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Volunteers needed for annual Student Appreciation Day

Preparations for the annual Student Appreciation Day have begun and volunteers are needed. For those who have not experienced this tradition, GSW puts on a day (3 hours) of fun activities for the students to enjoy during Reading Day. These include water slides, inflatables, lawn games, corn hole, music, and more. Students who attend receive a free t-shirt and enjoy free food and drinks.

We ask that as many faculty and staff as possible sign up to volunteer for various aspects of the day in advance. Everyone who signs up and participates will receive a free t-shirt. If you have not signed up already, you can do so HERE.

GSW named Community Partner of the Year by Sumter County Chamber of Commerce

At the 98th Annual Sumter County Chamber of Commerce Awards Celebration, Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) received the Community Partner of the Year award alongside South Georgia Technical College (SGTC).

“Georgia Southwestern is truly an economic driver,” said Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Rhett Simmons. “In its most recent annual economic impact study, the University System of Georgia listed GSW as having an $89 million impact on the Sumter County region.”

The award is presented to an outstanding partner(s) within the community each year that go above and beyond the call of duty in support of Sumter County, its citizens, and Chamber members. Celebrating 112 years as a key community institution in Sumter County, GSW has been providing higher education services, accommodating local staffing needs, supporting community involvement and graduating a well-rounded citizenry for over a century.

“If you look closely, it may be difficult to see where GSW ends and Sumter County begins,” said Simmons. With nearly 3,100 students and approximately 400 employees, they are all embedded within the community. Another 2,300 alumni reside here serving in industries like education, healthcare, the arts, all manner of business and many other professions.

Simmons further highlighted GSW’s contributions in Americus and the region. The School of Education’s teacher candidates student-teach in local schools. The College of Nursing and Health Science’s nursing students earn their field experience in local hospitals. The College of Arts and Science’s student artists and professors provide cultural enrichment for the community through concerts, theatrical performances and art exhibitions. GSW graduates roughly 800 students each year, many of whom join the local workforce.

GSW President Neal Weaver and SGTC Assistant to the President Don Smith accepted the award for their respective institutions. They were applauded by the 200 guests in attendance which included small businesses, local leaders, Chamber members, and Georgia's ninth Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler who was the keynote speaker for the event.

“We are honored to receive this award from the Chamber of Commerce and are thankful for their ongoing support,” said Weaver. “The partnership between the Americus community and GSW is critical to the university’s success.” “We are blessed at the Chamber to have such strong relationships with both of our post-secondary institutions,” said Simmons. “With these two at the table, the businesses and industries of Sumter County have access to world-class service, training, and educational programs that are second to none. Thank you, South Georgia Technical College and Georgia Southwestern State University, for your outstanding contributions to our region for many, many years.”

The Chamber of Commerce also recognized other local businesses and leaders at the event. Center Stage Market received the Small Business of the Year award, Bill Harris, Jr. of Café Campesino received the Sparky Reeves Sumter Trustee award, and former One Sumter Chairman Ted McMillan received the One Sumter Visionary Impact award.  

Community Partner Award

Ethan Johnson named GSW Officer of the Year at event in memory of two local officers

Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) Public Safety Officer Ethan Johnson was recently recognized as GSW’s Officer of the Year at the second annual Paint the Town Blue Gala held on March 10, 2018.

A native of Oglethorpe, Johnson has served the GSW community as a public safety officer for over three years. He was present during the tragedy in 2016 that killed two local officers in the line of duty, including one from his own department. The event where Johnson was awarded formed last year to honor Officers Nick Smarr and Jody Smith and raise money for The Smarr and Smith Foundation.

“To win Officer of the Year is a humbling experience,” said Johnson, “and I am grateful for those officers who have encouraged and guided me. I strive every day to be a better officer than I was the day before.”

Johnson is actively involved in the campus community as an advisor to the Student Government Association and a member of the Behavioral Intervention Team who he is working with to form a suicide prevention team on campus. He meets with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to learn about mental health and discuss suicide prevention options that affect the GSW community. He serves as a GSW IT compliance leader and is a member of GSW’s Cybercrime Response Team.

“[Johnson] is a pleasant known constant that we all agree has a bright future,” said GSW Public Safety Director Mike Tracy. “His involvement in different areas on campus serve as a positive reinforcement to how this department is viewed by our community.”

“I have always found him extremely capable, motivated, even-tempered and helpful,” Tracy said while presenting Johnson with his award. “He has never failed to give his best effort in whatever capacity he is placed.”

Johnson is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Public Safety Administration at Columbus State University and has recently completed Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Instructor Training in Forsyth, Ga. This training will allow Johnson to teach law enforcement to maintain their mandated training qualifications and gain greater knowledge and a broader skill set when doing their jobs.

“Officer Johnson’s awareness of the many different facets of law enforcement make him a constant assistance,” said Tracy. “He always exhibits the qualities of leadership when dealing with fellow officers and can be counted on to make sound decisions in the vast majority of opportunities afforded him.”

Detective Cedric Smith was recognized as Officer of the Year for the Americus Police Department, and Deputy Antoinette Johnson was named Officer of the Year for the Sumter County Sherriff’s Office at the event.

Johnson

New GSW College of Nursing and Health Sciences restructures health and wellness programs

After two years of preparation, Georgia Southwestern State University’s (GSW) School of Nursing began the transition to become the College of Nursing and Health Sciences on February 1. This restructuring will bring all health and wellness programs under the same college, including nursing, exercise science and wellness, and the most recent long-term care management program.

“This new alignment will facilitate our ability to recruit, advise, and retain highly qualified students who want to pursue health and wellness careers,” said Dean Sandra Daniel, Ph.D. “While the nursing degrees are well established, this restructuring will enhance the visibility of other health focused degrees offered at GSW.”

Nursing is among one of the top majors in the country and admission is extremely competitive. Each year, GSW’s Nursing Program brings in over 100 applications while only a portion of these can be accepted. Organizing health and wellness programs under one college will allow students interested in health care careers to investigate multiple degree options and move from one degree to another more seamlessly.

This change will also bring Leisa Easom, Ph.D., to the College as the new Associate Dean. Easom currently serves as the Executive Director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving. “Dr. Easom is a nationally renowned expert in the field of caregiving,” said Daniel. “I have full confidence that our new long-term care management degree program will undergo substantial growth very quickly as a result of the expertise that she brings in this field.”

Daniel also hopes the restructuring will appeal to prospective students and those considering the Guaranteed Acceptance Program in high school. “This change represents a commitment to this region and our state to provide degrees that meet their specific workforce needs,” noted Daniel.

“We’re excited to see what growth and opportunities the College of Nursing and Health Sciences will provide our students,” said GSW President Neal Weaver. “Health care plays a very important role in our society and I’m proud to say GSW is helping prepare the next generation in these service-oriented professions. I’m eager to watch our graduates move on to become successful physical and occupational therapists, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.” Many of the top health care organizations in the region employ GSW nursing graduates, including Phoebe Putney Health System, Columbus Regional Health, and Navicent Health. 

Nursing

GSW announces first-of-its-kind Long-Term Care Management degree, names Easom Associate Dean

Georgia Southwestern State University(GSW) will offer a Bachelor of Science in Long-Term Care Management (LTCM), the first-of-its-kind in the nation, beginning this fall. The new degree program will bring Leisa Easom, Ph.D., to the College of Nursing and Health Sciences as the associate dean. Easom currently serves as executive director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, a unit of GSW.

“A better prepared workforce is needed to care for our nation’s aging and disabled populations,” said Easom. “There is a national crisis with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.” Every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Georgia is the 11th state with the fastest growing 65 and older population. In addition, one in six children have developmental disabilities while one in 68 children have autism spectrum disorder, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Numerous years as a geriatric nurse and working directly with caregivers over the past eight years uniquely prepare me to lead our new initiative,” Easom stated.

The LTCM degree, offered online and the classroom, will prepare graduates to assist patients and families to connect with community resources, transition from hospital to home, and manage the care of residents in an institutional setting.

As a four year interdisciplinary degree, students will take courses from a variety of disciplines – nursing, caregiving, psychology, sociology, and business. They will become knowledgeable in palliative care, hospice, gerontology, family issues, caregiving support, counseling, health promotion, business management, health funding, and cultural competency.

 “Employers today express the need for a new skill set and are looking for individuals who are compassionate, culturally sensitive, able to communicate well with others and have managerial skills,” said Easom. “Graduates will be fully equipped to help patients and their families better navigate today’s complicated health care system.”

“Dr. Easom is a nationally renowned expert in the field of caregiving,” said Sandra Daniel, Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “I have full confidence that our new long-term care management degree program will undergo substantial growth very quickly as a result of the expertise that she brings in this field.”

 “I am proud that Georgia Southwestern is the first university in the nation to offer this exciting and relevant degree program,” said GSW President Neal Weaver. “It is evident to us through our discussions with employers across the country that the time is now for such program and we are excited to expand our current academic offerings to include what we believe will become a highly sought after degree.” 

Organizations in the region looking to employ GSW graduates with this degree include hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, Area Agencies on Aging, home health care agencies, state department of aging services, and more. 


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