Tag Archives: armstrong campus

Student Enrollment Continues to Decline

Rebecca Munday, Staff Writer

A new report shows 2019 enrollment is down 1.3 percent from 2018. 

“Enrollment is, and will continue to be, our No. 1 priority,” said President Dr. Kyle Marrero in the official press release on the subject.
“I’m pleased with the work we have done in the last six months to mediate any decline, and I’m more excited than ever about our future.” 

Dual Enrollment and Graduate Studies gained students but every class of undergraduate students got smaller. This resulted in a net loss of 354 students.

“It’s a shame,” Mihir Patel said. 

Students have a variety of different feelings about this enrollment decline. Some students attributed the cause to optics behind the merger. 

“Maybe it’s because of the merger. It’s probably just going to get better after it’s more solidified,” Delaia Reyes said.

 “Right now, everyone is trying to get some clarity,” Sampson Allotey said. 

“We don’t have the appeal compared to the main campus,” Max Huber said.

 

“I’m not surprised. Students and families are having to pay for a larger percentage of their tuition and they just can’t afford it.” -Kaitlin Fleming

 

While enrollment is down in both Savannah and Statesboro, Savannah has taken a harder hit with a 5.9 percent decrease compared to Statesboro’s 1 percent decrease. Some  students feel the university shares some of the blame.

“After the book burning, I don’t know what they expected,” Regan Gayadeen said.

“It’s upsetting we’re not advertising the way we should to obtain students,” Brea Yates said. 

Fall 2019 Enrollment By Campus Graphs-page-001
A chart of the enrollment numbers.

Others feel that money has something to do with the decline. “I’m not surprised. Students and families are having to pay for a larger percentage of their tuition and they just can’t afford it,” Kaitlin Fleming said.

“That’s good…less people in debt,” said Matt Gentile said, when he heard enrollment was down. 

Director of Communications, Jennifer Wise has a different take on the decline in enrollment.

This result actually reverses the trend coming out of consolidation where last year’s decline was greater. University staff and faculty did a wonderful job in the last year to mediate the decline, and we are doing even more this year to get back into positive territory in Spring, Summer and for next Fall,” Wise said. 

According to Wise, they are continuing to work on a plan to reverse the enrollment trend. “The efforts to reverse the enrollment decline are very comprehensive and span across the university.  We have made changes to our recruitment approach such that we have re-doubled our efforts to heavily recruit all populations of students–instead of just focusing on direct from high school freshmen.  We are working on a 5-year Strategic Enrollment Plan which includes upgrades in technology and a new marketing and branding effort. We are also in the process of introducing new academic programs and enhancements to our retention and progression efforts through academic advising and college-based services.  We are increasing our relationships within the region with the Regional Academic Plan and efforts to develop articulation agreements with institutions around the state,” Wise said. 

 

“This result actually reverses the trend coming out of consolidation where last year’s decline was greater.” -Jennifer Wise

 

Part of this plan also includes rethinking on-campus student life, how classes are offered and what populations of students Georgia Southern advertises to.

We are diversifying the populations we serve because population trends suggest that the number of high school graduates will be declining. Such diversification requires Georgia Southern to rethink the way we offer classes, how we activate student life on campus, and the populations of students we seek to attract.  Graduate students, military-connected students, transfer students, out of state students, international students, and dual enrollment students will be crucial to our enrollment success, and we must earnestly implement strategies, programs, and services to support those populations to a greater extent if we are to attract and retain them,” Wise said. 

The next public release of enrollment statistics will be available in fall 2020.

 

Southern Express Rolls Onto Armstrong and Statesboro

Kee’Ara Smith, Staff Writer

A new campus transit system called Southern Express is offering the Armstrong campus free and convenient transportation to the Statesboro campus to continue to unite the University Community.

The bus picks up students from the Armstrong campus and makes stops throughout the Statesboro campus. Although the bus does not run on campus holidays or when classes are not in session, it does run on football game days, commencement, regular class days and during final exams.

bus

“I really like the route times; they are really convenient. The bus comes as early as 8:15 a.m. and as late as 6 p.m., giving me enough time to finish my latest classes on the Statesboro campus,” said Rori Brown, a photography major on the Armstrong campus.

The bus begins transit at 7 a.m. on weekdays. The number of buses will be reduced after 4 p.m. but routes will continue up until 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday. The last shuttle on the Friday bus schedule drops off at 6 p.m.

The bus provides services for Statesboro students, as well those who have classes on the Armstrong campus. Statesboro offers free parking on non-game days at the Russell Athletic Park, Paulson Stadium and Soccer/Track field facility. Although you do not need a parking permit, you are not allowed to park along the fence.

The shuttle comes with many amenities such as Wi-Fi, disability compartments/wheelchair accessibilities and heating/air.

“This is probably one of the best things the university could have done. It helps me stay connected between campuses. Whether it’s for games or my friends, I really enjoy it. It also had Wi-Fi which is great with finishing homework but the thing is, it doesn’t always work,” said Trinity Clark, a Psychology major.

As of this semester, there are three different routes with different pick-up and drop-off times. The Blue Route, Gold Route and Sweetheart shuttle Route. The university plans to add more in the upcoming years.

The full shuttle schedule is:

Statesboro — 6:45 a.m.

Armstrong — 8:15 a.m.

Statesboro — 9:45 a.m.

Armstrong — 11:15 a.m.

Statesboro — 1:30 p.m.

Armstrong — 3:00 p.m.

Statesboro — 4:30 p.m.

Armstrong — 6:00 p.m.

You can find more information on these routes on the Georgia Southern website under Parking and Transportation services.

 

One of a Kind Education

New Birth to Kindergarten Teacher Education Program Coming to Campus

Rebecca Munday, Staff Writer

“In terms of early childhood education, holding a teaching certificate allows the individual to market themselves to higher paying jobs,” said Dr. Dina Walker-DeVose, an Associate Professor in the School of Human Ecology, regarding the financial advantage of enrolling in the new Birth to Kindergarten Teacher Education program. 

“Let me be clear, early child educators and K-12 teachers are not paid what they are worth,” said Walker-DeVose. “Those certification holders who are employed in public pre-kindergarten programs are paid on a similar scale as those holding certifications in K-12 education,” she said. In addition to working in public pre-kindergarten programs, graduates can apply for jobs in private childcare programs and programs serving children with special needs. 

The program will be housed on the Armstrong campus because “this program is fully designed for the Armstrong campus,” Walker-DeVose said. The superintendent of Savannah-Chatham public schools, Dr. Ann Levett, influenced the design of this program greatly. “She is well versed in what young children need,” said Dr. Tameka Ardrey, an assistant professor in Child and Family Development. 

Walker-DeVose went on to talk about what makes this program “the only one of its kind in South Georgia” and what sets it apart from other Early Childhood Education and Child Development degree programs. 

“The language is sometimes blurry,” Walker-DeVose said, regarding what Early Childhood Education means. “The language is often confusing as some K-5 certification programs are referred to as Early Childhood Education, rather than Elementary Education. This was common before the B-K certification became well-known. Now, Early Childhood Education generally refer to those programs preparing individuals to work with children 0-8 years of age,” Walker-Devose said. 

“The primary difference, in short, is a teaching certificate,” Walker-DeVose said about the difference between the Birth to Kindergarten program and a Child Development program. 

Another thing that sets this program apart from others similar to it is its focus on cultural identity. “It frames how we learn, what we think, what we believe,” said Ardrey. 

Through this program, “We’re equipping teachers with the necessary skills and tools to provide equitable education to all children, regardless of their background,” Ardrey said. “Representation matters,” Walker-DeVose said. “If little Johnny has two dads, that has to be represented in the classroom. It is important for little Johnny to have a sense of belonging in that classroom space,” Walker-DeVose said. 

Classes for the new Birth to Kindergarten program will start in Fall 2020. They will be offered online and, in the evenings, to accommodate teachers who already have a two or four-year degree and want to get trained in the birth to kindergarten population. 

“The program is being marketed in a couple of different ways,” said Walker-DeVose. “Our program is open to anyone who desires a B-K teaching certificate in the state of Georgia. The program is located on the Armstrong campus, so naturally, much of our efforts will focus on Savannah and the surrounding communities. We will be reaching out to local high schools, particularly those with Early Childhood pathways. We are also working with the Early Care and Education program at Savannah Tech.”

According to Walker-DeVose, the entire community stands to benefit from this program. “Research shows a positive return on investment for every dollar that is invested in quality early childhood education. This body of research is another reason that society should be looking for ways to support its youngest learners and fairly compensate those trusted with their care and education.” 

 

Annual Security And Fire Safety Report Shows Fluctuating Numbers At Armstrong & Statesboro

Thuy-Linh Dang, Staff Writer

The Office of Public Safety released the 2019 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report which accumulated the reported numbers of crime and fire incidents on all three campuses from 2016-2018. 

Between the Statesboro and Armstrong campuses, there is a total of 39 sexual assault-related reports over the last three years with Statesboro reported at 24 and Armstrong at 15. The campuses’ sexual assault offenses were reported from rape and fondling. 

There was also a total of 71 reported cases of violence against women between both the Statesboro and Armstrong campuses with Statesboro at 45 and Armstrong with 26. 

These violence against women offenses cover domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

There were no reported hate crimes on any of the campuses from 2016-2018. 

With this year’s report, the Georgia Southern University community was able to see the changes in the numbers of reported incidents for the campuses over the last three years. While some numbers fluctuated between 2016 and 2017, the numbers show that the reported incidents were significantly lower by 2018. 

“It’s just unbelievable because, you know, no one really talks about it and I didn’t really know that it actually happened and they’re going to get worse,” said Mathematics major, Peyton Mizelle, about the concerning numbers of reported sexual assault incidents at Georgia Southern. 

“Even if it went down in 2018, but it will probably go back up. I just feel that it’s kind of unbelievable. Those numbers are kind of high.”

When Mizelle was asked if she ever felt unsafe on campus, she said, “not yet because I know sometimes I stay on campus until 9 p.m. and I go home but I haven’t… I always have somebody walk with me or something. I try not to walk alone.” 

When junior Music Education major Priscilla Santana was asked if she lived on campus, she said, “during 2017 I did. I didn’t notice anything then. I was a freshman in 2017. I didn’t notice anything of that nature. I tend to stay isolated ‘cause I’m not involved with anything really. We go to Fine Arts and then come back. That’s my life. We have had alerts where there’s a person that was being weird and staying in areas, like that happened, but not as bad as the Statesboro campus.”

“I don’t personally, but I’m a male so…” said senior Biology major Kareem El-Hadi on if he ever felt unsafe on campus.

Dasha Nolan, a graduating English Communications major and campus resident, said, “I live at the Armstrong campus and have had an experience in which I felt unsafe. I was walking back to my dorm one day and a black van pulled up in front of me. The woman on the passenger side asked if I needed a ride to “church”, and I said no. Some of my friends have had similar experiences of seeing that van, and we fear that it might be related to sex trafficking. It didn’t have any identifying tags that proved that it belonged on campus, and it occurred when we still had parking stickers on cars.”

Between 2016 and 2018, Armstrong reported zero cases of aggravated assault, 20 cases of burglary and three cases of motor vehicle theft.

After looking at the reported incidents of the above crimes, Santana said, “It’s gone down, but that’s still bad that’s happening.”

“It should be zero,” said El-Hadi.

Between 2016 and 2018, the reported numbers of arrest and judicial referrals for the Statesboro campus were a total of 1,398 and the Armstrong campus were a total of 239. These reported numbers covered liquor and drug-related arrests and violations for both campuses.

“The drug arrests are surprisingly low. That’s not all that bad, I was expecting worse,” said El-Hadi.

“Yeah, I mean we are smaller than them,” said Santana.

Liberty campus reported zero incidents from the above categories for all three years.

“Nothing happens on Liberty,” Brea Yates said.

After looking over the reported numbers, Van Ly Dang, a Writing and Linguistics major, said, “They’re disturbingly high. They’re a lot higher than I thought they would be but not super bad, I don’t think. It’s a little unnerving.” 

Dang also does not personally feel unsafe on campus.

When asked how they felt about having security reports released to students, Mizelle said, “It’s good to know because students just need to be aware of their surroundings and need to know what actually happens in every year on campus.”

The Division of Public Safety concluded the report by advising the Georgia Southern University community to practice smart safety precautions around campus. 

You can read the full report here 2019 Georgia Southern Annual Security Report or in your student email from Communications and Marketing. 

 

Inclusive Excellence Report: What It Means For Armstrong

Madison Watkins, Editor-in-Chief

Last week, The George-Anne Inkwell Edition published an overview of the Inclusive Excellence Report that was published by administration on Aug. 28.

This article will go into what the report recommended for Armstrong campus and what it means going forward.  

It was stated in the report once all of the data was collected that Armstrong reported 55 percent for campus climate, 50 percent for institutional commitment and 36 percent for valued and belonging. 

The biggest themes that were discussed in the campus-climate survey and listed in the report were strategic diversity leadership, the pain of consolidation and opportunities for community and engagement. 

The theme of “the pain of consolidation” was unique to this campus in particular. 

The report stated, “while present at all three campuses, it was strongest at Armstrong, where it was mentioned some 91 times by online survey respondents and consistently across listening sessions and interviews with campus stakeholders.”

Some of the comments listed in the report on all three themes, which came from the campus-climate survey, said:

  • “We need to stop reacting and create standard operating procedures for dealing with issues of diversity.”
  • “The university should prioritize diversity and inclusion systematically. Everything we do should be filtered through all the points outlined in our mission statement. Faculty and staff should be properly trained and acclimated to serve the needs of a student population that is diverse and increasingly non-traditional.”
  • “We are being treated like the step-child campus and it’s just getting old, I’m about sick of it.”
  • “The new Georgia Southern is a non-inclusive place to work. The campus does focus on diversity, but I feel this was because of the work of Armstrong and incidents that have happened on the Statesboro campus. Armstrong had a director of diversity. This position was taken away with the merger and then brought back. The events that are happening are reactive, not proactive, and focused on only two groups of people, racial and sexual. This is great for these groups of students, but I take inclusion to be all.”
  • “We need to get more vocal about diversity clubs and organizations on campus and make sure that people know everyone can be involved in any club. I think we need a special push to help.”
  • “Greek life is such a staple here, we have to do something about making it more inclusive. I mean put the Black Greeks on fraternity row and push the whites to be more accepting and open up. This is the root of our community’s problems.”

 

The report listed charts with the perceptions of campus climate by students, faculty and staff, racial and ethnic identity, gender identity and LGBTQIA identity.

Some important findings for each topic were:

Students, faculty and staff

  • At the Armstrong campus, faculty and staff rated satisfaction with climate at the at 43 and 34 percent respectively, with no significant statistical difference between these groups.
  • There was a statistically significant difference between employees and students. with faculty and staff rating satisfaction with climate lower than students.

Race and Ethnicity

  • At the Armstrong campus, there were no statistically significant differences across different racial/ethnic groups on satisfaction with climate, value and belonging, or institutional commitment.
  • The sample size represented in each group is not necessarily representative of the campus.

Gender Identity

  • At the Armstrong campus, men, women and gender nonconforming respondents rated satisfaction with climate, value and belonging and institutional commitment at the same level.
  • The sample size was not necessarily representative of the campus.

LGBTQIA Identity

  • At the Armstrong campus, there were no significant differences between heterosexual and LGBTQIA respondents. The sample size was not necessarily representative of the campus.

 

One of the seven recommendations listed at the end of the report to accelerate inclusive excellence for the university is “Lift up the strategic campus integration journey across Statesboro, Armstrong and Liberty campuses,” with the description saying, “Develop an approach to heal through the pain of consolidation, creating a new narrative that dovetails with this report and the new strategic plan.”

Some of the action steps listed in the report that can put this recommendation into action are: 

  • Restart a working team that prioritizes strategic integration, picking up from the consolidation process, to determine how you can prioritize culture-building.
  • Tap a group of Armstrong faculty, in particular, to identify key themes that they feel are being missed in terms of the economic challenges and hardships of students.
  • Campus leadership must discover avenues to understand what elements of the transition are impeding offices and units from carrying out their jobs effectively after consolidation. Deans could establish a space (for example, on the first Friday of the month) to connect with academic and staff leaders to analyze how the transition towards consolidation is impacting their work. This information would be critical towards developing how each college will strategically plan to align with an overall institutional vision.

So what’s next for Armstrong now? 

In an interview with The George-Anne Inkwell Edition, VP of Academic Affairs Dr. Carl Reiber stated, “one of the action steps is doing the climate survey. That climate survey is not just about inclusive excellence but it’s about how the people feel about their work environment…”

The climate survey Reiber is referring to will be a way for the university to collect data to assess change and progress on how the campus community feels about the university. 

On the topic of how can administration improve the culture on this campus post-consolidation Reiber said, “Each campus brings to the table a history, a uniqueness and greatness that we need to recognize and celebrate… 

Armstrong has a 100-year history that brings with it tremendous capability and quality of undergraduate education that we need to make sure never goes away…  

I think the faculty here and the students here want to make sure that they can continue to get the good programs and are respected and I think that’s showing up in a number of areas…

No one in administration thinks that one campus is better or worse than another. What we’re looking at is what has been the quality history of the institutions, how can we keep that going and what we can add to it to let them flourish and do great things.”

Vice President of University Communications and Marketing John Lester said in the interview, “I think it has to be a show me, don’t tell me. And you gotta give the university a chance to show you.”

For more information on the findings on the Armstrong campus, you can read the full Inclusive Excellence Report on our website or in your student email. 

Check our website and read next week’s issue for further coverage on the Inclusive Excellence Report.