Category Archives: Education

ADP names 29 GRU students as scholars

Automated Data Processing (ADP), an American provider of business outsourcing solutions, has named 29 students from Georgia Regents University to be among the company’s 2015 scholars.

The scholarships are funded through a $700,500 three-year grant from ADP to Georgia Regents University, Paine College, and Augusta Technical College to enhance science education and to increase the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and STEM-related fields.
In addition to scholarships, ADP also provides funding support for tutorial centers to help GRU students excel in rigorous STEM disciplines.
“We are grateful for ADP’s investment in the STEM education efforts taking place at each our institutions,” says Dr. Thomas Gardiner, Associate Dean of GRU’s College of Science and Mathematics. “The company’s generosity shows just how much they are about the success of our students, our state, and our nation.”
Below is a complete list of GRU’s 2015 ADP Scholars:

Atique Alam, third-year ADP Scholar, Biology

Phillip Armstrong, first –year ADP Scholar, Chemistry

Berkeley Bolin, second-year ADP Scholar, Biology


Shelby Buckner, first-year ADP Scholar, Biology

Lindsey Burden, second -year ADP Scholar, Physics

Genevieve Coe, first -year ADP Scholar, Chemistry

Stephanie Cipollone, third- year ADP Scholar, Mathematics and Psychology

Phillip Dukes, second-year ADP Scholar, Management Information Systems

Christopher Evans, first-year ADP Scholar, Computer Science

Kyle Finnegan, first -year ADP Scholar, Chemistry

Bailey Fisher, second-year ADP Scholar, Chemistry

Robert Fisher, first-year ADP Scholar, Biology

Kyle Gebhard-,fourth-year ADP Scholar, Chemistry and Math

Oluwaseyi Jibade, second-year ADP Scholar, Chemistry

Courtney Johnson, third-year ADP Scholar, Physics

Keri Jones,second-year ADP Scholar, Cellular & Molecular Biology

Kevan Khaksarfard, second-year ADP Scholar, Biology

Rachel Latremouille, first-year ADP Scholar, Chemistry

Juliette Lynn, first-year ADP Scholar, Math

Murray Macnamara, first-year ADP Scholar, Math and Physics

Marjorie Marchman, first -year ADP Scholar, Biology

Rebekah Martin, second-year ADP Scholar, Computer Science

James O’Meara, second-year ADP Scholar, Physics

Tanner Mobley, first-year ADP Scholar, Chemistry

Alexander Price, second-year ADP Scholar, Physics

Kaitlyn Rouillard, first-year ADP Scholar, Chemistry

Ashton Stallings, first-year ADP Scholar, Biology

Yat Wang Ying, third-year ADP Scholar, Mathematics

The Phoenix rises thanks to writer’s flesh-pierced suspension

The Phoenix, GRU’s award-winning student-run magazine, recently added two more accolades, both from the Society of Professional Journalists.

The Phoenix editorial staff – Editor-in-Chief Matthew Johnson, Assistant Editor Anna Garner, Creative Director Drew Greiner, and Business Manager Kaitlin Keller – was a finalist in the best magazine category, and Erica Ruggles won the Region 3 feature story category for “Hooked,” her first-person account of flesh suspension.

As a regional winner, Ruggles’ story will go on to compete for best feature at the national level.

“Erica is a talented writer,” said Dr. Debra vanTuyll, the magazine’s advisor. “They didn’t tell her they were submitting the story because they thought she’d tell them it wasn’t good enough.”

While the subject matter – being suspended above the ground by a series of hooks pierced through the skin – might raise some eyebrows, the writing is eye opening.

“My body starts to leave the ground as the rope pulls me up; the tugging on my skin becoming more intense, more earnest, as my entire body weight begins to be supported by nothing more than the hooks in my thighs, calves and back,” she writes. “I feel myself bounce a little, but before I can ask to be steadied, cheers and applause come from the small crowd gathered around me, and I realize that I am fully off the ground.”

VanTuyll said all the students are communications majors who realize the advantages of being associated with a regularly published magazine as successful as the 21-year-old Phoenix.

“It’s a good pathway to open up doors when you graduate,” she said. “Because people know you can get a product to market, so to speak.”

The Phoenix is published three times a year. The fall issue, which includes Ruggles’ story about suspension, is still available in print form and can also be found online here.

Course brings drama students into exam room

GRU drama students recently had starring roles in exam rooms.

Physician assistant students are required to interview a ‘patient’ (typically a practicing PA or teaching assistant simulating the role) to obtain a medical history. Last semester, the drama students filled the roles.

Associate Professor Kathy Dexter had heard about a similar set-up at another University System of Georgia campus and approached drama lecturer Doug Joiner, who jumped at the chance to give his students a chance to perform.

“He just latched onto it and said it sounded like a great opportunity for his students,” Dexter said. “So we worked with him and set up the schedule well in advance to accommodate the students.”

Joiner earned his graduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, which had a similar program, so the prospect piqued his interest.

“I started researching, and there is a whole field of actor training for the standardized patient,” he said. “In larger markets, actors who are good can make 10 to 20 bucks an hour doing this.”

For the interview, the drama student follows a script with a complaint and a series of responses to anticipated questions from the PA student.

Dexter said the acting students made much more realistic patients because, unlike PAs, they were unfamiliar with medical terminology and didn’t know what the PA students were supposed to be asking.

The interviews, typically 20 minutes, were recorded in a realistically appointed mock exam room.

“I think the drama students were a little surprised when they walked in,” Dexter said. “They said it looked just like their doctor’s office.”

After the 44 PA students finished interviewing the 13 drama students (many of whom pulled double duty), both course instructors evaluated the videos to gauge their students’ performances.

“They surprised me,” Joiner said of his acting students. “I told them I wished they’d act that well for me in class, but if they do their good stuff outside, that’s good.”

Assistant PA Professor Stevie Redmond said she felt the joint participation exemplified GRU’s ability to capitalize on its new interdisciplinary relationships.

“I thought it would be a positive reflection of consolidation and how the two campuses have come together and are working together,” Redmond said. “Now that we’ve consolidated, we have so many resources on the Summerville Campus to help our students and help their students work together and get to know each other.”

Economic Commentary, March 2015

In January, Georgia Regents University’s James M. Hull College of Business Augusta Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 0.2% from December.

The index has increased 5.6% from January 2014. This represents eleven consecutive months of growth. Employment remains strong with 228,700 people employed in the Augusta MSA in January.

January 2015 represented the first month when the Augusta MSA included Lincoln County for employment purposes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has revised employment data for the Augusta MSA back to 2005 (see graph). The story, however, remains the same: the Augusta area continues to see continued economic growth. Recent employment grow has been seen in education and health services, financial activities, transportation and utilities, and leisure and hospitality.

Economic Report March 2015

 About the Index
The Augusta Leading Economic Index (Augusta LEI) is a monthly composite index that combines several national, regional, and local indicators into a single variable. Leading indexes combine variables that change before business cycle variables such as employment changes. Leading indexes may, therefore, indicate changes that could occur in the economy. Leading indexes are not forecasts or predictions about the future, but may signify future economic activity.
The Augusta LEI may provide local decision makers with timely information about future business cycle patterns in the Augusta area. The Augusta LEI uses economic indicators for the Augusta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes seven counties (i.e., Burke, Columbia, Lincoln, McDuffie, and Richmond counties in Georgia, and Aiken and Edgefield counties in South Carolina).
The index also includes regional and national indicators to reflect that national trends affect the local economy. The index is constructed in the same way that the Conference Board constructs the Leading Economic Index for the United States.
About Simon Medcalfe
simon medcalfeSimon Medcalfe is an Associate Professor of Finance in GRU’s Hull College of Business. He earned his doctoral degree from Lehigh University, and he received his master’s degree from the University of Leicester.
Medcalfe has authored numerous academic articles and is a former columnist for the The Augusta Chronicle’s “Your Business” section.

Match Day: success in the jungle

In a day that saw frogs hugging squirrels and bananas and gorillas living together in perfect harmony, 181 MCG students gathered at the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons to receive and open the envelops that contained their “what’s next.”

“I’m not sure I have a stomach anymore,” said Rachel Marks. “My ulcer actually climbed up my esophagus.”

16667944837_6923f2be9b_hMarks’ envelope contained the news that she would start her residency right here, which was her first choice. The Augusta native was thrilled.

“My mom’s elated,” she said. “I’m excited to be here and be near my parents and to be doing dermatology.”

All across the nation, senior medical students opened similar envelops and found out where they would be receiving their postgraduate specialty training.

In Athens, 39 students enrolled in the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership went through a comparable, though more reserved, ceremony.

MCG’s theme, “Welcome to the Jungle,” drew enthusiastic participation from everyone, including Medical College of Georgia Dean Peter Buckley, who wore full khaki and looked ready to go on safari.

16687631680_c6bd8449ac_hAccording to the Association of American Medical Colleges, nearly 35,000 U.S. and international students applied for one of the more than 27,000 first-year residency positions offered in this year’s Main Residency Match.

Here, this year’s class had an impressive 97.7 percent match rate, with students headed to programs in 35 states. Thirty percent will remain in Georgia for their first and second postgraduate year, with 20 percent remaining at MCG/GRHealth.

They matched in 18 specialties, and 40 percent are pursuing primary care, including Chris Ellington, who got exactly what he wanted.

“I’m staying right here,” he said with a smile. “I love Augusta. The people are nice, and there are just friendly faces everywhere.”

After an agonizing week of waiting, his relief was obvious.

“You knew on Monday whether or not you matched, but you didn’t know where,” he said. “So there’s lots of nerves. The people with the best costumes are probably the most nervous.”

Lindsey Carter and Janelle McGill, who along with several other friends dressed up to form a gaggle of geese, got their first choices, too – Carter to Greenville, South Carolina, and McGill here in Augusta.

16849142736_7f3065a66e_n“All of us (in the gaggle) either got a number one or a number two choice,” Carter said.

Underlying the party atmosphere, however, was the fundamental significance of what was occurring.

“This is a great moment in your career,” Buckley told them before the names were drawn. “You will remember this for the rest of your career, so enjoy the next couple of weeks. They are very, very special.”

Relaxing with friends after the ceremony, Ellison seemed to agree.

“It’s the end of something, but the beginning of something as well,” he said. “We had a really good class. They put in the extra work, and it paid off.”

For additional photos, click here.

For the Match Day highlight video, click here.

INQR 1000 students show off projects

Last week, over 480 freshman and sophomore students gave poster presentations at the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (CURS) and INQR 1000 Academic Expo.

The theme for this year’s one-credit hour INQR 1000 class was “Food for Thought,” and different classes approached the theme in different ways.

Dr. Joseph Hauger, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics, went in the direction of “Nibbles and Bytes,” and students used Arduino computer chips as the basis for several mechanical projects, including a skateboard speedometer and an audio version of the electronic game “Simon.”

“In the first five weeks, there are basic things that I want them to learn that are sort of the building blocks – digital output, digital input, analog – and then they do a little bit of coding,” Hauger said. “Then the students start to realize that this is all open source code, so they start to hack stuff.”

He said some of the best ideas students came up with occurred simply because they were talking with other students, which is one of the points behind the program.

“The group work is the foundation for critical thinking,” said Abigail Dresher, Program Coordinator for CURS. “The course is designed to help them ask questions and think critically and work as a team. And working in groups is key for engagement and feeling like they are engaged in the topic or engaged in the learning process.”

Hauger agreed.

“For me, personally, it’s to have them on a team and have them feel included in something,” he said. “I think a lot of college is having students feel like this is a place where they’ve got this group they identify with, and then there’s camaraderie.”

The class is so popular that Hauger has a couple of students who have returned to help out just to see what the new batch of students is doing.

“It was just so much fun,” said Zane Corder, whose Arduino-based football helmet concussion sensor has become something of a legend. “I’d always wanted to get into Arduinos, but never really got around to it until the class.”

Because research suggests that students start college looking for answers rather than asking questions, the course directs students toward being active learners by teaching them how to identify and collect appropriate evidence, present results, formulate conclusions, and evaluate the importance of those conclusions.

Model UN prepares for New York City

While there’s no guarantee that any of the students participating in GRU’s Model United Nations program will end up being elected president of the United States or voted in as secretary-general of the UN, at least they stand a chance, which is more than you can say for those who aren’t a part of the program.

“I think every UN secretary-general has been in a Model UN program,” said Dr. Craig Albert, Assistant Professor of Political Science and the program’s director. “And I think something like 80 percent of modern-day U.S. presidents have been a part of it as well.”

Next week, 6,000 of these future world leaders from over 50 countries will converge on New York City to participate in the National Model United Nations, and GRU’s group will be right in the thick of it.

Run in joint partnership with the political science department and the study away program, the Model UN program is a three-credit class that runs the full 16-week semester and culminates with the trip to New York, where each program represents a particular member nation of the real UN.

This year, GRU is representing Palestine and will have a 90-minute briefing with the Palestinian Permanent Observer Mission.

Albert chooses – and gets – countries at the epicenter of world affairs. In 2012, GRU represented Iran.

“Three years ago, we met up with the Iranian embassy in New York, which was fantastic,” he said. “We went to their building, so technically, we were in the sovereign territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They gave us the whole spiel, and the students could see right through the propaganda.”

Once the students get to the conference, they have to remain in character throughout negotiations of a United Nations resolution.

“They start their session in New York at 7 a.m., and they finish at 11 p.m.,” Albert said. “It’s a full ambassadorial day – no break. In fact, they have rules that if another delegate wants to negotiate at 3 a.m. and they know your room number, that stuff’s allowed, just like in the real United Nations.”

One of the class requirements is that students attend every class in full business attire, which helps promote a sense of solidarity among the participants while preparing them for the long days in New York.

“Every time we meet, they have to be fully ‘ambassadored-up,’” he said. “Because a lot of people don’t know what it’s like to be in an eight-hour meeting with a suit on.”

The strategy seems to work. GRU has racked up 17 international awards in four years, including a few best overall delegate awards, several position paper awards, and a regular appearance in the top three of participating programs.

In October, GRU hosted its first middle school Model United Nations, creating a kind of feeder system Albert hopes will benefit both the program as well as the school.

UN middle school
Middle School Model UN

“Hopefully, the kids will develop an affinity for GRU from their experience here,” he said. “If they do the middle school Model United Nations, in three to five years we hope to roll out a high school Model United Nations, and those same kids could participate in that. And then, when they know we have a college team and a college program, why wouldn’t they just come right here, since they’re so familiar with it?”

Participating at the college level is not cheap, however. Because the program is run through the study away program, the cost is $1,800, which covers the transportation to New York and six nights at a Times Square hotel, but is still very expensive, considering that some students choose to participate more than once.

“Hopefully, in three or four years, the program can be a self-funding type of activity, which means I can really help all demographics of students,” Albert said.

Because of that, Albert is hoping to put the money raised by putting on the middle school Model UN into a scholarship to make the opportunity more affordable to all students.

Donations made out to the Center for Public Service: Foundation Account #29191 can be sent to Dr. Craig Albert, 2500 Walton Way, Department of Political Science, Augusta, GA, 30904.

Honors Program winning awards

At the Georgia Collegiate Honors Council conference in Americus, Georgia, a few weeks ago, nine students from Georgia Regents University presented research in podium presentations, and two, Asma Daoudi and Brittney Laufer, won first prize in their categories.

That means GRU Honors students won two of the three categories at a major state-level conference, which is a big boost for the growing program.

For Daoudi, who finished second overall at the Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference last semester, the win confirms that she’s headed down the right path.

“I guess every student at some point has doubts about whether they should continue doing what they’re doing or look for something else,” she said. “For me, the first conference was the first milestone – I’ll keep moving on – and this conference was confirmation – I’m definitely where I need to be.”

On Thursday, March 19, Daoudi and eight others will be attending the Southern Regionals, and she’s also applied to attend nationals in November.

Daoudi was also elected Student Vice President for the state Honors Council and will help plan for the 2016 state conference, which will be held at the Summerville Campus next February.

“She’s one of our pioneers,” said Dr. Tim Sadenwasser, director of the Honors Program. “She’s working with faculty on the Health Sciences Campus, and I think that’s really important for the success of this consolidation. She’s got a faculty advisor up here and a faculty advisor down there, and everybody’s got to work together on one project.”

In a practical sense, “up here” is the Quad Wall building, which serves as the program’s office as well as a kind of clubhouse for the close-knit group of students, who will gather between classes to relax and often attend lectures and other presentations there.

Honors students take Honors-designated core courses before moving on to interdisciplinary courses like Darwin and the Victorians, the course Sadenwasser, an English professor, is currently co-teaching with Dr. Donna Wear, a professor from the biology department.

“We look at evolutionary science and geological science and look at how the Victorian writers were reacting to all the different things,” he said. “It’s a fun class, and I’m really enjoying being in there. I’m learning a lot about biology and evolution and how it all happens. We have a lot of biology majors, and they’re hearing about how terrifying all this was to a lot of the 19th century writers.”

Usually around their junior year, students will start writing their honors thesis, something not every honors program requires.

“I think to complete a project and see it all the way through to the end is really very strong preparation for them to go to medical school or graduate school or enter into a challenging career,” Sadenwasser said.

Daoudi, who was born in Syria, seems to be leaning toward going to medical school after graduation.

“A lot of people are like, you’re doing research in oral biology, why medical and not dental?” she says. “But I’m one of those people who understands that research is research regardless of what field you’re doing it in. I may be getting that fundamental experience in a field I might not necessarily go into, but I know I’ll know more about it now.”

New doctoral degree in educational innovation will impact students, university, and community

According to Dr. Wayne Lord, Associate Dean of Georgia Regents University’s College of Education, the newly created doctoral degree in educational innovation is generating a lot of attention.

“We recently had 18 applicants on campus for interviews and to participate in a writing exercise,” Lord said. “The folks we interviewed are very excited about the possibilities and intrigued by the design of the program and the fact that it’s about making a difference. They see it as purposeful.”

The Educational Innovation EdD is the first doctoral program in the College of Education and the university’s first doctoral program outside of health and medicine. Lord said they initially considered offering a PhD, but after consolidation, the focus shifted toward an EdD.

“We are approaching this as a practitioner’s degree, trying to better prepare those who are already working in educational settings and to help them perform even more efficiently,” he said. “So we’re not really trying to prepare them to be researchers who are going to focus on or develop theories. As much as their hands are already dirty with the work, we’re trying to see how they can get their hands dirtier.”

Lord said that by focusing on real problems of practice, the EdD program will help groom the educational leaders of tomorrow to influence from within.

“It’s not really preparing folks to transition to another career,” he said. “It really is to focus on wherever your educational setting is so that people can work and effect change at that level.”

Because the program will be asking local school districts for input about the problems they are facing while also working with them to develop solutions, some are calling this a consultancy approach, which is fine by Lord.

“This is kind of at the heart of what we’re doing,” he said. “The personal growth and development that occurs while completing the doctoral program is great for the individual, but what’s the so what? Through our doctoral program, we’re trying to prepare educators who will be able to deliver on the so what.”

The program is modeled after the strong program put together at Vanderbilt.

“They have folks from all over the country who fly in on weekends,” Lord said. “So we’ve tried to steal and borrow from the best.”

Consequently, the program will follow a cohort approach, with the 12 to 15 students working together. The belief among those at GRU is that change in education is facilitated when people are able to collaborate.

“That’s kind of the hidden curriculum inside our program,” he said. “The cohort size is intentional because a lot of the work they’re going to do is going to be done in groups and those groups will be changing, so they’re going to have to transfer those interpersonal skills and learn about other people and what their work habits are like, because that’s what it’s like in the real world.”

Not only will they be working in groups throughout the program, but their dissertation in practice will be a collaboration as well.

Another plus, especially given the current financial pressures: The new program is kicking off without the addition of any new faculty.

Offers of admission will go out in April, and classes will start in May.

GRU to offer new doctoral degree in applied health sciences

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The College of Allied Health Sciences at Georgia Regents University will offer a new doctoral degree in applied health sciences – the first program of its kind in the University System of Georgia.

“Applied health sciences is a vital source of new knowledge for today’s society, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to produce professionals who will be able to discover new solutions to the health care needs of our communities,” said Dr. Andrew Balas, Dean of College of Allied Health Sciences at GRU. “We are pleased to have in place faculty who are ready to lead the research and educational efforts to make this a successful doctoral program known for responding to real problems of practice.”

This three-year, interdisciplinary doctoral program is designed to equip health professionals with the skills to solve health care issues in numerous fields of allied health. Graduates will be clinically oriented and prepared for roles in evidence-based practice or as faculty in allied health fields.

The coursework offers innovative and advanced research training in three concentration areas: rehabilitation science, health care outcomes, and diagnostic sciences.

Application deadline is May 31, 2015. For more information, call GRU’s College of Allied Health Sciences at 706-721-2621 or visit


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.