On Campus: Super studies, new leaders and changes at the AUC

With more than a half-million students attending colleges and universities in Georgia and billions of dollars spent annually on higher education, there’s plenty of things happening on the state’s public and private campuses.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is committed to telling you about it with our weekly campus round-up. Look for it on Tuesdays.

Here’s a look at what happened on the higher education front in the last week on some metro Atlanta and Georgia campuses:

Who will be Bud Peterson’s replacement at Georgia Tech?

The guessing game began minutes after George P. "Bud" Peterson announced earlier this month he's retiring as Georgia Tech's president. We interviewed experts and reported on what state leaders will consider in the job search and who could be president. Click here to read more.

A familiar face picked to lead Georgia Southern

Speaking of college presidential searches, the state's Board of Regents announced last week it has selected Kyle Marrero, who's been president of the University of West Georgia since 2013, to lead Georgia Southern. It's a big appointment since Georgia Southern, which has the largest student body south of I-20, is growing in size and scope. The Regents will now begin a search for a new president at UWG. While state officials celebrated Marrero's hiring, some said the selection process at Georgia Southern warranted greater transparency.

Credit: University System of Georgia

Credit: University System of Georgia

Super studies

There’s a pretty big football game coming to Atlanta in a couple of weeks and several Georgia campuses are planning discussions about sports, its impact on the economy and social justice. Kennesaw State University is planning a symposium on its Kennesaw campus Friday morning on whether the Super Bowl’s estimated $400 million to Atlanta is “Super (Hyper)Bole.” Track & field legend Edwin Moses and former Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson are among the athletes and sports officials scheduled to attend panel discussions at the Atlanta University Center on Thursday to talk about race, media and diversity.

Speaking of football studies...

Emory University business school professor Michael Lewis does an annual study ranking each National Football League team's fan base, based on their enthusiasm on social media, attending home and road games and other factors. This year's Super Bowl combatants, the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, ranked second and 31st, respectively. Your hometown Falcons ranked 13th.

A new look for the Atlanta University Center

Morehouse College said last week it's using part of a $1.5 million gift from a prominent investor and philanthropist to build a park on its campus. The park will be one of several upcoming structural changes at the Atlanta University Center, which encompasses Morehouse and other historically black colleges and universities. Morehouse School of Medicine has begun a $52 million project to build about 200 units of market rate multi-family housing, a 25,000 square foot medical office building, a 9,000 square foot wellness center, 2,500 square feet of retail space and a 4-level parking deck. Spelman College is building a $86 million Center for Innovation & the Arts that will include a cafe. The college also hopes to use the center to build bridges to the Westside Atlanta community.

The new chairs

College leaders and lobbyists will want to be nice to Chuck Martin and Lindsey Tippins over the next few months. On Friday, Martin was named chairman of the state House of Representatives’ higher education committee. Tippins was named earlier last week chairman of the state Senate’s higher education committee. The committees are where legislation related to colleges will either move forward or die. Tippins, a former Cobb County school board member, said during a meeting with the AJC in his office last week he’ll be focused on college affordability and looking for ways to improve dual enrollment programs.

Cybersecurity partnership

The University System of Georgia announced a partnership Friday with the U.S. Army where active duty military and reservists stationed at Fort Gordon can pursue degrees by taking cybersecurity courses at Augusta University, Columbus State University, Kennesaw State University, Middle Georgia State University and the University of North Georgia.

MLK and Atlanta’s school system

AJC reporter Vanessa McCray looked at the correspondence between Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and an Atlanta school board member to discuss inequities in his hometown's school district. The letters were written between 1963 and 1967, the year before King was assassinated. Read more about it here.