Dean’s Update 8/9/22
Beyond “Just FACS”
In these updates, I’ll take a few paragraphs to elaborate on some activity of the college or outside of FACS. Today I’ll go “beyond facts” and thank you all for your warm welcome to me and my family.
Adjusting to a new home, town, college, and institution is not easy – and I will be in the process of adjustment for a while. I want to extend sincere thanks to Sheri Worthy for helping the transition to be smooth and comprehensive. We are so fortunate to have had her as Interim Dean and to continue to benefit from her leadership, expertise, and dedication in the Associate Dean role.
I also have been well prepared by the Administrative Staff in the Dean’s office and I’m excited as our FACS team of new administrators and staff begins to jell.
In the months to come, I want to continue to refine how FACS is positioned for the future. Each of you plays an integral part in FACS and so your thoughts about how we prepare students at all levels for their future, how we interface with institutional priorities, and how we prepare employees to thrive is important to me.
As I interact across UGA, in national professional circles, and in Dawson, Barrow, Hoke Smith Annex, the houses, and River’s Crossing, I will continue to think about how to communicate the work we do and how to prepare for moving FACS forward.
Faculty and Staff Updates
Throughout the spring, we’ve introduced new hires to you when the hiring paperwork was finalized. Here are the final set of new hires for this semester:
- Daehwan Ahn, Assistant Professor in Consumer Analytics (FHCE)
- Tammy Williams, Limited Term Lecturer in FHCE
- Narang Park, Limited Term Lecturer in FHCE
- Beth Weigle, Limited Term Lecturer in TMI
- Cara Simmons has accepted a new role as Interim Director for the Division of Academic Enhancement. Melissa Garber will be taking on the supervision of the advisors and Sheri Worthy will be overseeing the legislative aide program.
Grad Council: The new FACS Representative to Grad Council is Dr. Yoo-Kyoung Seock.
Associate Dean for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: This search is gearing up for this fall. Be on the lookout for more information.
FACS DEI Committee: Melissa Landers-Potts, Senior Lecturer in Human Development and Family Science, has taken over the position of chair of the committee upon Cara Simmons’s position as Director of the Division of Academic Enhancement. We expect that the university will provide feedback to the committee about the strategic plan developed last year and that we’ll be engaged in September in revising the plan. There will be an opportunity to refresh committee membership after that, so please keep on the lookout or talk to Dr. Landers-Potts if you are interested in serving.
Preparing for Fall 2022 Semester
A lot of resources were shared with our new FACS faculty at orientation, and these materials are worth a review for all of us before the start of fall semester. The materials can be found at the bottom of our Instructional Support page. Information included is related to: COVID, syllabus, academic and final exam calendar, attendance policies, active learning tips, end-of-course evaluations, crisis response contacts, mental health resources, well-being resources, academic enhancement options for students, and policies related to grade appeals, incompletes, FERPA.
Topic: Mental Health
The statistics on college student mental health show that they are experiencing more emotional distress, feel more stressed, and increasingly suffer from symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorder. Instructors are feeling overwhelmed. Some relatively easy things instructors can do to help students feel a sense of belonging include:
- Send a welcome message to students before classes begin.
- Have a clear attendance policy and give students a reason to want to come to class.
- Incorporate active learning in your classes.
- Audit your course and your syllabus for diversity.
- Use supportive language in your messages to students.
You don’t need to change your core pedagogy or your standards, just think about whether you’ve created an environmental where students feel like they belong.
Source: summary of recent presentations from UGA’s OVPI, Division of Academic Enhancement, and Student Affairs
Regarding faculty and staff mental health: I’ve been asked to keynote the FACS Leadership Retreat on August 26 and 27 where I’ll be talking about these issues. I’ve also been in conversation with Elizabeth Weeks, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, to share some of my ideas for implementation. In sum, it’s been a difficult few years, difficult in different ways depending on a variety of personal and structural factors that many of us study in our research and teaching. I am mindful of the challenges you’ve faced and I’m keen to continue to create a climate in which we support each other as we work toward optimizing well-being. Here is a link to UGA and USG faculty/staff well-being resources: https://hr.uga.edu/Current_Employees/Benefits/Well-being/wellbeing/
As you walk into Dawson Hall, you notice a big refresh! Thanks to Interim Dean Worthy and Casey Crane, you can see a more welcoming entry by the SSAC, as well as new chairs to facilitate active learning in several classrooms. The Dean’s conference room has been updated, and ceiling tiles and treads for the stairs are also being installed. Several of the houses have new roofs as well.
We’re also installing two new “donor walls” on both the first and second floors. These areas will include a welcome message, highlight our college’s mission and diversity statements and thank the many donors who help us fulfill our mission.
Newly-installed touchscreens that link to our college directory, faculty, staff and alumni award winners and more also will provide a modern flair to our hallways. If you haven’t already, please also check out the new touchscreen outside the department of nutritional sciences!
FACS undergraduate students and their FACS faculty mentors can apply for the FACS Fund for Excellence Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program ($2,000 per FACS student/faculty mentee award). Applications are due September 15, 2022. See details and application here: https://www.fcs.uga.edu/ssac/facs-fund-for-excellence
Back to school picnic
I look forward to seeing you at the annual Back to School picnic on Aug. 15! This event is open to all faculty, staff, and graduate students. Boxed lunches will be provided outside Dawson 116, and we’ll have a photo booth and music set up inside 116 for a time of mingling and catching up.
UGA New Faculty Orientation, August 2-3, bus tour August 8-10
North Georgia Tour for FACS Department Heads, Associate Deans, and Dean, noon August 9 – August 10 (overnight).
FACS New Faculty Intro to Athens, afternoon August 8
Back to School Picnic, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., August 15
Lynn Bailey Retirement, August 16, Special Collections Libraries
Fall Classes Begin, August 17
Anisa M. Zvonkovic
Dean and Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Family and Consumer Sciences