October 17, 2019 - Dahlonega - Former Gov. Nathan Deal lectures a class called "Road to Congress" at the University of North Georgia. The state's Board of Regents approved a proposal earlier this year to make the governor a professor teaching law and politics. Bob Andres / robert.andres@ajc.com

AJC On Campus: Regents recap, Morris Brown update, Prof. Nathan Deal

The Georgia Board of Regents met at the University of Georgia for its monthly meeting last week. One person who wasn’t there was Dean Alford, who resigned a couple of weeks ago after being charged with racketeering and  criminal attempt to commit theft by taking. The board focused on other matters. It approved UGA’s proposal to name its College of Education after Mary Frances Early, its first African American graduate. Administrators also announced a major effort concerning mental health on its campuses. Here’s more about that and some news in our latest edition of AJC On Campus:

Mental health task force

Mental health has become a growing concern in recent years on college campuses in Georgia and across the nation. On Wednesday, the University System of Georgia announced it has created a task force to look at ways to improve mental health services on its campuses. An initial report is scheduled to be released by Spring 2020. Here’s our report about the task force.

UGA and fees

A group of University of Georgia graduate students and supporters protested before a state Board of Regents meeting on Oct. 15, 2019 to remove an institutional fee and for greater access for immigrant students in the University System of Georgia. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

The University of Georgia announced last week that starting next semester students will not have to pay additional laboratory and supplementary course material fees for their supplies. More than 13,000 students pay approximately $50 per semester, on average, in these additional fees, the university said. Another fee UGA students wish would go away is the “special institution fee.” Several dozen people, mostly UGA graduate students, demonstrated outside the Board of Regents meeting Tuesday to demand the University System of Georgia remove the fee. The fee is $450 at UGA. The University System said it’s planning a meeting with demonstration leaders.

Professor Nathan Deal

Georgia’s former two-term governor began holding lectures at the University of North Georgia this semester and will soon be teaching at his alma mater, Mercer University. We sat in on a recent lecture. Check out our report about it here.

Paine College’s new president

Cheryl Evans Jones is the new president of Paine College. PHOTO CREDIT: PAINE COLLEGE.

Speaking of leaders in new positions, Paine College announced late Saturday that Cheryl Evans Jones, its provost and vice president of academic affairs for the past four years, will be its new president. Jones will replace Jerry Hardee, who retired at the end of June. Jones has been at Paine, a historically black college in Augusta, for more than 26 years. “Together, we will write a new chapter in the life of Paine College,” Jones said in a statement. 

 Morris Brown College update

Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Morris Brown College’s ongoing effort to regain its accreditation took another step forward when it announced the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission named it an “institute of higher learning.” College officials have been working with the commission in recent months to have that designation. Kirk Shook, the commission’s executive director, described it as a first step to getting accreditation from an agency. Because Morris Brown is not accredited, students are not able to receive federal loans. The college is seeking accreditation from the Virginia-based Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Morris Brown, a historically black college near downtown Atlanta, lost its accreditation in 2003 due to financial aid fraud by some then-administrators.

Emory provost to lead The New School

Emory University will soon have a big job vacancy. The New School announced last week that Dwight McBride, Emory’s provost, will become its new president early next year. As provost, McBride was Emory’s chief academic officer. McBride arrived at Emory in 2017. The New School is a century-old, liberal arts college based in New York City.

Georgia State to participate in sexual assault prevention study

Georgia State University is one of five schools participating in a study of a sexual assault awareness campaign for first-year female students. The program teaches young women how to better recognize risky situations, defend themselves physically, and communicate what they do and don't want sexually, according to the University of Arizona, which is one of the schools participating in the study. Georgia State had 11 on campus rapes last year, according to its annual report of campus crime. The schools will examine the effectiveness of a program used at several Canadian colleges that officials say reduced campus sexual assaults. It’s being funded by a two-year, $2 million grant by Arnold Ventures, a philanthropic organization.

Grants, gifts and more grants

John K. Spencer was a master's degree student at the University of Georgia who died in 2016. His mother and stepfather have donated $1.5 million to the university for graduate studies in his honor. PHOTO CREDIT: UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA.

Several local colleges and universities have reported major grants in recent days for projects on their campuses. Here are a few:

The University of Georgia received a $1.5 million commitment from Kathelen and Don Amos, the mother and stepfather of John K. Spencer, a master’s student in ecology at the university, who died in 2016. The money will be used for graduate scholarship.

Kennesaw State University received two gifts from the Bobbie Bailey Foundation totaling $2 million in support of merit and needs-based scholarships for students in the Wellstar School of Nursing and the School of Music.

Morehouse School of Medicine has received a $1.1 million grant from the United Health Foundation to examine how digital tools could be leveraged to support underserved and rural communities in Georgia and three other states. We reported in July that UnitedHealth Group is investing $8.25 million over the next five years toward an effort to enhance data science education at Atlanta’s historically black colleges and universities, which includes Morehouse School of Medicine.

Georgia Tech’s recon mission


Georgia Tech’s new president, Ángel Cabrera, was on rival turf at the University of Georgia last week for the state Board of Regents and posted this photo in front of the locker of Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm. Bulldogs fans better hope there weren’t any playbooks laying around.

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