Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Avenue® Announces Winner of “Affordable Luxuries” Contest on Facebook

Cousins Properties’ The Avenue® today announced Elizabeth Kostilnik of Peachtree City as the grand prize winner of its “Affordable Luxuries” contest on Facebook. Kostilnik was chosen from more than 1,300 “fans” to receive a custom gift package valued at more than $500 to treat herself, friends, family and co-workers to great gifts in the New Year.

In addition to the grand prize winner, The Avenue awarded a cosmetic bag to each of 250 randomly selected “fans.” “Fans” who joined and participated on The Avenue’s Facebook page, ShopTheAvenue, by uploading or commenting on a photo, participating in a poll or sharing shopping and fashion tips on the Wall were automatically entered into the “Affordable Luxuries” contest, which ran from Dec. 10 through Jan. 2.

The ShopTheAvenue Facebook page connects shoppers at each of the five metro Atlanta outdoor lifestyle centers. During the contest, “fans” were invited to upload photos of affordable holiday finds, share holiday shopping and fashion tips and participate in polls about their holiday shopping habits and wish lists.

“Metro Atlanta shoppers want the best deals without sacrificing quality, and they want to pass along great savings and gift ideas to friends,” said Angie Leccese, vice president of brand management, Cousins Properties Incorporated. “The contest allowed more than 1,300 consumers to connect during the hectic holiday season. Consumers find value in sharing tips on fashion trends and gift ideas for difficult-to-shop-for family members through The Avenue’s Facebook page. The page will continue to be a place for consumers to share unique finds and deals at our five metro Atlanta locations.”
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Friday, January 23, 2009

UGA Grady College Dean Receives Sustaining the Dream Award

E. Culpepper Clark, dean of the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, was honored for his contributions to Alabama's "Realizing the Dream" initiative in a banquet ceremony in Tuscaloosa on Friday, Jan. 16.

The ceremony was co-hosted by the Realizing the Dream program and the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Clark, a civil rights historian and former dean of the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences, was instrumental in the development of the Realizing the Dream program and was honored with a Sustaining the Dream Award.

The Realizing the Dream initiative began in 1990 at the University of Alabama to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday evening's banquet recognized founders of the Realizing the Dream effort, community leaders and others and commenced a weekend of events including the 20th annual Realizing the Dream Concert.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Realizing the Dream Committee is comprised of faculty and staff from Shelton State Community College, Stillman College and the University of Alabama. The committee coordinates a concert around King's birthday at UA, a theatrical presentation during Black History Month at Shelton State, and an annual lecture series led by Stillman College.

Also receiving Sustaining the Dream Awards were Mercedes Benz U.S. International and the First Missionary Baptist Church of Anniston, Ala.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fayette Students Dominate Regional Math Contest

When it comes to crunching numbers, Fayette’s high school students know how to get the job done. They dominated the Griffin RESA 2009 Regional High School Math Contest bringing home two first place wins and sweeping the individual winners category.

Sandy Creek High placed first in Division I (smaller schools) while McIntosh High took first and Starr’s Mill High finished second in Division II (larger schools).

Individual winners overall included Matthew Carlson, McIntosh High, first place; Jeffrey Kuo, Starr’s Mill High, second and Taylor Lee, Whitewater High, third.

The Griffin RESA High School Math Contest is a regional competition among high schools in the Griffin RESA region, which consists of Butts, Fayette, Henry, Lamar, Newton, Pike, Spalding and Upson counties.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

UGA Piano Professor Peter Jutras Becomes Editor of Clavier Companion, Only Magazine for Piano Teachers in the United States

The University of Georgia has just become a central location for piano teachers all across the United States. Peter Jutras, an assistant professor in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at UGA, has been named editor-in-chief of Clavier Companion, the only independent magazine serving piano teachers across the United States.

In this position, Jutras, director of undergraduate and graduate piano pedagogy programs at UGA, will be an important resource for teachers who spend their days and nights instructing those who learn the lifelong joy of the keyboard. It is a role for which he's been preparing all his life.

And it's been an amazing ascent for a musician who had never been a professional editor until two years ago.

"I always liked to write as well as play the piano," said Jutras. "I never expected to be able to combine the two, and it's a challenge to which I'm looking forward."

Until last fall, there were two U.S. piano pedagogy magazines, each with a loyal following: Clavier and Keyboard Companion (KC). Clavier was the senior journal, having been around nearly half a century, while KC had started in 1990. Because of his love of writing, Jutras had submitted some articles to KC several years ago, and to his surprise, the editor published them.

When there was an opening for the editorship of KC in 2006, a member of the board of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy in Princeton, N.J., which published KC, invited Jutras to apply.

"It was not on my radar, but it seemed like a good opportunity, so I applied," said Jutras. "I was, at the same time, in the middle of applying for a faculty position at UGA. It was a busy time--both searches involved extensive preparation for a variety of materials."

Possibly moving from Dallas, where he and his family lived, was not an easy decision. His wife, Kristin, was a violinist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Jutras owned and operated his own very busy piano studio. They also have two small children, so each day was a challenge.

Unsure that he would get the editorship or the faculty job at UGA--competition for any faculty job at a major university is fierce--Jutras applied for both and prepared to sweat it out. To his astonishment, he was offered the editorship of Keyboard Companion and became a finalist for the job in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music (part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences) at almost the same time.

"I was offered the editorial position, and only a few days later I was invited to visit Athens as a finalist for the position at UGA," said Jutras. "It was an amazing time."

No one knows exactly how many piano teachers there are in the United States. The Music Teachers National Association has around 25,000 members, though, and the majority of them are piano teachers. It is estimated there is a much larger population of teachers who don't belong to the organization. The number of those taking piano lessons is equally unknown, but it's easily in the hundreds of thousands, Jutras said.

What Jutras couldn't know, however, was that a major sea-change was about to occur in piano pedagogy journalism. As it turned out, Clavier was looking for a partner with whom to merge, and Keyboard Companion was the obvious choice. So late last year, the two magazines began talks.

Keyboard Companion had a healthy circulation of 5,000--not bad for hard economic times. But Clavier, around 30 years older, boasted a circulation of 12,000. When details were finally worked out, a single magazine was left--the only independent professional magazine for piano teachers in United States.

Now renamed Clavier Companion, its first job was to find a new editor in chief. But everyone's choice was the obvious one: Peter Jutras. So now he finds himself in a leading professional role, and in one moment has brought a national spotlight to the piano pedagogy program at UGA.

The timing couldn't be more perfect. While piano pedagogy itself is a master's program with perhaps five majors at any one time (about the national average for universities), it also has course offerings for all piano majors, graduate and undergraduate. Jutras is also in charge of the undergraduate group piano curriculum. That involves every student in the school, all of whom are required to have some proficiency in the piano regardless of their major area of study.

To that end, Jutras wrote a grant that last year enabled the Hodgson School to install a state-of-the-art group-piano-teaching lab--one of the most advanced in the country. The facility, on the fifth floor of the music building, right down the hall from Jutras's own studio, has 12 Clavinova pianos, electronic keyboards that are marvels for teaching and learning, each connected to its own computer. A teacher's station at the front of the class allows either Jutras or a graduate instructor to monitor students one at a time on earphones or in small or large groups.

"Because everyone in the school must take the class, the lab is filled every period four days a week," said Jutras.

Jutras's connections to the rest of the piano pedagogy world through Clavier Companion will be invaluable both to piano majors and to those who go on to become piano teachers themselves.

The first issue of Clavier Companion, due out at the end of January, has a dazzling array of articles, including interviews with legendary pianists Leon Fleisher and Lang Lang, as well as practical teaching articles, guest columns from noted piano teachers and much more. It will be mailed to a list of more than 14,000 readers.

As a final family flourish, Kristin Jutras took over the directorship of the UGA Community Music School, an outreach program designed to bring musical instruction to community members of all ages in and around the Athens area. (For more information, see

In their "spare" time--Jutras smiled at the idea--he and Kristin are enjoying raising sons James and Andrew and teaching them piano and violin.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Georgia Southern University Students to Witness History

Ten exceptional students from Georgia Southern University have been selected to attend the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. on Jan. 20.

To be considered for selection, students were asked to provide a description of their campus community involvement and to write a 500-word essay discussing why they wanted to attend the inauguration. Ten students were chosen by a selection committee for their leadership qualities and to serve as representatives of Georgia Southern’s diverse student body.

“The selection committee chose students who had outstanding essays and who had displayed commitment to various organizations and activities. Selected students also displayed a desire to share their experiences in D.C. with the campus and community,” said Janna Pennington, Georgia Southern’s coordinator of service learning.

The inauguration trip, organized by The Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement, will serve as a learning experience and a chance for students to witness history in the making.

The trip will also allow one student to see her campaign efforts pay off. Cindy Ann Kilgo, a member of Young Democrats, was a volunteer for President-Elect Barack Obama. Kilgo and three other students, who are involved in Student Government, will have the opportunity to see the political process at work.

“Barack Obama has inspired millions of Americans with his message of hope and change,” said Pennington. “I hope that this trip will inspire a group of Georgia Southern students to strive for change in their local communities.”

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

MCG Department of Otolaryngology Featured among Country's Best

The Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery in the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine is one of the most innovative in the nation, according to the Academic Physician and Scientist.

“Many of our peers and colleagues from around the country have taken notice of what’s been going on here,” said Dr. David Terris, department chair and Porubsky Distinguished Professor in Otolaryngology. “It’s gratifying because it has been our goal to continually grow and improve this program and we have tried to accomplish that in a number of novel ways.”

In a feature in the January issue, the magazine notes the department’s “innovative educational and clinical growth strategies” which have included:

Doubling the number of faculty and adding specialists in rhinology, voice and swallowing disorders, plastic surgery and hearing and balance disorders
Dramatically increasing the number of department publications and the emphasis on research excellence; and
Encouraging the formation of multidisciplinary physician teams to tackle tough clinical cases.
Developing a roadmap for the department’s growth was both simple and challenging, Dr. Terris said. It began just before his arrival at MCG in 2002, when he imagined what the picture of a “perfect” department would be and laid out the steps it would take to achieve it.

Initiatives pursued included the development of a head-and-neck tumor group, consisting of radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, oral surgeons and otolaryngologists, which this year reviewed and consulted on nearly 300 propsective patient cases. Dr. Terris has also worked with Drs. Ted Chin and Tony Mulloy from the Department of Endocrinology to develop the Thyroid Center for MCGHealth, the clinical arm of MCG. Last year, more than 200 patients from 15 states had thyroidectomies at MCG.

The roadmap also included quality initiatives, such as weekly conferences where faculty can preview difficult surgical cases to brainstorm ways to optimize outcomes, and teaching conferences that allow faculty to collaborate in their educational efforts.

“This is a department where everyone is fully engaged in teaching and therefore continually learns from each other,” Dr. Terris said. “That philosophy trickles down to our students so that they are instilled with the notion of being a lifetime learner and educator upon leaving us.”

The department’s near-term goals include adding more faculty and increasing students’ exposure to the highest levels of clinical expertise, thereby increasing competitiveness for the department’s two residency and three fellowship slots. The result will attract more patients and bolster the department’s reputation among physicians, students, residents and former patients, Dr. Terris said.

“We are already known as a place to which patients from all over can come and receive the best medical care available,” he said. “We know what makes us stand out and we will continue to focus our energy on becoming the best in those areas. But none of this would be possible without the efforts put forth by all of our faculty, staff and students.”

The Academic Physician & Scientist is mailed to every academic physician, scientist, senior resident, fellow, residency program director and 3,000 senior-level administrators at medical schools and affiliated teaching hospitals across the country.

By Jennifer Hilliard

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sethna Named to Georgia Trend's Most Influential

The annual list of the 100 Most Influential Georgians published each January by Georgia Trend magazine once again included Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, president of the University of West Georgia.

Sethna, who has been named to the list multiple times, joins other prominent Georgians such as Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines; Arthur Blank, owner and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Force; Erroll Davis, Chancellor of the University System of Georgia; John Lewis, U.S. Congressman; and Sonny Perdue, Governor of Georgia.

“I am truly honored to be included in the 2009 list of the 100 Most Influential Georgians,” Sethna said. “It is my pleasure to be among this set of distinguished Georgians. Such an honor is possible only because of the excellent faculty and staff colleagues at the University of West Georgia, its wonderful students, and its great friends and supporters.”

UWG alum Bill Bolling, executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, is also included on this list.

According to Georgia Trend editors, “Georgia’s Power List” spotlights prominent figures in business, politics, government, science and education, and are selected by the editorial staff as “the people who keep Georgia moving in one direction or another: influence can follow diverse paths.”

Sethna is in his 15th year as president of UWG, a leading residential, doctoral comprehensive university that offers a broad undergraduate and graduate curriculum based on a liberal arts foundation. UWG enrolls more than 11,250 students in the College of Arts and Sciences, Richards College of Business, College of Education, Nursing School and Graduate School.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Georgia Southern University Dean Chance Named Fulbright Specialist

Lucinda Chance, Ed.D., dean of the College of Education at Georgia Southern University, has been named a Fulbright Specialist by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

The Fulbright Specialists Program provides short-term academic opportunities (two to six weeks) for U.S.-based University faculty and professionals. To be selected, a candidate must first apply and are then selected after a comprehensive peer review of the application and qualifications.

The goal of the Fulbright Specialist program is to increase the participation of U.S. scholars and professionals through academic exchanges. Each of the selected Specialists will not only participate in traditional lecture and research activities, but will also promote increased connections between U.S. and non-U.S. post-secondary academic institutions.

Chance will now be added to the Fulbright Roster and will have the opportunity to be matched with requests from overseas academic institutions. She will remain on the Fulbright Roster for up to five years.

To be eligible to apply, candidates are required to have a Ph.D. or equivalent professional/terminal degree at the time of application plus a minimum of five years of post-doctoral teaching or professional experience in the field in which they are applying.

Chance, who has 40 years of experience in education, has served as dean of the College of Education at Georgia Southern University since July 2001. She has also served as professor and dean of the College of Education at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She began her education career as a classroom teacher in Milan, Tenn., later becoming a principal. Her higher education career began at the University of Memphis in 1989.

Chance earned a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Memphis State University. She also earned a Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Tennessee, Martin, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Lambuth College.

Chance currently serves on the editorial board and as a referee of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, Staffordshire University, England. She is also a member of PDK Phi Delta Kappa (Northwest Tennessee Chapter, Jackson Chapter, Louisiana Chapter and the Georgia Chapter) and the National Education Association.

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