Category Archives: Education

Kinesiology professor brings cycling expertise to Augusta

[Click here to view this story on Jagwire.]

Cycling is a growing sport, expected to double in revenue in the next five years, according to an industry report by IBISWorld.

Dr. Amos Meyers, newly hired assistant professor of kinesiology in the GRU College of Education, hopes to encourage that interest here in Augusta.

“I study sports biomechanics. What equipment does an athlete use, and how can we change that to facilitate their movement? If they’re moving efficiently, does that translate to physiological efficiency?” Meyers said.

While the research theme is open to application, his dissertation concentrated on the connection between the shoe and the pedal in cycling. There are three points of contact on a bike – the hands, seat and feet. The first two are fairly static connections. The last requires a great deal of movement from the muscles and joints.

“There are so many variables you can change, and not a lot of research on what those changes should be,” Meyers said.

As a professor, Meyers brings a wealth of teaching experience at both the University of Miami and the University of Pittsburgh, along with coaching experience in cycling, rowing and swimming.

Meyers said that he had really good mentors in the classroom and wants to model for his students what was modeled for him. That includes effectiveness and enthusiasm for the subject and for research in his field.

“I love what I do,” he said. “And I love what the field does: It’s cool, it’s exciting, it’s important. I try to pass on that feeling to students.”

Meyers has a growing list of articles and conference presentations and has worked on three different research grants. He is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and USA Cycling. He also reviews articles for the Journal of Emerging Investigators, a journal dedicated to exposing middle and high schoolers to the academic publication process.

Meyers received his bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University, master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and doctoral degree from the University of Miami.

GRU Literacy Center to open two satellite centers

AUGUSTA, GA. – Just in time for the school year, the GRU Literacy Center announced that it will open two new locations to serve the community. On Sept. 8, the Augusta-Richmond County Library on Telfair Street and Paine College will both open satellite locations for the GRU College of Education to address illiteracy rates in the CSRA.

“We have simply outgrown our current location,” said Dr. Paulette Harris, founder and director of the GRU Literacy Center. Harris is the Cree-Walker Endowed Professor of Education for the GRU College of Education.

The current facility only allows them to reach about 1,000 people a month, but Georgia’s Task Force on Adult Literacy estimates that one out of three adult Georgians is functionally illiterate. In the Augusta area alone, there are more than 65,000 adults whose basic educational levels are less than those of the average eighth grader. And so Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System and Paine College have offered space in partnership with the center, with Paine College focusing on mathematics literacy, also known as numeracy.

“Literacy is the foundation for civilization,” said Russell Liner, assistant director for public services for the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System. “Throughout history, the ability to read was power. In the Middle Ages, the nobility kept education from the masses to protect their power. And in American history, we disenfranchised certain groups because we were afraid they’d use their knowledge against us. The purpose of the library system is to bring access to knowledge to the public. So offering facilities for the GRU Literacy Center just dovetails with our larger mission.”

Paine College’s Department of Mathematics, Sciences and Technology will foster mathematics literacy with volunteers from students in their upper-level classes and faculty and alumni. The volunteers will help ensure that students have a basic competency in algebra and in the standards set in local school systems and in the colleges.

“Mathematics is as crucial to success in life as reading,” said Dr. Raul Peters, chair of the department. “Early math mastery is predictive of success in high school and college and also impacts adult lives. Career-wise, algebra is used by a wide range of professionals, from electricians to computer scientists to architects. But even in our personal lives, we use math – from calculating the best price on a sale item to figuring out an appropriate tip at a restaurant to higher-level life choices like understanding compounding interest or financing the purchase of a house.”

Both of the satellite center openings are part of the center’s celebration of International Literacy Day, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which highlights the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.

The importance of literacy is that it impacts everything from poverty and income level to incarceration rates. Nearly two-thirds of illiterate adults are employed, but most struggle to find stable employment at a family-sustaining wage, according to the most recent data from the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). A low ability to read leads to limited opportunities for employment or income generation, higher chances of poor health, propensity toward crime and dependence on social welfare. For example, 70 percent of prison inmates cannot read.

Research makes it clear that we must do everything in our power to ensure that children do not fall behind in their reading skills,” Harris said. “With the help of our volunteers, most of whom are certified teachers, we are privileged to work on everything from born-to-read to lifelong literacy.”

All students start by getting evaluated so they can get a personalized learning experience. The center addresses learning differences like dyslexia and other problems that may not have been fully addressed in a student’s educational experience. And the staff works hard to provide a safe space for older adults, including later hours and providing additional options.

“And we will continue to work with them as long as they would like to continue to grow,” she said.

The GRU Literacy Center is located at 1401 Magnolia Dr., Augusta. Call 706-737-1625, or visit

Chinese physicians exchange ideas

The Augusta Chronicle: April 28, 2015

Inside the simulation center at Georgia Regents University, interim Director Wendy Jo Wilkinson was struggling to get the birthing simulator to deliver a fetus when Dr. Xianhui Zhu made a wry observation.

ConfuciusSimLab.Sm“Maybe it’s not her time,” the Chinese cardiologist joked.

Zhu is among a handful of physicians from Jiangsu Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medi­cine who are spending three months at GRU as part of an exchange being facilitated by GRU’s Confucius Institute.

While there are a number of such institutes in Georgia and worldwide fostering educational exchanges, GRU’s is the only one between an academic medical center and Chinese institutions that focus on traditional Chinese medicine.

Read: Chinese physicians exchange ideas at GRU

Dream to Reality: Doctor of Nursing Practice Program celebrates 10 years

When it launched in 2005, the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at GRU’s College of Nursing was one of few in the nation—and hasn’t stopped innovating yet.

By Danielle Wong Moores

Many people dream about becoming nurses. But not Lindsay Moore.

Moore didn’t even take any science classes during her time at Georgia’s Toccoa Falls College, instead double majoring in business administration and counseling with a double minor in outdoor leadership and education and Biblical studies. Her heart was for mission work, but hearts can be funny things. After college graduation, she worked for a relief organization in Gabon, Africa, alongside physicians and advanced practice nurses, and suddenly her heart changed. “We had a lot of good conversations about what they do, and nursing just seemed to fit,” said Moore.

But then there were those science classes—and the fact that Moore was eager to get back to the mission field as a nurse, not in 10 or more years but as soon as possible. All of which brought her back to Georgia and to the Georgia Regents University College of Nursing.

GRU offers an accelerated 16-month Clinical Nurse Leader program designed specifically for professionals interested in nursing, but who, like Moore, earned their degree in another field. While Moore still had to brush up on a few prerequisite classes in chemistry and biology, she was accepted and enrolled in the CNL program in 2010.

But Moore was looking beyond that. Her ultimate goal was to then enter GRU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program and its acute care nurse practitioner option immediately after graduating as a CNL.

Moore in fact would become the first GRU nursing student to go straight through from the CNL to the DNP program—heralding a sea change in how nursing education is being delivered at GRU and serving as a model for other nursing programs who are watching GRU’s innovations closely.

The DNP Difference

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the College of Nursing’s DNP program—which was one of just 10 in the nation when it launched in the summer of 2005. For nursing dean Dr. Lucy Marion, launching the program was a prerequisite of her accepting the dean’s position at GRU (then named the Medical College of Georgia).

“We knew it was going to be the future,” said Marion. She recently had served as president of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, and the data crossing her desk revealed that nurse practitioner students were spending considerably more classroom and clinical hours to learn what they needed—approaching doctoral levels. “We saw that, and we said, ‘Something’s happening here,’” said Marion.

That “something” was a knowledge explosion in health care due to a rapidly changing health care environment, coupled with a growing nationwide shortage of primary care physicians and limits to resident physician hours. Nurse practitioners had been stepping up to fill the gap, providing primary care and ensuring care coordination and patient education, all while still holding the patient’s hand during tough times.

A handful of institutions, including Columbia University, were already responding to these changes with their own version of a DNP program, and Marion connected with all four. “That’s when I had an a-ha moment,” she said. “I went to a board meeting after that and said, ‘Folks, this is going to happen, and it’s going to happen big.”

Marion left that meeting with a commitment by the organization to support the development of DNP programs for advanced practice nurses—and three years later she was laying the groundwork for a new DNP program at GRU.

The program was launched after just nine months of planning under the leadership of Dr. Sandy Turner, FNP—“It was rough, very rough, but we pushed it through,” said Marion—with a first class made up entirely of GRU nursing faculty members. Fourteen in all, with 11 graduating, they would serve as a test class to help improve and refine the program.

Marguerite Murphy was one of those students. Then director of the RN to BSN program, Murphy would become director of the DNP program in 2008. “There’s a strong sense of history and a strong sense of pride in being part of the original class,” she said. “We were on the cutting-edge of this DNP movement, and to see where it’s gone and the difference that it has made—it’s been exciting.”

The program has changed rapidly over the past decade. Originally simply a post-masters DNP, acute care nurse practitioner was the first concentration added to the degree, followed by family nurse practitioner and pediatric nurse practitioner. By fall 2016, the plan is to add mental health, nurse anesthesia and nurse executive concentrations, and later, public health.

What hasn’t changed is how the DNP takes nursing to the next level. “To be effective moving forward, advanced practice nurses need to be able to look at the research and decide if they should use it to change their practice,” said Murphy. “They need to be able to understand health care policy and how policies impact care and care delivery to effectively advocate for their patients and for themselves.”

The DNP candidates get an early taste of how they can make a real difference—or as Murphy describes it, “have an equal seat at the table.” Each candidate must complete a final project, which gave Murphy, as a student, the opportunity to work alongside national nursing leaders to develop a multidisciplinary evidence-based guideline to prevent post-operative nausea and vomiting, while Moore proved the effectiveness of video discharge instructions for sickle cell patients—a program that is now being adopted in that clinic and others at GRHealth.

The Future of Advanced Practice Nursing

Marion’s prediction of DNP programs “happening big” was accurate. Today there are more than 250 DNP programs nationwide—and GRU’s program alone has graduated 143 DNPs since its inception, with another 10 expected this May.

But the program isn’t simply resting on its laurels. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released a report—“The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health”—that, among other things, urged nursing schools to improve their educational systems so that nurses could achieve higher levels of training and education with seamless academic progression, not the least of which was to double the number of doctorally prepared nurses by 2020.

The IOM recommendations were groundbreaking. Nursing culture has always dictated that becoming an advanced practice nurse required earning a degree, stopping to get two or more years of experience, then going back for another degree and so on. The result is that advanced practice nurses are often in their 40s or 50s before they earn a doctoral degree—in contrast to physicians and other health care providers—and miss out on years of productivity where they could have advanced the practice of nursing as DNPs.

Under Marion’s leadership, the seamless transition of nurses from masters to doctorally prepared in about four years compared to 20 has long been another vision of the College of Nursing. It was achieved last year through Moore’s graduation from the DNP program, and about five other CNLs are set to do the same in the next three years, having entered the DNP program this past spring. “This year, the program reached the tipping point,” said Marion. “We know we’re there.”

For Moore, who graduated in May 2014 and is now a nationally certified Adult and Geriatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, her four years of study were challenging, informative, exhilarating and enlightening. During her DNP program, she worked as an ER nurse and is continuing to do so as a nurse practitioner, all while pursuing an international medicine fellowship before she returns to the mission field. “I wouldn’t have done it any other way,” she said.

Her DNP training is already helping her move the practice of nursing forward through evidence applied at the bedside—a skill she will rely on when she is overseas working to care for patients with limited resources. “Becoming a nurse … It was a good decision,” she said with a smile. “I love it, I really do; and I’m excited to finally be able to apply all this preparation, all this training for people who need urgent and emergent health care.”

Quality Enhancement Plan is important, and here’s why

If it seems like it’s been awhile since you’ve heard about the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), you’re right. But that doesn’t mean nothing’s happening.

“We did a huge marketing campaign with Phase One, and we’ve been a little quieter recently because we’ve been working,” said Mickey Williford, Director of Accreditation and QEP Project Co-Chair. “But we need everyone to know that it isn’t going away and it’s going to be part of our world for five years.”

Five years is a long time, which is why Williford and the various team members are working so hard to make sure they get it right.

But what exactly is a QEP? In short, the Quality Enhancement Plan is one of the two parts the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires for accreditation. Not only must a school prove compliance with a set of defined standards, it must also provide a QEP, which is a proposal to enhance student learning in a specific, measurable way.

In Phase One, which ran from February 2014 until January of this year, a team was chosen with representatives from all the colleges across the university. The team’s goal was to determine what data existed specific to GRU that could demonstrate what student learning needs were and how successful the school was at meeting them.

While it might seem an easy chore for an institution of higher learning, quantifying it was complicated by the consolidation of two very different schools with two very different student pools.

“That was a very difficult task because ASU was predominantly a liberal arts undergraduate school with several masters programs, and what was then Georgia Health Sciences University had very few undergraduate students,” said Cathy Tugmon, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the project’s other co-leader. “In the end, we said we have some areas we were maybe consistently weak in, particularly on the undergraduate campus. One of them had to do with community engagement and experiential learning.”

In April, the GRU community was invited to submit themes. The committee received 54, and from those themes, 10 topics were identified, many of which included some form of experiential learning. Therefore, the committee decided the QEP’s theme would be experiential learning, with sub themes of leadership, research and scholarship, and community engagement.

By September, there was a call for proposals, which took those themes and then turned them into potential QEPs. In the end, six were submitted and evaluated by the committee. Of the six, two were forwarded to the leadership panel, which consisted of the Provost, the Deans, the University Senate Chair, the EVP for Administration and Finance, and key officers from academic and student support units. Both targeted leadership, with one focusing on community engagement and the other focusing on community-based research.

In January, the leadership team recommended synthesizing the two plans into one QEP, and that idea was endorsed by Dr. Caughman and President Azziz.

Now, the process has entered Phase Two, and the committee has expanded significantly. Teams include Design, Assessment Planning, Engagement/Awareness, Literature/References, and Resources, all of which report to a Core Team who oversees the project’s progress.  More information about each team, including membership, is provided at

The main thing both Williford and Tugmon want to stress, however, is that there is a lot of work going on, even if it is somewhat behind the scenes.

According to Tugmon, they’d like to have as many of the plan’s details fleshed out as possible by May, with some tweaking going on over the summer. They would begin to write it up once everyone returns in the fall.

What Tugmon finds exciting about this QEP is its potential to impact students on a variety of different levels as well as the community. The teams are currently pursuing ways to engage students and community members in addition to faculty and staff in the development process.

They will submit the report to SACSCOC around February 2016, and SACSCOC will send an onsite review team in March.

Williford also emphasizes the importance of everyone on campus becoming familiar with the QEP. And by everyone, she means everyone.

“The urban legend in the SACSCOC world is that if a reviewer walks up to a landscaper, that landscaper should be ready to talk about the QEP,” Williford said. “Whether or not that ever actually happens is not important, but that’s the standard you want to try to hit.”

For more information or to keep up-to-date with the latest developments, visit the QEP site here.

Embrace CEO to serve as GRU’s spring commencement speaker

AUGUSTA, Ga.- More than 1,000 students are expected to participate in Georgia Regents University’s commencement exercises on May 8, at 2 p.m. at the James Brown Arena.

This year’s speaker will be Jane Chen, a TED Senior Fellow and CEO of Embrace, a social enterprise that developed an innovative baby incubator solution designed to address the global infant mortality in developing countries.

With a career that includes a blend of business and social sector experience, Chen has worked with several non-profit organizations to shed light on the healthcare issues in developing worlds.

She spent several years as the program director of a startup HIV/AIDS nonprofit in China and assisted with the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Health Access Initiative to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in Tanzania.

Chen is also the former management consultant for Monitor Group where she advised Fortune 500 companies with strategy development, marketing, and acquisitions.

Recently, she was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and she was profiled by the Dove Real Role Model campaign for her Embrace work.

Chen holds a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University. She also received her bachelor’s degree from Pomona College.

Reading to your child really matters

Written by: Dr. Paulette Harris, contributing writer and Director of Georgia Regents University’s Literacy Center.

Brain research findings indicate that early reading to your child promotes early literacy development. Of course, you want your child to develop a lifelong love of reading, and it is best to start early by reading to your young child from birth.

Picture books are great for the first books that you share with your child. Books with bright, colorful pictures are perfect for early sharing. In addition, black and white photos are even better for attracting very young readers to the page. However, feel free to change the words in the story to match the age of your young child. Keep in mind when selecting stories that certain stories are excellent for lulling the young child to sleep (e.g.,Goodnight Moon).

Your goal is for your young child to grow up loving books. Reading with your child is one of the best ways to raise readers. It is important to continue to read aloud to your child long after the child has learned to read. It is also critical that your child has books that he owns and can read and reread as he becomes a proficient reader.

The thrust of the Greater Augusta Partnership for Literacy is to provide families with young children books that truly belong to the child. From the time the first book arrives in your mailbox to the last time the child has that book read to themselves  or is able to read the book on their own is when remarkable growth occurs.

As stated at the beginning of this article, brain research findings substantiate that the child who is read to becomes the lifelong reader. Let’s read to our children so that they will always read!

Goolsby appointed Nursing Assistant Dean for Community Partnership

Dr. Mary Jo Goolsby, the new Nursing Assistant Dean for Community Partnerships, is all about forming partnerships, and she’s looking forward to building on those that have already been created.

“I’m really excited that the organization does have a history of successful partnerships,” she said. “So what this role does is give me an opportunity to maintain and grow those partnerships as well as look for new opportunities.”

Currently, formal partnerships exist with places like the East Central Regional Hospital, she said, and other examples have included agreements to provide wellness programs for employees at companies in the CSRA. Other long-term partnerships include the Healthy Grandparents Program and Greater Augusta Healthcare Network. While not all are currently active, she said she believes there are a lot of opportunities to revive and to grow partnerships for academic programs.

“I’m not sure what percentages of colleges of nursing have partnerships to the degree that GRU has been able to build up over the past several years,” she said. “I think the college has been very successful in that regard.”

Goolsby earned a BSN from Emory, a post-baccalaureate NP certificate from the U.S. Army Academy of Health Sciences, an MSN from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and an EdD from Florida State University. She earned a strong national reputation as an NP leader, culminating with the 2013 Loretta C. Ford Award for Advancement of the Nurse Practitioner Role in Health Care, the nation’s top honor for nurse practitioners.

For Goolsby, who was Vice President of Research, Education, and Professional Practice for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and was the research specialist at University Hospital for several years, the new position seems tailor made.

“I love creating new and innovative programs, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing here,” she said. “We often partner with clinical settings like local hospitals and that type of thing to deliver academic clinical experiences, but this is really looking at what’s out there in the community and beyond as far as organizations and populations that need services.”

As the nursing profession changes, Goolsby said, nursing colleges are working hard to adapt. According to a publication about the future of nursing by the Institute of Medicine, by the year 2020, 80 percent of all practicing nurses should have a baccalaureate degree, which opens up opportunities for colleges to bring in students who are practicing registered nurses who want to move up to a baccalaureate degree.

“Our dean is known as a visionary in the nursing community,” she said. “She’s built a really good group of faculty here, and they’re looking for opportunities such as these partnerships to improve the profession of nursing.”


Writers Weekend at Summerville brings National Book Award winner to GRU

The Third Annual Writers Weekend at Summerville, which begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 17, with a reading and signing by National Book Award-winner Phil Klay, is a literary event geared for writers.

Unlike the Sandhills Writers Series, which in the past has enjoyed a substantial budget and has targeted such luminaries as Ray Bradbury and Maxine Hong Kingston, the Writers Weekend at Summerville focuses on writers who are early in their careers or have recently started a new chapter in their career; writers who could connect with the current writing students and those the school is looking to recruit.

“The students are young, they’re full of enthusiasm and energy, and they really want to make writing a career,” said Assistant Professor Anna Harris, who is the director of the event. “So we wanted to put them in touch with people who remembered what that felt like, not people who had become successful and had lost touch with what it means to be an aspiring writer and a student writer.”

The ultimate intent, she said, is to grow the creative writing program, which has already expanded substantially over the last few years. The addition of several new classes, some course revisions, and some extra opportunities for student writers to work on and share their craft, has sparked so much interest that Harris said the department is in the process of hiring a creative nonfiction specialist who would teach workshops similar those being taught in poetry and fiction.

“One of the things that I think is atypical for an undergraduate creative writing program is the fact that we have a course called Literature for the Creative Writer,” Harris said. “It’s a literature class, but it’s geared for creative writing students and people who want to learn to think and read like a writer instead of reading like a critic.”

Writers and critics alike have both been vocal about their admiration for Phil Klay, a former Marine and Iraq War veteran who wrote “Redeployment.” As the only ticketed event of the weekend, the Friday night keynote is sure to be a popular one. Tickets are $16 and $28 depending on whether an audience member wants a paperback or hardcover copy of the book.

Proceeds will be shared between the Book Tavern, Augusta’s independent bookseller, and the Writers Weekend at Summerville.

Saturday, which has free events running from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., will feature a craft lecture by Klay and presentations by fellow writers Wiley Cash and Aja Monet, each of whom represents a different style of writing.

“We have a very eclectic, diverse group of people coming to campus, and that was international, because we’re trying to target a bunch of different populations,” Harris said.

And for those who like the informality of Saturday’s sessions, the Summerville Campus will be hosting the similarly structured Georgia Literary Festival the first weekend in November.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, click here.

GRU to participate in regional cyber defense competition

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Georgia Regents University is one of eight institutions set to participate in the regional Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) being held April 7-8 at Kennesaw State University.

The Southeast CCDC, as part of the National CCDC, is a competition in which students participate in the operational task of managing and protecting an existing commercial network infrastructure.

Out of the 24 universities that competed last month in the Southeast CCDC’s annual Virtual Preliminary Qualification, GRU ranked among the top eight schools which secured them a spot in the regional meet.

The winning team from regionals will then move on to compete in San Antonio, Texas, at the National CCDC, the largest college-level cyber defense competition in the United States. The competition will be held at the San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk April 24-26.

“This is the first time GRU has participated in this competition, and to make it to regionals is testament of not only the quality of our curriculum, but the hard work of our students,” said Joanne Sexton, Director for GRU’s Cyber Security Educational Initiatives.

The GRU team members included the following students:


Michael Banks, Applied Information Systems and Technologies

Chad Reynolds, Computer Science

Katherine Wright, Computer Science

John Bourassa, Accounting

Jim Pinckney, Applied Information Systems and Technologies

Dazmon Callaham, Computer Science

Jeremy Scott, Computer Science

Joseph Reis, Applied Information Systems and Technologies






Georgia Regents University is one of four public comprehensive research universities in the state with nearly 10,000 students enrolled in its nine colleges and schools, which include the Medical College of Georgia – the nation’s 13th-oldest medical school – the nationally ranked Hull College of Business and Georgia’s only College of Dental Medicine. The clinical enterprise associated with the university includes the 478-bed Georgia Regents Medical Center and the 154-bed Children’s Hospital of Georgia. GRU is a unit of the University System of Georgia and an equal opportunity institution.