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Regents Recognize “Best Practices” Within University System

Atlanta — November 17, 2004

Awards were given today to nine University System of Georgia institutions for “best practices” as part of the Board of Regents’ ongoing efforts to maximize the use of resources. This marks the second year of the “Best Practices” awards competition, which involves the System’s 34 institutions.

Today’s ceremony during the Regents’ monthly meeting recognized best practices implemented at Gainesville College, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, Southern Polytechnic State University, State University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University.

“Now in its second year, the University System of Georgia’s ‘Best Practices’ program continues to recognize and reward innovative and efficient programs and business models,” said University System Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith. “This initiative is helping to foster positive competition with impressive results.” There were 75 submissions from 26 institutions in this year’s competition, divided among four categories: finance and business, academic affairs, student affairs and information technology. Senior University System administrators in each of the four categories evaluated and scored the entries on the basis of their impact on operations; the benefits the practices provided to students, faculty, staff or others; and the effectiveness and efficiencies created, including cost savings, cost avoidance or productivity increases.

Two top recipients were identified in each of the four categories, with the top recipient receiving a $15,000 award and the second-place recipient receiving $10,000. Funds were provided from a strategic allocation established by the University System Office to reward programs of excellence. This year’s “Best Practice” recipients are:

Finance and Business:

First Place: The State University of West Georgia and Kennesaw State University jointly developed a new electronic fund distribution system that provides all students at the University with a debit card which provides various options for receiving funds from the institution (such as financial aid and refunds). Students may receive funds as a direct deposit to a bank account associated with the debit card, electronic funds transfer to the student’s own bank account, or a paper check. Service enhancements include more rapid availability of student funds, the elimination of long lines for processing of financial aid, and financial requests are processed more efficiently.

Second Place: Georgia Southern University created a program called “How to Save Students $2 Million.” The Georgia Southern bookstore instituted an aggressive buy back program for used books, which then are resold to students at lower cost.

Academic Affairs:

First Place: Georgia Perimeter College developed and implemented a large-scale distance learning and faculty development initiative to teach a new type of class, the “hybrid.” The College’s “Hybrid Fellowship Program” combines traditional face-to-face classes with on-line learning, which reduces the use of the College’s classroom space by 50 percent.

Second Place: Georgia College & State University created the Pre-orientation Undergraduate Course Enrollment Program, or POUNCE. Beginning in February of a student’s senior year in high school, the University allows all students admitted as freshmen for the following fall semester to establish contact with faculty from their intended major, create an optimal class schedule and complete registration for college well before classes begin. POUNCE thus provides a smoother transition for students from high school to college.

Student Services:

First Place: Valdosta State University created a partnership program that links the separate departments of academic affairs and student affairs. The goal is to provide better service to students by pooling departmental resources in areas such as the classroom, residence halls, the student library and student work programs. Called “From Silos to Circles,” the program has strengthened on-going campus initiatives such as the Freshmen Year Experience program and the Emerging Leaders program.

Second Place: Gainesville College created the “Co-Curricular Transcript” program to complement a student’s academic transcript. The new transcript tracks and records student involvement in ten different categories of college activities, focusing on a student’s development, such as community service, cultural/fine arts enrichment, health and physical development, critical thinking skills and leadership development.

Information Technology:

First Place: Southern Polytechnic State University converted their campus telephone service to a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) system. The new phone system provides greater functionality for users as well as a more functional telecommunications system able to handle the University’s current and future telecommunications needs. The switch to VOIP significantly reduces the University’s fixed costs and variable long-distance costs, with estimated annual savings of $200,000.

Second Place: Georgia Institute of Technology implemented a new procedure to improve its response to information security incidents. When an incident occurs that could potentially impact the institution’s security and threaten critical information, the new model provides for timely coordination among key departments such as internal auditing, information security, legal affairs, human resources and other departments to quickly and accurately assess risk and determine a course of corrective action.

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