrients Modify the Effects of Predation in Simple Aquatic Communities”
— Bridget Smith and professor Katey Hughes — “Effects of Stress on Astrocytes and Hormonal Protections”
— Ashley Turner and professor John Davis — “Use of Methylobacterium as a Possible Protective Against Pathogenic Infection in Red Clover, Trifolium pretense” (poster)

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Department of Biology Presents to Georgia Academy of Science

Several students and faculty members from Columbus State University’s Department of Biology presented during the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Georgia Academy of Science, hosted by Young Harris College.

Brooks Arnold and professor Brian Schwartz received third place for their poster presentation of “Quantitative PCR Validation of Copper-Regulated Gene Expression in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae.”

Students Michael Rohly, Nate Moore, Chris Resch and Josh May and professor Brian Schwartz gave a verbal presentation of “Genetic Characterization of Mutants of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae that Grow Brown in the Presence of Copper.”

The Georgia Academy of Science was incorporated in 1953 as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting science education and fostering scientific research in the state

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Staff Spotlight: Johniqua Williams Wins President’s Staff Excellence Award

Johniqua Williams is the focus of this month’s Staff Spotlight, a recognition sponsored by Columbus State University’s Staff Council.

In the following video, Sgt. Michael Stewart, a member of Staff Council’s public relations committee, interviews Williams after CSU’s 2017 Faculty & Staff Recognition and Excellence Awards ceremony, during which Williams received the President’s Staff Excellence Award.

As the student development specialist for diversity programs in the Office Student Life & Development, Williams oversees CSU’s Diversity Forum, an annual conference and celebration of inclusion on campus and in the community.

A new initiative of CSU Staff Council, Staff Spotlights serve to recognize outstanding CSU employees for their hard work, accolades and commitment to Columbus State University.

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