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Campus Spotlight: UNG shines at USG Board of Regents meeting

Campus Spotlight: UNG shines at USG Board of Regents meeting
: UNG students McKenna Rogness, left, and Kalub Anderson talk with President Bonita Jacobs after a practice presentation session for the monthly meeting of USG Board of Regents.

A group of University of North Georgia (UNG) students showcased the language programs on Thursday, Jan. 11, during the monthly meeting of the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents in Atlanta.

The presentation, called Campus Spotlight, is a new initiative that began in 2017 at the behest of USG Chancellor Dr. Steve Wrigley to expose the Board of Regents to the faculty, students and academic programs of the 28 institutions in the USG.

“The Chancellor thought it would be a good idea for the universities to have the opportunity to present to the board the good stories and good works that makes each institution unique,” said Christina Hobbs, community affairs manager at USG. “The call goes out to each campus to present their best programs to the board. The call has been met with presentations of outstanding research, student achievement and cutting-edge technology.”

The presentation, "Language Lessons: Building Global Skills," featured eight pairs of UNG students each performing a 60-second conversation in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian, or Spanish.

Last year, nine institutions presented before the board; UNG was originally scheduled to present at the September 2017 board meeting but it was canceled due to Hurricane Irma. Hobbs said the UNG contingent made up of UNG President Bonita Jacobs, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters Christopher Jespersen, and the students, qualify as the largest to present before the board.

"UNG has been expanding language opportunities for more than a decade," Jespersen said. "And the students have responded with great enthusiasm through their enrollments. The 16 presenting to the board volunteered for this opportunity. UNG's standing as a Project Global Officer, Chinese Flagship and Japan Foundation recipient institution makes us stand out from the rest."

At a practice run on UNG's Dahlonega Campus prior to the presentation, the student pair conversing in Spanish, McKenna Rogness, 22, of Suwanee, Georgia, and Kalub Anderson, 21, of Villa Rica, Georgia, gave an animated performance. Both took Spanish in high school and are pursuing a bachelor's degree in the language at UNG. They have been speaking Spanish for about six years.

Their dialogue was a friendly debate about which was more creative, rap or poetry. So who won?

“We ultimately decided that it was best to agree to disagree,” Rogness said with a laugh.

The two said they had been practicing for the presentation for about a month, concentrating on their interaction toward each other as much as focusing on what they were saying, getting the inflection and pronunciation correct.

Both were looking forward to their one minute of fame before the board.

“It’s exciting to be able to represent the university, to be able to give back to USG,” Anderson said. “To be one of 16 students to go to Atlanta to promote UNG's language program is quite an honor.”

“I think of all the talented students in the Spanish language program and to think that Kalub and I were chosen, it’s quite an honor,” Rogness said. “To have a chance to go before the Board of Regents and have the opportunity to show what a great university UNG is, is humbling.”

Jespersen said the presentation went off flawlessly and the students impressed the audience.

“The students handled their presentations with verve and, in some cases, a bit of theatrical flair," Jespersen said. "They represented UNG superbly and clearly impressed the audience.”

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