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Jere Morehead, president of the University of Georgia, speaks at the University Council meeting in Tate Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (Photo/Jason Born)

The University of Georgia University Council met on Nov. 20 for its last session of the semester. While items regarding changes to masters and Ph.D. programs at UGA were presented and voted on, UGA President Jere Morehead first addressed the council to speak about completion rates and diversity statistics.

According to Morehead, UGA has set a record for completion rates, with its 2019 four-year completion rate now at 69% and six-year completion rate now at 87%. According to Morehead, these rates exceed the averages of peer institutions, which are 79% and 56%, respectively.

The Georgia Institute of Technology, by comparison, had a four-year completion rate of 40% and a five-year completion rate of 82% for the freshman class that entered in 2012. On the other hand, the University of Florida had a four-year completion rate of 68% and a six-year completion rate of 90%.

Additionally, the first-year retention rate at UGA matched the university’s 2017 record at 96%.

The council also presented the 2018-2019 Academic Honesty Report and the 2020 Strategic Plan Summative Report.

The Strategic Plan Summative Report revealed UGA did not meet a goal to enhance diversity within the university’s staff and student body it set forth in 2012 for the 2020 Strategic Plan.

The original goals outlined increasing the percentage of underrepresented groups in graduate and professional populations by 20% by 2020. The committee also called for increasing the percentage of these groups in the undergraduate student body. The summative report states that peer institutions to UGA have had similar struggles with boosting faculty and enrollment diversity.

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The University Council meeting takes place in Tate Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (Photo/Jason Born)

Lastly, Student Government Association President Rachel Byers spoke about SGA working with the University Health Center in regard to mental health and awareness.

According to Byers, SGA is currently working with Counseling and Psychiatric Services at the University Health Center to improve the referral process for students with mental health issues.

“Our goal is to make sure that even if UGA is not the place where students receive care, that they still feel supported ... and that they have a strong understanding of the resources available to them, both at UGA and in the community,” Byers said.

Members of the University Council also passed proposals to create, merge and change the name of various masters and Ph.D. programs.

Master of Environmental Planning and Design

John Maerz, the chair of the University Curriculum Committee, addressed a proposal to change the name of the master of environmental planning and design program to master of urban planning and design to better represent its intended focus on the planning and design of neighborhoods, cities and geographic regions.

The proposal was put up for a vote and passed.

Master of Cybersecurity and Privacy

Maerz additionally addressed a proposal to add a master of science in cybersecurity and privacy within the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. The addition of the program was passed.

The proposal was created to address the need for expertise within the field of cybersecurity research and implementation. Additionally, the proposal asserted that UGA was already well-prepared to take on such an addition to its offered programs.

Integrative Conservation (Ph.D.) Merging

The final proposal addressed the consolidation of current integrative conservation Ph.D. programs at UGA under a simpler title. The proposal passed.

Under the proposal, UGA will deactivate the integrative conservation and anthropology, integrative conservation and ecology and integrative conservation and forestry and natural resources. The integrative conservation and geography Ph.D. program will be renamed as simply integrative conservation and would include areas of emphasis in forestry and natural resources, anthropology, ecology and geography.

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