Monthly Archives: May 2012

Rob Watts becomes GPC’s interim president; two new VP’s named

Phil Smith

Phil Smith

Rob Watts

Rob Watts

Editor’s note: see press release on Interim President Watt’s first address to college faculty and staff.

Rob Watts was named interim president of Georgia Perimeter College by University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby effective May 14. This marks Watts’ third tenure at GPC: he started his USG career at the college, then known as DeKalb College, in 1986 and also served a previous stint as interim president in 2005-06.

“Rob is one of the University System’s most experienced leaders, given his responsibilities at the system office as well as leadership roles at three other institutions,” said Huckaby in making the appointment. “We are extremely fortunate to be able to call upon his skills in this important assignment at Georgia Perimeter.”

In an email to college employees, Watts called it “a personal honor and professional privilege to be back at GPC. … Some of you may know that I spent the earlier half of my career here. I care deeply about the institution, its access mission and the people here who work hard to achieve that mission.”

Watts got right down to work, appointing two vice presidents. Ron Stark will serve as GPC’s vice president for Fiscal Affairs. Phil Smith, who has worked at GPC as a business professor, dean and provost, is the new interim vice president for Academic Affairs.

Watts also named long-time professor Dr. Stuart Noel as the college’s interim dean of English.

Stark comes to GPC from the University System offices, where he served three chancellors as chief audit officer. He also served as vice president of business and finance at Fort Valley State University and, prior to joining the USG, worked at several other institutions of higher education.

Watts was GPC’s director of Institutional Research and Planning from 1986 until 1991, when he assumed the position of executive vice president for Fiscal Affairs. In 2000, he left Georgia Perimeter to become interim president at Floyd (now Georgia Highlands) College for one year. Watts also served as senior policy advisor to the chancellor, as interim director of the Gwinnett University Center (now Georgia Gwinnett College), as interim president at Middle Georgia College, and—beginning in 2006—as chief operating officer for the USG.

Prior to joining the University System, Watts was a budget analyst for the Legislative Budget Office of the Georgia General Assembly from 1982 to 1986. Previously, he was a Humanities Scholar in Residence for the General Assembly, from 1979 to 1981.

Watts earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Florida State University. He also holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University’s Bologna Center, in Bologna, Italy.

Commencement ceremonies reflect GPC’s diversity, reach

U.S. Army Specialist Andrea Muresan (on screen), stationed in Afghanistan, converses with her brother, Jason Alfaro, who accepted her diploma on her behalf during GPC’s May commencement ceremonies.

U.S. Army Specialist Andrea Muresan (on screen), stationed in Afghanistan, converses with her brother, Jason Alfaro, who accepted her diploma on her behalf during GPC’s May commencement ceremonies.

by Roger Barnes

Georgia Perimeter College’s 1,165 spring 2012 graduates reflect the diversity, wide reach and appeal of the college.

Graduates ranged in age from 17 to 68, and their backgrounds included countries as far away as Vietnam and Senegal. Two graduates earned prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships, which awards up to $90,000 each toward a bachelor’s degree. There were 22 students who collected their GPC associate degrees weeks before they would get their high school diplomas, and, while most of the graduates marched together on the Clarkston Campus, there was one who participated in the May 4 ceremony from a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.

Andrea Muresan, a criminal justice major and a specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve, lacked two classes to earn her associate degree when she found out in December that she would be deployed. GPC faculty and staff worked out a plan for Muresan to take the two classes online from Afghanistan.

Muresan’s family was recognized at commencement, and her degree presented to her brother while Muresan watched from half a world away. She was Skyped in and watched from a television on the stage.

“Hi, mom and dad,” Muresan said through Skype. “Thank you for all of your support. I couldn’t have done it without you. You have always been there for me, helping me to achieve my dreams, however difficult or crazy they may seem. I love you.”

The stories of graduates Kadiata Sy and Huong Vu, both Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship recipients, also were highlighted at graduation. (See separate scholarship story.)

Meanwhile, 22 DeKalb Early College Academy students graduated from GPC before high school. (Read story) DECA is a partnership between Georgia Perimeter and the DeKalb County School District that allows college-ready high school students to spend their last two years of high school at GPC’s Clarkston Campus. The students receive both high school and college credit for Dual Enrollment work.

Faculty and staff saluted for exemplary work

Dr. Behnaz Raouhani

Dr. Behnaz Raouhani

by Roger Barnes

Georgia Perimeter College recognized the work of the college’s outstanding faculty and staff during the April 26 Celebration of Excellence Faculty and Staff Awards held on Clarkston Campus.

The highlight of the celebration was the Exemplary Professor Award given to Dr. Behnaz Rouhani of the Clarkston Campus Math Department.

The winner of the Exemplary Professor Award is required to provide evidence demonstrating how his or her teaching methods impact student learning. The winner must also be current in his or her field of scholarship by holding office or serving on the committee of one or more professional societies, giving presentations at professional meetings, publishing in refereed sources, or being a successful recipient of a grant.

Behnaz was named the Governor’s Teaching Fellow in 2011. In 2010-11, she served on the Innovative Teaching and Learning Committee of the American Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges and put together a position statement for the “Proctored Testing in Online Courses.” She is now the southeastern representative of AMATYC and an executive member of the Innovative Teaching and Learning Committee. Her publications include “A Study Guide for Intermediate Algebra,” “A Study Guide for College Algebra” and a quick guide called “A Winning Approach to Mathematics.”

 

Nicole Harsch

Nicole Harsch

The Faculty Teaching Excellence Award was won by Nicole Harsch of the Social Science Department, Newton Campus. Harsch describes her approach to teaching as similar to being a “tour guide,” leading her students through the experience of discovery and learning.

 

Robert Hopkins

Robert Hopkins

The Faculty Service Excellence Award went to Robert Hopkins, an economics professor at Dunwoody, for his commitment to excellence in service to students and the community. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Hopkins is treasurer of Georgia Veterans Day Parade Association of Atlanta, an active participant in the Family Readiness Program and a judge for the Voice of Democracy program.

 

Tracie Justus

Tracie Justus

The Faculty Professional Development Award went to Tracie Justus of the Clarkston ESL Department. She has worked to organize numerous training events and faculty development activities. In 2005, Justus was selected to attend a summer Fulbright Faculty Development Seminar in Argentina and Chile. In 2011, she was selected as the first Center for Teaching and Learning faculty associate.

 

Peggy Davis

Peggy Davis

GPC Teamwork Awards were won by Peggy Davis of the Center for Teaching and Learning and Sgt. Graham Denio of Public Safety.

Davis worked with a team of Staff Senate representatives to create the senate’s kick-off, Fall Convocation and Voices and Choices meetings and helped coordinate Staff Development Day.

Denio was the project manager for the revised College Emergency Action Plan and Guide. He has been involved in Homeland Security meetings and active shooter drills. He also provides training to GPC employees.

 

Brad Blitz and Nicole Weeden

Brad Blitz and Nicole Weeden

GPC Leadership Awards were won by Alan Craig, Dunwoody Learning and Tutoring Center, and Brad Blitz and Nicole Weeden, Dunwoody and Clarkston Advising and Counseling.

Alan Craig

Alan Craig

Craig redesigned the Learning and Tutoring Center website, which won first place in an awards competition. He also pressed for collegewide Learning and Tutoring Center certification, which was earned in January 2010. Since then, the centers have certified more than 100 tutors.

Blitz and Weeden co-chaired the 2011 National Academic Advising Association’s state of Georgia Drive-in Conference that hosted more than 225 faculty, staff and administrators from more than 30 institutions. As a result of their leadership, Georgia Perimeter is recognized by NACADA as a leader in the development and practice of academic advising.

 

Kiawannee Grant

Kiawannee Grant

Latesha Burley

Latesha Burley

GPC Quality Service Awards went to Latesha Burley of GPC Online Financial Aid and Kiawannee Grant of the Decatur Campus English and Humanities Department.

Burley uses her expert knowledge of federal, state and college financial aid policies to make sure students understand their financial aid status.

Grant was an Automatic Data Processing super user when the college implemented the ADP payroll system in 2009 and is the Decatur Campus resource person for ADP.

 

Joe Odom

Joe Odom

Reni Pringle

Reni Pringle

GPC Continuous Improvement Awards were won by Joe Odom of the Clarkston Campus Academic Services and Renni Pringle of Advising and Counseling, Dunwoody Campus.

Odom developed systematic steps to make the hardship withdrawal process more consistent and streamlined. He planned the training for deans and secretaries who are the first point of contact for students who need to withdraw from classes.

Pringle created a shared drive that houses electronic records of vital student documents such as TAG agreements, unofficial graduation audits and academic plans for financial appeals. Advisors now access these documents in seconds instead of minutes, allowing them to spend more time talking with students.

 

Members of the winning Online Student Success team are, from left, Latesha Burley, Stefanie Wright, Sharriette Finley, Catherine Binuya and, not pictured, Diana Rowe, Jeanna Chapman and Evonne Jones.

Members of the winning Online Student Success team are, from left, Latesha Burley, Stefanie Wright, Sharriette Finley, Catherine Binuya and, not pictured, Diana Rowe, Jeanna Chapman and Evonne Jones.

The GPC Outcomes Award went to GPC Online Student Success. This team delivers timely, accurate and complete information to GPC’s nearly 4,000 online students. They use CRM (customer relationship management) software, email, telephone, in-person meetings and the online student success course to meet students where they are and create a sense of connection.

 

Dual Enrollment team members include, from left, Julie Locicero, Travis Allen and Kay Harrison

Dual Enrollment team members include, from left, Julie Locicero, Travis Allen and Kay Harrison

The GPC Enhancement Award was won by the Collegewide Dual Enrollment team, which works with more than 220 high schools. They are recognized for positively impacting high school graduation rates and GPC’s Dual Enrollment being the largest program of its kind in the state. Their work has resulted in a consistent increase in DE enrollment every semester since fall 2009.

 

 

Brian Lykins and Randy Abbott are winning Newton OIT team members.

Brian Lykins and Randy Abbott are winning Newton OIT team members.

The GPC Access/Capacity Award went to Newton Campus Office of Information Technology. This team has provided services to secondary/post-secondary assemblies as they teamed with Dual Enrollment to comply with state regulations. They also provided support for training in Common Core State Standards, Georgia Performance Standards, Workforce Development and Professional Learning.

 

GPC Values Awards were won by Tracy Adkins-Burge of Lakeside OIT, Michelle Solomon of Decatur Student Services, Diane ‘Dede’ Weber of Clarkston’s Enrollment and Registration Services and Rufus Larkin of Newton’s Personal Counseling services.

Michelle Solomon

Michelle Solomon

Dede Weber

Dede Weber

Rufus Larkin

Rufus Larkin

Adkins-Burge uses her knowledge about academic technology to deliver best solutions to GPC faculty.

Solomon’s accomplishments include the conversion of judicial files to SharePoint, coordination of WEAVE online training, report and form creation and the coordination of SACS responses.

Weber quickly embraced her role as chair of GPC’s new Staff Senate. As part of that job, she served on the President’s Policy and Procedure Advisory Board and the President’s Cabinet.

Personal Enrichment workshops are one of the many initiatives Larkin has implemented to help with GPC’s retention efforts. He also is involved in the Military Outreach initiative, faculty and staff self-care training and parent sessions at orientation.