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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Nuclear Expert to Discuss Russian, Korean Threats

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Former U.S. diplomat Mark Fitzpatrick will offer a close examination of the nuclear threats presented by Russia and other foreign nations Thursday, Feb. 23 during the Col. Richard R. Hallock Lecture Series presented by Columbus State University’s Department of Politics, Philosophy and Public Administration.

A leading expert on nuclear issues, Fitzpatrick served in the State Department for 26 years before joining the International Institute for Strategic Studies to run the institute’s Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme. Among other works, he is the author of “Asia’s Latent Nuclear Powers: Japan, South Korea and Taiwan,” “Overcoming Pakistan’s Nuclear Dangers,” and “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: Avoiding Worst-Case Outcomes.” He holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of Minnesota.

On Thursday, he will discuss “The Greatest Nuclear Threats to the U.S.,” noting how Moscow’s nuclear arsenal — the largest in the world — has long been directed at the U.S. and its allies, and how recent interactions have sparked renewed nuclear sabre-rattling by the Kremlin.

Fitzpatrick, however, will argue that the gravest nuclear challenges are to be found in North Korea and South Asia. Pyongyang’s accelerated nuclear and missile tests demonstrate an intention, or at least an ability, to hit the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

The lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Cunningham Conference Center on CSU’s main campus.

For more information, contact Thomas Dolan at 706-507-8727 or Dolan_Thomas@ColumbusState.edu.

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Region’s Best Science Fair Projects at CSU for Judging and Display

COLUMBUS, Ga. — More than 120 middle and high school students from Columbus and the surrounding area competed in the Columbus Regional Science and Engineering Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at Columbus State University.

CSU faculty, students and community volunteers reviewed the results of the students’ research projects spanning disciplines from biology, chemistry, environmental science and medicine to engineering, mathematics, physics and computer science. Twenty top teams will go on to compete at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair March 30-April 1 in Athens, Ga.

The Columbus Regional Science and Engineering Fair was sponsored by CSU’s College of Letters and Sciences, CSU’s Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Muscogee County School District, Flint Energies, Geotechnical and Environmental Consultants Inc., Path-Tec, DJI Builders, and Renal Associates, LLC. For more information, contact Janet Jamieson by phone at 706-507-8450 or email at Jamieson_Janet@ColumbusState.edu.

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Mixon Named New Director of CSU’s Command College

mixon-fullCOLUMBUS, Ga. — William “Billy” Mixon, a career law enforcement official who has spent 25 years in academy operations, has been named the new director of Columbus State University’s Command College.

Command College, a partnership between the university and the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, provides a program of study that goes beyond what is currently available in public safety executive and management development courses, serving as a “graduate school” for public safety executives. Students earn professional development experience while also earning academic credit toward a master’s degree in a program that is distinctive, flexible, relevant and comprehensive.

Mixon has been serving as interim director of Command College since August.

He came to Columbus State University after spending 13 years as the Public Safety Training Manager at Columbus’ Georgia Public Safety Training Center. There, he supervised a professional staff in development, delivery, review and revision of statewide public safety training programs that involved about 70 adjunct instructors. A certified law enforcement officer since 1982, Mixon has been involved with public safety training for 25 years.

“Billy is the right person to lead Command College into its next phase,” said Dennis Rome, dean of CSU’s College of Letters and Sciences, the academic unit of the university that houses Command College. “We want to strengthen and expand upon the wonderful track record that’s already been established with Command College and the representatives from more than 300 different agencies around the country who have gone through the program.”

Since taking over the program, Mixon has met with various law enforcement officials and groups around the state to ensure the master’s degree, course offerings and Professional Management Program continue to serve the needs of state public safety personnel.

“It is a real honor to be leading Command College,” Mixon said. “From the dean to the university president to the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Board, there has been universal support for what we’re doing and where we’re planning to go.”

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Expert on North Korea Speaks at Columbus State University

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Hallock Lecture Series welcomed Mark Tokola, vice president of the Korea Economic Institute of America and an expert on North Korean affairs, to campus Wednesday, oct. 19 to discuss the international community’s response to the country’s recent unsanctioned nuclear tests and missile launches.

tokola

“If there’s one thing we can always rely on from North Korea, it’s that whatever the leadership orders, it will get the world’s attention,” said Tom Dolan, CSU professor of political science and director of the Hallock Lecture Series. “Whether it’s nuclear tests or missile launches, or creative ways to execute people, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea makes the news.”

Presented by CSU’s Department of Political Science, Philosophy and Public Administration, the Hallock Lecture Series was conceived to address key current events and the changing nature of national security concerns for students of political science and foreign affairs. James Clapper, director of U.S. National Intelligence, noted in February during his annual worldwide threat assessment to the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea, not Iran, represents the world’s most worrisome nuclear threat.

“Mr. Tokola spoke about ‘Dealing with Kim Jong-un’s North Korea,’ addressing many of the conflicts the world faces with this problematic country,” Dolan said. “Although the U.S. and North Korea have made some progress in the past, especially during the 1990s, this progress has been reversed and North Korea faces pressure not just from the U.S., but from the United Nations and China as well.”

Tokola served 38 years as a Foreign Service Officer in Great Britain, South Korea, Iceland and Mongolia, as well as Baghdad, Brussels, The Hague and Sarajevo, where he received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his work on implementing the Dayton Peace Accords. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Pomona College in Claremont, California and a Master of Laws in European community law from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

“CSU was fortunate to have been able to bring in an expert on North Korea for the tenth year of the Hallock Lecture Series on issues of national security,” Dolan said.

The Hallock Lecture Series is funded by the Richard R. Hallock Foundation. Col. Hallock was a much decorated political aide to Gen. Lucius D. Clay in Berlin after World War II, and he was the youngest major to be a battalion commander in Korea.

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Columbus State University Receives $3 Million Endowment from Author, Businessman

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Local author and businessman Donald L. Jordan gifted Columbus State University’s College of Letters and Sciences with a $3 million endowment to encourage students to continue the art of writing.

The university held a signing ceremony to establish the Donald L. Jordan Endowment for Traditional American Writing in the College of Letters and Sciences — the largest single gift to the college and one of the largest to CSU — on Sept. 26 at the Cunningham Center.

“This day marks one of the most incredible days I have experienced since coming to Columbus State University,” said Dennis Rome, dean of CSU’s College of Letters and Sciences. “This wide-ranging gift from Mr. Jordan will not only support the students in our creative writing program but will also give our students who travel abroad the opportunity to come back and share their experiences with others through their writing.”

jordan

Jordan’s works have been published in national magazines, trade book publishers and with self-publishers. “In contemporary fiction we are quickly losing the spirit of generosity, faith and love that personified the characters of our great American writers,” added Jordan.

This generous contribution will encourage current and future generations of authors to write about people who they hold dear and honor the values of responsibility, gratitude, generosity, faith and love.

The endowment will help student writers develop their craft. The fund also will support the following programs at Columbus State University:

The Donald L. Jordan Prize in Traditional American Writing
This open manuscript competition to published and unpublished writers nationwide awards annual prizes for the top entries that best represent the traditional American values of responsibility, gratitude, generosity, faith and love. The winner will have their work published by Columbus State University Press and distributed nationally. A panel of selected judges, including at least one eminent American writer, will judge the contest.

The Donald L. Jordan Endowed Professorship in Creative Writing
This professorship in creative writing will support CSU’s Department of English by supplementing the salary of a faculty member. The faculty member will teach courses and oversee the execution of The Donald L. Jordan Prize in Traditional American Writing and a writing conference every two to three years on campus to publicize writing that honors traditional American values.

The Donald L. Jordan Study Abroad Service Learning Program
This program supports a group of up to 10 students and two faculty members to travel to a developing country for up to two weeks and engage in a humanitarian project. Working with an established agency, the group will collaborate with local organizations and health departments to provide much-needed support by building awareness through educational presentations in schools and in communities. Program participants will engage in life-changing work and following the experience will write about how responsibility, generosity, faith and love can be used for the good of others.

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CSU Professor’s New Book Leads to Research Grant for LBJ Library

Joe MillerCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University Assistant Professor of English Joe Miller will conduct research in Lyndon B. Johnson’s Presidential Library this August thanks to a $1,560 Moody Research Grant.

Miller’s research will focus on the understanding and treatment of alcoholism. It is the topic of his new book, “US of AA: Science, Alcoholism, and the Rise and Fall of the Twelve Steps,” which was recently accepted for publication by Chicago Review Press, one of the nation’s leading independent publishers.

“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to travel to Austin to conduct research in President Johnson’s archives,” Miller said. “Johnson was the first president to identify alcoholism as a disease and his administration laid the groundwork for the establishment of the National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA). I hope to find information in his papers that will help me tell the story of how he came to view alcoholism as a high-priority public health issue.”

“US of AA” is a narrative history of how America’s understanding and treatment of alcoholism has evolved over the last 70 years. It tells the story of how our understanding of problem drinking and drug abuse changed from a matter of morality to one of pathology, how Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) became our nation’s de facto treatment policy for treating it, and how, in light of new science funded and led by the NIAAA, our understanding is changing once again, moving away from a singular reliance on AA toward an ever broadening array of medicines and therapy approaches that have proven success rates, Miller said.

Miller’s trip to Austin will be paid for by a Moody Research Grant, which is underwritten by The Moody Foundation of Galveston, TX. The LBJ Foundation awards a limited number of grants each year, and the selection process is highly competitive.

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Plans Forming for Celebration of Carson McCullers’ 100th Birthday

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University and a myriad of partners are developing a community-wide celebration to commemorate the 100th birthday of noted author Carson McCullers, who was born and started her writing career in Columbus.

Dubbed Carson at 100: The McCullers Centennial, the celebration will include months of activities early next year, culminating with an event on February 19, 2017 that will include actress Karen Allen, who has appeared in films such as “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Sandlot,” “Scrooged” and “Animal House.” Allen is a devoted McCullers fan and will use her Columbus visit as the occasion to unveil the first movie she has ever directed, a short film based on the McCullers story “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.”

“We are tremendously excited to have Karen Allen partner with us on this celebration,” said Nick Norwood, an English professor who directs CSU’s Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians. “I just returned from visiting the movie set and can confirm that it is going to be a stunningly beautiful film.”

TRC Shoot

Plans are still coming together, but Norwood said McCullers’ classic novel “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” has already been selected as CSU’s Common Read (for all incoming first-year students) and the Chattahoochee Valley Library’s Big Read.

Events planned so far include:

— Art Installation: The Back Alley Project, January 15 – February 19, 2017 at the Smith-McCullers House, 1519 Stark Avenue, Columbus
— Columbus Museum Exhibition: January 28 – April 9, 2017 (opening reception: February 2, 2017)
— Columbus Museum Lunchtime Lecture on Carson McCullers by McCullers Center Director Nick Norwood: February 7, 2017
— CSU Schwob Memorial Library Archives Exhibition: October 2016 – February 2017
— Ilges Gallery (CSU Corn Center for the Visual Arts) Exhibition: January 17 – February 25, 2017 (opening reception: February 7, 2017, 5:30 – 7 p.m.)
— Showcase Event: February 19, 2017, 4 p.m., Bill Heard Theatre, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts

Norwood said he hopes to use these events to showcase McCullers’s impact as an American author and the treasure trove of history in Columbus that honors her and her work.

The McCullers Center is an educational outreach unit of CSU in the home McCullers grew up in on Stark Avenue. The house is currently used as a Carson McCullers museum, a literary-event space and a residency site for visiting writers, artists and scholars, and it is part of the Southern Literary Trail, a series of homes and landmarks celebrating writers of classic Southern literature in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

According to Georgia Encyclopedia, Carson McCullers is considered to be among the most significant American writers of the 20th century. She amassed a collection of work including five novels, two plays, 20 short stories, more than two dozen nonfiction pieces, a book of children’s verses, a small number of poems and an unfinished autobiography. She is best known for her novels “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter,” “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe,” “Reflections in a Golden Eye,” and “The Member of the Wedding,” all published between 1940 and 1946. At least four of her works have been made into films.

She was born Lula Carson Smith on February 19, 1917, in Columbus, the daughter of Lamar Smith, a jewelry store owner, and Vera Marguerite Waters. Lula Carson, as she was called until age 14, graduated from Columbus High School at 16. An unremarkable student, she preferred the more solitary study of the piano. Encouraged by her mother, who was convinced that her daughter was destined for greatness, McCullers began formal piano study at age 10. She was forced to give up her dream of a career as a concert pianist after rheumatic fever left her without the stamina for the rigors of practice or a concert career. While recuperating, McCullers began to read voraciously and to consider writing as a vocation.

In 1934, at age 17, McCullers sailed from Savannah to New York City, ostensibly to study piano at the Juilliard School of Music but actually to pursue her secret ambition to write. Working various jobs to support herself, she studied creative writing at New York’s Columbia University and at Washington Square College of New York University. She continued her writing career in a house in Nyack N.Y., which was recently gifted to CSU as part of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians.

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CSU Professor Stephanie da Silva Selected for Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program

daSilvaATHENS, Ga. — Columbus State University associate professor of psychology Stephanie da Silva was recently selected as a 2016 Governor’s Teaching Fellow after a highly competitive application and selection process.

One of 15 faculty members from institutions of higher education across the state, da Silva was selected to participate last month in the Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program, which was established in 1995 by Zell Miller, governor of Georgia from 1991 to 1999, to provide Georgia’s higher education faculty with expanded opportunities for developing important teaching skills. Gov. Miller envisioned this program would address faculty members’ pressing need to use emerging technologies and instructional tools that are becoming increasingly important for learning in today’s society.

“The experience was nothing short of transformational,” said da Silva. “I will never teach my courses the same way I did before I attended. It truly changed my approach to teaching and learning.”

The Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program is an outreach program of the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. To improve the quality of instruction in Georgia’s colleges and universities, the Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program assumes the complex challenge of moving college faculty members to the leading edge of instructional practice.

In her own classroom, da Silva plans to transition from tests to performance tasks to better measure student learning, a strategy she learned from the Fellows Program.

“The biggest changes [to my teaching] will be the incorporation of effective strategies to truly engage students and assessments that authentically target skills in application and use of course content,” da Silva said.

To date, the Fellows have represented more than 89 subjects, professions and teaching areas and more than 61 public and private institutions statewide. To learn more about the Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program, go to http://ihe.uga.edu/outreach/governors-teaching-fellows.

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Students ‘Break Bad’ to Build Good Writing Skills

Breaking Bad Student

Freshman computer science and Spanish major Thomas Wingate discussing casting and writing with classmates in Columbus State University’s “Breaking Bad and American Issues” course.


COLUMBUS, Ga.
— What adjectives best describe lead character Walter White’s mindset? Is there a conflict between how white- and blue-collar crime is viewed? What messages do the doorways, alleyways and the show’s music send?

English professor Sundi S. Rose ping ponged these emotionally charged questions to her students about critically acclaimed crime drama “Breaking Bad” as part of her modern, animated-styled English 1102 course: “Breaking Bad and American Issues.”

“This spring semester we watched Season 2 of ‘Breaking Bad,’” said Rose, a fast-talking teacher and pop culture professional writer. “My students have spent the semester learning how to watch and write about pop media. The course is about taking the text and analyzing it with a critical eye, and they’ve got it.”

The TV series follows White, played by Bryan Cranston. A chemistry teacher, White lives in New Mexico with his wife and teen. White is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and learns he has limited time to live, thus transforming from a meek family man to a kingpin of the drug world.

“It’s not your typical class — for sure,” said Thomas Wingate, freshman computer science and Spanish major of Cusseta, Georgia. “The class involves a lot of class collaboration and creative writing. She even tweets us discussions about ‘Breaking Bad’ and the dos and don’ts of writing.”

Throughout the series, Rose’s students have explored issues of gender politics; immigration; drug culture and legislation; feminism; toxic masculinity; the American economic recession and middle class; and health care.

“All while we talk about these topics,” said the Columbus native, “I’m sneaking critical thinking through the back door to help prepare them for future coursework across campus.”

The class setup is simple: Students subscribe to Netflix, watch episodes weekly and probe the show’s social issues during classroom discussions, group workshops and peer reviews.

“I’m not a strong writer,” said Rebekah Cherry, freshman early childhood education major of LaGrange, Georgia. “Well, I thought I wasn’t until I got into this class. I’ve really taken my writing from vague to specific, because she forces us to look at every detail and every angle of these episodes.”

The “Breaking Bad” course also includes three major papers, which involve the development of strong thesis statements, providing textual evidence and researching secondary sources to support claims.

Sundi Rose

Columbus State University English professor and pop culture writer Sundi S. Rose uses critically acclaimed crime drama “Breaking Bad” as part of her modern, animated-styled English 1102 course.


The class is just one of many innovative courses Rose teaches at Columbus State throughout the academic year.

Each semester her courses range from exploring the controversial musical work of artists Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar to blockbuster film “Straight Outta Compton” to Marvel’s TV series “Jessica Jones.”

“I watch anywhere between 35 to 40 shows,” said Rose. “I absolutely love TV and will watch anything once.”

In addition to pop culture, Rose’s courses at CSU focus on composition and Southern literature.

The freelance writer and critic blogs about pop culture and how it effects shared identities. Rose serves as a contributor to publications Entertainment Weekly, Hello Giggles, Daily Dot, Indiewire and PopSugar as well.

Her contemporary teaching techniques to English make students more apt to engage in classroom discourse after watching each episode.

“This course definitely changed my perspective on society,” Wingate said. “Just from watching the show and having open dialogue in class has helped my writing and understanding of the types of issues that affect and shape people.”

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Department of State Ambassador to Speak About Threats to U.S. Security

 

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A seasoned diplomat who has spent a lifetime involved in international politics is speaking at Columbus State University Tuesday evening about global threats to U.S. security.

Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering holds the rank of career ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, Pickering has served as U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

“Ambassador Pickering will be the fourth U.S. ambassador to visit us, and he is certainly the longest-serving and most accomplished,” said Tom Dolan, professor of political science at CSU. “He has agreed to come to Columbus as he returns from the Middle East and before he goes back to Europe later this week, so we are very fortunate that he will be speaking to us.”

In 2012, Pickering chaired the Benghazi Accountability Review Board at the request of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The review board made recommendations on improving security stemming from the attack on the U.S. Mission at Benghazi, Libya on Sep. 11, 2012.

Pickering earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He earned his first master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and his second from the University of Melbourne in Australia. He currently serves as vice chairman at Hills and Company, an international trade consulting firm.

Pickering’s talk is part of CSU’s Col. Richard R. Hallock Lecture Series, named after Col. Richard R. Hallock, a decorated career military officer, former personal aide for intelligence to Gen. Lucas Clay in Berlin after WWII and consultant to former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger. The lecture series is funded by the Richard R. Hallock Foundation and coordinated by CSU’s Department of Politics, Philosophy and Public Administration.

Pickering’s lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5 in CSU’s Cunningham Conference Center, 3100 Gentian Blvd. Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Dolan at Dolan_Thomas@ColumbusState.edu or 706-332-2186.

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CSU To Honor Carson McCullers with 99th Birthday Reception, Concert

CarsonCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians will host two events this February honoring its namesake on what would have been her 99th birthday.

The events, scheduled for Friday, Feb. 19, will celebrate two key elements of Carson McCullers’s life: writing and music. A birthday reception for the author will be held at the writing center on Stark Avenue, followed by a concert in downtown Columbus’ Legacy Hall featuring ALIA Musica Pittsburgh, a contemporary ensemble directed by Federico Garcia de Castro. The concert will be sponsored by CSU’s Schwob School of Music.

“We are proud to be partnering with the Schwob School of Music for this celebration of Carson McCullers’s 99th birthday,” said Nick Norwood, director of the Carson McCullers Center. “People often forget that the Smith-McCullers Center is for both writers and musicians.”

Born in 1917, McCullers grew up in the Columbus home where CSU’s Carson McCullers Center is now located. She also spent twenty years in Nyack, NY before her death at age 50. CSU inherited the Nyack home in 2014 from the estate of Mary Mercer, the noted author’s physician and long-time friend.

During her abbreviated life, McCullers wrote five novels, twenty short stories, two-dozen nonfiction pieces, a book of children’s verses, a number of poems and an unfinished autobiography. Her best known works include “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” “The Ballad of the Sad Café,” and “The Member of the Wedding.”

Carson McCullers’s birthday celebration reception will take place from 4-6 p.m. Friday, February 19 at the McCullers Center on 1519 Stark Ave. McCullers’s birthday concert will be held from 7:30-9:30 p.m. the same evening in Legacy Hall at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. Both events are free and open to the public.

CSU’s Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Carson McCullers through educational and cultural programming. The center maintains Carson McCullers’s childhood home as a museum with an ever-growing archive of materials related to the life and career of the renowned author.

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Columbus State University Again Hosts Columbus Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Region’s best student science and engineering projects will be on display

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University will once again host the Columbus Regional Science and Engineering Fair for local middle school and high school students on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at CSU’s Cunningham Center. Judging will be from 6-8 p.m.

This year, approximately 131 middle and high school students from many Columbus schools will be participating. The fair is an opportunity for students to display the results of research projects that they have conducted during the semester. Students learn how to isolate problems and solve them within the framework of organized, logical thought and study.

Science fair projects cover a range of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, medicine and physics. Projects are judged by members of the CSU community and other interested individuals from the region. Winners from the Columbus Regional Fair may go on to compete at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair in Athens from March 31 – April 2.

Projects can be viewed by the general public on Wednesday, Feb. 3 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Cunningham Center, 3100 Gentian Blvd.

The fair is sponsored by CSU’s College of Letters and Sciences. For more information, contact Janet Jamieson at 706-507-8464 or Jamieson_Janet@ColumbusState.edu.

Other event sponsors:

— Columbus State University’s Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
— Muscogee County School District
— Flint Energies
— High Performance Product Engineering LLC
— Perfect Patterns South Inc.
— Geotechnical and Environmental Consultants, Inc.

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Modern Technology Brings Ancient History to Columbus State University

Peruvian ArtifactCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University students are busy cataloguing and analyzing one of the oldest and best-preserved Peruvian archeological collections in the world thanks to Facebook and the hard work of a tech-savvy anthropology professor.

Danielle Cook, a lecturer in CSU’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences, first learned about the 6,500-year-old collection from a Facebook group called Bioanthropology News. A friend of Cook’s tagged her in a post by University of Missouri professor Bob Benfer, who was offering the collection up to any interested parties. At the time, he was cleaning out his garage, where the collection was housed.

Cook was the first to respond to Benfer’s post, and in just a month and half, eight boxes containing human skeletal remains, textiles, skin, hair, brain and even fecal matter with Peruvian toilet paper arrived on CSU’s campus.

“This collection is so unique and so rare because most archeological sites are looted, and artifacts are sold to private collectors,” Cook said. “There are no laws in Central and South America that protect these sites from theft.”

Most of the artifacts are from the La Paloma site, a coastal desert area in Peru. The site was well hidden from looters, making it one of the best collections of Peruvian artifacts in the world, said Cook.

“Danielle’s efforts in securing the La Paloma collection were really impressive,” said Clinton Barineau, chair of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences. “There aren’t many universities the size of CSU that have access to a collection of this nature.”

Peruvian Artifact  Peruvian Artifact

Cook is taking a collaborative approach to put the collection to good use. Anthropology students are examining the remains to learn more about ancient Peruvian lifestyles; chemistry students are running biochemical tests on bone crystals to see if salt was used in ritualistic burials; biology students are analyzing samples of DNA; and others are testing hair for recreational cocaine use.

“Danielle spends a lot of time getting students involved in undergraduate research,” Barineau said. “Danielle and her students are already discovering new things about Peruvian culture, and I have no doubt CSU students will continue to benefit from this collection for many years to come.”

CSU’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences offers a broad base of scientific study in anthropology, astronomy, environmental science, geology, science education, engineering, robotics and physics. Faculty members offer a diverse array of courses, degrees and student research opportunities. For more information about the department and its programs, visit https://ess.columbusstate.edu/.

 

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Columbus State University Physicist Named Georgia’s ‘Professor of the Year’

Dr. Shaw's Physics Class

A Columbus State University physicist has been recognized as the most outstanding undergraduate professor in Georgia — a first-time honor for a CSU faculty member.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) announced today Kimberly Shaw is 2015’s Georgia Professor of the Year, which is the association’s most prestigious award honoring undergraduate teaching.

“This award isn’t just mine,” said Shaw, who serves as professor of physics and co-director of UTeach Columbus, an innovative mathematics, science and education teaching program. “It belongs to all of my colleagues who work so hard to ensure our students learn and succeed. The most rewarding part of my job is always knowing I have made a difference.”

CASE honored Shaw during ceremonies Thursday in Washington, D.C. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Shaw joined this year’s state and national award winners to celebrate CASE’s 35th year of the awards program.

“This is an impressive honor bestowed upon Dr. Shaw,” said Clint Barineau, interim chair and associate professor of geology in CSU’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences. “This award acknowledges what her colleagues and students have known for a long time: Dr. Shaw is an inspiring and dedicated educator with a passion for teaching and a talent for engaging her students.”

The Professor of the Year award salutes undergraduate instructors in the country who have excelled as teachers and influence the careers and lives of their students.

 

Dr. Shaw's Physics Class“The core mission of a university is to educate students,” Shaw said. “This award is special because it’s one of the only national awards to recognize good teaching using innovative techniques and gathering evidence on what is effective.”

Shaw has dedicated 18 years to educating students.

During the past eight years, she has taught introductory-level physics, honors enrichment, interdisciplinary physical science and research methods courses at Columbus State.

“Her impact on my life is, without a doubt, substantial,” said Timothy Jones, a former student and now science teacher at Harris County High School. “She makes the material easier to understand by using neat demonstrations and effectively breaks down the material. In fact, there is an ongoing joke between my classmates about how garden gnomes were used to explain electricity. She used a princess blanket she borrowed from her daughter’s room and explained the concept of gravity. Little things like that allowed me to make better connections in physics and helped me understand it at a much deeper level.”

Just a month ago, the Southeastern Association for Science Teacher Education also acknowledged Shaw’s educational work by presenting her with the 2015 Rod Nave Award.

The Rod Nave Award is given to a supporter of the science education community. It is named after Georgia State University physics professor Rod Nave, who designated special classes for science teachers to use the latest technologies.

“Physics underlies so much of today’s technology,” said Shaw. “From the semiconductors that make computers possible to making relativistic corrections in satellite positions to developing the science behind cancer treatments, all of this affects peoples’ lives.”

Shaw also became the recipient of a Complete College Georgia STEM Innovation fund grant this year.

“This grant will afford Columbus State the opportunity to develop faculty learning communities and provide training and support to STEM faculty interested in improving students’ learning,” said Shaw.

Shaw earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. She also earned both a master’s degree in physics and doctorate in experimental condensed matter physics from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.

Shaw serves as a member of state and national organizations such as the American Physical Society, American Association of Physics Teachers, National Science Teachers Association and Association for Women in Science.

“I design class time so that students can be ‘active’ in their learning and have those ‘light-bulb moments,’” she said. “I’m privileged to work with CSU faculty and the UTeach Columbus team as we work together to bring research-based teaching techniques to the future math and science teachers of this area.”

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CSU’s Carson McCullers Center To Host ‘Write-A-Thon’ for Aspiring Novelists

NaNoWriMo

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians will open its doors all day Sunday, Nov. 1 for aspiring writers to gather, collaborate and compose their novels.

The McCullers Center, located in the childhood home of acclaimed author Carson McCullers, is hosting a “Write-A-Thon” to celebrate National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Beginning Nov. 1, NaNoWriMo participants will attempt to write a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. Nov. 30.

“I’ve completed two novels, which I hope to publish one day, thanks to Write-A-Thon,” said Sunshine King (B.A. ’14), a CSU graduate student in library science and regional municipal liaison for the event. “It’s motivating to be surrounded by other students who are going though the same process. The event unites all writers and provides moral support.”

Write-A-Thon, co-sponsored by CSU’s Creative Writing Club and the McCullers Center, runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is open to the public. For more information, contact King at king_sunshine@columbusstate.edu or visit http://nanowrimo.org/.

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Columbus State University To Host ISIS Expert During Hallock Lecture Series

Gartenstein-RossCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University will host global terrorist affairs and ISIS expert Daveed Gartenstein-Ross Monday, Oct. 12 during the Col. Richard R. Hallock Lecture Series presented by CSU’s Department of Politics, Philosophy and Public Administration.

Gartenstein-Ross, now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, was once an Islamic extremist. Pulling from personal experience, he will seek to explain ISIS’s mission to revive the Holy War, discuss the terrorist organization’s sophisticated use of social media rhetoric and examine other current international affairs.

“Not all learning happens in a classroom,” said Thomas Dolan, CSU professor of political science and director of the Hallock Lecture Series. “Our students have the opportunity to listen to an expert. I encourage them to come and get informed.”

Gartenstein-Ross is also CEO of Valens Global, a consulting firm focusing on challenges of violent non-state actors, an assistant professor for Georgetown University’s security studies program and a professor at the Catholic University of America.

His visit begins the ninth year of the Hallock Lecture Series, named after Col. Richard R. Hallock, a career military officer and aide to former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger.

The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in CSU’s Cunningham Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Dr. Dolan at 706-507-8727 or Dolan_Thomas@ColumbusState.edu.

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Columbus State University: New Plans for Old Arnold Hall

COLUMBUS, Ga. — According to the latest blueprints and artist renderings, renovations on one of CSU’s oldest classroom buildings, Arnold Hall, will transform the cramped, outdated building into a modern, adaptive and student-focused facility.

ArnoldHall_NorthEntry

The building’s new grand entryway will lead students to a staircase that resembles those at Google Headquarters. The larger “Google Steps” will offer students a space to sit, study or mingle between classes. The staircase will lead up to the second floor where CSU’s Department of English and Department of Psychology will be housed.

ArnoldHall_StairEntry

 

Also on the second floor, “huddle rooms” will provide space for students to host study group meetings, tutoring sessions or student-professor conferences. Plans include the installation of LED touchscreen monitors and whiteboards in the rooms to facilitate group learning.

Three large classrooms, computer labs, an auditorium, the Math and Science Learning Center and the University Writing Center will make up the first floor of Arnold Hall.

ArnoldHall_Auditorium

The Arnold Hall renovations are made possible by a $4.95 million state appropriation that was signed last year. Work on Arnold Hall will begin immediately following the renovation of Howard Hall, which will open this fall.

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Poet and Pushcart Prize Winner To Reside at CSU’s Carson McCullers Center

HowellCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians recently announced Rebecca Gayle Howell as the 2015 Marguerite and Lamar Smith Writing Fellow. From September to December, Howell will work and reside in the childhood home of Carson McCullers, author of “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” and other Sothern Gothic novels.

A Kentucky native, Howell is the tenth recipient of the fellowship named for McCullers’ parents and inspired by McCullers’ experiences at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and the Yaddo Arts Colony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. In 2014, Howell was awarded a Pushcart Prize, the nation’s top literary award honoring short stories, poetry and essays. Her first book of poems, “Render/An Apocalypse,” was the winner of the 2012 Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize. Howell also helped translate into English Amal al-Jubouri’s “Hagar Before the Occupation/Hagar After the Occupation” and was awarded two fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass.

Howell earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Fine Arts from Drew University in Madison, N.J. She is currently working on her Ph.D. at Texas Tech University.

While in residence at the Carson McCullers Center, Howell will work on her second book of poems. During her stay, the McCullers Center will host a public reading featuring Howell, the details of which will be announced at a later date.

The Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship contributes to the McCullers Center’s mission to preserve the legacy of Carson McCullers, nurture American writers and musicians, educate youth and foster the literary and musical life of Columbus, Georgia and the American South. The center, located on 1519 Stark Avenue, presents educational and cultural programs for the community and maintains an archive of materials related to the life and work of Carson McCullers.

For more information on Howell, the Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship or related programs and events, visit www.mccullerscenter.org or call 706-565-4021.

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Associate Professor of Chemistry at CSU Awarded Fulbright Scholarship to Ethiopia

AbegazSamuelCOLUMBUS, Ga. — The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the awarding committee for one of the nation’s most prestigious international exchange programs, recently named Columbus State University Associate Professor of chemistry Samuel Abegaz a Fulbright Scholar.

Beginning this September, Abegaz will join the ranks of other distinguished professionals, including heads of state, judges, ambassadors, CEOs and university presidents, to research and teach at Addis Ababa University, the oldest and largest higher learning and research institution in Ethiopia. He will spend most of his 10-month tenure teaching analytical and atmospheric chemistry courses and researching air pollution with particular emphasis on toxic heavy metals in ambient air and wet depositions.

Air pollution, Abegaz said, is one the most serious problems affecting Addis Ababa, causing short- and long-term health conditions, including cancer, brain, liver and kidney damage, heart disease, respiratory failure, headaches, allergic reactions and upper respiratory infections.

“I hope my research findings on atmospheric chemistry will generate positive interest and draw greater attention from students, scientists and policy makers to teach and take extra measures in preventing air pollution in Ethiopia,” Abegaz said.

Abegaz looks to help fill a void in research caused by “brain drains,” or an exodus of the country’s most qualified scientists and professionals.

According to the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), the proportion of academic staff with a doctorate in Ethiopia has declined from 28 percent in 1995-1996 to just 5 percent in 2009-2010. Abegaz hopes to help and overcome some of the challenges created by these skilled labor shortages by offering lectures and seminars to students and conducting scientific research in Addis Ababa University’s College of Physical Science. Abegaz also will assist faculty in curriculum development and advise undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing research in analytical, environmental or atmospheric chemistry.

Abegaz has been working with faculty from Addis Ababa University since 2003. In Spring 2011 and 2012, he took CSU students to Addis Ababa University on a study abroad program.

“Addis Ababa University offers access to several resources that will be indispensable to my research,” he said. “Moreover, I have good connections with the entire department, and these connections will help me properly execute my project and facilitate my teaching activities.”

Abegaz says he plans to bring the lessons he learns in Ethiopia back to Columbus State.

“I will make every effort to bring my Fulbright experiences to campus by giving presentations based on my research findings,” he said. I will encourage my colleagues to pursue more Fulbright opportunities and encourage my students to study abroad. I want to invigorate my teaching and inspire my students to explore worlds beyond their campus and continent.”

Sponsored by the U.S. government and administered by CIES, the CORE Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program provides about 800 grants to faculty and professionals in 125 countries. The program, named after Senator J. William Fulbright, seeks to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

More information about the Fulbright Scholar Program can be found online at http://www.cies.org/.

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