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UNG LEADS Day anchored with Jacobs' state of the university address

University of North Georgia (UNG) President Bonita Jacobs focused on significant steps the school has taken and will take during her State of the University speech during the Faculty and Staff Convocation.

As a new academic year is about to begin, University of North Georgia (UNG) President Bonita Jacobs focused on significant steps the school has taken and will take much like the astronauts did when they landed on the moon more than 50 years ago.

"While we have not walked on the moon, we have demonstrated that same determination for doing something impactful, and what we have accomplished as a university is remarkable," Dr. Jacobs said in her State of the University address at the 2019 Faculty and Staff Convocation on UNG's Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses. "Simply put we have become a more comprehensive and dynamic institution."

One key example is an increase of nearly $7 million in UNG's state appropriation, allowing for $1 million to be dedicated for faculty and staff equity adjustments this year. In addition, UNG self-funded a merit increase in January and was only one of seven University System of Georgia institutions to do so, Jacobs said.

"We know that salaries need to remain competitive, and I pledge to you that this continues to be my highest priority," she said.

The entire text of Jacobs' 2019 State of the University speech can be read online.


UNG faculty and staff participated in conference-style professional development opportunities in breakout sessions in the morning and afternoon.

Also on Aug. 12, UNG faculty and staff could participate in professional development opportunities throughout the morning and afternoon in three breakout sessions. The conference-style format launched the inaugural UNG Learning, Engagement, Achievement, Development, Service (LEADS) Day to start the new academic year.

"This year's sessions were intended to focus on teaching faculty and staff ways to help support student success," said Dr. Alyson Paul, associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students. People were ready to learn and engage with each other."

Some sessions focused on specific student demographics such as veterans and disability services while others targeted empowering students through leadership and developing the right mindset. Workshop topics were:

  • Bring Your Best Idea: Inform UNG's Next Strategic Plan
  • Camo to College: Through the Green Zone
  • Emergency: Be Ready
  • Free Speech and Inclusion on Campus
  • Georgia's Leadership Institution: Where I Lead
  • Helping Students Adapt: Growth Mindset & Mindfulness
  • Leading in the Marketplace: Student Speech in the Classroom
  • Let's Get Real, What Should Faculty Know in Order to Provide Effective Accommodations?
  • Momentum Approach
  • Out of Many — One: Diversity and Inclusion for One UNG
  • Owning Your Sphere of Influence
  • Under Construction: UNG's Master Plan
  • Utilizing Technology for Holistic Student Engagement
  • What Would You Do? Employee Resources and Support
  • Who are UNG Students? What is the Student Experience Like?

Jeanette Mann won the Staff Member of the Year Award.

UNG faculty and staff facilitated the workshops based on their expertise, which helped create some camaraderie among different departments.

"I really hope people enjoyed learning from their UNG peers and enjoyed coming together for a common goal," Paul said. "Because as we start the year off, we need to remember we are here for the same mission: To help students succeed."

Several faculty and staff are doing just that and were recognized for their efforts during convocation.

Faculty and Staff Convocation award winners

Excellence in online teaching — Dr. Pamela Elfenbein
Scholarship of engagement — Dr. Donna Governor and Dr. Sarah Young
Best practices in service-learning — Dr. William Balco and Phillip Mitchell
CURCA Excellence in undergraduate teaching — Dr. Greg Feiden
Emerging leader award — Dr. Nathan Price and Dr. Robin O'Day
Teaching excellence for non-tenure track faculty — Lisa Diehl and Barry Whittemore
Teaching excellence for tenure-track faculty — Dr. Jameson Brewer, Dr. Juman Al Bukhari, and Dr. Victoria Hightower
Scholarship for teaching and learning — Yi Deng
Distinguished teaching award — Jonathan Miner
Momentum Award for Excellence in Teaching – History, Anthropology and Philosophy department
Annual North Star award — Dennis Dorsey
Staff member of the year — Joy Ridley and Jeanette Mann
Eleanor Crawford award — Darcy Hayes, Donna Foster and Jonathan Barefield
Presidential excellence award — Chris Boring, Jade McPherson, Tim Aldridge, John Cheatham, Joey Nowak, and Sarah Snyder
Staff members of the month — David Chambers, Joy Ridley, Tina Cannon, Alan Lee, Dante Douglas, Kathryn Smith, Cody Martin, Ronda Dowell, and Jeanette Mann
North Star Award winners – Angela Carlin, David Chambers, Melinda Alexander, Tony Anderson, Beth Arbuthnot, Jackie Barnaby, Matthew Bergeron, Josh Boyd, Travis Burdick, Gina Caldwell, Ariel Cofield, Jarad Conner, Jennifer Cook, Joe Cubera, Jack Curry, Blake Davis, Callie Davis, Dennis Dorsey, Elayne Dowdy, Sean Evett, Sandy Fortner, Wendy Gerhein, Ron Graves, Mike Grizzle, Emily Grizzle, John Indergaard, Gabriel Jones, David Jones, Johnny Ledford, Taylor MacKenzie, Kathy Martin, Kelly McCormack, Walker McCrary, Haley McDaniel, Steve McLeod, Eric Niconovich, Michael O'Brien, Francis Park, Corey Parson, Robert Peerson, Todd Skinner, Chris Truett, Cleon Walden, Jenna Waszak, Isaac Wheaton, Alan Lee, Melanie Allen, Leri Argueta, Yanli Arroyo, Alice Bae-Hansard, Chris Boring, Josh Boyd, Brandon Buttler, Chris Cooper, Rick Crain, Christian Bello Escobar, Kris Hammond, Jorge Hernandez Cervantes, Donna Hooton, Clark Leonard, Jeremy Lester, Jason McCoy, Michael McLeod, Julie Moore, Kyle Murphy, Alyson Paul, Gabriel Reyes, Caroline Samples, Dwight Skinner, Thomas Taylor, Samantha Thompson, Melissa Warren, Oneshia Willis, Gary Adcox, Thomas Burson, Molly Hodges, Tina Sears, Andrew Todd, and Veronica Walker

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