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New money helps Augusta universities pursue priorities

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Georgia Health Sciences University will get nearly $4 million to pursue initiatives in public health and to add more doctoral students, and Augusta State University will get nearly $500,000 to retain students and help them graduate.

The strategic planning funding of $3.1 million from the University System of Georgia will help GHSU recruit for its newly formed Institute of Public and Preventive Health and help to address health disparities in the state, Provost Gretchen Caughman said.

An additional $750,000 will help GHSU add 30 slots for first-year Ph.D. candidates, essentially doubling the 30 to 35 it adds each year. Access to those students and the strength of the Ph.D. program are often the first things research recruits ask about, she said.

“They want to grow the next generation of scientists,” she said.

Top research universities all have strong Ph.D. programs, the provost said.

“The two go hand in hand,” she said.

GHSU recently launched its Institute of Public and Preventive Health, and the new money will enhance its recruiting efforts, Caughman said. The institute is trying to look at areas where there is the greatest need, such as in obesity, hypertension and especially cancer, she said.

The university wants “to look at what really plagues Georgians, the kinds of diseases and issues in the community that are problematic,” she said.

It also plays in well with the university’s pursuit of National Cancer Institute Cancer Center designation, she said.

The money will allow ASU to look at streamlining its admissions and enrollment process, add to its freshman transition program, and add a second program aimed at sophomores with an eye toward helping them stay in school and graduate, Caughman said.

ASU and GHSU are expected to consolidate early next year, and Caughman will be provost of the consolidated university. The University System asked each institution for strategic priorities if money were available, and both universities are grateful for the additional funding, she said.

“(The system) understands the need that Georgia has for enhanced public and preventive health research, and this is a great vote of confidence for us to put it to good use,” Caughman said. “And we intend to.”

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bentman
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bentman 05/25/12 - 03:34 pm
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Helping sophomores stay in school?

I thought that was the responsibility of the sophomore.

blues550
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blues550 05/25/12 - 04:16 pm
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bentman
Unpublished

Careful. That statement is very close to truth.

Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 05/25/12 - 05:59 pm
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If more GA public school systems produced HS graduates...

with college-ready Reading, Math and Writing skills and if ASU took a stand in support of academic integrity, my alma mater ('67, '78 and '84) wouldn't have embarrassing four- and six-year baccalaureate graduation rates.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

omnomnom
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omnomnom 05/25/12 - 06:12 pm
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yo doc, peep this

Dr. Spinks, the pressures on college students today is different than those you faced. Many students work part or full time jobs in addition to going to school. I believe a sizable minority of students at ASU are non-traditional students (above 30?). Combine work (which is either at parity or lower than jobs paid in the 60s taking inflation into account) with 1) a financial aid office that has ruined dozens if not hundreds of students financial plans 2) ever-rising tuition forcing students to either work more or take on burdensome student loans 3) a commuter-campus mentality that causes many students to treat college as an extension of high school instead of an institution of higher learning. In my experience as an ASU student/alum, outside of some of the liberal studies like philosophy and sociology there is very little discussion or challenge or cross-talk between student and professor. Add into this the expectation of many employers to have experience (internship, unpaid probably) in addition to a college degree, and there is one more hurdle to graduating within the arbitrary 4-6 year timeline. Took me over 10 years (on and off) to graduate, but during my breaks I aquired a career that fit my coursework, and had time to work on my investment portfolio.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 05/26/12 - 03:17 am
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(O)mnomnom,

Our alma mater's four- and six-year baccalaureate graduation rates are 8% and 24%, respectively.

The overwhelming reason for such appalling performance levels is poor public school preparation- not student age, occupational circumstance, financial situation, or tuition level.

Now I must accept your contention that many ASU students' treating college as an extension of high school has a deleterious impact upon college graduation rates. But I contend that many GA public high schools provided them educational experiences wherein too many of our kids became habituated to teacher-schmoozing, parental intimidation and other nefarious activities rather than studying/learning to achieve their diplomas. Fortunately for us, them, and ASU, such nefarious tactics aren't as effective at our alma mater.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 05/26/12 - 07:47 am
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I'm just saying that raw

I'm just saying that raw numbers don't tell the whole story. I know some people who graduated from ASU with a business degree major in four years.. who don't know their neitherparts from a joint in their arm. Can't land a job in their field, and work in the restaurant biz on the cook line. I know a psych major who graduated in four years... working in retail for a position that doesn't require a college degree. I wouldn't call either of those scenarios successes.

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