Issue 6: March 2020


GSW moves to online instruction in response to COVID-19

On March 16, the University System of Georgia (USG) announced that all of its 26 institutions would move to online instruction for all courses for the remainder of the semester.

For all GSW updates, please visit Updates are also shared via email and social media.

Faculty and staff send encouraging messages to students

Just before classes resumed online for the remainder of the Spring semester, GSW's faculty and staff shared a few supportive words for our students. Be sure to stick around for the musical performance at the end! Watch the full video here.

GSW encourages incoming students to apply now while fee is waived and SAT/ACT not needed

There’s no better time than now to apply to Georgia Southwestern State University! First-year students applying for Summer and Fall 2020 no longer need SAT or ACT scores and the application fee is waived for a limited time. This two-fold announcement brings a lot of excitement and eagerness amongst high school seniors who may have been inadvertently affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

These changes come in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which prompted the College Board and ACT to suspend all upcoming ACT and SAT testing dates. The University System of Georgia authorized this change.

“Everyone at Georgia Soutwestern understands there have been challenges facing not only our current faculty, staff, and students, but also our prospective students and their families,” states GSW President Neal Weaver. “We want to ensure that every student’s path to college is not hindered by this current health crisis.”

Director of Recruitment and Admissions Jonathan Scott said “We are ready and willing to help our prospective students navigate the college admissions process during this challenging time. Waiving this requirement will relieve some of the stress facing graduating seniors who are unable to take or retake the SAT or ACT.”

Learn more about these changes here.

Peach Belt Conference Cancels Remainder of 2019-20 Season

The Peach Belt Conference Board of Directors has announced that all competition for the remainder of the 2019-20 season has been cancelled. This includes all regular-season competition for the 15 NCAA championship sports the conference sponsors as well as upcoming spring sports tournaments in baseball, softball, tennis, golf and track & field. 

"This was a very difficult decision for the board to make," said PBC commissioner David Brunk. "But the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and fans is our top priority. Given the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic that we are all facing, the board agreed that this was in the best interests of everyone involved."

The decision comes a day after the NCAA announced it was cancelling all national championship competition for the remainder of the academic year.

Information will be provided to Georgia Southwestern State University student-athletes and coaches as it becomes available regarding travel, eligibility and the resumption of training and campus activities.


Registration Week set for March 30 – April 3

While we are working through the end of Spring semester, we are also looking forward to Fall 2020. Please review the information here and at to be sure you're on track to register for your Fall courses.

Spring 2020 Commencement Ceremony cancelled, alternatives to be announced soon

Following guidance from the Governor’s Office, Georgia Department Public Health and CDC, all public events and large gatherings need to be cancelled (or rescheduled). The University System of Georgia has directed all 26 institutions to cancel Spring commencement ceremonies and consider alternatives. As we continue to navigate these unprecedented challenges surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are taking all possible steps to keep our GSW community healthy.

USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley states, "We don't make this decision lightly, nor do we want to diminish all our students have achieved. Our institutions are working on creative, alternative ways to celebrate their students' accomplishments, and I am grateful for the commitment and dedication our students have shown in the face of extraordinary times. They have worked hard and rightfully expect to celebrate and mark their graduation." 

“One of the most joyous moments for me as a President is watching our graduates walk across the stage,” said GSW President Neal Weaver, “and I hope to still be able to do that in the near future as we are beginning discussions on alternative ceremony options so that we can still celebrate the hard work and educational accomplishments of the GSW Class of 2020.”

Students set to graduate this Spring will still receive their degrees upon meeting academic standards. Graduating seniors will receive an email from Academic Affairs regarding diplomas and Herff Jones refunds.

Please stay tuned for announcements on alternate ceremony options for Spring 2020 graduates.

Students and donors attend annual Donor-Scholar Luncheon

With a record 175 attendees this year, Georgia Southwestern’s 12th Annual Donor-Scholar Luncheon gave students the opportunity to meet their donors who generously provide support for numerous GSW Foundation scholarships.

This year's student speakers included Emma Carter, a freshman nursing major from McDonough, Ga. Emma received three scholarships, including the Charles L. Mix Scholarship as a participant in the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program, the Guaranteed Acceptance Program scholarship for nursing, and the Phil Jones/Citizens Bank Scholarship.

 James Griggs, a freshman business major from Americus, Ga., also spoke at the event. James received three scholarships this year as well, including two Kenneth McMillan Scholarships and the Roy Lee Smith Sheriff Youth Home Scholarship.

For the 2019-20 academic year, over 330 students received GSW Foundation scholarships, with 80 students receiving two or more. These scholarships totaled just under $1 million.

Submission deadline for Faculty and Staff Awards extended

Nominations for the Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards are open, with the deadline extended to April 30, 2020. An individual can receive no more than one award from the designated category every three years. Individuals may nominate their colleagues or themselves; however, the nominations should be shared with the dean of the respective college (for faculty) and/or the supervisor (for staff).

Nominations for faculty excellence awards in each category should consist of a CV and letter(s) of support describing the faculty member’s contributions. Nominations for staff excellence awards are to be provided by the employee’s colleagues and/or supervisor and should consist of a letter(s) of support describing the staff member’s contributions.

All completed nominations will be submitted to the respective review committees for final review and consideration.

All nominations should be submitted electronically to before the April 30, 2020 nomination deadline. Recipients will be announced at a future event; details to be announced when they become available.

students in restuarantMarketing students visit Atlanta

On February 25, Dr. Suzanne Conner’s Consumer Behavior class (MKTG 4820) took a field trip to the Atlanta American Marketing Association’s Keynote Luncheon: Managing the Customer Experience with Home Depot and Intercontinental Hotel Group at Maggiano’s in Buckhead. At this gathering, students heard industry experts discuss their brands’ strategies for designing the customer experience from the vision of the ideal experience through measuring performance and continuous innovation. Before the luncheon students had an opportunity to network with marketing-industry leaders from the Atlanta area. Afterwards, the group toured Lenox Square and they were able to, among other things, take a test ride in a Tesla and speak to managers in stores like Fendi.

students in restuarantShannon Griffin said of the experience, “Most importantly, I discovered how businesses and firms apply the concepts that I learn every day in class to real-world situations. I heard familiar words that I am exposed to in classes such as Principles of Marketing, Principles of Management, and Consumer Behavior.” Other participants had similar comments about the trip.

“As a professor, I am thankful for the opportunity provided by the HIPO grant, to take students to an event like this,” said Dr. Conner.

SGA application deadline extended

Student Government Association (SGA) has extended the deadline to apply to be an SGA senator to Wednesday, April 1 at 11:59 p.m. “We believe that the leaders of tomorrow are here on this campus,” noted SGA. “We encourage you to take this opportunity to be a part of the 2020-2021 Student Government Association to add your voice to this important group.”

You can apply by completing the application via CanesConnect. In order to complete application, you must log in using your CanesNet credentials. 

Voting for elections will occur on GeorgiaVIEW in April, and candidates will be allowed to campaign virtually using whatever creative means that they see fit. If you have any questions regarding SGA, the application, or student concerns, please contact SGA at

Campus events cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19

In following the COVID-19 guidance from the University System of Georgia, State of Georgia, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a number of planned campus events have been canceled or postponed.

Canceled Events:

  • Taste of the World, April 1, 2020
  • Baseball Alumni Weekend, April 3-4, 2020
  • Phi Alpha Theta Conference, April 4, 2020
  • Preview Day, April 18, 2020
  • Undergraduate Research Symposium, May 1, 2020
  • Junior Mathematics Tournament, May 2, 2020
  • Faculty and Staff Awards and Recognition Luncheon, May 6, 2020
  • Spring 2020 Commencement, May 15, 2020

Postponed Events:

  • Zeta Tau Alpha 50th Anniversary, postponed to November 13-14, 2020
  • May 2 STORM Day, postponed to June 5, 2020

Student Recognitions

Students present at Tuskegee conference

Working with Dr. Susan Bragg, six GSW undergraduates participated in the 4th Annual Tuskegee University Research Symposium at Tuskegee University on February 14, an event that included both professional scholars and undergraduate scholars from across the nation.

The conference focused on African American history and culture. Makayla Graham (History), Brandon Blue (Psychology/History), and Mel’yada Milner (Information Technology) presented papers on the politics of fashion in civil rights dialogues across the 20th and 21st centuries. Carrington Price (Middle Grades Education) and Kiana Salter (Information Technology) also joined in the event. As part of the conference, students attended a play based on the story of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, explored the historic campus of Tuskegee, and participated in a wide range of scholarly discussions. Financial support for student participation in the MGA and Tuskegee conferences was generously funded by Georgia Southwestern State University’s High Impact Practice Opportunity Grant program.


Norrman selected for prestigious Arnold Palmer Cup

Georgia Southwestern senior golfer Vincent Norrman has been selected to play in the 2020 Arnold Palmer Cup. The announcement was made Friday by the Golf Coaches Association of America and selections were revealed during a broadcast on the Golf Channel. Norrman is one of the 12 men's collegiate players selected for the international team and the only NCAA Division II player on the men's side. He is the first Peach Belt Conference golfer to ever be selected for the Arnold Palmer Cup.

Norrman was in the midst of a historic season when it was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent cancellation of all collegiate and conference championships. The Stockholm, Sweden, native won an eye-popping five tournaments this year, finishing in the Top 10 of all seven events played, to end the year ranked the No. 1 NCAA Division II individual according to the Golfstat computer rankings. His Golfstat adjusted scoring average of 69.25 was the lowest across all divisions of the NCAA. He currently has a World Amateur Golf Ranking of No. 47.

Read more about Vincent and the Arnold Palmer Cup here.

LSAMP Scholars attend Inaugural Southwest Georgia LSAMP Alliance Summit

Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Scholars Nadia Ford, Chelse’ Perry, and Awung Betanga presented their research at the 2020 Southwest Georgia LSAMP Alliance Summit, held on February 28-29, in Columbus, Georgia. The summit included keynote presentations by Congressman Sanford Bishop and Mr. Brian Thomas, founder of the KIPNspire Group, interactive workshops for preparing for a future STEM career or graduate program, networking opportunities, and an undergraduate research poster session. The LSAMP scholars were accompanied by Dr. Samuel Peavy, Professor of Geology, and Dr. Michele Smith, Professor of Chemistry.

student present poster

Susan BendelMBA Spring graduate awarded CMA scholarship

GSW MBA Spring 2020 graduate, Susane Joseph Bendel of Gainesville, Ga., was awarded a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) scholarship from the Institute of Management Accountants. The scholarship will provide registration fees and exam preparation support to take the CMA exam. The CMA credential is the benchmark for management accountants, certifying mastery of 12 core practice areas in the profession.

MBA Director Dr. Carol C. Bishop said, "GSW is proud to provide the resources for accounting and graduate students to improve their professional credentials and gain a competitive edge in their career. We congratulate Ms. Bendel and wish her the best in achieving her goals as a management accountant."


Berggren publishes Carter re-election series

Dr. Jason Berggren, associate professor of political science, is publishing an article series for the the Americus Times-Recorder on President Jimmy Carter's 1980 re-election effort. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Carter’s campaign. Below is the link to my article that was published today. Links to each article in the series are available below.

“I am a candidate for reelection”; President Carter Enters 1980 Race (Jan. 10, 2020)

In “Vote of Confidence”, Carter Whips Kennedy in Iowa (Jan. 28, 2020)

On Kennedy’s Home Court, Pres. Carter Scores Win in New Hampshire (Feb. 26, 2020)

The most recent installment in the series, "'Sweet to Defeat Kennedy': Pres. Carter Wins Super Tuesday and More," was published in the Saturday, March 28, 2020 issue of the Times-Recorder and can be found on pages A10-A11.

Berggren also published a 12-article series on the 1976 campaign four years ago.

Fisk publishes paper on implicit attitudes about race

Dr. Gary Fisk, professor of psychology, recently published a paper on implicit attitudes about race. The leading test for these attitudes, the Implicit Association Test, does not seem to correspond very closely to more direct expressions of racism. The reason for this lack of relationship has been uncertain and prompted much interest. Fisk tested the possibility that maybe the geographic region of people who were sampled might have an impact on this question. In the study, he found not much of a relationship between these forms of attitudes, which is similar to previous studies. Essentially, being from the South does not seem to make an impact.

Read the full paper here, or a summary here.


faculty in front of presentation screenNursing faculty attend conference

On February 20-22, 2020, several graduate and undergraduate Nursing faculty attended the Georgia Association of Nursing Education Annual Conference in Jekyll Island, Ga. Pictured are Dr. Mary Anne Shepherd, Dr. Kim Hasbach and Senior Lecturer Bonnie Gary at their presentation entitled “Developing Clinical Reasoning from Graduate to Undergraduate.” The presentation discussed the development and implementation of Pathophysiology and Illness Scripts assignments that are used in the Graduate and Undergraduate Nursing programs. Implementation of the assignments enabled students to develop clinical reasoning skills that are needed for practice as a Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner. Implementation of the assignments also allow for a smooth transition from undergraduate to graduate Studies as well as enhancing student readiness for practice.

Also presenting at the conference were Dr. Paula Bryant, and Lecturers, Rhonda Slocumb and Jessica Ouzts. Their presentation was entitled “Teaching Empathy and Compassion Through Simulation and Service Learning Experiences in a BSN Psychiatric Nursing Course.” This presentation discussed the development of the “Hearing Voices” Simulation and student participation in the Tim Tebow Foundation Night to Shine Event. The faculty presented how the use of these two activities in the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Course helped to engender feelings of empathy and compassion in nursing students. Simulation Coordinator, Laci Martin also assisted in the Implementation of these two projects.

Dr. Paula Bryant also delivered a podium presentation entitled “Course Collaboration to Implement High Impact Practices in Senior Level Nursing Courses. Her presentation detailed the collaboration with now retired Nursing Faculty, Dr. Joy Humphrey. This project helped to prepare graduating nursing students for practice by implementing assignments such as mock interviews and nursing quality improvement research projects that were presented at the Undergraduate Research Day.

GSW faculty present at teaching conference

A number of GSW faculty recently presented at the 18th Annual Teaching Matters Conference at Gordon State College in Barnesville, Georgia. Dr. Judy Orton Grissett presented a poster titled "Practicing What You Preach: Using Health Psychology’s Biopsychosocial Approach to Maintain a Healthier Work Lifestyle.”

Reference Librarian and Assistant Professor John Wilson presented “The Cutting Edge: Multimedia Projects in the Classroom.” The project teaches students website building and management skills and explores layout and design techniques using free web tools to generate research content.

This year's conference theme was "The Inclusive Academic: Strategies for Maintaining Balance in a Changing Academic World." For more information about the conference, including a full program with other GSW presenters, please visit the conference website.

faculty with posters

Robins presents on teaching military history

Nearly 150 people gathered in Augusta, Georgia, February 6-8, 2020 for the annual meeting of the Georgia Association of Historians (GAH), an organization dedicated to the teaching and study of all areas of history. Dr. Glenn Robins, professor of history, presided as the president of the GAH. In addition, Robins was a participant in roundtable panel discussion sponsored by the Society for Military History (SMH). The panel title was, “Bringing Military History to Today’s Classroom: Strategies, Approaches, Relevancy. The panel chair and moderator was Dr. William Allison, Georgia Southern University and SMH Region IV: South Coordinator. Panelists included Dr. Jonathan Beall, University of North Georgia; Dr. John Fahey, Georgia Military College; Dr. Derek Mallet, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Gordon; and Dr. Robins.

The roundtable was quite successful and drew an energetic audience that discussed such matters as teaching military history in ROTC programs and the challenges of teaching military history in the Professional Military Education environment, explored ways to teach military history in the U.S. and World History survey courses, and exchanged ideas about specific course and classroom assignments that incorporated aspects of military history.

New Hires, Promotions & Retirements

Coach CoganCogan named Head Women's Soccer Coach

GSW Director of Athletics Mike Leeder has hired Chris Cogan to be the university’s next head women's soccer coach. Cogan comes to Georgia Southwestern from Mercer University, where he served on the women's soccer staff this past year.

"I am incredibly excited for the opportunity to lead the GSW's women's soccer program," Cogan said. "It is with a huge amount of gratitude that I thank (Director of Athletics) Mike Leeder and (Associate Director of Athletics) Christie Ward for trusting me to advance this program into a competitive program that GSW, Georgia and the Peach Belt Conference can be proud of."

Learn more about Coach Cogan here.

Beth Morris joins Office of Purchasing

Beth Morris recently transitioned to a new role as Buyer in GSW’s Office of Purchasing. Beth worked in the Office of Informational and Instructional Technology (IIT) since 2006, most recently as the IT/Telecommunications Help Desk Coordinator. Prior to joining IIT, she spent 13 years at the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving.

Beth and her husband Wayne have one son, Aaron, who will soon be graduating from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Awards & Grants

Rhonda Slocumb holding awardsSlocumb receives award and scholarship

Rhonda Slocumb, Lecturer of Nursing, recently received the Mabel Korsell Award for her service to the Georgia Association of Nursing Education. Slocumb has served as Regional Director of the Southwest Region for 6 years and serves on the conference planning committee. This year, Slocumb also put together the first electronic conference program.

Slocumb was also awarded the Spillman-Bischoff Scholarship, which is awarded to graduate students. She is currently working on her Ph.D. dissertation in nursing.

Education grant provides flexible seating classroom for students

Mrs. Michele McKie collaborated with GSW student Maggie Johnson and Dean Rachel Abbott to write a High Impact Practice Opportunity (HIPO) grant for the College of Education. Maggie Johnson wanted to find a way to support her fellow students in their learning endeavors through a flexible seating classroom, a research topic education students are learning about in Behavior Management courses. Research shows teachers need to be aware of ways to accommodate their students in three dimensions of classroom design: naturalness, stimulation, and individualization.

Maggie worked with faculty to identify ways the College could show current teacher candidates the benefits of a flexible seating classroom. The grant purchased equipment that teacher candidates can use while taking their education classes to include: stay-put balance balls, portable lap desks to use with floor cushions, tractor stools, floor chairs, a hammock chair, and standing desks. Teacher candidates will have an opportunity experience flexible seating to see which ideas will work for students in their future classroom. Flexible seating allows students with attention and/or sensory issues to focus during instruction. It is valuable for students who are anxious about assignments or have other learning preferences.

“Maggie Johnson provided valuable leadership to ensure her peers would benefit from this alternative learning classroom,” said McKie. “We look forward to using the classroom over the coming years.”

upgrades to classrooms

Past Events

College of Education hosts Career Fair

The College of Education hosted their Annual Teacher Career Fair on Saturday, March 7. This year the college partnered with Chattahoochee-Flint RESA to draw teachers from across the state to South Georgia. The partnership between Chattahoochee-Flint RESA and GSW’s College of Education demonstrates a shared vision of providing teachers to our local school districts. 23 school districts participated from across the state and 53 current teachers and teacher candidates attended. This year there were 11 participants from outside GSW who came. The College of Education hopes to grow the number of participants each year.

career fair

Milestones, Birthdays & Life Events

Baby SophiaWu family welcomes baby

Dr. Chu Chu Wu, Associate Professor in the College of Education, proudly welcomed a baby girl into the world on February 24, 2020. Sophia Alice Wu arrived at 4:42am weighing 7lb 8 oz. Congratulations to the Wu family!

Upcoming Events

Find more events on the GSW academic calendar and on CanesConnect.