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September 18, 2017   Inside UGA

New presidential hiring initiative focuses on student success

September 18, 2017
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The University of Georgia has launched a new presidential hiring initiative to continue to enhance the learning environment for students.

This latest hiring effort—called "Investing in the Student Experience"—will recruit exceptional faculty members in academic disciplines with majors that are seeing dramatic growth in student demand. Additional academic advisors also will be hired to support undergraduate students pursuing degrees in these high-demand areas.

"At the heart of the University of Georgia is an unrelenting commitment to excellence in teaching and learning—it is our first principle," said President Jere W. Morehead. "This exciting new initiative represents the latest in a series of strategic investments to elevate—even higher—the academic experiences of our students."

Over the past several years, the size of the incoming class of first-year students has steadily increased, while the academic qualifications of entering freshmen continue to rise. The most recent class of first-year students, for example, enrolled with an average GPA of 4.0 and an average ACT score of 30—both record highs.

Shifts in intended majors also are occurring as more students pursue degrees in areas such as computer science, management information systems, finance, financial planning, engineering, statistics, biology, biochemistry/molecular biology, and international affairs/political science.

The Investing in the Student Experience hiring initiative is designed to address these changes in student profile and academic interest.

"One of the things that sets the University of Georgia apart is our deep commitment to providing students with the types of learning opportunities that help them thrive during their time on campus and after graduation," said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten.

"The Investing in the Student Experience hiring initiative builds on that history, and I look forward to welcoming our new faculty members and academic advisors to campus."

A total of 25 faculty and staff members will be hired through the initiative, including 10 tenure-track faculty, 10 lecturers and five academic advisors, all of whom will support students in high-demand areas.

"Advisors are an essential component to student success at UGA," said Rahul Shrivastav, vice president for instruction. "Through this initiative, we are providing our students with resources for a challenging academic curriculum and preparing them for future success."

Since taking office in July 2013, Morehead has launched a number of major faculty hiring initiatives to promote student learning and success and to continue to grow the university's research enterprise. In 2013, the university announced an interdisciplinary hiring initiative. In 2014, an extraordinary researcher hiring initiative was introduced, and the following year two more hiring initiatives were unveiled, one focused on informatics and the other on reducing class sizes. In addition, last fall the institution launched a hiring effort to recruit more faculty in the sciences, and just last month an initiative was introduced to provide additional startup funding to recruit new faculty to establish their research programs at UGA.