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Office of the President

Office of the President

February 21, 2018

In this post:

Good Afternoon,

First, I hope you have met our new provost and executive vice president, Dr. Deborah Bordelon. Dr. Bordelon started her new role at CSU last week with meetings in Atlanta. We welcome her to Columbus State University and look forward to her leadership.

I also want to thank all of you who took time to meet with Dr. Tristan Denley, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer for the University System of Georgia. I hope he was able to learn a bit about the people and programs that make Columbus State University so special. It was certainly good for us to hear more about Dr. Denley’s goals for CSU and the system.

Momentum Year

A team from CSU and I recently returned from Atlanta where we participated in a University System of Georgia Momentum Year Summit. During this summit, we received more details on the new system-wide Momentum Year Initiative. The initiative will have several components, including:

  • Making a purposeful program choice
  • Creating a productive academic mindset
  • Attempting the first 30 hours of a clear pathway
  • Attempting 9 hours in an academic focus
  • Complete initial English and math

Each of these components will require some intentionality and effort, but I am pleased that CSU has been working on many of these efforts for some time. You will be hearing much more about the Momentum Year Initiative in the months to come. Chancellor Wrigley and Vice Chancellor Denley have given us a clear call to action to increase student success, which lines up nicely with our strategic initiatives.

Comprehensive Administrative Review

Many of you have heard me speak of another system-wide initiative called the Comprehensive Administrative Review. This effort seeks to improve administration by creating efficiencies, streamlining processes and finding ways to be more effective with USG resources. Over the next several weeks, you will hear more about this initiative, time lines, and processes, because Columbus State University is included in the next phase of this initiative. I have assembled an implementation team to assist in our participation, and we will be planning several open forums and information sessions, as well as emailing critical information to all constituencies. Dr. Tina Butcher has agreed to be our point-person for this review. After all, she now has some free time on her hands! This process involves an opportunities survey, an activity assessment, and some on-campus focus groups. If you are contacted to participate in one of these activities, it is required that you do so. Look for more information soon; the review process is expected to kick off on March 12.

Fort Benning Appreciation Day
President Markwood and Cody with Brigadier General David Lesperance at Fort Benning Appreciation Day.

Fort Benning

Over the past two years, I have had the distinct pleasure to spend time with Eric Wesley, commanding general of Fort Benning. One of our recent meetings was with USG Chancellor Wrigley to discuss how CSU and the University System of Georgia can better support the needs of Fort Benning and U.S. Army soldiers. There are some exciting possibilities ahead for both our organizations.

Between active duty, spouses and retirees, about 10 percent of CSU’s enrollment is tied to Fort Benning. To demonstrate how important the military is to CSU and the community, this past weekend we celebrated Fort Benning Appreciation Day. We hosted approximately 1,700 soldiers at the CSU basketball, baseball and softball games. It was a remarkable event.

Gen. Wesley and his wife have become personal friends, and while we are excited for his recent promotion, it will be a great loss for us and this community to see him move on to his next assignment.


Many of you may remember the email you received about required cybersecurity training a few weeks ago.

For those who did not complete this training, you will be asked once again to take the online course - Sorry to say, we must always be vigilant in this area.

  • Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, visits or email messages from unknown individuals who are inquiring about internal information or information about you or other employees.
  • Do not disclose information about our organization to individuals who are not authorized to have the information.
  • Do not disclose personal or financial information through email, nor respond to requests for this information via email.

Columbus State University LeNoir Hall

Work at LeNoir Hall

Work is progressing nicely on the renovations in LeNoir Hall and on the new construction for an adjoining lab sciences building. Our maintenance and construction staff report that first floor renovations in the classroom and office areas of the existing building are complete – making two new lab classrooms and student study/meeting rooms that opened this semester. Renovations to existing corridors in all three floors of the existing building will continue throughout spring and summer semesters. Third floor lab classroom renovations started during the holiday break and will continue through the summer semester.

The structural steel frame continues to go up for the new addition to Lenoir Hall. The new second floor concrete slab, which spans 120 yards, is being poured this week, and prep work for the third floor slab is being finalized so the concrete pouring can begin at the end of this week. The addition is scheduled to be ready for use in the spring 2019 semester.

Diversity Forum

Mark your calendar for the CSU Diversity Forum and Legacy Celebration dinner. Both are on Thursday March 15. The Diversity Conference takes place from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the Cunningham Center, and the dinner is in the Lumpkin Center from 6 - 9 p.m. Learn more at

Open Office Hours

My next open office hours are in my RiverPark office Wednesday, March 14 from 1 to 3 p.m.

These are indeed exciting times. Thank you for all that you do for our students, our community and each other.

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood



January 23, 2018

In this post:

Good Morning,

Good morning and welcome to the spring 2018 semester. With two snow days, I’m sure we did not begin the way any of us suspected. Thank you for your patience and understanding last week as we acted out of an abundance of caution with the safety of everyone at the foremost of our thoughts.

Campus was covered with snow and ice, but there were few reported problems from the weather. We will reschedule the professional development workshops that were planned with Ken Steele.

Columbus State University Clock Tower

Bo Bartlett Center

Fortunately we were able to reschedule the ribbon-cutting and grand opening of our Bo Bartlett Center to last Thursday evening. Despite the cold and rescheduling, we had an incredible turnout for the event. This stunning new interactive gallery will be a tremendous addition to both this region’s art scene and to Columbus State University’s growing national reputation as an incubator of young talent.

The center opens with a showcase of nearly 30 artists, many of whom have never been exhibited in the Southeast. The opening exhibit, Peers & Influences, is Bartlett’s nod to the numerous artists with whom he feels a kinship. It includes his wife and co-curator, Betsy Eby, as well as Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. I encourage you to check out this new gallery on the second floor of the Corn Center for the Visual Arts.

Columbus State University Clock Tower

Strategic Plan

Thank you to all who attended our strategic plan unveiling session last Tuesday. We explained how each of you has an important role to play in this new plan for our future. This new strategic plan will be something we revisit often to check our progress and to guide our decision-making as we strive to become one of the South’s most creative and impactful universities. You can now see the plan, and all of its strategic priorities and action items online at I want to issue a public thank you to the members of the Strategic Planning Committee. I am so thankful for all of their dedication and work on this project. We have an ambitious plan that will guide us over the next five years. Thank you to the Strategic Plan Committee members:

Tina Butcher, co-chair

Gina Sheeks, co-chair

Shana young, facilitator

Sri Sitharaman

John Finley

Tom Ganzevoort

Deirdre Greer

Linda Hadley

Floyd Jackson

Tesa Leonce

LaTonya Santo

Kim Shaw

Susan Tomkiewicz

Margie Yates

Zane Everitt

Frank Hardymon

Rocky Kettering

John Lester

Julio Llanos

Neal McCrillis

Lashica Thomas

Wayne Van Ellis

Johniqua Williams

Chelsey Rogers, student

Jasmine Reid, graduate student

Sommer Bundy, alumnus

Jack Key, trustee

Staff Changes

One of our strategic initiatives is to continue to build mutually beneficial partnerships that support local, state, regional, national and international communities. This involves working more with donors and supporters and being actively involved in local economic development efforts. A lot of us do some of this work some of the time, but we need someone to focus on these activities every day. I’m very pleased to announce that Dr. Richard Baxter has agreed to step up and work with me in this role and will immediately begin transitioning into an associate vice president for engagement and economic development. We have some amazing opportunities that are very timely, and Dr. Baxter is uniquely experienced to help in this effort. He has done some outstanding work to help raise the profile of CSU's College of the Arts, positioning it as one of the most creative and impactful colleges in this region.

Dr. Larry Dooley, longtime chair of the Department of Theatre will serve as interim dean of the College of the Arts as we launch a national search to succeed Dr. Baxter. To complete transition, Dr. Tim McGraw will step in as interim chair of the theatre department. My thanks to each of these leaders for stepping up to the new roles we are asking of them.

Momentum Year

Hopefully many of you have now had a chance to meet Dr. Deborah Bordelon, our new provost and executive Vice President. She will officially begin next month by attending a University System of Georgia workshop with me and several others to learn more about helping students complete the “momentum year.”

As a next phase of our Complete College Georgia plan, this system-wide initiative focuses on research that confirms college students are most successful when they:

  • Start out their college careers by making a purposeful choice in a focus area or program
  • Enter with a productive academic mindset
  • Follow clearly sequenced program maps that include:
    • Core English and math
    • Nine credits in the student’s academic focus area and 30 credits in their first year.

Put together, these three elements create a momenum year for students—a starting point that helps students find their path, get on that path, and build velocity in the direction of their goals. All USG institutions will be implementing these core components.

Fortunately, with our degree maps and outstanding academic advising, we are doing many of the things being called for in this initiative. But there is more we can do. Dr. Tristan Denley, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer is championing this effort throughout the University System of Georgia. Dr. Denley will be visiting CSU on Jan. 31. I am sure we will hear more about the Momentum Year then.

Schwob Library Renovations

As you may have seen in the news, the 2018 legislative session is now underway. We will be watching the process closely and will provide you updates as needed. The biggest job the legislature has to do is pass a budget, and this year we hope it will include $4.8 million to renovate the Schwob library on main campus.

Design planning for this project happens this semester, and the University System of Georgia included this funding in their recommended budget. Unfortunately, the governor’s budget did not include this project in his proposed budget, but he is allowing the House and Senate to add projects to the budget during their budget deliberations. We have the full support of our Columbus legislative delegation, so we are optimistic this project will still be funded. If you see any of our delegation members, please thank them for their past and ongoing support of Columbus State University. John Lester and I will be spending some time at the Capitol making sure that members understand the importance of this project.


Next week, look for an email from me to all employees and students reaffirming our commitment to equal opportunity, affirmative action, Title IX and diversity. These are important issues for us, and I plan to send a reminder to campus every year outlining your duties and CSU’s responsibilities.

Open Office Hours

My next open office hours are Feb. 8 from 2-4 p.m. in my Richards Hall office.

I am looking forward to a great semester! Thank you for all that you do for our students, our community and each other.

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood



January 5, 2018

In this post:

Good Morning,

Happy New Year, and welcome back to those staff who are on campus and the faculty who are here for the Jan-term. I hope your time off was relaxing and rejuvenating.

Jan-term has started and is running with over 540 enrollments. Thank you to all of the faculty and staff who made this new term happen.

While most of us were away, the holidays made for an opportune time to catch up on some work that needed to be done. Some of you may have noticed that we have lost some of the beautiful oak trees around main campus, notably several that were outside the Student Recreation Center. Unfortunately, they had died and needed to come down. On the plus side, we have some local experts. Faculty from the Biology Department have identified suitable replacement trees, which have been planted around campus so we can continue our tradition of having a beautiful, tree-lined campus. Fortunately, the CSU Foundation had an arboretum fund that allowed us to purchase the new trees. Thank you to all those involved in this replacement project.

Columbus State University Clock Tower

Staff Changes

There are two significant staff changes you should know about. First, Director of Human Resources Laurie Jones has resigned and will be leaving CSU. She will be moving to Albany State University to lead their HR team.

Second, Dr. Chip Reese has been named Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Albany State University. We expect him to be assigned to Albany State for at least three or four months. As you know, they are currently undergoing a consolidation with Darton State College, so Dr. Reese and Laurie Jones will be invaluable in working with Albany State.

In the meantime Dr. John McElveen will become interim Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. We are fortunate he has a background in this area and is willing to step in to assist in the important Dean of Students role and still be available to advise on Enrollment Management. Mr. Russ Romandini will serve as the Interim Associate Vice President of enrollment management while continuing as Director of Financial Aid.

2018 Legislative Session

Next week begins the 2018 Legislative session, and I will be in Atlanta for several meetings. Our focus this year is a budget item for renovation of the Schwob Memorial Library on main campus. This funding has already been included in the Regents’ recommended budget so we do not anticipate any problems, but these things always need our attention. Our local legislative delegation is fully supportive of this funding. If you happen to see them, please thank them for their ongoing support of Columbus State University.

Welcome Week

I have mentioned this before, but please do not forget that Welcome Week starts on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Breakfast will begin at 9 a.m. in University Hall, followed immediately by a brief welcome, an introduction of our new provost, Dr. Deborah Bordelon, and the kickoff presentation of our new strategic plan at 9:30 a.m.

Educational futurist Dr. Ken Steele will be hosting a series of workshops on Wednesday, Jan. 17, designed for faculty and for staff, although anyone is invited to attend any of the workshops. You can register at I strongly encourage faculty and staff to sign up quickly. Space is limited!

For a complete schedule of events for the week please visit the Spring Welcome Week Page at

On Thursday, Jan. 18 we will host a series of events planned to celebrate the opening of the Bo Bartlett Center on the second floor in CSU’s Corn Center for the Visual Arts. This opening is a long-awaited event and provides a tremendous addition to our facilities and countless opportunities for new outreach, capacity, and programs.

Bo Bartlett Center

Open Office Hours

My next open office hours will be Jan. 18 from 9 -11 a.m. in my main campus office in Richards Hall.

I am looking forward to an exciting semester! Thank you for all that you do for our students, our community and each other.

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood



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