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Office of the President

Office of the President

June 16, 2017

In this post:

Good morning,

I hope you are enjoying your summer and are able to find time to spend with family and friends.

There was an interesting article in the New York Times earlier this month that addressed, on a national scale, many of the same issues that we have been discussing on this campus. We saw them come up during the big campus leadership retreat, and again at our recent ELT retreat.

The article was called Higher Education Seeks Answers to Leaner Years. I encourage you to read it.

One comment that stuck out to me was this: “There’s a fundamental lack of understanding about the strains that higher education is under.” Themes such as efficiency and affordability come up repeatedly here, and Georgia is mentioned as an example of each in action.


The most recent result of these efforts is the new HR payroll and benefits system for the entire USG, called OneUSG. OneUSG will go live for us on June 18. Part of OneUSG, HR Connect is the time and leave reporting system you've been hearing a lot about lately. Please continue to pay close attention to these messages about HR Connect and OneUSG and do not delay in following the instructions provided.

For questions about the new HR payroll and benefits system, contact our HR department. For assistance after June 18, you can also contact the USG Shared Services Center at 877-251-2644 or

Transitions and Hires

We will begin the new fiscal year with a number of changes around campus, and a few of those are in the President’s Office. These changes will continue to improve campus communication and operational efficiency and are made possible because of both reallocation of some existing resources as well as new funding we are receiving because of our growth in 2015-16. We will see some new faculty lines, new academic advisors, new recruiters, as well as funding for increased marketing, to name a few.

Ms. Nancy Marino

I am very pleased to announce that Ms. Nancy Marino from the RiverPark campus will be joining my office as our senior director of administrative services. She has a great record of collaboration and detail management that will add to Ms. LaWanna Hayes’ expertise and experience.

Dr. John Lester

Dr. John Lester will assume the formal role as chief of staff in addition to his duties over marketing and communication.

I mentioned in April that I was appointed to the University System of Georgia’s new Comprehensive Administrative Review committee. Last month, the Peach Belt Conference elected me to their executive committee.

Recognition Ceremonies

This weekend, I’m looking forward to attending the Georgia High School Valedictorian Recognition Ceremony. Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal host the annual reception at the Governor’s Mansion to celebrate Georgia high school valedictorians and their families. First hosted by Governor Zell Miller in 1993, the reception is co-sponsored by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) and the Governor’s Office.

I have been invited because several of those high school class valedictorians are now Columbus State University students! I will see the governor again later this month when he recognizes another group that includes CSU students -- the newest Woodrow Wilson Fellows.

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship seeks to attract talented, committed individuals with backgrounds in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—into teaching in high-need secondary schools in Georgia. CSU is one of only five schools in Georgia chosen to train these teachers. It’s clear that others are also seeing the great things happening at CSU!

Policies and Procedures

Finally, work continues on our effort to clean up our policies and procedures. I am pleased that the Provost's Office has hired two Summer Faculty Policy Fellows to assist Dr. Stokes and his committee this summer. Thanks to Dr. Chris McCollough and Dr. Elliott Rendleman for joining this important effort.

Open Office Hours

My next open office hours will be held on Monday, June 19, from 9-11 a.m. in our RiverPark administrative offices, which are located off the courtyard of Columbus Hall at 1017 Broadway.

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

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood



May 26, 2017

In this post:

Good morning,

I used to hear that once classes end, things are supposed to slow down around here. As of yet, I have seen no evidence of that phenomenon. Just this past week, we hosted three graduations, held an all-day retreat for campus leaders, and hosted a CSU Foundation Board of Trustees meeting.

If you missed our graduations, you missed a real party. Having these ceremonies back on our campus was special, and they might have allowed us to more easily connect what we do to the success stories that show the transformative power of higher education.

My thanks to Wendi Jenkins, Steve Morse, Stephanie Speer and their teams, and many, many others, who worked a lot of hours to pull off three ceremonies in 22 hours graduating what we believe to be a record number of students. By all accounts, everything went very smoothly, and our graduates and their families had a good time.

Leadership Retreat

My thanks also to all those who helped organize the Leadership Retreat we hosted last week. More than 150 campus leaders came together for a full day of discussion and collaboration, much of which was achieved through active learning practices. (You can see pictures from this event and others, such as the Faculty & Staff Recognition and Excellence Awards ceremony, on our Flickr account.)

Much of the retreat’s afternoon was taken up by teams of employees working together on a variety of tasks. Some were fun and some were challenging, but all required a team effort. The rewards for these challenges were “jewels” that teams redeemed at “Cody’s Corner” to “buy” parts to assemble two bicycles and food or toiletry items that will go to students in need.

Leadership Retreat

One of the big issues we tackled during the retreat was understanding and incorporating one of CSU’s core values: Servant Leadership, which we define as effective, ethical leadership through empowerment and service. We will continue to emphasize this value this year and offer opportunities for faculty, staff and students to learn more.

Strategic Plan

We also discussed our still-developing strategic plan. We laid out what we have done so far, asked people if we were missing anything under the six strategic initiatives that had evolved, and then asked them to start thinking about how these might be incorporated into division and unit plans.

These discussions will continue through this fall. Here’s where we are on some over-arching strategic initiatives:


CSU will be a leader in academic excellence by utilizing evidence-based teaching and learning.


CSU will increase student engagement with the campus and community by building a creative/student-centered campus that increases retention and yields higher graduation rates.


CSU culture will support and recognize innovation and creative activity.


CSU will build mutually beneficial partnerships that support local, regional, national and international communities.


CSU will provide faculty, staff and students with opportunities to develop leadership skills that support their current and future roles.


CSU will sustain and support enrollment growth through implementation of a strategic enrollment plan.

I expect that these plans and goals will be our priorities in the future, and, therefore, will be central to our financial planning. I mentioned this goal in my budget memo to campus on May 11. We will complete a draft of the plan over the summer and seek campus-wide input during the fall semester. From there, we will make final tweaks and roll out the new plan in January of 2018.

This Fall

Planning is already well under way for back-to-school activities beginning in the fall. A tentative schedule has been organized. Please put these dates on your calendar and watch for more details.

Monday, August 7

  • President's welcome back
  • Lunch
  • College meetings

Tuesday, August 8

  • CSU Faculty and Staff Symposium and Development Days
  • Move-In Day

Wednesday, August 9

  • CSU Faculty and Staff Symposium and Development Days
  • ROAR

Thursday, August 10

  • Department meetings
  • Faculty Senate
  • Provost meeting
  • Move-In Day

Friday, August 11

  • Faculty prep
  • New faculty dinner


I hope everyone saw the story about CSU joining Embark Georgia, a statewide network of postsecondary professionals and institutions that works to increase college access for fostered or homeless youth.

To coincide with its new partnership, Columbus State University created a foundation account, named “Embark,” to collect and distribute funds to current or aspiring CSU students living in transient situations. Funds will be used to purchase housing, food, clothing and other essential items so needy students may start or complete their degrees.

You would be surprised to learn how many of our students, and how many students around the country, are homeless or transient. This is an issue Bridget and I are passionate about, and I’m so glad CSU is addressing this important need.

Albany Tech Articulation Agreement

I traveled to Albany earlier this month to meet with folks from Albany Technical College (ATC), and to sign an articulation agreement that our Provost Office had arranged.

Academic programs in the new agreement include Accounting, Law Enforcement Technology, and Early Childhood Care and Education. ATC students in these programs would be eligible to transfer to CSU to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice, or Bachelor of Science in Education (BSEd) in Early Childhood Education.

This is another such agreement we have forged with a technical college partner. These are important arrangements to formalize, and I expect we will have more in the future.

Swearing-In Ceremony

I hope many of you were able to attend yesterday's swearing-in ceremony for Mark Lott as CSU's new chief of police. It was a truly moving event that drew a crowd from campus and from our community, including dozens of representatives from various law enforcement and other first-responder agencies. We had visitors from the University System of Georgia, Fort Valley State University Police, Emory Police, Columbus Police, and more! My thanks also to State Court Judge Ben Richardson, for performing the swearing-in.

Chris Markwood Signature

I am certain that Chief Lott will perform his duties with the utmost respect for the safety of our campus and the CSU family. We are proud to have him leading what I believe to be the USG's finest police and security force.

As you have probably heard, our search for Provost is continuing again. Finding the right fit for CSU was important to the search committee -- and is important to me -- so we will continue to work toward that goal. I want to say a special thank you to the members of the search committee for all of their efforts.

Summer Guests

While summer may seem quiet to some, it is still a very busy time for many as we prepare for orientations, plan next year's schedule, organize events and host a myriad of groups on campus.

Last summer, more than 2,000 children and teenagers attended a CSU-hosted summer camp. That number includes a variety of athletic camps, which sometimes take up rooms in our residence halls. In addition to those camps, CSU will host a Junior ROTC campers, Miss Georgia contestants, guests from other universities, and attendees of the Southeastern Trombone Symposium. In all, we're planning for more than 2,500 guests on campus.

Campus Carry

One final note on an issue that many have asked me about - the new campus carry legislation that goes into effect July 1. Legal staff at the University System of Georgia has issued some guidelines on how we should interpret and implement this new law. We emailed this information to all employees yesterday, and we will be meeting systematically with groups on campus to help everyone understand this new law.

Open Office Hours

My open office hours for the summer have been scheduled for Monday, June 19, from 9-11 a.m. at my RiverPark offices, and Thursday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to noon in my Richards Hall office.

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

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood



April 21, 2017

In this post:

Good afternoon,

This past weekend, I had a delightful conversation with a community member. During the conversation, I was asked, "So are things slowing down at the university at the end of the semester?" Clearly, not everyone understands how as the semester begins to wind down - activity around campus ramps up! Just in the past week or so, we have had groundbreakings and ribbon-cuttings, dinners and concerts, forums, athletic events, receptions and more, on all corners of campus. What a joy to be present at such amazing events. In fact, being able to have a front-row seat at so many exciting things happening around CSU and Columbus is one of the best parts of this job!

I do want to highlight a couple of recent events that stood out to me:

Diversity Forum| My thanks to all those who helped organize the 2017 Diversity Conference and Legacy Celebration at the end of March, and to those who took the time to attend. It was a relevant and thought-provoking event for our campus and for the community as a whole. I think we will see positive reverberations from this effort throughout the year, and I look forward to building on this event in future years.

Diversity Day

Tower Day | I was not able to attend all of the Tower Day events last week, but I was extremely impressed with the caliber of student research on display there. I am a big believer in student research and the benefits it provides to both the student and the institution, and I enjoyed having students explain their research to me. Thank you to the faculty who inspired and supported their work.

Scholastic Honors Convocation | As I said last Friday, this event is one that I look forward to since it honors our best and brightest. A special congratulations goes out to Dr. Edward O’Donnell, associate professor of marketing in CSU’s Turner College of Business, for winning Educator of the Year. We will recognize Dr. O’Donnell and other standout faculty members (to be announced) on Tuesday, May 2 during a new event called the Faculty/Staff Recognition & Excellence Awards. The event will start at 10 a.m. and end with lunch. Please mark your calendars to join us in the Lumpkin Center.

Scholastic Honors Convocation

Tuition and Fees

As you may have heard, the Board of Regents set tuition for the University System of Georgia (USG) for the 2017-2018 academic year. All 28 of the USG’s colleges and universities will keep their tuition increase to two percent.

By keeping the tuition increase to two percent for the 2017-2018 academic year following the zero percent increase for the current year (2016-2017), the University System has been able to limit tuition increases to an average of 2.2 percent annually over the last five years.

The USG continues to offer some of the lowest tuition rates among peer state public higher education systems. Out of the 16 states that make up the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), the USG has now become the sixth lowest state in tuition and fees for four-year institutions.

At Columbus State, this change means undergraduate tuition will increase by $3.47 from $174.20 per credit hour to $177.67 per credit hour. For in-state students enrolled in 15 hours, the total tuition will increase from $2,613 per semester to $2,665, an increase of $52.

Meanwhile, the Board continues to ensure fees and fee increases are kept to a minimum and used for the benefit of students. The USG has worked with each of the institutions to reduce the number of fee increases, which must demonstrate a clear need. In recent years, the number of approved mandatory fee increases from USG institutions has continued to decrease year-over-year. For example, the number of fee increases dropped from 67 in Fiscal Year 2012 to 12 for the upcoming year, Fiscal Year 2018.

At Columbus State, our review of course fees led to the elimination of fees associated with 103 courses since the start of the 2016-17 academic year.

CSU requested and received an increase in only one mandatory fee. A $10 per-semester increase was approved on the Student Health fee to support expanded services and to provide additional support for the counseling center.

The University System also continues to focus on increasing accessibility through its online offerings. eCore, the USG’s online core curriculum, will decrease tuition to $159 per credit hour from $169.

This process and these numbers underscore some themes that I have mentioned before that must be at the forefront of our plans: enrollment growth, efficiency and affordability. Efficiency and cost savings were at the top of the list of concerns mentioned during the Regents’ meeting this week. I was pleased to report that CSU has helped contribute to these cost-savings efforts. For example, since spring 2015, 20 CSU faculty members used online resources instead of textbooks with an estimated cost avoidance of $458,979 for students.

As for efficiency, I have been asked to serve on a statewide comprehensive administrative review committee for the USG. This is not an indication that anything is wrong – it’s a reflection that the landscape of higher education has changed dramatically over the past decade.

Higher education has undergone fundamental changes in who enrolls and why, how instruction is delivered, and how it is paid for. One thing is certain; higher education will continue to change in the coming years. We must ask ourselves: Are we ready and positioned to best address the challenges and trends of today and those we see ahead of us?

The chancellor said the time is right for the University System to look in the mirror, so we are beginning a comprehensive examination of how the System and its institutions are administered in light of these new realities to help ensure we are fulfilling our mission today and tomorrow. We went through a similar process in Texas, and I can assure you the process will be interesting. I will keep you informed as the process unfolds.


I have mentioned before that we need to look at our policies on campus - how we develop them, how we communicate them, and how we enforce them. A committee is working on some of those issues now, and we have had extensive conversations on this topic in our Executive Leadership Team meetings. There is still a lot of work to be done in this area, but I expect we will soon be communicating more frequently about policies that have been developed.

Provost Search

Thank you to all who have participated in the interviews and forums with our provost candidates. We are being very diligent about this process because we want the right fit for Columbus State University now and in the future.

We will be wrapping up interviews next week. Your feedback is very important to us in this process. Please take the time to attend a forum or watch videos from the forums that will be available on the search site. The site also has bios, pictures, CVs and a feedback form for each candidate.


As you might imagine, we have received some feedback and questions about the new parking decal program we will be implementing next fiscal year. A lot of your questions (and answers) have been compiled online at

There are still some issues to be worked out, but we are working diligently to respond to all questions and work out all of the details. By relieving University Police of the responsibility for parking, and by using these decal charges to increase security efforts around campus, our ultimate goal is to make CSU more secure for our faculty, staff, students and guests.

Spring 2017 Commencements

I am looking forward to the newly formatted spring commencement ceremonies that will take place at the Lumpkin Center in a couple of weeks.

  • The ceremony for the College of Education and Health Professions will take place Friday, May 12 at 5 p.m.
  • The ceremony for the College of Letters and Sciences will take place Saturday, May 13 at 10 a.m.
  • The ceremony for the College of the Arts and the College of Business will take place Saturday, May 13 at 3 p.m.
  • Dates for future ceremonies are listed online at

It will be great to have so many visitors back on our campus. I expect faculty for each college to participate in their ceremony; the day means so much to our graduates and their families.

Diversity Day

My next open office hours are from 9-11 a.m. on Thursday, April 27 in my RiverPark office.

I hope the semester ends smoothly for you all. Thank you for all you do for our students, our community and each other.

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood



March 28, 2017

In this post:

Good afternoon,

Welcome back everyone! I hope you all had a restful or at least a more quiet week -- though things on campus did not appear to slow down much.

While many were on Spring Break, I did not have much down time, since the week included our basketball team’s trip to the Elite Eight, our formal budget meeting in Atlanta and, unfortunately, a nasty stomach bug. I don’t mind saying that I’m actually glad it’s a new week!

Women's Basketball

It was indeed disappointing to watch our very talented 4th-ranked Lady Cougar basketball team’s season come to an end in Ohio with a 78-73 loss to No. 18 Virginia Union in the NCAA Div. II Tournament. However, that loss – only the team’s second of the season – should not overshadow the incredible year for the team and their first-year coach.

basketball team

Since their last game, the team has added to their list of accomplishments. In her first season in a Lady Cougar uniform, junior forward Alexis Carter was named to the Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-American Third Team. And head women's basketball coach Anita Howard was named the John "Whack" Hyder Georgia College Women's Coach of the Year.

We should all be proud of these student-athletes and their coaches for their accomplishments both on and off the court.

State Budget

As you may know, the legislature is winding down their session and will meet only two more times before they adjourn until next year. The only agenda item they are mandated to complete is the budget, and that was accomplished last week. I am very pleased to report that this year’s budget is very good to the University System of Georgia, state employees and to Columbus State University's capital projects

Thanks to our local legislative delegation, the state budget includes $2 million for equipment and furnishings for the LeNoir Hall addition and $500,000 to begin the design and planning of a renovation to the Schwob Memorial Library on main campus. If you see any of our local representatives or senators, please remember to thank them for advocating on our behalf as we sought to solidify these funds. The only step remaining in the budget process is the governor’s signature.

When he signs the budget, we expect it will again include a two percent merit pool to benefit state employees. This is indeed good news that you will hear more about from HR in the coming months.

As the overall state budget gets parsed down to the piece that will come to Columbus State, a team from CSU met in Atlanta last week with the chancellor and several others to go over our priorities. Accompanying me to this meeting was Interim Provost Dr. Tina Butcher, Vice President for Business and Finance Dr. Tom Helton, and Assistant Vice President for Business and Finance Frank Hardymon.

Should any new funding become available, we were able to make the case for several needs here at CSU. Our first priority was critical faculty and staff positions to support our Complete College Georgia goals. We talked about in-demand programs and the need to enhance faculty and advising staffing to shorten the time to degree. We also highlighted our retention efforts, which have led to several years of increased retention rates.

We also talked a lot about creative solutions to reduce education costs for CSU students, the impact of our growing RiverPark campus, leveraging partnerships and recent initiatives to meet enrollment goals, and additional support for student health and safety needs.

Our meeting reminded us once again how closely everyone is monitoring college costs. I am confident that fees, tuition, books and related expenses will continue to be a focus for system administrators, and for legislators. As many of you know, one area receiving particular scrutiny from the system office is our rather large number of course fees. We have done our best to explain and defend each of these fees. We will await the system's determination as to whether they will continue. In the end, we will comply with their decision. I encourage us to begin thinking of creative alternatives and solutions to continue offering the necessary services to students if funding is reduced.

Campus Happenings

Another event I wanted to mention was the grand opening of a new exhibit at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center.

Called “A Space Shuttle Odyssey,” this new interactive space flight adventure takes 27 spectators into space in seats that literally shake. During the 15-minute journey, 10 high-definition displays from the front and above depict the Earth from orbit, the stars, flight data and more. This new exhibit was made possible by a $250,000 gift from WestRock.

Space Shuttle

Some upcoming events that I’m looking forward to attending:

  • Columbus State University’s seventh annual celebration of diversity and inclusion — the 2017 Diversity Forum — on Thursday, March 30. Presented by CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services, the Diversity Forum is a day-long conference and evening banquet that showcases successes in inclusion on CSU’s campus and fosters discussions on a broad range of issues — immigration, race, religion, sexuality, disability, poverty, and cultural competence. I encourage everyone to attend all or part of this event. The Legacy Celebration begins at 6 p.m. in CSU’s Lumpkin Center. The Diversity Conference will be held in CSU’s Cunningham Conference Center from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Kaleidoscope, an annual showcase of our music students that demonstrates the breadth and depth of talent across CSU’s Schwob School of Music., is Saturday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the RiverCenter. Featuring quick performances from large instrumental and vocal ensembles, chamber music and individual performers, Kaleidoscope offers an electrifying variety of repertoire from classical to jazz.
  • On Thursday, April 6 at 5:30 p.m., we will join with CORTA and the City of Columbus for the grand opening of the new tennis facilities at Cooper Creek Park. This new privately-funded facility is now arguably the finest public tennis complex in the South.
  • On Monday, April 10 at 11 a.m., we will have an official groundbreaking to kick off the start of construction on a new lab sciences addition and renovation of LeNoir Hall. This state-of-the-art facility will meet a true need on campus since the research efforts have expanded so much by our students and faculty. We owe great thanks to some private donors and to our state leaders for coming up with the almost $16 million needed for this new addition and renovation. Fencing for the project is going up this week, and next week we’ll lose about 50 parking spaces in Lot 4B to create a construction staging area. Work is scheduled to begin almost immediately and last until August of next year. Please be patient during the construction -- I’m sure the result will be worth the inconvenience!

My next open office hours will be on the RiverPark campus on Monday, April 17 from 9 -11 a.m.

Have a wonderful week, and thank you for all that you do for our students, for our community, and for each other.

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood

Minutes from Executive Leadership Team and President's Cabinet meetings



March 1, 2017

In this post:

Good afternoon,

Let me begin this post with a shout-out to our basketball teams for their amazing seasons. The men ended the regular season tied for first in the conference, and the women won outright, en route to a regular season record of 25-1 and a national top-10 ranking. Over the weekend, both teams won their Peach Belt quarterfinal match-ups and are playing in the semifinals on Saturday.

I had the opportunity last week to be the guest coach with Bridget and Reagan for the women’s last regular season game when CSU crushed Georgia Southwestern. It was a lot of fun to sit on the bench and see the enthusiasm, drive and talent that is exhibited by Coach Anita Howard and our amazing student-athletes. I am not saying Bridget, Reagan and I had much to do with their national ranking, but you never know!

CSU - Georgia Southwestern

State Budgets and Bills

As you know, the legislative session is in full swing right now. There are a number of bills that have been proposed that could have a direct impact on the University System of Georgia and/or Columbus. Please keep yourself updated about what is going on. If you ever feel the need to speak out, please exercise your rights but remember to do so on your own time, utilizing your own resources.

For the university, we’re keeping an eye on the budget and on several pieces of legislation.

The House version of the state budget came out a couple of weeks ago, and it includes two items for CSU: $2 million for equipment and furnishings for the LeNoir lab sciences addition, AND $500,000 for the design and planning of the Schwob library renovation.

Our House delegation, led by Reps. Richard Smith and Calvin Smyre, were instrumental in making these appropriations happen. The budget now goes to the Senate for their consideration. Once a budget is negotiated between the Senate and the House, it will go to Governor Deal for a final signature. We will keep watching the process carefully.

Another item we are watching carefully is this year’s version of the “campus carry” proposal, which would allow those with a legal concealed carry permit to bring concealed weapons onto college campuses. Currently, it is illegal for most anyone to have a weapon on a college campus. The Chancellor has already testified against this bill to a House committee. You can read the Chancellor's full comments here. I fully support the chancellor’s position and am letting my concerns be known.

A second piece of legislation we are monitoring is House Bill 51 by Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs). The legislation deals with due process and how universities handle reports and investigations of felony crimes. Here at CSU, I am confident in both our administrative processes and our police force, but we will get clear direction from System staff if this legislation passes.

Strategic Plan

The committee working on CSU’s new strategic plan is making great progress. After synthesizing opinions and thoughts from a campus-wide survey and a slew of focus groups, they are now working on updating our vision, mission and strategic priorities. You can keep up-to-date on the plan’s progress here. I look forward to rolling out this plan to campus this fall.

Your Feedback

Thank you all who provided feedback for our inclusion survey. We met all our participation goals by hearing from more than 12 percent of students, more than 51 percent of staff and more than 42 percent of faculty. Our consultant is using the aggregate data from this survey to conduct focus groups. I encourage you to participate in one of the upcoming focus groups.

We now have another survey that needs even greater attention from our first-year and senior students. Responses are being sought for the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Results provide valuable insight about undergraduate experiences, including student views about the quality of a CSU education, preparedness for the workforce, level of academic challenge, experiences with faculty, and engagement on campus. Please encourage your first-year and senior undergraduate students to complete the survey by clicking on the link on their MyCSU page under "Announcements" or by clicking the link in the email with the subject title “Columbus State University wants your feedback.”

All survey responses are confidential and anonymous.

Comings and Goings

Finally, we have some reorganizations and some “comings and goings” that are worth noting. As part of a significant reorganization and refocusing of University Advancement, I am very pleased to repeat the announcement that Cameron Bean, a two-time CSU alumnus and the current executive director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, is coming to CSU to join our University Advancement team as Executive Director of Development.

Cameron will have fundraising and stewardship responsibilities for the College of Arts, Honors College, Libraries and other philanthropic initiatives. He will start April 1 and will work very closely with Rex Whiddon, who has been promoted to a more centralized fundraising and stewardship role as AVP of Leadership Philanthropy and Strategic Initiatives. These moves, coupled with Kim Tucker’s promotion to Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations for Leadership Philanthropy, will strengthen our fundraising acumen and help us greatly as we enter the home stretch of our First Choice campaign.

And, as many of you know, Dr. Neal R. McCrillis is leaving us and going to the University of Illinois at Chicago to be their new Vice Provost for International Affairs. While here at CSU, Dr. McCrillis was the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation Eminent Scholar Chair of International Education and helped develop one of the most respected programs of international education in the nation. Through the generosity of the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation and Dr. McCrillis' vision for a globally engaged campus, CSU has a solid foundation for its international programs. This includes our own house in Oxford, England, study abroad programs in many of our academic departments, scores of exchange and partnership agreements with international universities, and a new three-week January term which will provide additional study abroad opportunities for our students.

Dr. Neal McCrillis

Dr. Becky Becker has graciously agreed to serve as Interim Executive Director of the Center for International Education. She has served as Assistant Director under Dr. McCrillis' leadership for two years and as the International Studies Certificate Coordinator.

Open Office Hours

My next open office hours will be Monday, March 13 from 3-5 p.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

Minutes from Executive Leadership Team and President's Cabinet meetings



February 3, 2017

In this post:

Good afternoon,

First, I want thank everyone for your notes of inquiry and concern, your thoughts, and prayers regarding my recent foot surgery, and a special thank you for your patience as I scoot around campus (and Atlanta!) on my new one-legged scooter.

The President

The surgery did go well and the recovery is progressing, and I should be able to put pressure on my foot and walk upright again in a few weeks.

It has been an eventful few weeks. As you know, recent regulatory and policy changes impacting international travel and visa holders have resulted in a significant amount of conversation and questions among University System students, faculty and staff.

Here at Columbus State University, let me first reiterate that the safety and well-being of all CSU family members is always our top priority. We also value the internationalization of our academic ventures, empowering people to understand the world around them, so they can contribute to the advancement of our local and global communities.

Remember that inclusion is one of our values, and I believe that applies to nationality, cultural identity, age, gender identity or expression, physical ability, political ideology, racial and ethnic identity, religious and spiritual identity, sexual orientation, and social and economic status. Please remain respectful as we cultivate a campus where ideas can be freely exchanged so that learning can flourish.

Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, International Education and my office have been in coordination with the system office on this issue. Currently, we have no faculty or staff with permanent residency or employment-related visas from the countries named in the president’s executive order. We have one student from one of the identified countries already here on a degree-seeking visa. So, we do not think there will be any impact here at CSU at this time from the federal government’s recent actions. We have communicated with all of our international students, assuring them they are valued here and asking them to contact the Center for International Education with any concerns or questions.

Inclusion Survey

I am thankful to the many of you who have already completed the Inclusion Survey. I really appreciate your efforts to share your ideas and opinions on this important initiative. If you have not yet completed the survey, please do so as soon as possible, and please encourage your students to do so as well. The deadline to complete the survey is Feb. 10. Please note: Your responses on this survey are completely confidential and will inform future strategic initiatives in our new strategic plan.

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Inclusion Starts With I

I would like to strongly encourage your participation because your perspective is critical in order for us to have an accurate picture of our campus environment. My hope is that through this survey we can move one step closer to addressing areas of improvement on our campus to create a more diverse and inclusive environment for our students, faculty and staff.

Please contact the Office of Diversity Programs and Services at 706-507-8590 if you have any questions regarding the survey.

Some updates

  • We had a wonderful day in Atlanta Wednesday, partnering with the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce for Columbus Day at the Capitol. With the mayor and several other community leaders, I met with Chancellor Wrigley and attended a reception that attracted many of Georgia's leaders, including the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and all our local legislative delegation. A group of students also attended the reception and was able to talk beforehand with several of our local legislators.
  • We are working now on implementing a new academic calendar for 2018. It will allow us to have a new January mini-mester that will work very similar to what we all know as the current Maymester. We need to make sure all corners of campus are ready for the new schedule. Please look for that calendar to be uploaded soon to
  • A new policies and procedures task force is beginning its work. Their work will take some time as we’re trying to centralize all of our policies onto one website (on the University Counsel’s site) and make sure they are updated. Look for more information on this in coming months. The task force will be co-chaired by Glenn Stokes and Greg Blalock.
  • The search for our next provost is again under way. We have tweaked the job description a bit, hoping to attract candidates who have more university-wide experience. This was the biggest feedback we received last semester.

Campus moves

Now that we have officially opened Frank D. Brown Hall, most of Jordan and Illges halls have been vacated. That has led to several questions about who is moving into those spaces. Here’s what is currently being planned:

  • University Support Services will be moving to the basement area of Illges Hall. One of the reasons behind this move is to establish a new parking office. We are restructuring how we handle parking administration and enforcement on campus, moving the responsibility for these efforts from University Police to auxiliary services. This will allow University Police to focus on campus safety and security. You will hear more details about this change in the coming months. We are preparing for full implementation for the fall semester.
  • A new lab for the TSYS Center for Cybersecurity is now under construction in the Center for Commerce and Technology, where the main computer lab was once located. Those computers, as well as the HelpDesk and repair shop, have now moved to the main library.
  • Some of the science offices have moved to Jordan Hall to prepare for the renovation and addition at LeNoir Hall.
  • Faculty Office Building 209 will be the new site of First-Year Experience offices.
  • UTeach offices will consolidate into the bottom floor of Jordan Hall.

Any requests for further office moves should be approved through your chain of command and brought to the Executive Leadership Team by your division vice president.

Carson at 100

You may have heard that we are part of a big celebration later this month of the birthday centennial of Carson McCullers, the noted author who was born in Columbus.

Carson at 100: The McCullers Centennial will include several activities this month, highlighted by an event on Feb. 19 that will include actress Karen Allen, who has appeared in films such as “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Sandlot,” “Scrooged” and “Animal House.” Allen is a devoted McCullers fan and will use her Columbus visit as the occasion to unveil the first movie she has ever directed, a short film based on the McCullers story “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.”

Carson at 100: The McCullers Centennial

The event will begin at 4 p.m. (Feb. 19) in the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. Karen will then be on campus the next day at noon in University Hall for the keynote address that ends our common reading for first-year students. This year they read McCullers’ “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.”

For more information, check out our new Carson McCullers Center website at

Columbus State Gear

I have been so pleased with the reception to our Spirit Fridays. Hopefully you and your office and department are enjoying showing your spirit, and it has become commonplace now.

Our athletic department has just unveiled a new website that will make Spirit Fridays easier than ever. The Columbus State University Athletics has partnered with Advanced-Online to launch, an online store will allow Cougar fans, students and alumni to purchase the latest gear from brands such as Adidas, Columbia and Under Armour. Items include t-shirts, jackets, hats and much more.

The Official Online Store Grand Opening!

Open office hours

My next open office hours will be on the RiverPark campus on Monday, Feb. 13 from 9 -11 a.m.

February is such a wonderful month. The weather starts to warm up, and many people celebrate those special to us on Valentine's Day, enjoy great food and fun for Mardi Gras, or recognize the importance of Maha Shivararatri. We celebrate Black History Month and remember Susan B. Anthony's birthday, Rosa Parks Day, and President's Day. As we continue through a busy semester, during times of change, please make extra efforts to remain connected to and supportive of each other as a CSU family and celebrating what we do here.

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

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood

Minutes from Executive Leadership Team and President's Cabinet meetings



January 18, 2017

In this post:

Good afternoon, and welcome to a new semester!

At the Capitol

As you may know, our classes started on the same day that state legislators started their new session. I spent quite a bit of time in Atlanta this past week meeting with some key lawmakers, visiting the Capitol, talking with all of our local representatives and senators, chairs of House and Senate higher education committees, and the Speaker of the House. I also attended the Board of Regents meeting and met with officials from the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and some of their most prominent supporters.

It was a great few days of listening and learning from some of the state’s top leaders. Here are some things that I heard that I thought might interest you:

  • Our elected officials are continuing to look for more affordability and transparency in higher education. We need to continue to look for ways to save money and explain our value to the workforce and local populations. Higher education is being scrutinized in just about every way you can imagine.
  • Transportation and health care will continue to play significant roles in budget discussions this year, with a lot of unknowns as a new president and key leaders are about to move into Washington D.C. offices.
  • The new chancellor has hit the ground running with the announcement of two new consolidations in the University System of Georgia: Armstrong State University will become part of Georgia Southern University, and Bainbridge College will become part of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. There is no reason to believe that CSU is being considered in any such discussion.

State Budget

Another development this week in Atlanta was the release of the governor’s recommended budget. It will be amended and approved by the Legislature before going back to the Governor for his final signature. Some highlights from the proposed budget:

  • A pool of money, equivalent to 2 percent, is proposed for retention and merit increases.
  • $2 million for furnishings and equipment will go into the new lab sciences building being planned as an addition onto LeNoir Hall. This was a critical piece of funding for us to complete this project, and we owe thanks to the governor and our local legislative delegation for their support of this funding.

LeNoir Hall

  • A state-funded center for cybersecurity education, training and development. This will augment the Army’s cyber command headquarters and National Security Agency (NSA) facilities at Fort Gordon in Augusta. Although the new Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center also will be located in Augusta, this announcement presents a real opportunity for CSU to have an even higher profile in the state with our burgeoning TSYS Center for Cybersecurity.
  • Unfortunately, the Governor’s proposed budget did not include funding to begin planning and designing a renovation of the main campus library. There are still opportunities to have that added before the budget is finalized. We are working with a very supportive local delegation to see what can be done. I will keep you updated.

Frank D. Brown Hall

We hosted a wonderful grand opening celebration earlier this month for Frank D. Brown Hall. We had a packed house for the event, despite the awful weather, and I think Dr. Brown was truly awed by the entire experience. If you have not yet seen that beautiful building, I encourage you to take a look.

To get to Brown Hall from main campus, please take advantage of the CSU shuttle, running from main campus to RiverPark campus on a regular basis. If you do drive, please park in the RiverCenter parking deck, which is now free, or on the top three floors of the Front Avenue parking garage, which are reserved for CSU. Please avoid taking up spaces on the streets downtown. Anyone parking on the street is subject to city enforcement rules and fines.

One of the speakers at the Brown Hall dedication was Kessel Stelling, CEO of Synovus and one of our regents. It was so fitting that he was there, because Synovus recently extended its investment in Columbus State University by participating in the university’s First Choice Campaign and providing long-term support to various programs, including business and leadership development. Synovus’ multi-year commitment to the university will support CSU’s Turner College of Business, the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, and the new tennis complex at Cooper Creek Park. Synovus’ contributions also supported the construction of Frank D. Brown Hall.

Frank D. Brown Hall Grand Opening

Finally, I should let you know that I will be out of pocket starting later this week. I’m having surgery on my foot to help with some pain I have been experiencing for a while. I have to stay off it completely for several weeks. Fortunately, technology will allow me to stay in touch. Interim Provost Tina Butcher will serve as the acting Officer in Charge for routine matters from at least Jan. 19 through Jan. 23.

I wish you all a wonderful semester, and thank you for all that you do for our students, our community and each other.

Chris Markwood Signature

President Chris Markwood

Minutes from Executive Leadership Team and President's Cabinet meetings



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