GO: Taking a Moment for Thanks
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Last week’s announcement about UGA’s rise to #13 in the U.S. News & World Report college rankings for best national public universities was trumpeted by nearly every UGA school and college social media account and is getting attention nationally. It is definitely a proud week to be a Bulldog. Quite honestly, this ranking could not have been accomplished without YOU. There is just one key ingredient to our success, and that is the dedication and hard work of our faculty, academic advisors and staff. As I work with various colleges and offices across campus, I get to see your passion for supporting our students and ensuring their success every day. And while we don’t say this often enough, I wanted to take the opportunity today to say THANK YOU! It is a joy to work alongside you all as we continue to implement transformative ideas designed to help our students scale even greater heights.
And since we are talking about transformative ideas, let me share some recent successes:
Last Monday I had the pleasure of joining the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) classroom in 216 Barrow Hall. This traditional classroom has been transformed from a straight-row desk, front-facing lecture room into a modern, dynamic learning environment for student teams to use the most technologically advanced design tools for creative problem solving. With funds from the President’s 2017 Classroom Enhancement Initiative and a generous donation of computers from the Georgia Soft Goods Education Foundation, the new active learning classroom is a dream-come-true for FACS faculty members like Laura McAndrews who teaches a studio apparel design course for upper-level undergraduate students. Take a look at the transformation in the before and after photos below.
Over the next year, similar ideas are becoming a reality for several other departments across campus. These improvements to our classrooms are being implemented not only from the classroom enhancement funds, but also from the $1.3 million investment by President Morehead to promote active learning on campus. You may remember these announcements from the President’s annual “State of the University” address earlier this year and were based on the recommendations made by the President’s Task Force on Student Learning and Success.
Over the next several months, nine other classrooms across campus will be transformed to support active learning. Classrooms selected for this initiative will receive much-needed upgrades, like movable furniture, new white boards and other instructional technology. In some classrooms, such as those in Park Hall, these will replace outdated desks bolted to the floor and neck-straining side wall chalk boards. Others, such as those in Aderhold, Caldwell, Geography and Boyd will receive upgraded flooring, furniture and new instructional technology. Each room is a little different and is tailored to the needs of the classes scheduled in that building. However, all these changes are designed to help transform the way students learn by providing flexibility of working in small groups and more engaged learning.
As part of the same broad goal, the Center for Teaching and Learning conducted two six-week “Active Learning Summer Institutes” for faculty (see our prior note on this effort). The thirty-two faculty participating in these programs re-designed their courses to allow greater engaged or active learning opportunities for students in their classes. Based on initial enrollment projections, we anticipate the re-designed course to impact over 8,000 students within the current academic year alone!
We’re excited about these changes and will share the results as the projects are completed over the next year.
Once again—thank you for everything you do to support instruction at UGA. The next time you see a story recognizing UGA’s commitment to our students’ success, I hope you smile and take pride in what you have helped achieve.
Please continue to send me your suggestions and ideas to help improve our student learning environment. You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vice President for Instruction
Before the FACS classroom remodel:
After the FACS classroom remodel:
Assistant Professor of Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors Laura McAndrews assists her students on the new Lectra software in the 216 Barrow Hall classroom enhancement completed in time for classes in Fall 2018.