2016-2017 Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program

Two faculty from the University of North Georgia (UNG) participated in the selective 2016-2017 cohort of the Governor’s Teaching Fellows (GTF) Program, a statewide initiative advancing instructional excellence in Georgia’s colleges and universities. Michallene McDaniel, Associate Professor of Sociology, is part of the 2016-2017 cohort, and David Smith, Associate Professor of Media Studies, completed the summer 2016 program.

“Although I have been in teaching for almost 20 years, I believe there is always something new to learn about this profession,” said McDaniel. “I view my participation in the Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program as an opportunity to brush up on changes in technology that benefit teaching, and to become familiar with the latest findings on effective teaching methods that lead to better student learning.”

Established in 1995 by Zell Miller, governor of Georgia (1991-1999), GTF provides Georgia’s higher education faculty with expanded opportunities for in-depth study of research-based pedagogies. The program is offered through the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia (UGA). More than 75 different disciplines, professions, and teaching areas have been represented, and they have come from over 45 institutions statewide: large and small, public and private, everywhere from the northern mountains to the Florida state line and between the Atlantic coast and the Alabama border. To date, 32 Fellows have represented UNG in the GTF Program.

“I was introduced to new ideas and tools like Nearpod, which I found to be interesting and helpful. Throughout this semester during my Film Appreciation courses, I will be putting into practice the ideas I developed during GTF,” Smith said.

According to the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education’s website, a candidate’s selection is based upon “the basis of their teaching experience, their interest in continuing instructional and professional development, their ability to make positive impact on their own campus, and a strong commitment by their home institution.”

“I consider myself to be very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in GTF this academic year, and lucky to work at an institution and for a department that supports professional development opportunities for educators,” said McDaniel.

Other recent UNG fellows in the program have been Rosaria Meek, Assistant Professor of Spanish; Laura Ng, Associate Profesor of English; and, Jennifer Graff, Associate Department Head and Assistant Professor of Visual Arts.

Applications for the UNG GTF 2017 Summer Symposia and 2017-2018 Academic Year Symposia is now open. For more information, please visit the CTLL GTF webpage.


The Write@UNG is a new multifaceted faculty development program that stretches across five campuses and enriches scholarly productivity through a focus on research and writing skills. Workshops are facilitated by Dr. Michael Rifenburg, Department of English, CTLL Faculty Fellow for Scholarly Writing and sponsored by the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership.

Click on the image below to enlarge.


To register, please here to view all the upcoming Write@UNG workshops.

Research-Based Teaching Series – Call for Proposals

Faculty and teaching staff are invited to submit a proposal for doing a presentation in the Research-Based Teaching Series (RBTS) Spring 2017 series.

RBTS is co-sponsored by the University of North Georgia Department of English and Center for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership (CTLL). RBTS seeks to support the work of faculty from all disciplines, colleges, and campuses by offering faculty presentations and workshops on best practices in teaching and learning. These workshops not only provide information and resources for faculty seeking to enhance their own pedagogical practices, but also give faculty an opportunity to present their work to peers.

Presentations/workshops should be 45 minutes long, allow time for Q&A, and include the following:

  • the pedagogical principles upon which the classroom material and practices are based
  • information about the practical applications of these principles in your own classroom work/research
  • 3 – 5 scholarly sources that participants can consult for further research

As a partnering institution for the AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), we encourage submissions that support the principles of this initative. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Essential learning outcomes such as creativity, teamwork, and problem solving
  • High-impact educational practices such as collaborative assignments, intensive writing, and service learning
  • Authenthic assessments such as faculty-validated rubrics
  • Students’ signature work such as internships, capstone sources, and community-based research


  • Counts as university-wide service on your vitae and faculty annual review
  • Prepares you to present at professional conferences
  • Provides groundwork and support for contributing to the scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Creates mentoring and collaboration opportunities across campuses and disciplines

Submit the following:

  • Name, contact information, primary campus, and A/V requirements
  • Title, 300-word abstract, list of 3 – 5 sources in the citation style of your choice
  • Date(s) available (from the list below). You can choose more than one.
    • Wednesday, Januarary 18, 2017, 12 – 1 p.m.
    • Monday, March 27, 2017, 12 – 1 p.m.
    • Monday, April 24, 2017, 12 – 1 p.m.


October 31, 2016 by 5 p.m. Selections will be made and participants contacted by January 9, 2017, the first day of spring classes.

Please email Diana Edelman-Young, Coordinator of RBTS at diana.edelman-young@ung.edu. Questions can also be addressed to this email. Please include subject line: RBTS CFP.

Finding Government Information

This article is the fourth part of a series by UNG Libraries covering some of the newest and most exciting additions to our GALILEO Database collections. A new post will appear on the last Monday of every month of Academic year 2015-2016. Please note: login required for off-campus access to some links.


Information created by the United States federal government seems appealingly useful because it is authoritative and much of it seems reliable; finding the government information you need, however, isn’t always easy. Sure, you can do a Google search or you can search USA.gov (the official web portal of the United States government), but you may have to sift through many – even hundreds of thousands of results to find a particular document or information resource. Even after you’ve drilled through all the results, you still may come up empty-handed. Fortunately, there are some governmental databases that are especially useful for locating U.S. government information.

Catalog of U.S. Government Publications

CatalogofUSpubsOne of the most user-friendly federal government databases is the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP). Sponsored by the Government Publishing Office (GPO), the CGP creates records of print and digitized government information that is distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program. Users can choose from basic, advanced, and expert search options—although most people start with the basic search and type one or two keywords in the search box. Recent government publications are often fully digitized and the CGP provides links that will connect the user to digitized information resources.(figure 1)



figure 1


metalibIn addition to the CGP, the Government Publishing Office created MetaLib, a search engine that searches over 60 governmental resources. MetaLib allow users to select and search up to ten databases at once. These include “catalogs, reference databases, digital repositories or subject-based Web gateways.” Once the results are generated, then the search can be narrowed by clicking on one of the facets (e.g. topics, dates, authors, etc.) on the right side of the search results page (see figure 2 below). People accustomed to getting search results at the speed of a Google search may become frustrated using MetaLib. Users may have to perform multiple searches to locate the desired information resources and that can get to be a bit tedious. As is true with all database searches–the better your search terms, the better your results.


figure 2

Federal Digital System (FDsys)


Another tool from the Government Publishing Office is the Federal Digital System, or FDsys. The emphasis of FDsys is on “authentic government information.” Because digital text and images can be manipulated, it isn’t always easy to determine if the information presented is both original and legitimate. FDsys provides authentic, verified, and digitally signed PDF documents that mitigate those concerns. In addition, the GPO guarantees “permanent public access to all FDsys resources.” FDsys include around 50 collections from the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of the Federal Government.


Google: Effective .gov Searches

CGP ix

figure 3

The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, MetaLib, and FDsys are important tools for discovering government information. These tools work well for researchers and advanced students. But some students are going perform a Google search, almost by instinct. For these students – and anyone else seeking government information – there’s a way to search Google more effectively. One can limit the domains that Google searches by typing the word site followed by a colon and then dot gov. (In other words, type:  site:.gov,) followed by your specific search terms. Google will only search website with a .gov domain (see figure 3).


cgp X

figure 4


These searches will also pull in government information authored by the state legislatures, departments, agencies, and so on. If you want to limit your search to just information from Georgia state governmental and regulatory bodies, simply type site:.ga.gov followed by your search terms (see figure 4).

If you have any questions about finding government information, please ask the UNG librarians. We’d love to help you.

Complete College Georgia and UNG

Like many other states in the U.S., Georgia participates in the Complete College America initiative. This initiative came about in response to studies indicating that in order to be globally competitive, America must produce more workers with advanced training and education. In the counties served by the University of North Georgia, the percentage of the population age 25-64 with an Associate’s degree or higher ranges from 10.8% to 55.1%.  In many of these counties approximately 20% of the population age 25-64 has some college but no degree. ( Bridging Georgia’s Completion Agenda to Broader Public Agenda). In order to reach Governor Nathan Deal’s goal of adding 250,000 postsecondary graduates to Georgia’s workforce by 2020, the University System of Georgia has identified eight goals based on best practices in student success, retention, and graduation.

So what does this mean for UNG, and what have we done since 2013?

Our goal as an institution in participating in Complete College Georgia is to provide greater access to education for students in our service area and for our students to successfully complete their degree programs. The longer a student stays in school without completing their degree, the more costly their education becomes and the more likely they are to drop out. UNG has chosen to focus primarily on the following goals in its Complete College Georgia plan: increase the number of degrees awarded on time, decrease excess credits earned on the path to getting a degree, provide intentional advising to keep students on track to graduate, shorten time to degree completion, and restructure instructional delivery to support educational excellence and student success. The strategies employed to reach these goals have included: promoting 15 to Finish, expanding dual enrollment, promoting prior learning assessment through credit by examination and review of military credits, redesigning learning support courses and expansion of completely online opportunities.

15 to Finish Georgia Initiative

Last year, after an extensive selection process led by a faculty committee, the university decided to focus on advising for its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) as part of its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The QEP, “On Time and On Target,” focuses on intrusive advising and guided pathways to degree completion in order to increase the number of students reaching their educational goals on time and reduce the number of excess credits taken by students.

Show me the data

While it is too early to report graduation rates of students impacted by these CCG strategies, we can point to significant progress in the measures of success for each initiative. Since 2013, we have seen a 135% increase in the number of dual-enrolled students (625 in fall 2015). More importantly, 50.2% of the seniors enrolled in 2014 matriculated to UNG upon high school graduation. In spring 2014 UNG became an eCore affiliate, providing seamless registration for USG online core curriculum offerings to our students. We have concurrently expanded the number of courses offered through UNG online, so that there are now several associate degrees completely available online. The online course registrations for UNG students have increased from 2705 in fall 2013 to 5871 in fall 2015 with an average completion rate of 81%.

While many of our students juggle work and family responsibilities with going to school and should adjust their course load accordingly, the 15 to Finish initiative is designed to encourage those who are full-time students to take fifteen credit hours rather than twelve each semester. The addition of online courses has made it possible for more full-time students to take fifteen credit hours per semester, but course availability remains a challenge. We saw substantial increases from 2013 to 2014, but from 2014 to 2015 UNG’s growth in enrollment and in retention rates have made it challenging to offer 15 or more credits to current students. The number of students taking 15 or more credit hours increased, but there were no gains in terms of the percentage of full-time students taking 15 or more credit hours, as the chart below demonstrates.


Fall 2013 Fall 2014 Fall 2015
Students taking 15 1330 1816 2061
Students taking > 15 1650 1902 1941
Total # full-time students (12 or more) 10,022 10,745 11,768
% of full-time students taking 15 or more credits 29.7% 34.6% 34%


The Faculty Role

We know that positive faculty-student interaction is one of the greatest factors in student success. The creativity and passion that faculty bring to teaching engages students in learning. Faculty are the often the first to notice if a student is struggling and can provide vital referrals to the wide range of support services offered by the university. As academic advisors, faculty guide students in making appropriate choices so that they stay on track with the necessary courses for their major and can experience enriching educational opportunities such as study abroad, undergraduate research, internships and service learning. Many faculty sponsor clubs and promote activities that support students who are members of traditionally underserved populations. Faculty also contribute to the success of our CCG initiatives when designing their courses and new curriculum by using pedagogies that support different learning styles, developing online versions of courses, and carefully considering prerequisites and course sequencing in the development of new degree programs. Clearly faculty have an important role to play in all of our CCG initiatives.


Included Links and More Resources

Bridging Georgia’s Completion Agenda to Broader Public Agenda

Complete College America, State Data for Georgia

Complete College Georgia, full plan

15 to Finish initiative

UNG’s Quality Enhancement Plan

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges