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Former Gov. Nathan Deal to teach Georgia politics at UNG

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Former Gov. Nathan Deal spoke multiple times to UNG classes in fall 2019 and as a Regents professor will teach a special topics course, "Politics in the Peach State," in spring 2020.

University of North Georgia (UNG) political science students learn about the functions of government through a variety of methods. This fall, some of them gained such lessons firsthand from former Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who served from 2011-19 in that role, represented Georgia's 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 17 years and was a state senator for 12 years.

Deal and former chief of staff and campaign manager Chris Riley lectured as guests in several political science courses and a criminal justice course this fall at UNG. Now as a Regents professor, Deal will teach a special topics course, "Politics in the Peach State," at the university in spring 2020. The class will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays, with Deal teaching on Mondays and guest lecturers on Wednesdays. Spots are still available for political science students through registration in Banner.

"The excellent part of this course will be the opportunity to not only learn about Georgia politics from the former governor's perspective, but to hear from other important figures in Georgia state politics," said Dr. Dlynn Williams, department head of Political Science and International Affairs at UNG. "This experience will greatly enhance the networking possibilities for UNG political science students."

Students will gain a unique behind-the-scenes look at state politics and governance in Georgia. The topics covered will include: the state constitution and legal code; the similarities and differences between state legislative bodies and the U.S. Congress; the different objectives and perspectives of the three branches of government in Georgia; and the real-world applications learned from running for and holding elected office.

This course will include introduction of contemporary political written material and interaction with a range of speakers who have created successful careers working in the political sciences and statecraft. This course will provide real-world perspectives on public policy and politics and how the two are not necessarily the same.

"It is a tremendous opportunity for our students not only to learn from the experiences former Gov. Deal can share from his long, successful career, but also to interact with him in a smaller classroom setting where they can ask questions and explore topics in-depth with him," said Dr. Chaudron Gille, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at UNG.

Aubrey Cagle, a sophomore from Ellijay, Georgia, pursuing a political science degree with a concentration in pre-law, was one of the students who heard from Deal on multiple occasions in her class with Dr. Carl Cavalli, professor of political science at UNG. She took the opportunity to ask Deal questions after one of the classes.

"It was a very rewarding experience to get his explanation of what it is like to run for and hold office," Cagle said. "He has had a successful political career, so his experiences are far more valuable than what we would simply read in our textbooks."

As governor, Deal led Georgia to become the No. 1 state for business in the nation for six consecutive years, a first in Georgia history. During his tenure, he helped create 800,000 private-sector jobs, leading to the state's job growth outpacing the national average.

Before Deal entered politics, he was a criminal prosecutor, a Hall County juvenile court judge, and an Army captain. He also was an attorney with a private practice for 23 years. 

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