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Office of the President

Office of the President

August 20, 2018 

In this post:

  • USG's College 2025 Report
  • The State of CSU
  • Welcoming Dr. Bordelon
  • New Strategic Plan
  • New Partnerships
  • Equip, Energize, Engage
  • Three Main Priorities
  • Jan Term
  • Enrollment & Graduation
  • Camp PROWL
  • Success in Athletics
  • Congratulations
  • Comprehensive Administrative Review
  • The Importance of Innovation
  • Milestones
  • Updates
  • New Degree Programs
  • Salary Adjustments
  • Homelander Generation
  • Evolving
  • Empathy
  • Why Not CSU?
  • Working Together
  • Change is Here

Good Morning and welcome to the fall 2018 semester!

Thank you to all of you who attended our Welcome Week activities last Monday. We had a productive day, and once again gave everyone a chance to meet new members of the Cougar family. My thanks also to the provost for starting a campus-wide conversation about part of the USG's Momentum Year initiative and the focus on all of us – faculty, staff, and students having a growth mindset. This ipad post repeats and expands on some of the things we addressed, and it gives some additional information about what is coming up this semester.

CSU Takes Flight 

USG's College 2025 Report

The day after our Welcome Week activities and lunch, I attended a Board of Regents meeting in Atlanta, where one of the reports was the final recommendations from the University System of Georgia (USG)'s College 2025 Initiative. Launched in May 2017, the College 2025 Initiative seeks to refine and improve the delivery and accessibility of public higher education to meet 21st-century learning and career needs.

I was not surprised at all to see that many of the things that we talked about Monday (and are addressed in more detail below) were part of this initiative. They talked of the need for adaptability, essential skills, lifelong learning and partnerships.

A full version of the College 2025 report, including detailed recommendations and case studies, is available online at

For us here at CSU, I think we are close to becoming the kind of university described by the regents' committee of faculty, staff, and committee members. Today, propelled by the momentum of 60 years of aspiration, perspiration, and transformation, we are on the threshold of an exciting new era at CSU.

cSU ClockTower

The State of CSU

Today, I write from both from my head, and from my heart, because it is important that you know my thoughts, my feelings, my passion for the vision you and I will be implementing over the coming months and years.

To do that, we are going to delve into the past, with a brief look back at the last academic year; we are going to prepare for the present with a preview of some big action items coming up for the 2018-2019 academic year; and, we are going to look to future, at the opportunities... at the possibilities... at our potential.

Emboldened by the past, engaged in the present, and impassioned and inspired for our future, today's remarks are effectively our state of the university, and the state of CSU is outstanding.

I was reminded this summer of the Dr. Seuss' book "Oh the Places You'll Go! While we were welcoming our new first year students at Camp PROWL some of our current students recited the text.

"Oh the Places You'll Go! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."

As we prepare to celebrate our 60th anniversary, I stop and think of what CSU might look like at 75 years, 100 years or 120 years. Oh, the places we will go!

Incredible activities are happening on this campus and I invite you to be a part of them, if you are not already, as they come together to create a university that will be renowned for exemplifying creativity in and out of the classroom, for our unwavering commitment to transformative learning experiences, and for our pledge to create, sustain, and support a student-centered learning environment.

So, let's get started and hit a few highlights from last year.

Welcoming Dr. Bordelon

First and foremost among the most consequential of last year's achievements, for me, was the hiring of our new provost and executive vice president.

It took us a while to find exactly who we needed, but I think you will agree that the wait was worth it. Dr. Bordelon, let me say again how thrilled we are that you have joined our CSU family!

New Strategic Plan
Second, we officially launched our new strategic plan in January. Not only did we adopt it, we have created measures to track our progress toward each initiative, and we have aligned our institutional reporting mechanisms with this plan.

As we promised, this strategic plan is not a passive document collecting dust on a shelf.

It is a living, actionable, document that is driving us for the next several years to reach our vision of preparing students to serve the world as creative problem-solvers and high-impact leaders, and for CSU to be recognized as one of the most creative and impactful universities in the South.

 Dr. Bordelon

 New Strategic Plan

Second, we officially launched our new strategic plan in January. Not only did we adopt it, we have created measures to track our progress toward each initiative, and we have aligned our institutional reporting mechanisms with this plan.

As we promised, this strategic plan is not a passive document collecting dust on a shelf.

It is a living, actionable, document that is driving us for the next several years to reach our vision of preparing students to serve the world as creative problem-solvers and high-impact leaders, and for CSU to be recognized as one of the most creative and impactful universities in the South.

New Partnerships

You may remember that creativity and innovation, as well as partnerships, are at the center of several of the strategic initiatives in our plan.

We saw a couple of great examples of both of those ideals last year when we opened the new TSYS Center for Cybersecurity and the Bo Bartlett Center.

Both are spectacular facilities that would not have been possible without a great deal of private support and local partnerships.

Because of that involvement, both centers add significantly to our mission, and are already attracting attention to CSU from around the globe.

Bo Bartlett Center

Equip, Energize, Engage

Another prime example of creative, innovative partnerships is the E3 initiative and transformative learning conference that launched last year.

Through our leading-edge collaboration with the Muscogee County School District, we gathered together university leaders and faculty with K-12 educators and administrators for a multi-day workshop and showcase.

We shared high-impact learning methods, communication best practices, and effective tools we can all use to better appreciate others, to work more effectively in a team, to promote real-world problem-solving, and to better understand our own tendencies and capabilities.

Just last week, the next iteration of E3 began as four area schools were accepted into a yearlong mentoring program that will immerse all school personnel and students into high impact and active learning strategies.

Transformative education is possible and we look forward to expanding the E3 partnership by continuing to equip our CSU faculty and departments and working collaboratively with our K-12 partners.

"We're on our way up! We'll be seeing great heights! We'll join the high fliers who sore to great heights."

Equip Engage Energize

 Three Main Priorities

As part of the University System of Georgia, we operate in alignment with the Regents' and Chancellor's priorities. I want to make sure that we are all aware of three overarching priorities.

The Chancellor has outlined three main priorities:

• College Completion
• College Affordability
• Organizational Effectiveness and Efficiency

In all honesty, these are really not new areas of emphasis for CSU. You have seen these themes in our initiatives from Complete College Georgia, to LEAP, to Jan Term to our efforts to use open source course material.

We will keep the Chancellor's priorities at the forefront of our minds and actions as we organize and report our efforts and results.

Jan Term

Our first Jan Term was a tremendous success. Many thanks to all of you who taught and provided student services during that session.

We had 476 students take advantage of classes during that term. 312 of those students later enrolled in 15 or more credits in Spring.

Since the Jan term is officially part of the spring semester, and we only charge for up to 15 credit hours per semester, the savings for those students amounted to more than $300,000.

The extra credit hours generated will not only assist us in our funding formula but more importantly helped speed up time-to-degree for those students. A win-win for all involved.

CSU Clocktower Snow

Enrollment & Graduation

As a reminder, last fall's enrollment hit another record with 8,452 – though spring semester and summer term were slightly down.

Enrollment is a significant factor in our state budget, so I again implore all of us to realize the vital role we play as institutional ambassadors in recruiting, retaining and graduating our students.

As we look toward this semester, our residence halls are filling up at unprecedented rates, so I am again cautiously optimistic for a good year in terms of enrollment. Stay tuned as the final numbers are secured in the coming weeks.

Of course enrolling students is one thing, but helping them learn and graduating them are our main goals. According to the Student Achievement Measure, our graduation metrics are improving.

While approximately 34 percent of our entering first year fulltime Fall 2011 students graduated from CSU within 6 years that number jumps to 50 percent when we track students that transferred and graduated from another university.

And when you add in those students who are still enrolled - a full 70 percent of the first-time full-time students who started in fall 2011 have graduated from CSU or another institution, or are still currently enrolled in college. Seventy percent!

We still have some hard work to do, but we are moving in the right direction.

Research has shown that one of the key ways to improve retention and graduation is to effectively create a connection for students, whether that is to the school itself or to a friend or a professor or staff member.

Clearview Hall


Camp PROWL, which debuted last year, has proven to be an effective way to create those connections. For those of you who do not know about PROWL, it is not just an extended orientation.

It is a leadership and professional development retreat for incoming students that helps them explore themselves, prepares them for the rigor of college and creates powerful bonds.

Of the 67 students who went through PROWL last year, every single one of them finished their first year of college at CSU. We just had two more camps this year, and based on feedback and evaluations, this program will continue to expand.

There's a role for faculty and staff, so I encourage you to ask others about their experiences and consider participating next year. It is fun. It is important. It is transformative.


A couple other leadership developments from last year to note are the iLEAD program for students and the LIVE CSU program for employees.

Both stem from our strategic plan's initiative to develop leadership skills that support students, faculty and staff in their current and future roles.

L.I.V.E. CSU has been developed with the mindset that as a university we want everyone to L.I.V.E. what it means to be a part of Columbus State University. In this case LIVE stands for Learn, Invest, Value and Engage. You will hear a lot more about LIVE CSU this year.

CSU Tennis Champs

Success in Athletics

A few more quick items before we move on to what's coming up this year.

First, congratulations once again to the CSU men's tennis team for capturing their first national championship in May!!

No recap of the 2017-2018 academic year should pass without mentioning the eighth NCAA team national championship in Columbus State athletic history, and the first since baseball captured the 2002 championship.

"We're off to great places – off and away"

I had a chance to meet many of those student-athletes, and let me assure you all that they bring great pride to CSU with their actions on AND off the court.

Columbus State had six different programs qualify for NCAA postseason action last year with three finishing among the top four teams in the country.

Additionally, the CSU athletic department had 101 student-athletes recognized on the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll for having a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the academic year. Congratulations to all of our student athletes.


Speaking of recognitions, congratulations to all of our faculty, staff and students who were recognized through publications, awards, or presentations. Faculty and student research continues to grow in quantity, but more importantly in impact.

Comprehensive Administrative Review

So my final highlight of last year is a good segue into what's happening this coming year.

While it is not quite as memorable as a national championship, I'm sure many remember that last year brought us the roll-out of the Comprehensive Administrative Review, a system-wide initiative to re-envision how we might administer higher education in the 21st century. As you know, the CAR consultants surveyed and then interviewed hundreds of employees on campus, analyzed and synthesized the data, and poured over a multitude of reports. Let me make sure you all hear one of the first things the report revealed: CSU invests more as a percentage of core expenses in instruction and academic support than its peers.

This is important and bears repeating: CSU invests more as a percentage of core expenses in instruction and academic support than its peers - and we accomplish this result with a comparatively smaller budget than our peers.

What a huge validation of what we do and the value we place on students and learning. This is something for which we can all be very proud.

Though that was good news, there are notable opportunities for improvement that will drive many of our activities this year and for years to come.

To respond to the CAR report and to draft a plan forward, we have organized two groups: a steering committee and a working group. The steering committee will consist of the Executive Leadership Team, plus Dr. Linda Hadley, dean of the Turner College of Business; Lashica Thomas, chair of staff council; Dr. Julie Ballenger, chair of the chairs assembly; and Dr. Chris McCollough, executive officer of the faculty senate. The other group, which we are calling an Innovation Hub, will be led by Dr. Chip Reese, will have faculty and staff members from across campus. They will tackle a variety of issues related to efficiency and organizational effectiveness, and provide recommendations to the steering committee.

There are some items we already know we'll need to address: degree completion rates in some areas, efficiency in IT and HR, university-wide processes and procedures, faculty reassigned time, a lack of consistency among employee titles, and the span of responsibility and reporting relationships of supervisors.

The review will take a lot of work and a lot of thought but I see this as an opportunity to grow, to adapt, and to flourish.

At the System level, I expect a number of significant changes related to how services are provided to campuses, expansion of the ONE USG initiative, as well as expanded campus collaborations as this initiative continues to unfold. You can see the full report now online, under "announcements" on the MyCSU homepage.

The Importance of Innovation

We are living in an age of acceleration – information and knowledge are expanding faster than existing institutions, and constructs, can make sense of it.

As a result, new organizations and constructs are being developed – and higher education is no exception. Many of the institutions in the USG were created before there even was a USG and most of us were designed to operate autonomously. Those days are clearly over and the Comprehensive Administrative Review will provide opportunity for unprecedented administrative collaboration as the USG and CSU seeks to be the best stewards of the public trust and public funds.

Change is constant in our world today, and is essential to the sustainability and evolution of our industry. Transformation is coming to higher education and we need to have a mindset for growth.

But trust me when I say, if we fail to innovate, someone else will, and we will be in jeopardy.

"This means trying new things, which are sure to succeed. Except when the don't cause sometimes they won't".

We must have the courage to lead the way. We already have the ability and the track record of innovation. We are a university willing to take on new concepts. We are a community with a history of dreaming big and accomplishing big ideas -- together.



As we continue to look at the upcoming year we will celebrate some milestones. This year, 2018, is the 60th anniversary of Columbus State University's founding. We know the story of our first days in a former hosiery mill when the community was successful in establishing Columbus College. Much of our success is due to our community, which is why we focus so much attention and effort on our local partners.

One great example is the First Choice Campaign, which will officially come to a close at the end of this calendar year. We will, once again, achieve some unprecedented levels of private giving with a total campaign impact of over $115 million to date.

But just because the campaign is wrapping up, please do not think our work is done. Private giving will continue to be a focus, as we have several continuing and new priorities that we need to fund.



On August 24th we will help cut the ribbon on Flat Rock Studios, a new sound stage facility developed by W.C. Bradly designed to help meet the needs of the growing film industry in Georgia.

As part of the complex, CSU has instructional space on-site. We will be able to expand our course offerings through the Georgia Film Academy at Flat Rock Studios which will be a huge benefit for our students.

Some other things to note this year:

• My thanks to Dr. Ellen Martin, who will be taking on the role of Faculty Athletic Representative, an NCAA-mandated position that will help provide oversight of the academic integrity of the athletics program and serve as an advocate for student-athletes' well-being. Glenn Stokes served this role for many years. My thanks to him also for this important service.

• Many of you may know, The RiverPark Student Health Center and Counseling Center were closed for maintenance last spring. This opened an opportunity for the University to partner with MyCare Urgent Care Center located in the Wells Fargo building at 101 13th Street downtown. Here, students received the care and attention they have come accustomed to at the RiverPark center and the Student Health Center on main campus. This partnership with MyCare has proven successful, so it will continue for the foreseeable future. Students with a current student I.D. may have their medical needs met at MyCare (M-F; 8 am-8 pm; Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.) or the Student Health Center on main campus (M-Th, 8 am-5 pm and Friday, 8 am-3 pm).

• The former space that housed the RiverPark health center will be renovated into space for academic advisors and counselors. That work is expected to be completed in late September. Until then, the Counseling Center for RiverPark, will be temporarily located in Frank Brown Hall. Therapists will be available at Frank Brown Hall, rooms 251 and 2023 on Tuesdays from 1 to 5 pm, and Wednesdays & Thursdays from 9 am-5 pm.

• Just a reminder that we are beginning this semester with something I understand has rarely ocurred – more parking! We added faculty/staff spaces behind the Lumpkin Center, student parking spaces between University Avenue and the intramural field, as well as a gravel parking area between the Mock Pavillion and the Welcome Center.

• If you have not seen it yet, the Greek Center renovation is almost finished and looks great. A renovation to Chick-fil-A is still underway, which means we will not have those famous sandwiches (and newly added milkshakes) until after Labor Day. But Subway will still be open.

• We look for active participation from faculty and staff in Cougar Kickoff activities for students next week, especially the Day of Service on Aug. 25. We invite you to help welcome our students, including at the main campus picnic on Aug. 22. Food will be available for faculty and staff (but sadly, the t-shirts are just for the students).

• You will probably start seeing more notices of newly passed policies soon. We have finally completed a policy on policies and are starting to work through a backlog of issues, such as freedom of expression and conflicts of interest, that we have been trying to address for months. As has been our plan for more than a year, we are also working to centralize these policies online under the Office of General Counsel's website.

• Our work at branding Columbus State University is continuing. We will start seeing some ideas soon for how we describe and portray what makes CSU special. I expect this effort will aid us in recruitment, awareness, and fundraising. We are already discussing how this will work into a universitywide communication plan.

• Coming on Nov. 1, we are planning a ceremony to rename CCT as the Synovus Center of Commerce and Technology to thank Synovus for their longtime support and partnership with the university.

• On Nov. 27, we will cut the ribbon on the renovated and expanded LeNoir Hall. Thanks to great state support, that building now has labs and equipment to properly support the scientific studies and research of our students and our faculty.

• As the LeNoir Hall project wraps up, we will begin the renovation of the main library.

While new and renovated facilities are wonderful, what happens inside those facilities is of the most importance.

This year I am asking the provost to lead the development of a comprehensive and progressive academic plan that will pull together the goals and action items from the strategic plan and envision how we will strategically grow our program array and research agenda to take us to the next level.

New Degree Programs

This year, we will be submitting requests to plan two new doctoral programs - one in Physical Therapy - and one in Nursing as well as an engineering program. Though not guaranteed, if we are successful, these and other similar programs under discussion will continue our reputational transformation in the eyes of this community, the USG, and our peers.

If approved, these programs will directly feed the economic development, healthcare, and national security needs of this community. We have strong community support for these programs and it will take the advocacy from our partners if we are to be successful.

 Oh, the exciting places we will go!

Salary Adjustments

We will soon implement changes from our staff salary study. Investing approximately $350,000 to address staff salary issues, just as we did last year for faculty. I realize that these salary adjustments will not get us all the way to where we want to be, but it is important for you to know we are trying. It is a reinforcement of this campus' commitment to you.

A campus can boast amazing architectural wonders for its facilities, employ the most modern, state-of-the-art technology in Wi-Fi-connected classrooms, be surrounded by a vibrant community in a beautiful and historic city... but without a caring, dedicated, world-class faculty and staff, all of those are simply silent tools stored in empty buildings.

This was not a difficult choice, but it was a deliberate one that required careful budgeting since as you recall, the State did not provide funding for employee raises this year.

Faculty and staff - you are the most important asset to our university. You make the difference here. You make the connections with our students. You transform our community. You expand horizons and open doors. You empower, you prepare, and you change lives.

Homelander Generation

As we begin to look to the future, it is important to take note of our changing environment.

We talk a lot about students and how generational scholars identify common characteristics that can be useful in how we, and others, provide services to different people. We have spent a lot of time and energy getting to understand millennials as students and how their experiences and world view have shaped how we teach, advice, and serve that population.

Well, guess what . . . the next generation is on its way to college. And they are as different from their millennial parents as the millennials were from Generation X.

Psychology Today has refereed to today's first-year students as Homelanders because their generation was born into a society that now requires oversight from governmental agencies like the Department of Homeland Security. Others refer to them as Gen Z.

This generation of students is understandably cautious and calculated, they've become accustomed to insecurity. Their lives have been shaped by mass public and school shootings, terrorism threats, social media, and an unbelievable amount of choices . . . for everything.

This maelstrom of uncertainty and overwhelming amount of information and options has propelled them into finding ways to be realistic, pragmatic, and self-reliant. They are the most protected generation in history – used to being GPSd. They are globally savvy, and as a result, they are issue-oriented, frugal stewards of resources who focus on conservation and seek balance. They cannot remember a time when they did not have a device at their fingertips.

These students learn by doing. They respond to active learning techniques that we are talking about in the Faculty Center and practicing in many of our classrooms.

They want a connection between what they are doing and where they are going. They want a purpose. They need to know why what they are learning matters not out of a sense of entitlement, but because they have been faced with tremendous choices all of their lives and they want to know the context so they can make the best choice.

And they need a university that understands them. Columbus State University... we can be that university!

Author and speaker Dr. Tim Elmore notes that today's students are what he calls an EPIC generation. In this case EPIC is an acronym where E is for Experiential, P is for Participatory, I is for image-rich, and C is for Connected.

A CSU education should be EPIC – an experience where faculty and staff help mentor students to have ownership in their learning and to become life-long-learners. Elmore notes that students today are connected both technologically and socially in ways you and I cannot understand. So, the more we can provide opportunities for them to connect with us and each other, the better chance we have of reaching them.

We found this finding to be demonstrated at PROWL since we took their phones away from them for several days. After the withdrawal symptoms subdued they connected and bonded with each other and connected with us.



As we look to the future, we do not have a choice but to keep evolving.

Successful universities will be the ones that are responsive to the needs of society and the employers who will hire our graduates.

We need to be more attuned to the officials and lawmakers who appropriate our funding. We need to be more aware of a troubling perception that universities cannot keep up with technical colleges in terms of preparing people for the workforce. And we need to be more responsive to the needs of all of today's students.

Noted columnist Thomas Friedman states that institutions today need to be adapting to the accelerating changes of the 21st century. He says institutions need to innovate not just technologically, but politically because moral leadership in a complex world is becoming more essential than ever.


He also notes that one skill set missing from education that will be necessary for the jobs of the future is empathy.

Empathy. What a powerful concept: helping people relate to others. Imagine that - one of this country's leading voices arguing that we need to teach our students how to better understand themselves and others.

In this day and age, that is nothing short of revolutionary.

I find this very interesting because self-awareness and respect for differences are at the center of the soft skills that employers are asking colleges and universities to address.

No one doubts we teach economics, art, math, science and English well. But HOW are we teaching it and how do we infuse the soft or essential skills into that curriculum?

How do we help students understand the WHY behind their learning?

How are we evaluating the needs of our students, the industries they will one day serve, and the democracy they will lead?

Day Of Servive

Why Not CSU?

To many, all of this talk of change and transformation and doing things different can be dizzying and disruptive. Some will want to argue about it and others will want to ignore it. But, my friends, there will be a university that finds the way forward in this new normal. There will be a university that finds the formula that transforms our classroom and labs. There will be university that makes the changes necessary to excel in this age of acceleration.

So, why not us? Why not CSU?

I believe Columbus State University should be the institution known throughout the country for its creative approach, not just to education, but to all its operations.

I believe Columbus State University should be the model of high-impact learning that attracts the best students and the best faculty and that generates the most impactful research and creative endeavors.

I believe that Columbus State University should be a standout for personal growth and leadership development for students and employees.

I believe Columbus State University should be a leader in this community for prompting and cultivating new ideas that change the way we live.

Look around the campus. Remember what we were 60 years ago, what we are now, and where we strive to be tomorrow. I submit to you we already ARE that university. And just imagine, with your impact, what kind of university we will be in the future.


Working Together

You have heard me talk before about the Islands of Innovation at Columbus State University - pockets of excellence that might not yet be connected to a larger purpose. We have been working to bridge these islands but it is time to realize that, even bereft of bridges, we are all living in, working in, teaching in, learning in, and sustaining and transforming a single shared ecosystem.

We are all connected, we are all essential, and we are all in this together.

This summer I hosted a leadership retreat for about 150 people from across campus. During the afternoon, we worked on a large-scale collaboration. We painted a mural made up of 30 canvas tiles, each painted by one of 15 teams. Each team was given a picture and materials to create their canvas. And I think they did an awesome job under stressed and timed conditions.

From afar, it looks fantastic – particularly for a group project.

As you get closer, however, you begin to see that some of the colors don't quite match. Some of the lines don't connect. Some of the words in the message aren't aligned.

During the debrief someone brought up the observation that is much like CSU and probably many other colleges and universities.

We all do our best job in our own lanes and in our own offices and classrooms and, in my assessment, we do a good job. But we don't always stop to make sure that we are lining up with those that work across campus – or on the other campus. We might not always check to see that our message is consistent with what others are saying. We need to all understand the big picture and work for the common goals.

We need Columbus State University to be hyper-focused on our strategic plan goals of academic excellence, innovation and creativity, partnerships, leadership, and sustainability, all in an environment that is fiercely centered on our students and learning.


Change is Here

Change isn't coming . . . it is here and CSU is well positioned not just to survive, but to lead.

Our Cougar family is ready.

The future is ours to create. But let's never forget why we are here and the impact that we have.




That is what it is all about my friends.

So, whether you teach classes for students or care for facilities or keep the books or deliver the mail ....We're off to great places . . . Today is OUR day. . . Our mountain is waiting, let's get on our way!

 Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood



 June 25, 2018

In this post:

Good Morning,

I hope your summer is going well, and that you will be able to have some time off with your family. I expect to squeeze in some vacation time with my family, but I will also be traveling a lot in July.


Cougar Athletics

One of the trips a few weeks ago was a bit unscheduled, but I was very happy to change my plans to go to Cary, N.C. to watch our baseball team play in the College World Series, including the championship game. Unfortunately, they came up just one run short against a pitcher who was the National Player of the Year. As proud as I was of our team’s efforts on the field, I was even more impressed with how our players and coaches handled themselves off the field. With each other, with the fans, with the staff, and with the media, they represented Columbus State University extremely well.

They reminded me of the CSU men's and women's tennis team players and coaches, who I was able to get to know better after their amazing national championship run in May. You know, of course, that the men won the national championship, highlighting an amazing spring by CSU Athletics that included the Columbus State University athletic department claiming its sixth Peach Belt Conference Commissioner's Cup, presented annually to the best overall athletic department based on regular-season standings and select championships.

Winning the Commissioner’s Cup was not unexpected, as 8 out of our 13 NCAA teams competed in a postseason tournament. As successful as our student-athletes have been in their respective sports, don’t forget they also succeed in the classroom, and their overall GPA is actually higher than the general CSU student body.

Car Report

I’m sure you will all remember the surveys, questions and interviews that went into our Comprehensive Administrative Review process at the end of the spring semester. The consultants are now finalizing their report. I have seen a draft and there were few real surprises. Our visitors reported a positive and collegial culture, and a campus pleasantly intertwined with its community. They discovered a strong belief in the mission of the institution and said people largely enjoy working at CSU. Many of the issues they reported were things we are already working on -- managing internal and external communication, wisely managing our resources, aligning action to strategy, and ensuring our policies and practices are efficient, up-to-date, and well-understood.

We should receive a final CAR report soon. We will organize a committee and some action plans to more thoroughly understand what it says, and how best we should respond.

Salary Survey

For those of you who attended my budget presentations at the end of the spring semester, you may remember that much of the new funding we have available for the coming fiscal year is going toward staff salary adjustments and faculty promotions. We have set aside about $350,000 to address staff salary inequities, just as we did last year for faculty. Unfortunately, that $350,000 will not get us all the way to where we want to be, but it is a start. To help with this process, we have a consultant who has been working on benchmarking our staff salaries. We have a preliminary report from him but have discovered several issues that we still need to work through. That work is a priority, and we hope to be able to complete this process and announce some salary adjustments in the next couple months.

Campus Construction

Work Around Campus

As is our tradition, we are using summer to catch up on a lot of projects around campus. The projects that will probably grab the most attention are our efforts to add some new parking around campus.

We are adding 26 additional faculty/staff spaces behind the Lumpkin Center to assist the employees in that building, and to provide some nearby parking for fans during softball games. We are also adding 25 student parking spaces between University Avenue and the intramural field, as well as a gravel 40-car parking area between the Mock Pavillion and the Welcome Center. That lot will be open to visitors, employees, and students.

Other projects going on this summer, according to Director of Maintenance and Construction Kelly A. Wilson:

  • Ongoing Lenoir Hall Renovation and Addition
  • Chick-fil-A renovation
  • Greek Center interior renovation
  • Outdoor canopy/pavilion next to Greek Center on side facing Richards - set to complete during Fall semester
  • Renovations inside first floor of Richards in the Advancement/Foundation offices
  • Infrastructure upgrades to new classrooms in One Arsenal Place 1st floor
  • Demolition of the Staff elevator at Schwob Library
  • Installation of more pathway lighting around campus
  • Replacement of light fixtures in Parking Deck
  • Carpet and paint upgrades in Enrollment Services and Financial Aid areas of University Hall
  • Carpet and paint upgrades in Graduate Studies area of Tucker Hall
  • Replacing and upgrading signs around campus
Welcome Week

Welcome Week

Summer will be gone before you know it, which is why people are working hard to get ready for the fall semester. Enrollment Services is scrambling to convince procrastinators to turn in their CSU enrollment application before our June 30 deadline. Residence Life staff is processing deposits and working to fill up housing. Student Life is hosting several orientations this summer to prepare for fall, while also planning our second annual PROWL retreat for incoming students. Faculty are teaching this summer and planning for fall. And many of us are expecting it all to come together nicely during Welcome Week, some highlights of which include:

Monday, August 13
10:00 am: Campus-wide meeting and lunch
1:30 pm - 5 pm: College unit meetings

Tuesday, August 14
Faculty and staff development sessions
2 - 3 pm: Keynote Speaker -- all campus

Wednesday, August 15
Professional Development / Information Sessions (all of campus invited) Lunch on Your Own
Department / Unit Meetings
New Faculty Dinner & Reception (by invitation)

Thursday, August 16
Institutional Committee Chairs Meeting
Faculty Senate Meeting
Fall Faculty Meeting

Friday, August 17
Faculty Course Prep

Watch your email for more details on these, and other events, this fall.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the search for Columbus State University's first Chief Inclusion and Engagement Officer. The committee and I feel a great responsibility to find the right person. We were looking for someone with the right experience and the right expertise, and ultimately who would be the right fit for the university and the community.

After searching this spring, we found some very strong candidates, but unfortunately we did not believe we found exactly the right fit. We will plan to search again in the fall.

Open Office Hours

My next open office hours are Aug. 31 in Richards Hall, from 10 am to noon. But if you need to talk before then, of course, please feel free to make an appointment.

Additionally, I was pleased to hear Dr. Bordelon also has instituted some Provost’s Open Office Hours. She plans to host hours of her own from 9-11 am on the following days:

  • June 26 - RiverPark office (off the courtyard, on the ground floor of Columbus Hall on Broadway)
  • July 31 - Main Campus
  • August 28 - RiverPark
  • September 25 - Main Campus
  • October 30 - RiverPark
  • November 27 - Main Campus

Thank you for all that you do for our students, our community and each other. Have a great summer!

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood

April 19, 2018

In this post:

Good Morning,

I hope you are all doing well as we enter the final stretch of the spring semester. I know there is a lot going on, so I appreciate your diligence in balancing the needs of our students with these other projects.

Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR)

The ongoing system initiative that you have probably heard about most is the Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR). The first round of surveys closed on Friday and the next survey is now open for those who were invited to participate. The survey that is out now is called an activity assessment, and if you were selected to participate, it is mandatory that you do so.

As I mentioned before, all this data-collecting and information-gathering is part of a system effort to improve administration by creating efficiencies, streamlining processes and finding ways to be more effective with USG resources. These surveys, as well as interviews and focus groups next month, will go into a report back to us that we will then use to plan our next steps.

Branding CSU

While this administrative review is going on, CSU is also ramping up a new branding study. Some of you will be invited to focus groups later this month with a company called Stamats, national experts in higher education marketing and branding. This effort was outlined in our new strategic plan, with the goals for this process to be:

  • Define what makes CSU special and outline how we use that to aid in recruitment, awareness, and fundraising;
  • Review, refine and reinforce existing brand and marketing guidelines;
  • Articulate a vision for what CSU can, and should, be;
  • Develop a university-wide communications policy;
  • Use all of this to develop a university-wide marketing plan, the main goal of which should be to attract new students to Columbus State University.

Look for more information and updates soon. Your participation will be key.

Changes to Payment Deadlines for Fall 2018 Semester

At a recent Executive Leadership Team meeting, we reviewed and adopted new dates and a new protocol for our students' payment deadlines. We are moving up many of the deadlines in the hopes that this will help our students be better prepared when the semester actually begins. We want to make sure that all their administrative responsibilities are fulfilled so that we can better ensure they have access to the funds needed for books, living expenses and other related expenses. Then, hopefully, when they arrive at the beginning of the term, they can start worrying about classes, not forms and permissions. Moving up the deadlines also allows students more time to make payments on their bill if they use the online payment plan option. We are not able to control when those payments are finally due, but we can have an impact on when the payments begin, and moving up the deadline will allow for more payments.

To that end, the Fall 2018 payment deadline will be Friday, July 20 for all courses registered by that date. Please help our students understand it's important to pay attention to these deadlines. For instance, any student using financial aid to meet their costs must submit there FAFSA and all related verification forms by June 15 in order to guarantee their aid is processed in time for the July 20 payment deadline.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact Russ Romandini, Interim Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, and Director of Financial Aid & Enrollment Information



I mentioned in my last post that CSU hosted a giant high school robotics competition while our students were on spring break. This competition attracted a lot of interest from Fort Benning, which used the occasion to highlight robotic advances being accomplished by the military and its defense contractor partners. That event led me to attend the National Defense Industrial Association 2018 Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference & Exhibition, which is an annual conference that we hope to bring to Columbus in the near future.

All of this robotics activity is spurring CSU to look at how we can be a better partner with Fort Benning in this arena. There have been numerous discussions about this topic in some high-powered offices around the country. CSU has an opportunity to be an important player in this developing field.


At this week’s Board of Regents meeting, we received final word on our budget for next fiscal year. Columbus State requested $2 million in new funding from the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to address several important initiatives starting in fiscal year 2018-19. Unfortunately, that request was submitted before we learned we must cut $3 million from our budget over the next three years as we deal with the elimination of online tuition differentials.

As you may have heard, the Regents decided that University System of Georgia (USG) students will pay the same tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year as the current 2017-2018 academic year. With the elimination or decrease in some fees at Columbus State University, the Regents’ decision means that overall costs of going to CSU could actually go down for some CSU students next year.

I’m proud that we were singled out at the board meeting for our efforts to decrease costs. Combine that with our efforts to raise scholarship dollars through our ongoing First Choice fundraising campaign, and it’s easy to see why we believe CSU stands as an institution that will be known for its quality and value.

We are working feverishly now to figure out what our budget allocation really means for next fiscal year. We will have a town-hall-style meeting soon to talk more about the budget. Look for announcement of that soon.

President's Recognition Dinner

Tonight at the Cunningham Center, the Alumni Association will host the 2018 President’s Recognition Dinner. This has been a signature event for the Alumni Association and the University through the years. During this 60th Anniversary of CSU, it is impressive to note the CSU Alumni Association has been associated with this special event for 46 years. During that time, we have honored more than 200 individuals who all love our institution and work to improve it through their time, expertise and treasure.

This year Rick Alexander is receiving the Frank D. Brown Achievement & Leadership Excellence Award partly because of his exceptional involvement in the growth of Columbus State University. Dr. AJ Jain is receiving the Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award for his outstanding professional and personal achievements. Dr. Jain is a certified plastic surgeon in Columbus, GA, specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

We are also honoring Dr. David Lewis and the Muscogee County School District for exceptional partnership with Columbus State University.



It’s hard to believe, but spring graduation ceremonies are now about a month away. The College of Arts and Turner College of Business will have a joint ceremony starting at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 18; College of Education and Health Professions holds its ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, and the College of Letters and Sciences holds its ceremony at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 19. All these will be in the Lumpkin Center on main campus.

Also on May 18 before graduation, ROTC will hold its commissioning ceremony in the Lumpkin Center, the School of Nursing will hold its pinning ceremony in the Cunningham Center, and CSU will host a reception for Otis and Sandy Scarborough, who are being awarded with honorary doctorates in recognition of their years of support to CSU.

Faculty and Staff Recognition and Excellence Awards

Faculty and Staff Recognition and Excellence Awards

Please mark your calendars for May 7, when we will all gather together for lunch and a ceremony to recognize excellence and years of service to CSU. Campus will be closed from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. that day and all personnel are encouraged to attend.

Free Speech

The issue of free speech on college campuses continues to receive a great deal of attention across the country and in Georgia. There were at least two lawsuits filed recently against universities in Georgia because people believed their rights were being infringed upon by university practices and/or policies.

I personally welcome these discussions. I have taught constitutional law and American Government, and I firmly believe that the rights guaranteed by our first amendment are critical to the successful operation of democracy. We as educators have a responsibility to help the next generation understand why these rights are held so dear, and what has transpired over the years to arrive at this point in history.

I will be working with Faculty Senate to organize a committee to examine how we put into practice, here at CSU, our commitment to free speech and open conversation. They are not being asked to interpret the laws and develop policies, but look at how we can interpret existing policy into our everyday practices here at CSU. We will hear more about many of these issues on May 11, when we will be hosting at CSU one of the USG lawyers who is an expert in first amendment law.


As you might imagine, the president’s office gets lots of emails, and every once in a while there’s one that really makes me smile.

One recently came from a Harris County art teacher after the 28th Annual Georgia Art Education Association/National Art Honor Society State Conference (hosted by CSU’s Department of Art.) Over 800 students, parents, and educators from across Georgia were in attendance.

In her email, she called out four faculty and staff members (Joe Sanders, Dr. Bret Lefler, Jon Lumpkin, and Jennifer McCollough) “CSU’s Fab Four” and “The Dream Team!” because “they unselfishly volunteered many hours, weeks, and months, of sacrificed family time. They jumped hurdles and moved mountains to make this event the most exceptional and memorable (in my opinion), event of all times for our NAHS family. They also demonstrated the utmost impressive display of teamwork I have ever seen, even over the 30 years of being a coach.”

What a great example of partnership and servant leadership!

Open Office Hours

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

Thank you for all that you do for our students, our community, and each other.

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood

March 9, 2018

In this post:

Good Afternoon,

Good morning and welcome to the midpoint of the semester. Spring Break is in a few days, and I hope you each will have an opportunity to take a break and recharge. For me, I will be on campus during CSU’s break, but my fun really begins the next week, during my daughter’s spring break. I will be spending most of that week on a SACSCOC reaffirmation committee visit!

GeorgiaFIRST Robotics Competition

If you are on campus during the break, you should know the Lumpkin Center and the Student Recreation Center will be very busy. On March 23 and 24, CSU will host a GeorgiaFIRST robotics competition. This regional event is where high school teams show off how they raised funds, designed a team "brand," honed teamwork skills, and built and programmed industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as students can get. Winning teams will go on to a state competition for a chance to attend the national competition. This collection of young scientists has attracted the interest of Fort Benning and many of their technology partners, who will be displaying some of their equipment in the Rec Center during the competition. It should be very interesting, and may lead to more collaborations in the future.

Faculty & Staff Receptions

Before the break, we will be hosting the last of the faculty and staff receptions at our house. We started these over a year ago in an effort to introduce ourselves to as many faculty and staff as possible. If you were unable to attend the reception to which you were originally invited, or just missed the original invitation, we would love to host you on March 13 or 14. Just email for details.

Comprehensive Administrative Review

In the last iPad Post, I mentioned an upcoming system-wide initiative called the Comprehensive Administrative Review. It was originally supposed to kick off next week, but the timeline has been pushed back. Communication about the review will start soon to prep everyone about what we are doing and why. The goal is to improve administration by creating efficiencies, streamlining processes and finding ways to be more effective with USG resources. 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.

USG Well-Being Program

You may have seen an email recently about USG Well-being program, a new benefit from the University System of Georgia (USG). Employees and spouses covered on a USG healthcare plan can now each earn up to $100 in well-being credits* for participating in healthy activities including: taking a health risk assessment, well-being coaching, tracking healthy habits, participating in local community events, and many more opportunities.

You can start by clicking on well-being in OneUSG Connect - Benefits. Covered spouses can register for their account at

Join me and be part of this journey! Together we can make a positive difference in our lives, our campus communities, and our families.

Watch your home mailbox and email for more information in the coming weeks. You can get started on this well-being journey today! For a list of USG Well-being Information Session webinars and to see additional upcoming events, go to the USG Well-being website.

*The well-being credit is only available to employees and spouses covered on a USG healthcare plan and will be paid to the participants in November 2018. It is considered taxable income. Your health information is confidential and will not be shared with the USG. You may participate in the program all year, but you must complete activities by Sept. 30, 2018, and be a current employee at the time of payment to earn the well-being credit.

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

Faculty and Staff Recognition Ceremony

Another date for your calendar is the Faculty and Staff Recognition Ceremony, which will be held on Monday, May 7, and include lunch. We will start at 10:30, and look forward to recognizing our colleagues and friends for their many accomplishments. That day also, the Faculty Center is bringing back education futurist Dr. Ken Steele for a day of professional development for faculty and staff. (You may remember that snow prevented our visitor from Canada from making it to Southwest Georgia in January!) Sign up for one of his workshops online at

Open Office Hours

My next open office hours are on Wednesday, March 14, 1-3 p.m. at my RiverPark office.

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood

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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