Highlights from the 2020 State of the University Address

University of Georgia President Jere Morehead gave his annual State of the University Address on January 29 in the Chapel on North Campus and explained his five year strategic plan. 

Morehead says a committee worked over the past year to develop three points of emphasis: promoting excellence in teaching and learning; growing research, innovation and entrepreneurship; and strengthening partnerships with communities across Georgia and around the world.

To promote teaching and learning, Morehead wants to expand experiential learning opportunities for students while also supporting instructors by modernizing classrooms and laboratories.

“We must ensure that as the teaching methods of our faculty evolve, so do the spaces and technologies that support them,” Morehead says.

Morehead says Victor Wilson, UGA vice president for student affairs, will work with the University Health Center to lead new mental health initiatives on campus.  The university will introduce online therapeutic support to further expand part of the center’s existing mission of mental health care. The other initiative will enhance UHC’s outreach efforts with wellness coaching and peer mentoring programs implemented over the course of this calendar year. 

“College students today are much more attuned to their personal well-being, including issues of mental health,” Morehead says. “Our strategic plan recognizes this reality and seeks to expand wellness programs and services available to our students to support this goal.”

For the second area of emphasis, he says the research “will demand interdisciplinary and multi-institutional approaches.” Morehead added that UGA’s greatest strength concerning research are its $6.3 billion impact on the state of Georgia and its ability to cover different subjects across campus. 

Morehead says he wants to promote collaboration among different units and organizations to help further research efforts while also focusing on a “diverse and inclusive educational environment.”

The third area of emphasis seeks to create more global partnerships, projects and study abroad programs. Morehead referred to places UGA students can study beyond Athens, from Washington, D.C. to Cortona, Italy to Oxford, England. Morehead says he wants to create more opportunities for “students to engage” in the future.

In addition, Morehead focused on achievements over the past year, including the newest freshman class, which was chosen from the “largest pool of applicants ever,” and the high percentage of class of 2017 graduates who had a job or were attending graduate school within six months of graduation. He discussed the “Commit to Georgia” fundraising campaign, which asked UGA alumni for donations to remove financial barriers for students to enhance the learning environment on campus.

“The State of the University of Georgia is strong and growing stronger,” Morehead says. “Our future is bright and boundless.”