Associate Dean Gives Presentation at Georgia Educator Providers Conference

Dr. Sallie Averitt Miller, CSU Associate Dean for Assessment and Accreditation, recently gave a presentation at the Georgia Educator Providers (GEPP) Conference.

She co-presented with Dr. Paige Tompkins, from the University of Georgia, on the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)’s  Standards 4 and 5. The two received approval from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) to follow-up on CAEP “common language” that can be used by all Georgia Educator Preparation Providers’ national annual reporting.

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Dr. Amanda Rees Receives Stand Alone Geographic Educator Award

Dr. Amanda Rees, CSU professor of geography has been awarded the 2018 Helen Ruth Aspaas SAGE Innovator Award. Named for one of the founding members of the Stand Alone Geographers Specialty Group (SAGE), the award recognizes outstanding and innovative stand alone geographic educators.

Rees joined CSU in 2005 as a lone geographer. Over the last 13 years she has established a geography minor and established the Columbus Community Geography Center that partners geography classes and community organizations to raise awareness about important community problems and resources, inform community and neighborhood planning processes, support community organizing, and empower communities to make positive change.

In 2014, Rees edited the e-book Thriving as a Stand-Alone Geographer: A Handbook in conjunction with the Association of American Geographers.  SAGE is part of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). Founded in 1904, the AAG is an international professional geography organization with over 10,000 members in 100 nations.

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Department Earth and Space Sciences Receives Mini-Grants.

CSU professor of physics, Dr. Kim Shaw received a STEM Mini-Grant for $2,850 for her proposal, “Math Intervention Development to Promote Student Success in Physics Courses.”Dr. Shaw will work with a student assistant to develop a set of topic specific online tutorials for math concepts that physics students often find challenging. The goal of the project is to develop a free suite of materials that can be deployed in Cougarview/D2L to aid students in developing this important skill set and maximize student learning in CSU physics courses.

Four students from the department of earth and space sciences also recently received mini grants. They were awarded $225 from the Office of the Provost to help defray costs associated with their graduate/undergraduate research projects:

  • Austin Caughey (MS Natural Sciences – Geosciences track) for “Sequence Stratigraphy of Middle-Mississippian Carbonates of the Southern Appalachians: Tuscumbia Limestone and Fort Payne Chert”
  • Chance Seckinger (BS ESS – Geology track) for “Porosity and Permeability of Miocene (Puerto Rico), Pennsylvanian (Kansas), and Mississippian (Alabama) Carbonate Rocks”
  • Coral Torres (MS Natural Sciences – Geosciences track) for “Constraining The Coastal Plain Unconformity West Of The Lower Chattahoochee River Valley”
  • Jasmine Truitt (MS Natural Sciences – Geosciences track) for “Paleoclimate Studies on a Fall Line Cretaceous Paleosol”
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CSU Schwob Students Win National Awards

CSU Schwob School of Music students have received top prizes at this year’s national competition for the Music Teachers National Association. The finals of the competition were held over the past couple of days in Orlando, FL.

Natalya Klenovskaya won first place in the Young Artist String Division. Natalya is an Artist Diploma violin student of Prof. Sergiu Schwartz. She will be featured as soloist with the Schwob Philharmonic, playing the Shostakovich Violin Concerto, on April 29th.

Camron Bryant won second place in the Young Artist Brass Division. Camron is a sophomore horn student of Dr. Natalie Higgins.

Elizabeth Tsai won first place in the Senior Piano Duet DIvision, with her partner Yannie Tan. Elizabeth is a Woodruff Scholar and a student of Prof. Tatiana Muzanova.

Each participant won in the state and regional rounds to get to the finals. Susan Hoskins traveled to Orlando to serve as collaborative pianist for Camron and Natalya.


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2018 Legacy Award Winners Announced

The 2018 Legacy Celebration and Diversity Conference was held on March 15. Eleven CSU faculty, staff, students, and members of the Columbus community were recognized at the evening dinner for their efforts of fostering cultural and social inclusion. Below is a list of 2018 Legacy Award winners.

  • Women’s Leadership Award: Mia Babino
  • Community Outreach Award: Sylvester Long
  • Outstanding Student with a Disability Award: Darby High
  • Goizueta Foundation Scholarship Award: Nancy Avina
  • Lavender Alliance Community Award: Tyler Parks
  • Faith-Based and Humanitarian Award: Rebecca Hope Simmons
  • John Townsend Achievement Award: Tawaina Coleman & Darius Sudayi
  • Alumni Award: Brandon Todd
  • Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award: Mariko Izumi
  • Kiongozi Award for Outstanding International Leadership: Camila Cardenas
  • Civic Engagement Award: Homeless Resource Network
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CSU Alumna’s Play Debuts This Summer

While a student at CSU, Kimberly Belflower, a 2009 CSU Department of Theatre alumnae, became inspired to write a coming-of-age exploration entitled Lost Girl. In July 2018, Lost Girl debuts in a world premiere presented by the Professional Training Institute 2017-18 Company at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in Wisconsin.

Lost Girl is a continuation of what could have happened to Wendy from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Belflow said the seed was planted when she reread Peter Pan in college.  “What happened to Wendy Darling after she returned home from Neverland?” she said. “I couldn’t stop thinking about what Wendy would be like at my age. I was a student at CSU, and my heart had just been badly broken for the first time. My friend Sarah told me I had Wendy Darling Syndrome. “You’re always trying to save the little Lost Boys,” she explained, which felt uncomfortably true… If Peter Pan stands for all the boys who won’t grow up, Wendy Darling stands for all the girls who have to and all the pain that goes along with it.”

Belflower, who recently started a writing job with Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico, said, “CSU provided me with a well-rounded theatrical education that has informed everything I’ve done since.”

Currently, she’s on the narrative team for Meow Wolf, creating new fantastical worlds for exhibits opening in Vegas and Denver. She’s also working on a commissioned play with the Farm Theatre in New York, which has an annual commissioning program that pairs early-career playwrights with colleges across the country to develop new plays.

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Matt Shiver Becomes Director of Purchasing

Matt Shiver, the former Assistant Procurement Director at CSU, is now the Director of Purchasing. Shiver, who has been employed at CSU since 2013 and served as the interim director for the past two months, was promoted to the role of permanent director on March 1.

Shiver has 11 years of procurement experience with prior experience at Auburn University, Muscogee County School District, and Columbus Healthcare Clinic. He holds a bachelor of science and a master of public administration from Troy University, as well as a Georgia purchasing manager certification. He is also a former chaplain with the U.S. Army Reserves.

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CSU Trumpet Students Receive Exciting Opportunities

Several students who have studied trumpet at the CSU Schwob School of Music have recently received opportunities to perform at prestigious events.

The Schwob Trumpet Ensemble will perform at the International Trumpet Guild Conference on May 29 – June 2 in San Antonio, Texas. They were invited to perform during the coveted Saturday night performance slot opening for headliner Pacho Flores. Rob Murray, DMA, professor of trumpet at CSU, will also present a lecture recital at the conference to highlight the Vincent Bach music collection, which is housed at CSU’s International Trumpet Guild Archives.

The trumpet quartet of Ricardo Chinchilla, Harold Villa, Trevor Webb, and Adam White qualified as competitors in the Ensemble Division of the National Trumpet Competition and will be perform in Denton, Texas.

Also, CSU alumnus Teal Ewer has won by audition an appointment to the prestigious “The Commandant’s Own” Marine Drum and Bugle Corps in Washington D.C. to play Soprano Bugle.

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Chief Mark Lott Appointed as VP of GACLEA

Columbus State University Chief of Police Mark Lott was recently appointed as Vice President of the Georgia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

“Chief Lott is a true visionary and a friend to members of the association and all of law enforcement,” said Chief Ken Morgan of Fort Valley State University and president of GACLEA.

GACLEA represents the security and law enforcement administrations from more than 60 higher education institutions in Georgia. The organization is dedicated to promoting professional ideals and standards in the administration of campus security, public safety and law enforcement.

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CSU Honors College Student Wins Statewide Honors Research Conference

Gabriel Bello, a CSU junior majoring in computer science, received a first place state award last weekend. Bello’s paper “A Bluetooth LE Security Investigation” was recognized as the top natural science paper in the state at the Georgia Collegiate Honors Council Conference.

Bello’s paper reviewed the security and privacy features of three bluetooth low energy devices, which are commonly used as fitness trackers, heart rate sensors and Bluetooth keyboards. Bello found that two of the three devices implemented no security measures, and the third had substantial weaknesses to its design. The analysis showcased a large gap between recommended security features and implemented security features, revealing a hole through which user information can leak.

More than 40 papers were submitted to the conference. Other CSU Honors College attendees were Bobbie Bannerman, Valencia Coleman and Darby High.

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Two CSU Graduate Programs Receive Eight Year Accreditation

Two graduate programs at CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions were recently approved for accreditation through October 2025.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) announced that CSU’s M.S. in clinical mental health counseling and M.Ed. in school counseling have both been approved for eight-year accreditation.

“Programs receiving accreditation for an eight-year period deserve to be commended for the work completed throughout the accreditation process. This is indeed a worthy achievement,” said Charles Gressard, PhD, Interim President and CEO of CACREP, in a letter announcing the decision.

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CSU Student-Athletes Excel in the Classroom

COLUMBUS – In addition to outstanding success on the field, Columbus State University student-athletes had a banner fall semester in the classroom.

Columbus State student-athletes combined for a 3.01 grade point average for the fall semester, the eighth consecutive semester with a GPA of 3.0 or better.

“Our student-athletes compete at a high level both in the classroom and on the field of play,” said Todd Reeser, Director of Athletics. “We are very proud of their fall academic success which reflects the effort, focus, and commitment of these outstanding young men and women.”

Below are some of the academic highlights from the fall.

  • 16 student-athletes recorded a 4.0 GPA
  • 117 student-athletes (54 percent) had a 3.0 GPA
  • Seven teams finished with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher: men’s tennis, women’s soccer, women’s cross country, women’s track & field, women’s golf, softball, women’s tennis
  • Men’s tennis posted the highest team GPA at 3.48
  • Women’s soccer had the second-highest GPA at 3.44
  • Men’s and women’s cross country along with women’s soccer combined to place 16 student-athletes on the Peach Belt Conference All-Academic Teams
  • Women’s soccer sophomore Riley Clark was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American
  • Women’s soccer players Hugrun Elvarsdottir and Brooke Nail were selected to the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-South Region Team

Columbus State University features 13 NCAA sanctioned sports and two spirit programs that compete in the Peach Belt Conference. The Cougars are five-time PBC Commissioner’s Cup winners and have combined to win 101 PBC Championships and eight NCAA National Championships.

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CSU University Relations wins second consecutive CASE awards

Columbus State University’s alumni magazine garnered three new marketing and public relations awards by international organization Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) during the 2017-18 academic year.

University Relations’ publications specialist/editor Candace Dantes won Special Merit Awards in “Best Articles of the Year” and “Publications Writing” — first-time wins in these particular categories and a second consecutive CASE win for Dantes. The magazine editor previously won 2016-17’s Special Merit Award in “Magazine or Publication Rendering for Tablet of Mobile Technology.”

Team member and graphics specialist Joseph Melancon also won a Special Merit Award in “Illustration-Interior Spread,” which became a first-time win in this CASE category as well.

“It’s personal and professional validation to my work,” said Melancon, who has served as a visual artist in University Relations for the past five years. “I’m very hands-on with producing physical media that makes an impact. It’s more than a hobby, so for CASE to acknowledge my and Candace’s content together shows the future of where we can take marketing and public relations expression.”

Melancon and Dantes won in the Southeast District III CASE awards, which includes states Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee.

Melancon illustrated one of the university’s most colorful alumni magazine cover stories: “Urban Innovators: CSU graduates instrumental to Uptown’s revitalization.”

To complement Melancon’s artwork, Dantes interviewed and profiled four of CSU’s progressive alumni and entrepreneurs who have successfully applied their majors to build lucrative brands within Columbus’ redeveloped commercial and governmental sectors.

“Anytime we can capitalize on sharing university success stories using engaging visuals, we do,” said Dantes, who has served as editor for the past three years. “It’s rewarding to know CASE recognized our creativity to storytelling.”


Click the categories below to read CSU’s award-winning content:


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CSU Economist Named to Scientific Committee of Academic Journal

CSU Turner College of Business economics professor, Frank Mixon, has been appointed to the scientific committee of the Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice.

JPFPC is widely considered to rank second among academic journals in the sub-field of public choice economics,” said Mixon. “This is a nice validation of the research program that I have developed over the years.”

In addition to being appointed to the scientific committee, Mixon’s article, co-authored with Shaw Bridges of Gettysburg College, will be published in the JPFPC in April. Titled “The Lighthouse in Economics: Colonial America’s Experience,” the article analyzes New England lighthouses and their funding sources.

The JPFPC, which has been in print for about 35 years, is edited by Emma Galli of the University of Rome in Italy and published by Bristol University Press in the United Kingdom.

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Tool Designed by Dean Reese is Implemented in U.K.

CSU Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Chip Reese, Ed.D. has become a leader in organizational response to persons of concern, and now his work is being implemented internationally. His model of a De-Escalation Decision Tree (D2T) was recently adapted by Dave Wilson at the University of Cumbria to be used in the United Kingdom.

“Persons of concern pose a potential risk to themselves and others, so it is crucial that organizations have a trained team and processes in place to handle these situations,” said Reese. “The D2T model brings together the necessary pieces, such as resources, faculty, and staff, with a methodology to better understand all the facts, evaluate, and act appropriately. I’m honored that the model will now be used in the U.K. to increase safety at the University of Cumbria.”

Reese serves on the advisory board of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA), which brings together professionals from multiple disciplines who are engaged in behavioral intervention on school and college campuses and in workplaces. A former president of NaBITA, Reese first introduced D2T at the 2016 National Behavioral Intervention Teams Association Annual Conference in San Antonio.

Reese is currently serving as the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Albany State University.

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Abby Gibbons to Study Abroad at the University of Oxford

Abby Gibbons, a senior majoring in history at Columbus State University, will study abroad at the University of Oxford this spring.

“Studying at the University of Oxford provides me with an opportunity to focus on my education on the specific period that I want to specialize in as a professional historian,” said Gibbons.

Gibbons received a $1,000 scholarship from Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and support from Kyle Spencer to cover her tuition at Oxford.

The Spencer family has provided generous support for CSU’s study abroad program at Oxford since the 1980s. In 2002, they funded CSU’s purchase of the Spencer House at Oxford, which has provided a home for more than 200 students and faculty members participating in study abroad programs at Oxford.


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2018 LEAD CSU Class Announced

The 2018 LEAD CSU class has been announced. The university-wide leadership fellowship program has accepted 16 faculty and staff members to participate in monthly sessions through 2018.

Developed in conjunction with CSU’s Leadership Institute, the Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and Staff Council, the program is designed to enhance professional development and build the skills and competencies needed to be an effective leader at CSU.

The following faculty and staff will participate in the 2018 LEAD CSU fellowship program.



Fab Guihong, Assistant Professor, Mathematics

Desiree Hicks Huffman, Assistant Professor, Nursing

Kirk Heriot, Professor, Management and Marketing

Mariko Izumi, Professor, Communication, Director of QEP

Lauren King, Assistant Professor, Biology

Lydia Ray, Associate Professor, Computer Science

Kimberly Shaw, Professor/Co-Director Uteach

Judith Livingston, Associate Professor and Chair, English



Viola Alexander, Director of Admissions Operations

David Bramlett, Director of Accounting

Thomas Justin Rice, GIS Coordinator, Campus Planning

Dana Larkin, Assistant Dean of Students

Brandon Lindley, Sr. Manager, IT Support Services, UITS

Stephanie Speer, Associate Registrar

Michael Wetherholt, Director of Sponsored Programs

Jean Partridge, Director of Student Advising-Field Experience, COEHP

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CSU Center of Online Learning Publishes Book Chapter

Amy Thornton, director for the Center of Online Learning, and Japheth Koech, e-learning specialist at the Center of Online Learning were recently published. Their book chapter, “Building an e-Learning Center from Ground-Up: The Challenges and Lessons Learned” was included in the “Educational Communications and Technology: Issues and Innovations” book series.

“We wrote this book chapter to highlight our lessons learned in establishing a new e-learning center as well as to offer a practical guide to assist other leaders in the field when looking to set up their own center to support e-learning,” said authors Thornton and Koech.

The Center of Online Learning (COOL) at CSU provides support for the design and development of online courses and programs. Staff are available to assist instructors with instructional design, course development, e-learning tools and applications, training, proctoring and course accessibility. Space is available for reservation including a recording room, training lab and rooms with SMART board and web conference technology.

For more information on the Center of Online Learning, visit the main office located in the Simon Schwob Memorial Library basement or the new satellite location on the RiverPark campus in Frank Brown Hall room 2022. The center can also be contacted at (706) 507-8699 or

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CSU Faculty, Staff Earn Emergency Response Certification

Columbus State University faculty and staff members recently graduated with their Community Emergency Response Team Certification.

The nine-week course prepares non-public safety individuals for both man-made and natural disasters. It is a nationwide program, sponsored locally by the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office. The course was coordinated by Captain Chuck Pickett.

Pictured are (left to right): Crystal Jones, Annie Carey, Janet Jamieson, Karen Kinard, Vanessa Hicks, Dominique Davis, Adrienne Craig, Cody Meshes, Dr. Neil Thomson, Patty Chappel, T.J. Rice, Saossan Maarouf, Amber Dees, Michael Wetherholt and Kim Rozycki. Other graduates not pictured were Keri Davis and Jessica Macon.

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CSU Faculty Help Veterans Transition to Civilian Careers

Columbus State University professors Dr. Kirk Heriot, Dr. Kevin Hurt and Dr. Laurence Marsh are helping veterans transition to civilian careers. As veterans themselves, the three teach classes at a two-day workshop called Boots2Business for active duty military members preparing to leave the military.

Part of the military’s Transition Assistance Program, Boots2Business offers eight modules on topics that range from opportunity recognition to writing a business plan. Heriot, Marsh, and Hurt are in their fourth year of teaching Boots2Business and have helped serve more than 200 service members through the program.

Sponsored by the local SCORE office, Boots2Business is restricted to veterans leaving active duty and offered monthly from January through November.

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