Students fill the Georgia Tech Walkway on the first day of classes of the fall 2019 semester. Georgia Tech had an 11.5% increase in enrollment this year, largely from more students taking online courses. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

AJC ON CAMPUS: System studying student fees; Emory president to retire

It has been a difficult week for the higher education community in these parts. The search for Clark Atlanta University student Alexis Crawford ended tragically with police finding her body in a DeKalb County park. Crawford’s her roommate and the roommate’s boyfriend were charged with her murder. On Tuesday, Georgia’s Board of Regents held a moment of silence in memory of former Regent Rutledge “Rusty” Griffin, 75, who died last week.

In between, there’s been a lot of additional news, such as the data leak at Georgia Tech and Emory University’s president had a major announcement about her future there.

Here are some other items of note in this week’s AJC On Campus:

Emory University president stepping down

Claire E. Sterk during her presidential address. Sterk, the university's 20th president, presided over the 174th commencement exercises on Monday, May 13, 2019. Andrew Young, former Atlanta mayor and civil rights activist, delivered the keynote address. Bob Andres /

Emory University President Claire Sterk announced Wednesday morning she’s retiring from her current position in August. She’s the first woman to hold the position. Sterk wants to return to teaching. 

University System to review student fees

There’s been increasing attention, and criticism, of mandatory fees on University System of Georgia students for athletics, health, transportation and other costs. On Tuesday, University System Chancellor Steve Wrigley announced a group is looking into those costs. Kennesaw State University President Pamela Whitten is leading the group. No timetable was mentioned for when the group will release its recommendations.

Enrollment up again at Georgia’s public universities

The University System of Georgia released a report at its Board of Regents meeting Tuesday that shows student enrollment slightly increased again. Read more about the increase here

University of West Georgia enrollment troubles

The University of West Georgia had a decline of about 500 first-year students there this fall. The decrease is the main reason for a $3 million budget gap, officials say. The university discussed the situation Monday with students and faculty. One idea that is drawing major criticism is the possibility that some faculty members may not have their contracts renewed at the end of the school year. Here’s our report about the meeting.

Tuition revenue growth weakening nationally

Speaking of tuition revenue troubles, Moody’s Investor Service released a report Monday that shows tuition revenue is not expected to grow at last year’s pace. Median net tuition revenue will grow 1.0% and 2.3% for public and private universities, respectively, for this fiscal year, Moody’s found. It attributes the expected decline on factors such as fewer high school graduates and fewer international students pursuing college degrees in America.

Campus veterans projects

Emory University student Jihea Song (center) spent the last three years in the Army as a combat medic stationed in South Korea. BOB ANDRES / ROBERT.ANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

We wrote about Emory University’s ongoing effort to recruit more military veterans as students. A few other local colleges and universities shared some information about some ongoing projects that include veterans. They include a Veterans Day exhibit about the role of African American soldiers at the Atlanta University Center’s AUC Woodruff Library on the main level through Nov. 22. The exhibit is open to the public. The University of Georgia is collecting oral histories from student veterans on campus. That project began in 2017 and has thus far collected about 90 oral histories.

Regents approve $80 million UGA athletics facility expansion

The state’s Board of Regents on Tuesday approved the University of Georgia’s request to renovate and expand its football operations building. The project includes an expanded football locker room, a new strength and conditioning area, a renovated video suite and a nutrition area. UGA says the work is needed to keep up with the Joneses in its conference. The funding will be evenly split between UGA’s Athletic Association and private donations, UGA officials say.

Atlanta Metropolitan State’s new president

The Georgia Board of Regents voted after its executive session Tuesday to permanently hire Georj Lewis as president of Atlanta Metropolitan State College. Lewis had been interim president since July. Lewis was vice president of student affairs at Georgia Southern University before coming to the college.

Nathan Deal’s new role at Mercer University

Former Gov. Nathan Deal lectures a class called “Road to Congress” on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega. 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
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

We recently told you that former Gov. Nathan Deal will be teaching at his alma mater, Mercer University. The university disclosed last week that Deal was among nine people elected to join its board of trustees. Deal is also guest lecturing at the University of North Georgia.

South Georgia minority STEM initiative

A group of South Georgia colleges and universities are working to encourage more minority students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math. The National Science Foundation recently announced it’s awarding Georgia Southwestern State University $36,000 a year over the next five years toward the effort. The other institutions involved are: Columbus State University, Valdosta State University, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, South Georgia Technical College and Columbus Technical College.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.