President's Letter: Partnerships Generate Energy

Fall 2011 Focus cover     From Focus magazine, Fall 2011 >>

In early September, I had the pleasure of meeting with Tina Cross, of the Muscogee County School District, and our team from the Coca-Cola Space Science Center. The meeting was spirited and reflected the extraordinary partnerships that exist at our university.

Dr. Cross announced at this meeting that, for a third year in a row, the Department of Defense has provided funding targeting military offspring, including improvement of their overall school performance. To date, the DoD grants total $5.534 million, including more than $2.1 million directed to Columbus State University. This exceptional partnership is but a component of our absolute commitment to supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational initiatives.CSU President Tim Mescon

Earlier in the fall, a team of faculty from the College of Education and Health Professions and the College of Letters and Sciences was awarded a UTeach grant for up to $1.4 million and subsequently, another team of faculty from these colleges was awarded a National Science Foundation grant for nearly $1.2 million, both to support STEM efforts. These important successes acknowledge faculty commitment to teaching, research, service and community. These grants will have a profound impact on the future of STEM teaching and are just another indicator of great successes to come from your university. (Page 7)

In fall 2011, graduate enrollment at our university was up more than 4 percent, offering an important reinforcement of the changing demographics of CSU students and programs. Complementing these are targeted online graduate degree programs that attract students from around the world. One example is the new online joint Master of Science in Nursing with Clayton State University. (Page 13) Like the Turner College of Business and Computer Science’s WebMBA, these collaborative programs reflect unique partnerships with University System of Georgia institutions that will continue to expand in the future.

Two new endowed chairs have joined us this fall. Dr. Daniel Crosswell, a distinguished military historian, is the Hallock Distinguished Chair of Military History, and Dr. Benjamin Blair is the new Sarah Turner Butler Chair in Business and Finance and director of the Butler Center for Business and Economic Research. David Samuel Levinson is our new Carson McCullers fellow, and Zoltán Berényi is our new Mildred Miller Fort Foundation Visiting Scholar in European Studies. Also, Dean Barbara Buckner now leads the College of Education and Health Professions, and Mark Flynn has joined our academic leadership team as dean of libraries, bringing a strong vision to libraries that are indeed the heart and soul of the university. All of these appointments bring great energy to an already great university.

Finally, enjoy the feature on Maj. Gen. Phillip McGhee, a true American patriot, an alumnus of CSU’s Cougar ROTC Battalion and an extraordinary role model. (Page 10) It has been a pleasure to get to know the general, and I am certain you will feel the same after learning more about his exceptional military career.