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Issue 3: December 2021


Georgia Southwestern introduces new Associate of Science in Nursing degree to address nursing shortage

Georgia Southwestern State University will launch a new academic degree, an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), set to begin Fall 2022. The two-year program comes in response to regional industry workforce needs and the critical nationwide nursing shortage with Georgia projected to have the sixth worst nursing shortage by the year 2030.

Obtaining an ASN degree at GSW will allow students to complete a full educational pathway to pursue their education step-by-step and enter the workforce sooner as a registered nurse (RN). Registered nursing is the fourth-most in-demand job in the American workforce. Healthcare facilities are searching for skilled RNs as they face increased patient demand for care with the pandemic speeding this along.

“During GSW’s Academic Planning in Fall 2019, we heard repeatedly from our local and regional health care providers and partners the need for trained medical personnel to help fill the gap in this industry,” said Suzanne Smith, Ph.D., provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “These conversations, along with workforce data showing current and projected job openings within a 100-mile radius, made it clear that expanding our footprint in healthcare was a dire need that we could help fill.”

Associate degree nursing education is not new to GSW. The degree was offered from 1953 until 2000 with the degree moving from an associate’s to a bachelor’s based on the university level change to a State University with degree conferring of bachelor or higher.

Read more about the new ASN program here.


Georgia Southwestern to hold two in-person graduation ceremonies on December 17

On Friday, Dec. 17, Georgia Southwestern State University will recognize approximately 480 summer and fall graduates for their academic achievements across two in-person commencement ceremonies. Jaha Dukureh, women’s rights activist and GSW alumna, will deliver the keynote address for both ceremonies.

The ceremonies will be held inside the Convocation Hall of the Student Success Center, also known as the Storm Dome. The first ceremony of the day will begin at 11 a.m. for graduates in the College of Business and Computing, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and College of Arts and Sciences. The second ceremony will begin at 3 p.m., recognizing the College of Education graduates. Guests may begin arriving one hour prior to the ceremonies.

Learn more about our upcoming graduation ceremonies and commencement speaker Jaha Dukureh here.



Surge holds cans of foodCanes for Cans generates 2,500 donated food items

GSW’s Department of Athletics recently ran its Fifth Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive at the local Harveys and Food Lion grocery stores. Student-athletes were represented at each store over the course of four days, Nov. 11-14. During that time, the student-athletes received over 2,500 donated canned food and non-perishable food items. All food items have been donated back to the Salvation Army in order to feed families in the Americus community.

"The Americus community continues to show a vast amount of support towards our student-athletes," GSW Senior Women's Administrator Nicki Levering said. "We are dedicated to giving back to the community and helping those families in need."

Read more here.

EdRising students participate in virtual workshopsEducators Rising hears from author and podcast host

Samantha Feiche, Ph.D., presented to the Educators Rising Club in a virtual event on November 11, 2021. Feiche is an Associate Professor of Education at Grove City College, Penn., where she teaches future teachers about Edtech and Special Education. She is the author of “EduMagic: A guide for Preservice Teachers” and co-author of “EduMagic Shine on: A guide for New Teachers.” She hosts a podcast titled “EduMagic” for aspiring teachers.

Feiche walked GSW teacher candidates through a virtual workshop on how to promote their digital presence and create an online portfolio. Using tools such as HelloSmart and Microsoft Teams, Feiche engaged the candidates in an informative session they can apply as pre-service educators moving into the field of teaching.

GSWANS members with petsGSWANS participate in annual Americus Christmas Parade

The Georgia Southwestern Association of Nursing Students (GSWANS) participated in the annual Americus Christmas Parade with their pets. GSWANS is a professional organization in which students aspiring to be nurses come together to promote interest and cultivate nursing skills.

In this organization, members can interact with other individuals who also have the same passion for helping others. The activities of GSWANS build character, foster meaningful relationships, and encourage a love for nursing. Members enjoy giving back to the community of Americus by volunteering all around and showing love to those in need.

GSW’s Center for Chinese Bie-modern Studies co-hosts international conference

The Center for Chinese Bie-modern Studies (CCBMS) at Georgia Southwestern, 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, convened a virtual international symposium held on November 30, 2021. This year’s event, titled “Recent Developments in Bie-Modern Theory,” was the 3rd American and 7th International Conference on Bie-modernism.  

Director of the CCBMS and Professor of Art Keaton Wynn served as the moderator, while Senior Lecturer of Photography and Digital Arts Justin Hodges provided technical support. Director of Experiential Learning Judy Orton-Grissett, Ph.D., gave the conference introduction.

Papers were presented on a wide range of topics that engage issues in contemporary Chinese culture, cultures in similarly developing countries or within the developed west. Bie-modern theory encourages dialogue between Chinese and western scholars concerning this developing zhuyi (theory). The following are a selection of some of the papers presented.

  1. Wang Jianjiang: New Developments in the Creation and Research of the Theory of Bie-modernism since 2019; Professor of Aesthetics, Director of (IAAE) at Shanghai Normal University
  2. Ernest Zenko: On Ghosts: The Role of Hauntology in Bie-Modern Theory; Director of the Center Bie-modern Studies (CBMS) and Professor of Communications and Humanities at the University of Primorska in Slovenia
  3. Lu Yang: Bie-modernism on the Road of Explaining and Transforming the World; Professor of Aesthetics and Literature at Fudan University, Vice President of China Aesthetics Association
  4. Enea Bianchi: Bie-modernism, Stoicism, and the Baroque; Teaches Aesthetics at the National University of Ireland in Galway, where he obtained his PhD. Serves on editorial board of the journal of aesthetics and cultural studies Ágalma.
  5. Xu Dawei: Thought, Doctrine, and Bie-modernism; Professor of Literature Dalian, School of Literature at Liaoning Normal University in China
  6. David Brubaker: Bie-modern and Daoist Aesthetics: Empty Space, Agency, and Ethics; Independent Scholar
  7. Guan Yu: Behind the Naming of Contemporary Chinese Art; Lecturer of Shanxi Film Academy, Shanxi University of Media and Communication. Research aesthetics, art theory, literature.
  8. Jian Shengyu: The Perspective of Bie-modern; The Impact and Reconstruction of Virtual Reality on Daily Life; Professor of Art and Aesthetics at Yangzhou University in China

Xu Wei, Lecturer in the School of Foreign Languages at Shanghai University of Engineering Science provided translation of papers and dialogue.

Student Recognitions

Carly HallCanes Spotlight announced for December

Canes Spotlights highlight Georgia Southwestern students who hold leadership roles, are involved in extracurricular activities and/or excel academically in their degree programs.

The Decmeber Canes Spotlight was senior accounting major Carly Hall.

Carly believes the people are what makes Georgia Southwestern special. "Our campus is small enough that you can get to know your teachers and classmates and create relationships that you would not have at a much larger school," Carly says. "Everyone here is rooting for you and wants to see you succeed."
As a participant in the new Double Canes program, Carly is set to graduate with her bachelor's degree this December and will continue her education in GSW's MBA program with aspirations of becoming a CPA. In the meantime, she is gaining valuable hand-on experience as an accounting intern with the GSW Foundation.

Canes Spotlights are nominated by GSW faculty and staff.

Jacquelyn Levay and Brady Rankin named Top Performers in November

Women's basketball guard Jacquelyn Levay and men's basketball guard Brady Rankin have been named the Georgia Southwestern State University Department of Athletics top performers for the month of November.

Jacquelyn, a 5-foot-8 senior from Tampa, Fla., averaged a team-best 11.8 points over six games for the Lady Hurricanes. She connected on 48.6 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc and 94.1 percent from the free throw line while averaging 28 minutes of action.

Brady, a 6-foot-3 true freshman from Wilmington, N.C., averaged 15 points and three steals over three games for the Hurricanes. He connected on 53.3 percent of his shot attempts while averaging 28.3 minutes of action.

Read more about Jacquelyn and Brady here.

Levay and Rankin

NSLS students with certificatesStudents inducted in the National Society of Leadership and Success

The students in this photo were formally inducted into the GSW chapter of The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) on December 3, 2021.

NSLS is a national organization with chapters on university campuses throughout the U.S. and is dedicated to promoting and providing leadership training opportunities for college students. GSW's chapter is one of 726 chapters across the country. The newly-inducted members join over 1.5 million current NSLS members.

Pictured left to right are (back row) Nikeria Smith, Erika Wright, Andrew Montgomery, Enya Priester, Samantha Blalock, Maya Boynton, (front row) Kaitlyn Hanks, and Jae'la Johnson.

Students recognized for top scores in national sales competition

Students in Assistant Professor of Marketing Irina Toteva’s Personal Selling classes competed in the Fall 2021 RNMKRS sales competition against 2,142 students from 59 institutions.

eMajor student Keershton Camara had the highest score on competition day. Keershton earned the titles of Top School Performer and Top Class Performer while scoring in the Top 10% in the nation. Alexandra Joiner was named a Top Class Performer in the campus section of Personal Selling. Alexandra also scored in the Top 10% in the nation. Matt Lowe scored in the Top 15%, while Delancey Wilson scored in the Top 25% in the nation. Gabrielle Sainsbury scored in the Top 30% in the nation.

“These students are examples for amazing achievement of resilience, hard work and grit in communicating with an AI bot customer while applying the complete sales process,” said Toteva.

 RNMKRS is a national sales competition with the mission to empower people to communicate and influence decisions using bias-free interactive technology. Students from all over the nation complete role plays through the semester to prepare for competition day. To prepare for the competition, students downloaded the RNMKRS app and used the platform to interact with a fictitious government agency client named Alex, powered by AI. The competition is bias-free because every student faces the same client, “Alex,” who is objectively interacting with and evaluating each student.



Jones presents at international queer studies conference

Assistant Professor of Communication Ashley P. Jones, Ph.D., recently presented at the Queer Temporalities in Literature, Cinema and Video Games International Conference on December 4, 2021. Her presentation was titled "Hope and Queer Futurity in What Remains of Edith Finch." The conference as a whole aimed to expand queer studies research into the realm of temporality as a function of community and identity.

Carter presents at Seattle conference

Assistant Professor of Communication Jonathan Carter, Ph.D., presented a paper alongside colleagues from St. Vincent’s College, A.L. Nichols, and C. Brennen, at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association in Seattle, Wash. in November 2021. The paper, titled “If You Don’t Know ‘Loss’ You Can’t Come In: Meme Recognition as Cultural Gatekeeping” argued that memes need to be understood as an essential part of the structure of the internet. The paper has implications on the research of digital culture and politics.

Nursing Leadership students present research posters to faculty and students

Senior Leadership students presented evidence-based research findings that impacted care in their practicum clinical areas. Outcomes of their research projects were shared with their units to improve patient care.


Nursing leadership students

New Hires, Promotions, Retirements, & Farewells

Danielle Taylor
Danielle Taylor joins COBAC

Danielle Taylor, CPA, has joined the College of Business and Computing as an accounting lecturer. Danielle graduated with her Master of Accounting and BBA in Accounting (summa cum laude) from Georgia Southern University in 2010.  She has experience in an accounting firm and as a financial controller in the nursing home industry.

Danielle has previously taught accounting part-time and looks forward to beginning her full-time academic career at GSW.  She is a member of the Georgia Society of CPAs, and she has served on the legislative and reimbursement committee of the Georgia Healthcare Association. Danielle also provides accounting services for independent artists.


Melaina Gilley, academic resource coordinator with the Office of First-Year Experience, left that role on December 10, 2021.

Rachel Griggs, human resources specialist in the Department of Human Resources, left that role on November 5, 2021. She will remain a part-time instructor for UNIV 1000 through the end of the year.

Laura Bauer, part-time instructor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, is set to retire at the end of December 2021. She has been an instructor for 16 years and previosuly retired in 2018 after a 20-year career as National Program Director for the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, which was previously a unit of Georgia Southwestern.

Alma Keita, assistant director of counseling in the Department of Health and Counseling Services, will be retiring on January 1, 2022.

Burt Carter, professor in the Department of Chemistry, Geology, & Physics, will be retiring on January 1, 2022.

Milestones & Life Events

Ted NorrisTed Norris earns master’s degree

Ted Norris recently graduated with a Master of Science in Information Technology from the College of Computing and Software Engineering from Kennesaw State University. Through his studies, Ted is also receiving certificates in Azure Certification and Power Bi.

Ted currently serves as GSW’s System Administrator for the Office of Instructional Technology and Information. He also teaches classes for the College of Business and Computing as well as fitness classes for the Office of Recreation and Wellness. 

Wu family welcomes baby Leo

Professor in the College of Education ChuChu Wu, Ph.D., and her husband proudly welcomed a baby boy into the world on Saturday, November 27, 2021. Leo Jonathan Wu arrived at 7:12am weighing 8 lbs. 11 oz. and 21 inches long. Congratulations to the Wu family!

Laura Bauer and husbandBauer marries ahead of retirement

Laura Bauer married Barry McConatha in their backyard at 111 Taylor Street in Americus on Saturday, November 20, 2021.

Laura retired in 2018 after a 20-year career as National Program Director for the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, which was previously a unit of Georgia Southwestern.

She is set to retire as a part-time instructor for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences after 16 years at the end of the Fall 2021 semester.

Hurricane Gratitude

Submit a thanks to other members of the GSW community for their outstanding dedication, commitment, or support. Email at any time or during the monthly call for Breeze submissions.

“Everyone needs a Connie Hammack in their lives. I dropped my classes this past semester when the last COVID surge came and took over my life once again. I told everyone close to me not to let me give up on myself or let something out of my control take away what I want. I got an email last week that just simply stated, “Here’s some classes, which one do you want to sign up for?” The only question was pick one. No exit sign in that. I laughed and chose my options. She could have just let me slip on by. She didn’t have to email me. She sure didn’t have to keep my name on her mind…. but she did. Moral to this story is simple. Never give up on yourself and never let life get in the way of your dreams. More than anything, be grateful for those that keep you on their list even when they don’t have to."

- Cyndi Mercer, student (via Facebook)


"I want to thank everyone that had a hand in making Waffles with the Weavers event such a huge success. We had 290 students participate, and the feedback that I’ve received so far has been awesome. The students really enjoyed themselves, and I could not have pulled that off without the help of nearly 100 people. It makes me proud to work for an institution where the faculty, staff, and students come together to give back to the students. It’s been a hard year for everyone, so giving students (and faculty and staff) a chance to unwind and enjoy themselves before finals and the end of the semester is the least we can do."

- Brooke Tome, Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Student Engagement & Success

Upcoming Events

  • December 17: Graduation
  • January 10: Classes begin
  • January 17: MLK Day (no classes)
  • January 18: MLK Memorial Candle Walk
  • January 19: MLK Convocation
  • January 31 – February 5: Homecoming Week

Find more events on the GSW academic calendar, on CanesConnect, and on the Community Events webpage.