GC Journeys Newsletter


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Georgia College has been named a recipient of the 2021 Campus-wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishments (AURA) by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). This annual award recognizes institutions with exemplary programs that provide high-quality research experiences for undergraduates.

GC's Mentored Undergraduate Research & Creative Endeavors, a transformative experience under GC Journeys, has now been recognized as one of the top programs in the nation, joining previous winners such as Florida State University, Clemson University, and Furman University.

“We have seen the value undergraduate research can bring to a student’s education and have chosen to provide as many opportunities as we can for our students to participate in research,” said Dr. Costas Spirou, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This national recognition is a reflection of the exceptional work of our dedicated faculty who are strong supporters of students in their research efforts, and that is key to their success.”

Georgia College makes undergraduate research opportunities for students a priority. Over the years, undergraduate research has grown from a small, faculty-driven initiative into a “transformative experience” in which the university purposefully encourages all students to take advantage of during their time here.

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On February 24th, six Georgia College undergraduate students presented their research virtually at the 3rd Annual “Posters at the Capitol” this week. That’s the highest participation in the University State System and second highest of any participating school in the state.

Normally held at the Statehouse in Atlanta, this year’s event will be online with Georgia legislators, lobbyists, university presidents and other faculty and administrators in attendance. from across the state.

Georgia College students presented work in physics, chemistry and music therapy. Participants include physics major Catherine Boyd of Columbus, chemistry major Allison Spent of Johns Creek and music therapy majors Avery Garrett of Martinez, Abby Hearn of Loganville, Sidney Johnson of Douglasville and Renata Kuswanto of Indonesia.

Posters at the Capitol was founded by Georgia College in 2018 as a way to share emerging research with state legislators. Now run by the Georgia Undergraduate Research Collective (GURC), the exhibition is modeled after “Posters on the Hill” in Washington D.C., which is hosted by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

Posters at the Capitol is highly competitive with only 25 applications accepted . “The fact that we had so many students accepted to a conference with such limited capacity is a sign of the quality of undergraduate research at Georgia College," said Jordan Cofer, Associate Provost for Transformative Learning Experiences. Nearly forty percent of students participate in undergraduate research at Georgia College. Recently, the university launched a national journal on undergraduate research and was recognized nationally by CUR for its accomplishments in this area.

4 GC Faculty Chosen as USG HIPs Implementation Team

Four faculty members from Georgia College were chosen to participate in the new USG Initiative centered around High-Impact Practices: Dr. Joy Godin, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, Dr. Angela Criscoe, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication, Dr. Joanne Previts, Chair of Teaching Education, and Dr. Damian Francis, Assistant Professor of Public Health.

As part of the GC HIPs Implementation Team, the members will attend webinars and training from experts around the state and nation on dynamic pedagogies, then bring the knowledge back to campus to help with programming around high-impact practices. Furthermore, these members will work with the Center for Teaching and Learning and GC Journeys on an assessment project.

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GC Journeys to Host National AAC&U Webinar

On March 4th, Drs. Costas Spirou, Jordan Cofer, Cynthia Alby and Hasitha Mahabaduge will present “Building and Scaling an Institutional HIPs Initiative” for Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), a national webinar.

This webinar, which is expected to have an audience between 500-800, will share Georgia College’s efforts to address these challenges through GC Journeys, a faculty-driven HIPs initiative. GC Journeys asks students to complete five high-impact practices during their undergraduate experience. It also maps their core curriculum to AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes.

This webinar will also explore the scope of challenge and opportunity associated with launching an ambitious large-scale HIPs initiative. Panelists will also share best practices to support such initiatives and include faculty voices who are leading these transformative experiences.

March 4th 2:00-3:00

Register here

Creating High-Impact Leadership Experiences Course

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The Office of Leadership Programs hosted an intersession course for GC staff members on “Creating High-Impact Learning Experiences.”

The course taught participants the principles of backwards design in creating learning experiences and effective methods for meeting learning outcomes. The course offered group learning sessions and one-on-one and small-group conversations as participants designed learning experiences.

Ashley Copeland, assistant director of leadership programs, led the course. Pamela Booker, GC’s Alex Gregory Leader in Residence, and Simeco Vinson, instructional design specialist, also facilitated.

Upcoming GC Journeys Sessions

3/19/2021 @ 2:30

GC Journeys – Putting It All into Action with a Trip to Belize – Kevin Hunt and Liz Speelman

Take a journey with us as we explore how one program incorporated several components of GC Journeys with a trip to Belize. Drs. Kevin Hunt and Liz Speelman will share with you steps they took to set up and conduct a study abroad program that incorporated community-based engaged learning, undergraduate research, and study abroad techniques in a short, two-week visit to the country of Belize. The results were impactful for the community, shared a new land, and changed their students’ lives. Join us!

4/1/2021 @ Noon

Developing Student Critical Thinking Through Higher-Order Questioning - Simeco

Research has shown that Higher-Order Questions (HOQs) require advanced cognitive demand and help students develop critical thinking skills. Higher-Order Questions (HOQs) are questions that students cannot answer with a yes or no response or by providing information quoted from a textbook. Instructors can use HOQs to help students build critical thinking skills. This session explores ways to create higher-order questions for students using AAC&U's Critical Thinking Rubric as an integral component. These materials will help you develop a set of content-specific questions to use with your students to help them build questioning patterns that lead to thinking critically.

You can register for each of the workshops by visiting our Registration Link.

Career Milestones Check-In (March 9th & 24th)

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Please encourage seniors to check in with the Career Center regarding milestone completion. Students can receive drop-in services to complete class assignments, milestone benchmarks, and general career services:

Milestone Completion Check-In Dates:

Tuesday - March 09, 2021 10 am - 7 pm

Wednesday – March 24, 2021 10am - 7 pm

Summer Undergraduate Research Applications Due March 15th

Student Research Conference- Proposals Due March 1st


Faculty and Teaching Staff

Are you willing to take on the challenge of helping prepare for the GC SRC 2021 Virtual Conference? Presentations will be through Gather Town (this was successfully used at the Research Roundup Nov. 2020). We, at MURACE, would love to have your assistance in planning the sessions. This opportunity is a low commitment way to serve the university to provide undergraduates a safe opportunity to present their research during a Pandemic. Please contact us at urace@gcsu.edu if you are able to spare a couple of hours in January and February to assist.



Nominate an Excellent Student to be a First-Year Guide

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The Office of the First-Year Experience is seeking undergraduate student applicants for the 2021-2022 First-Year Guide program. First-Year Guides (FYGs) are student peer mentors who help our new GC students transition to college. FYGs attend two to three sections of first-year seminar weekly during the fall semester, assisting the instructors and supporting the first-year students enrolled in those sections. FYGs continue to support first-year students throughout the entire academic year. FYGs are selected through an application and interview process. Training will occur prior to the start of the fall semester and ongoing professional development will occur throughout the year.

FYG Responsibilities:

  • Assist with First-Year Experience events during Weekend of Welcome
  • Collaborate with instructors to support the First-Year Seminar course
  • Attend weekly First-Year Seminar course meetings
  • Lead discussions and activities as needed
  • Organize out-of-classroom experiences to facilitate student connections
  • Facilitate student success workshops
  • Assist with fall semester registration through a student help-desk
  • Connect with students through individual meetings
  • Refer students to support resources on campus
  • Distribute weekly announcements to first-year students
  • Model responsible citizenship in the GC Community

First-Year Guides work approximately 12 hours a month, with additional hours in August due to Weekend of Welcome expectations. Interested students can apply at https://tinyurl.com/2021FYG

Applications are due Friday March 12th, 2021. For more information contact Erin Weston at erin.weston@gcsu.edu or 478-445-0145.

Apply for GC Journeys Project Mini-Grants

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2020-2021 GC Journeys Transformative Experiences Mini Grant

Are you leading a transformative learning experience (whether virtual or online) and need a little money to complete it? Apply for the 2020-2021 GC Journeys Transformative Experiences Mini-Grant.


These small mini-grants, offered on a rolling basis, can be used to complete/fund transformative learning experiences (First Year Experience, Capstone, Undergraduate Research, Leadership, Community based Engaged Learning) that you are leading.


These are state funds, so there are limits on how it can be spent and must be expended by June 2021. A committee made up of faculty and staff will review the applications monthly and make the awards.

To apply:

Fill out the application here.


Do you want to showcase your classroom innovations, or share best practices for running transformative experiences with other educators? Indiana University/Assessment Institute's Annual Conference (2021) will be held virtually. Share your ideas/innovations/lessons learned with the annual HIPs in the States Conference.

Abstracts are due March 1st.


GC Journeys Annual Report

The GC Journeys Annual Report is now available on the GC Journeys webpage. The annual report includes participation information, highlights and news stories, as well as assessments for GC Journeys. The Annual Report can be found here.