Student Selected to Participate in National Student Entrepreneur Program

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Nakia Guy is one of 20 student entrepreneurs selected from across the country to compete in the prestigious Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP) in Las Vegas this week. Nakia is a junior majoring in business management and minoring in chemistry at CSU.

The SEP program fosters growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses through a tailored entrepreneurial curriculum and mentoring from certified women-owned businesses and Fortune 500 Corporate Members, including Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company, Dell Technologies, Ericsson North America, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Merck, Macy’s, Pfizer, Office Depot, U.S. Postal Service, and Walmart.

“Being selected for this program, being flown out to Las Vegas, and participating in the Pitch Competition is an extraordinary accomplishment,” said Guy. “This event is in line with my core principles, which are to use as many resources that are given to you as you can, move according to what your short and long term goals are, and to plan for your future.”

Guy, a Certified Financial Coach, created a business concept named Financially Free By 23. The focus of the company is to address the issue of financial illiteracy with young adults to empower them to become financially independent.

As part of the program, students will compete in a pitch competition with a total of $10,000 in seed capital being awarded to the top three students.

This year’s cohort includes students from 17 universities majoring in biomedical, engineering, computer science, business and the arts. All student participants are passionate about their future and have incredible entrepreneurial spirits. Whether they are still in the early stages of launching their startup or looking to advance their business, SEP will give this year’s cohorts the tools and resources to become proactive women entrepreneurs.

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CSU Camp Builds Confidence for Children with Visual Impairments

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University recently offered children who are blind or visually impaired a chance to participate in all of the activities that make up a traditional summer camp.

“Camp Abilities provides campers with the opportunity to build skills while increasing self esteem and independence,” said Dr. Jeanine Fittipaldi-Wert, associate professor of health, physical education and exercise science, who oversees the camp. “We’re able to show the campers and the community everything a blind or visually impaired individual can do, which is everything!”

Camp Abilities Columbus is a non-profit organization and residential camp for children, ages 8 to 18, who are blind or visually impaired. Campers stay on CSU’s campus to engage in an array of sports and recreational activities in a safe and developmentally appropriate environment. Some of these activities include:

— Beep baseball
— Beep kickball
— Goalball
— Rock climbing
— Swimming
— Soccer
— Tandem biking
— Tennis
— Team building activities

Activities are supervised by volunteer student counselors from CSU’s Health and Physical Education, Health Science and Exercise Science programs and Florida State University’s Vision Program. All activities are taught by a specialist in education for children who are blind or visually impaired.

Campers have attended Camp Abilities over Memorial Day weekend every year for the past six years thanks in part to the generous support of local businesses and organizations, including Ride on Bikes, Country’s Barbeque, Zaxby’s, Georgia Eye Care, the Georgia Society of Ophthalmology, and Run Across Georgia.

For more information about Camp Abilities Columbus, Georgia, visit hpex.columbusstate.edu/camp_abilities.

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CSU Contestants Grace Center Stage for Miss Georgia Pageant

Two Columbus State University students and a recent graduate are competing in the 73rd annual Miss Georgia Pageant this week. Click through the photos below to learn more about each CSU contestant.

The 2017 Miss Georgia Pageant will be held in the Bill Heard Theatre at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts beginning Tuesday, June 13. A new Miss Georgia will be crowned on Saturday, June 17.

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CSU to Host Free NSA Cybersecurity Camp for Middle Schoolers

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University is hosting a week-long cybersecurity summer camp sponsored by the National Security Administration (NSA) for middle school students this month. The camp will run from Monday, June 19 – Saturday, June 24.

Computer Science professors Jianhua Yang and Sumanth Yenduri of the TSYS School of Computer Science in CSU’s Turner College of Business were awarded a $28,000 NSA grant in February to host Camp GenCyber, which aims to broaden students’ understanding of and interest in cybersecurity and safe online behavior. Together with professor Hillary Fleenor, the team of computer science professors will use programming based on cyber games to inspire the next generation of cyber stars.

 

The camp will be held on CSU’s main campus in the Center for Commerce and Technology Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eligible campers must have been enrolled in sixth, seventh or eighth grade during the 2016-2017 academic school year.

Registration, which is free, includes transportation from Richards and Rothschild Middle Schools, breakfast and lunch. Spots are still available. For more information, visit cs.columbusstate.edu.

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CSU ‘Glow-K’ 5K Race to Benefit Fort Benning’s Wounded Soldiers

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus-area runners will pound the pavement at Columbus State University this Saturday for a cause that hits especially close to home.

CSU’s Sigma Nu fraternity has organized a 5-K event benefitting the Fort Benning Wounded Warrior Association, a not-for-profit that assists local injured service members. Of course, the brothers of Sigma Nu added their own spin to the race; rather, they’ve added lights, lots and lots of lights.

Glow-in-the-dark lights will illuminate the 3.1-mile race course that snakes through CSU’s main campus. To add to the atmosphere, runners are encouraged to wear bright, neon clothing and any accessories that glow. Glow sticks will be provided to registered runners, as will an event t-shirt, race bib and number, and a bottle of water. Registration is $20 per person.

“We really wanted to do something fun for Wounded Warrior,” said William Duffield, philanthropy and community outreach chairman for Sigma Nu. “Columbus is a military town, and many of our members come from military families, so Glow-K is our way of taking care of our soldiers.”

Glow-K has raised more than $30,000 over the past three years for the Wounded Warrior Association.

The race begins at 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, but runners should plan to arrive 30 minutes early to sign in. A live DJ playing rave music will be awaiting them at the finish line.

To register for Glow-K or for more information, visit http://bit.ly/GlowK5K.

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Mark Lott Sworn In as University Police Chief

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A ceremony to swear in Mark Lott as Columbus State University’s new Chief of Police was held Thursday afternoon in the lobby of University Hall on CSU’s main campus.

Lott, who has held the interim position since last fall, 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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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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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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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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CSU’s Activ8 Summer Camps Voted Best by Muscogee Moms (and Dads)

COLUMBUS, Ga. — For the fourth time in five years, Columbus State University’s Activ8 Summer Camps were voted the best summer camp program in the 2017 Muscogee Moms Choice Awards.

Activ8 is listed as the “1st Choice” among local summer camps in the seventh annual Choice Awards sponsored by Muscogee Moms, a popular local guide for parents looking for family-friendly events and activities in Columbus, Phenix City, Fort Benning and Opelika. “2nd Choice” went to Brookstone Summer Campus. Camp Viking at St. Anne-Pacelli and Elite Dance Academy also were nominated.

“We are so proud to be voted Columbus’ number one summer camp,” said Susan Wirt, executive director of CSU’s Center for Continuing Education, which runs the Activ8 camps. “Activ8 is our way of encouraging younger community members to be lifelong learners. It’s all hands-on engagement and so much fun that campers don’t even know they are learning. Of course, our plan all along is to bring them to campus, get them excited about CSU, and plant the seed that ‘going to college’ is a great thing to do.”

Activ8 Summer Camps, for children ages 4-18, offer a variety of programs that encourage kids to have fun while learning about technology, mathematics, art, sports, dance, sewing and more. Programs are taught on campus and at CSU’s outreach centers, including the Coca-Cola Space Science Center and Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, and with the Columbus Regional Math Collaborative and the Schwob School of Music. Baseball, basketball, cheerleading, dance, golf, soccer, softball and tennis camps are offered in partnership with CSU Athletics.

Camps begin May 30 and run through August 4, usually from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Before Care (7-9 a.m.) and After Care (4-6 p.m.) are offered on CSU’s main campus to accommodate the schedules of working parents.

For more information, visit continuinged.columbusstate.edu or contact Samantha Gurski at 706-507-8365 or gurski_samantha@columbusstate.edu.

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NASA Visits Columbus for First-Ever Community Day

COLUMBUS, Ga. — More than a dozen guests from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) took over Columbus on Saturday, May 6 for “Columbus Goes to Mars,” a free, community-wide event aimed at exploring science, space and careers at NASA.

Guests met NASA experts from America’s spaceport, participated in hands-on activities, and learned about the vast variety of careers available at NASA and in the STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics). This event marked the first time NASA’s Kennedy Space Center delivered their community day program outside of their home town of Titusville, Fla.

“The NASA/KSC team was extremely excited to bring a piece of the inspirational work of exploration to Columbus, Georgia,” said Joshua Santora, program specialist at the NASA/KSC PX-E Education Office.

Some of the NASA guests in attendance were:

— Joshua Santora, KSC program specialist
— Rex Engelhardt, launch services program mission manager
— Lois Kim, visual strategist at JPL
— Lesley Fletcher, KSC deputy education chief
— Kevin Villa, system safety engineer
— Weiping Yu, engineer and physicist
— Jonathan J. Serrano Otero, aerospace technologist

Presentations and activities were stationed at three local “launch” sites: CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center, the National Infantry Museum, and the Columbus Museum, throughout the day. 

“We were honored that NASA’s Kennedy Space Center thought of Columbus first when deciding to take their annual community day outside of Titusville,” said Shawn Cruzen, executive director of CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center. “I was excited about the multiple speakers talking about careers in STEM-related fields, science demonstrations, and fun educational activities this event brought to Columbus.”

Some of those educational activities included:

— Expert presentations by engineers and educators from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
— Vesta mosaic art
— NASA’s PINK team robot
— “Humans in space” demonstrations
— Air rocket launches (supervised by the same people who launch real rockets into space)
— STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) presentations by local educators
— Professional teacher development workshops with NASA educators

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Spring Swing Benefits CSU Dance Program

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University welcomed dance enthusiasts to Woodruff Park for an evening under the stars, complete with live music, food, beverages and lots of loose feet.

The second annual Spring Swing benefitting CSU’s dance minor program was held Saturday, April 29. All proceeds earned go directly to the university’s rapidly growing dance program, which now enrolls more than 150 students. The program is housed under CSU’s Department of Theatre in the College of the Arts.

Music was provided by The Shimmer Band, Atlanta’s premiere powerhouse show band. Dancers of all skill levels over the age of 16 were in attendance, and couples entered a dance contest for prizes.

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Regents Set Tuition for 2017-2018 Academic Year; Reduces Costs for Some On-line Courses

Course fees eliminated on more than 100 CSU courses

The Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia (USG) set tuition this week for the 2017-2018 academic year, keeping all 28 of the USG’s colleges and universities to a tuition increase of 2 percent.

By keeping the tuition increase to 2 percent for the 2017-2018 academic year following the zero percent increase for the current year (2016-2017), the University System has been able to limit tuition increases to an average of 2.2 percent annually over the last five years. The USG continues to offer some of the lowest tuition rates among peer state public higher education systems. Out of the 16 states that make up the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), the USG has now become the sixth lowest state in tuition and fees for four-year institutions.

At Columbus State, this change means undergraduate tuition will increase $3.47 from $174.20 per credit hour to $177.67 per credit hour. For in-state students enrolled in 15 hours, the total tuition will increase from $2,613 per semester to $2,665, an increase of $52.

Meanwhile, the Board continues to ensure fees and fee increases are kept to a minimum and used for the benefit of students. The USG has worked with each of the institutions to reduce the number of fee increases, which must demonstrate a clear need. In recent years, the number of approved mandatory fee increases from USG institutions has continued to decrease year-over-year. For example, the number of fee increases dropped from 67 in Fiscal Year 2012 down to 12 for the upcoming year, Fiscal Year 2018.

At Columbus State, the review of course fees led to the elimination of fees associated with 103 courses since the start of the 2016-17 academic year. Eliminating those course fees means a savings to CSU students that adds up to more than $300,000.

The University System also continues to focus on increasing accessibility through its online offerings. eCore, the USG’s online core curriculum, will decrease tuition to $159 per credit hour from $169.

The University System also provides free, open-source, on-line e-textbooks through the Affordable Learning Georgia initiative. Last year, the USG was ranked by national publisher OpenStax at Rice University as number one in the nation of any school or school system for saving students the most money by providing free textbooks worth more than $3.5 million in 2016.

Columbus State University has contributed to those savings. Since Spring 2015, 20 faculty and staff have participated in the open education initiative with an estimated cost avoidance of $458,979 for students.

“The University System of Georgia is committed to providing students an affordable, accessible and high quality college education,” said Shelley Nickel, executive vice chancellor for strategy and fiscal affairs. “Across the University System, we are working together to help make college affordable with the ultimate goal of student success.”

The University System has also implemented initiatives focused on helping students graduate in a shorter timeframe, and as a result, save money by avoiding extra semesters and unneeded classes. These initiatives include:

— Degree Roadmaps: Campus advisors are providing “degree roadmaps,” so students avoid spending time and money in courses that do not count toward their degree. Students have a clear path of which courses to take to earn their degrees.

— Full Course Loads: As part of the “15 to Finish” effort, campuses encourage students to take 15 credit hours per semester, thus shortening the time it takes to graduate.

— Proactive Advising: Institutions are also using an early-alert system to monitor students’ performance so that a low test grade may signal a counselor to provide additional support, such as tutoring, and help enable students to complete a class successfully.

Tuition rates for each institution can be found here.

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