Issue 9: June 2020


Summer enrollment sets all-time record

Summer 2020 represents the largest summer enrollment in the history of Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW). Despite the country facing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, enrolled students are up more than 6% compared to last summer. These are the highest summer numbers ever recorded in the school's 114-year existence, and administrators expect enrollment to continue to trend upward into the Fall.

From graduating high school seniors to executives at high-level organizations, individuals were flocking to online classes this summer. GSW stated that almost every academic area was up with the biggest gains in graduate enrollment, specifically the MBA program, the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education and the addition of the new Ed.S. in Teacher Leadership.

"In times of economic trouble, people turn to higher education as a path to a brighter future," said GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. "With GSW's affordability, quality of instruction and personalized attention, we know many people will choose us as their destination for higher learning. This is certainly welcome news considering the decline that was predicted by industry experts because of COVID-19."

Read more about summer enrollments here.

Dr. Liz Wilson retires as Dean of GSW College of Business and Computing after 30 years of dedication

Liz Wilson, Ph.D., dean of GSW's College of Business and Computing, formerly the School of Business, has retired effective June 30, 2020 after serving GSW for 30 years.

“You hope as a teacher that you’ve made an impact on people, and you hope as a dean that you’ve had a positive influence on your team of employees,” said Wilson. “I am so proud of our team who has melded together into an incredibly productive, engaged group of colleagues who share a vision of innovation and involvement as a means to enhance the student experience and their individual success.”

During her tenure, Wilson shepherded GSW’s small online program into one of the most outstanding online programs in the nation; spearheaded the adoption of GSW’s BBA degree into the University System of Georgia’s (USG) eMajor program; led the school through two successful reaccreditations of the prestigious AACSB International accreditation; and expanded Human Resource Management from a concentration with four classes to a full-fledged undergraduate degree program, the only one of its kind in the USG.

Read more about Dr. Wilson and her time as Dean here.

Dr. Liz Wilson

GSW’s commitment to diversity and inclusion

Over the past few weeks, Georgia Southwestern has heard powerful feedback from our campus community, and has had moments of intentional reflection that dig deep into our core values. At such a crucial time in the fight for racial equality, it’s important that, as an institution of higher learning, we understand and acknowledge our history while continuing to move forward. Georgia Southwestern is dedicated to fostering an inclusive campus environment that recognizes, supports, and empowers each individual member’s voice. We are actively listening to our students, faculty, staff and alumni. But it’s not enough to just listen - we must take action.

Read the full statement at here.


GSW’s Center for Chinese Bie-modern Studies to host virtual international symposium

The Center for Chinese Bie-modern Studies (CCBMS) at GSW, in collaboration with the Institute of Aesthetics and Aesthetic Education of Shanghai Normal University and the Center for Bie-modern Studies at the University of Primorska, will host a virtual international symposium to be held online October 1-3, 2020. The conference, "Bie-modernism: Current Challenges and the Future--Chinese and Western Dialogues on Art, Modernity, Postmodernity, concepts of Truth and History", will focus on a wide range of topics that engage issues in contemporary Chinese culture and cultures in similarly developing countries or within the developed west. 

Dr. Wang Jianjiang, a Chinese scholar in Shanghai has proposed a theory of “Bie-modernism” as a way to discuss the contemporary Chinese experience as unique and different from the western phenomenon. His ideas have been expanding globally while creating a growing dialogue between Chinese and western scholars concerning zhuyi and or "ism" (theory).  This has led to the questioning of historical modes and comparisons between the Bie-modern and modern, Bie-modern and postmodern, the resilience of pre-modern perspectives, art and reality, and a wide array of contemporary issues. The collision between Chinese and western scholars comes from their different cultural backgrounds, knowledge systems and values, which have thus formed many intersections of unique and contrasting perspectives. The concept of Bie-modern has been and can be applied to a variety of disciplines and not merely art and aesthetics. Paper proposals are encouraged from all disciplines. Abstracts of 500 words are due August 1, 2020, and full text of 6,000-10,000 words are due September 1, 2020. Selected papers will be compiled and published in paperback book form.

Please contact Keaton Wynn ( or visit the Center for Chinese Bie-modern Studies webpage for more information on the program.

Mukkavilli named to communications editorial board

Dr. Sai Mukkavilli, assistant professor in the College of Business and Computing, was recently selected to join the Editorial Board for the Frontiers in Communications and Networks journal. Mukkavilli will be specifically reviewing the "Smart Grid Communications" specialty section of the journal.

As a review editor, Mukkavilli will review 5-10 manuscripts each year and will be acknowledged on all manuscripts he endorses for publication. Editors are also able to submit their own work to the journal.

Student Recognitions

June Canes Spotlights announced

Canes Spotlights highlight Georgia Southwestern students who hold leadership roles, are involved in extracurricular activities and excel academically on campus. The June Canes Spotlights were:

Canes Spotlights are nominated by GSW faculty and staff.

Six Hurricanes named to PBC Team of Academic Distinction

The Georgia Southwestern baseball team placed six players to the Peach Belt Conference Team of Academic Distinction, released earlier this week by the league. The Hurricanes also finished the spring semester with a 3.28 team grade point average. 

Senior Tucker Smith from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., leads the way with a 4.00 GPA as he's completing his Master's in Business Administration. Junior Jamison Wilks from Paulding County is a Management major who holds a 3.886 GPA followed by Cole Garrett, the senior History major from Nashville, Ga. who holds a 3.70 GPA. Jacob Harrell is a senior from Rome, Ga., who is majoring in Math with a 3.657 GPA as sophomore Matthew Mamatas from McDonough, Ga., holds a 3.604 GPA while majoring in Management. Junior Jared Donalson is an Exercise Science major from Albany, Ga. who has a 3.571

Read more about how student-athletes are chosen here.

Lady Hurricanes place six to PBC Team of Academic Distinction

The Georgia Southwestern softball team placed six Lady Hurricanes to the Peach Belt Conference Team of Academic Distinction, released earlier this week by the league. 

Senior Jennifer Jernigan leads the way as she is a Management major from Waycross, Ga., who holds a 3.688 GPA followed by sophomore Allyson Murdock, the Exercise Science major from Debrary, Fla., who holds a 3.625 GPA. Shannon Gibson is a senior Exercise Science major from Colborne, Ontario who has a 3.60 GPA and Christina Wells is a  sophomore Management major from Apopka, Fla., who holds a 3.494. Junior Chloe Zoeller is a Nursing major from Flowery Branch, Ga., who holds a 3.432 GPA as Tanner Robertson is a senior Exercise Science major from Huntsville, Ala., who holds a 3.308 GPA.

Read more about how student-athletes are chosen here.


Kutzler continues local history series

Evan Kutzler

Assistant Professor of history Evan Kutzler, Ph.D., has completed two more articles in his local history series with the Americus Times-Recorder. “What Makes a Place Historic?" was published on May 14 and explores the definition of “historic” in terms of the National Register of Historic Places, its criteria, and preservation.

Another article, “Billy Proctor’s Appeal,” was published June 19. Here, Kutzler examines an 1854 letter in which an enslaved man asked a powerful Americus enslaver to purchase him. This piece investigates what we know about Proctor from this letter and the few newspaper ads he placed in the 1850s.


Kutzler explores sensory experience of Andersonville in audio story

Assistant Professor of history Evan Kutzler, Ph.D., recorded an audio story for The American Civil War Museum titled “Sensing the Past: Nighttime at Andersonville Prison.” This piece takes a look at Andersonville Prison’s overcrowded conditions during the Civil War through the lens of prisoner of war John Hoster and his diary entries.

The audio story and full transcript are available here.


Student Engagement and Success staff present for CSSC Conference

LaToya Stackhouse, Kelby Lamar, and David Jenkins all presented for the Curriculum Studies Summer Collaborative (CSSC) Conference that was held virtually on June 12, 2020.

Stackhouse and Jenkins' presentation was titled “Getting to WE: Recreating Student Leadership on Campus.” Lamar’s presentation was titled “The Solution Room: How a Series of Workshops can Help Students Define Answers for Some of Their Issues on Campus.”

New Hires, Promotions & Retirements

Mandy Barr and Kira Ramseur join RCI

Many Barr and Kira Ramseur joined the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving as Program Assistants on June 1, 2020.

Mandy was born and raised in Plains, GA and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts with a minor in English in 2004 from GSW. She began teaching secondary English literature, composition, and drama in 2005, working primarily with at-risk youth in the Early College program on campus. During these years, Mandy also assisted her family in caring for her grandfather who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s as well as served on two mission trips to Honduras.  From 2009-2011, she taught ESOL to international students in GSW’s English Language Institute, working as both an instructor and an International Student Advocate.

It was during this time that Mandy met her husband Charles, a combat veteran, while performing in the community production South Pacific. Experiencing first-hand the effects of PTSD on her husband and within the home, Mandy was eager to help other caregivers and family members coping with these issues as she began working for the Rosalynn Carter Institute in 2011 as a Program Coach with the Operation Family Caregiver during its early formation. Since her experience with the RCI, Mandy has served in the roles of Executive Director over the Americus Literacy Action, Inc. organization and as Academic Success Counselor at GSW.

Mandy is now pursuing her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Columbus State University in order to become a future LPC. Living in Americus, she enjoys various outdoor adventures with her husband and three children, daughters Riley and Emily and son Cuyler, who has an ultra-rare brain disorder. Being a caregiver to a special-needs child, Mandy hopes to provide resources and support to other caregivers needing advocacy and dreams of starting a local non-profit organization that provides counseling, support, and resources to families of special needs individuals.

Kira Ramseur has lived in Americus, GA for fifteen years, graduating from Southland Academy in 2007 and earning a B.A. in Psychology from Fort Valley State University in 2019. She is also a Certified Patient Account Representative and has leadership training from the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia.

Kira began her professional career by working for six years as a Patient Access Specialist at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center. After deciding to focus on working in mental health, Kira became a Certified Peer Specialist as well as a Whole Health Action Management Coach and began working at Perry Wellness Center in 2017. In addition to supporting and advocating for Peers, this position gave her the opportunity to serve as the interim Transportation Director, where she created and implemented policies and procedures in addition to a digital management system. She also served as the Peer Workforce Director, where she aided Peers who are in recovery with discovering their job strengths in order to find local jobs.

When she is not working Kira enjoys reading novels from various genres, traveling to both the beach as well as New York City, spending time with her friends and family, and engaging in evening walks with her chihuahua, Tinkerbell. Kira plans to begin working towards obtaining a Master of Business Administration as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management in the next year.

Awards & Grants

Perry receives dissertation award

Dr. Shannon Perry, Assistant Dean of the College of Business and Computing, received the Dr. Charles L. Faires Dissertation of Distinction award from Nova Southeastern University. The mixed methods sequential explanatory study titled “The Impact of Online Student Support Services on Retention in the eMajor Bachelor of Business Administration Online Program” examined the impact of student support services on retention within the eMajor BBA program implemented in Spring 2017.

The results of the study showed that students enrolled in the eMajor program were slightly more retained than students not enrolled, with significant differences in both the provision of the readiness assessment, a measure of a student’s readiness to take online courses, and outreach efforts, including contacts with at-risk students. However, the data derived from interviews suggest it’s the presence of a support team that may be the integral factor that positively impacts retention.

Upcoming Events

  • June – July: STORM Days
  • July 2: Summer I finals
  • July 3: Campus closed for Fourth of July
  • July 6: Summer II classes begin
  • July 31: Summer finals (full term & II)

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