Georgia Highlands College

Humanitarians in Action

Members of the newly formed English Major Association visited the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum in Atlanta on November 19, 2011.  The group toured Mitchell’s apartment and the museum and viewed a special exhibit on the Gone with the Wind movie, featuring newsreel videos and movie props, such as the door to Tara. The group also had lunch at Atlanta’s historic Mary Mac’s Tea Room.
 (left to right): Cindy Wheeler, Jessyca Arndt, Frank Minor, Abigail Sosebee, Neen Snowball, Kristie Kemper, Charli Foster, and Dru Lomeli in front of the door to Gone with the Wind’s Tara.  

At the recent South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) conference held at the Loews Atlanta Hotel on November 4-6,  a panel from our division presented a successful presentation:  “Literature, Spanish, and Music: The Power of Poetry across the Humanities Curriculum.” Sue Munn, Associate Professor of English chaired the panel and Richard Bombard, Assistant Professor of English was the secretary. The presentation consisted of the following sections:

1. From Translator's Agenda and Manuscript Condition to Grammar and Metaphor: Hands-on Translation Experience for World Literature I Students – Michelle Abbott, Instructor of English
2. Dicterliebe: The Poetry of Heinrich Heine and the Music of Robert Schumann in College Music Classes – Robert Adams, Associate Professor of Music

3. Closing the Gaps: Teaching Dickinson's Poetry in College English Classes – Richard Bombard, Assistant Professor of English
4. Adding Color to Language with Poetry in College Spanish Classes – Kathryn Garcia, Assistant Professor of Spanish                

5. Teaching Anglo-Saxon Poetry in College Literature Classes: Fate, Violence, Riddles, and Seamus Heaney’s NorthSue Munn, Associate Professor of English

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Dr. Kristie Kemper, professor of English and adviser for the Six Mile Post student newspaper, attended the National College Media Convention in Orlando, October 26-29, where she took part in sessions dealing with such topics as still and video photography, social media policies for student publications, First Amendment legal issues, page design, and how to prepare journalism majors for the job market. In a particularly interesting session, advisers and editors of the University of Alabama’s newspaper talked about how they covered last spring’s tornado online and in print and the role of social media in their efforts. For fall semester, Dr. Kemper also helped organized the Six Mile Post staff’s annual Basic Training Day (with students from all six campuses attending) and made presentations on lead writing and ad sales as well as on more general topics during the event. The Six Mile Post has received notification of a first-class ranking with two marks of distinction from the Associated Collegiate Press for the 2010-11 academic year. Dr. Kemper has also been doing early publicity and planning related to the college-sponsored spring 2012 trip to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. She is one of the faculty advisers for the new English Majors Association.


The Communication Department of the Humanities Division hosted its first college-wide GHC Public Speaking Competition in April 2011.  Dr. Laura Beth Daws, Assistant Professor of Communications, Meredith Ginn, Assistant Professor of Communications, and Travice Obas, Associate Professor of Communications chaired the event, which had more than 30 student participants.  The competition will take place again on March 30, 2012 and will be organized by Ginn, Obas, and Erica Simpson McGinnis, Assistant Professor of Communications.  To view videos of last year's winners and learn more about competition guidelines, visit

Jessica Lindberg, recently promoted Lecturer in English, spent each last Thursday of the month from May through September hosting the Summer Poetry Nights series in downtown Rome. This seasonal tradition offers the chance for local literary enthusiasts to support poets and writers from diverse writing perspectives and experiences. As part of the series this year, poets associated with the University of Alabama traveled to Rome to share their post-tornado stories, giving those in attendance the opportunity to donate to continued recovery efforts in the devastated Tuscaloosa area. The season finale featured our own Jake Sullins, Assistant Professor of English, reading from his short story, “12 Rounds,” printed in the summer issue of The Georgia Review. Jessica looks forward to next season and figures she presented about ten poets this year, entertained over two hundred guests, raised over three hundred dollars for Temporary Emergency Services, and ate her weight in Schroeder’s calzones.

Meredith Ginn, Assistant Professor of Communications and Dana Pergrem, Associate Professor of Communications presented "Rise and Shine: Cultivating Communication Skills in Early Learners" sessions on Wednesday, May 11th at an elementary school in Dallas.  They presented a workshop on media literacy and presentation skills to third graders. 

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Michelle Abbott, Instructor of English presided over a panel and presented at the Southeastern Medieval Association Annual Conference at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia on October 15, 2011.  Her presentation on "Boethius and King Arthur: Moral Implications of Being at the Bottom of the Wheel" was a portion of the session entitled: “When the Journey Toward Salvation Goes Awry: Uncomfortable Destinations in Several Middle English Texts.”

Lecturer in Art Russell Cook continues to play and record music with his wife Cameron as the Little Country Giants, releasing three albums of original music to date.  Most recently their music has been featured in the soundtracks of the 2011 independent film Pushin’ Up Daisies and the documentary Grow! , showing at Independent Film Festivals throughout the United States and Canada.  Pushin’ Up Daisies was nominated for “Best Feature” at the Rome International Film Festival.  Grow! was awarded “Best American Documentary” at the Rome International Film Festival, “Audience Choice” at Docufest  Atlanta, and the “Focus Award” and “Best of Category” at Montana Cine International. 

Meredith Ginn, Assistant Professsor of Communications graduated from the 2-year leadership academy of the Cobb Education Consortium, and was selected to serve on the Steering Committee to help plan events for future academies.  Dr. Laura Beth Daws, Assistant Professor of Communications is completing her final year of the program, and Jacob Sullins, Assistant Professor of English will represent GHC in the 2011-2013 group.

The Cobb Education Consortium (CEC) is committed to promoting educational excellence and encouraging seamless transferability among all of its six member institutions. The CEC has developed an exemplary network of public education services, and continues to serve as a national model for other educational partnerships.Of the few counties in the state of Georgia with K-12, technical colleges and universities, none equal the collaborative history and level of excellence found in Cobb County. The CEC educational culture insists that learners can transfer credits among institutions as they explore, upgrade, and retool their knowledge and skills throughout their careers. Each of the Cobb institutions complements the others and is noted for its excellence. A model annual Leadership Academy prepares leaders from all member schools for CEO-directed service projects that benefit and serve the county.


Meredith Ginn, Assistant Professor of Communications along with her sister Andrea Sligh, led the first Courageous Conversation of the year at the Cartersville campus.  Their discussion explored the power of language in framing persons with special needs.  Participants were able to discuss the influence of labels, particularly exploring the use of the word "retard."  In the spring, Ginn hopes to promote the "Stop the R-Word" campaign across all GHC campuses and sites.

The 3rd Annual Women's History Month celebrations will be the biggest ever, thanks in large part to Humanities faculty, including Carla Patterson - event co-developer and coordinator (along with Laura Musselwhite), Meredith Ginn & LauraBeth Daws - Marietta co-coordinators (along with Karen Huggins), Michelle Abbott - Paulding coordinator, and Rachel Wall - Cartersville coordinator. Samantha Bishop, Humanities by birth and marriage, is coordinating the Douglasville event. Programming this year ranges from student, faculty and staff presentations to guest speakers from local communities to literary readings.
Travice Obas, Associate Professor of Communication is directing a play this March as part of the National Endowment of the Arts "Big Read" Project.  Each year the NEA provides grants to local community theatres to bring live productions of books to the stage, in effort to revitalize the role of literary reading in the American culture.  This year the Elm Street Cultural Arts Center is excited to showcase the play "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder
Dr. Laura Beth Daws, Assistant Professor of Communication presented her paper, “Headlines and Heartaches: Depression-Era North Alabama Newspaper Coverage of the TVA,” in January of this year. The presentation took place in Auburn, Alabama for the Becoming Alabama Conference.
Five members of our Communication faculty attended the recent meeting of the Georgia Communication Association at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia. Travice Obas is serving the second year of her term as First Vice President of the GCA; she will take over as President in 2013. This year, she was primarily responsible for planning the conference program. Laura Beth Daws, Meredith Ginn, Leslie Johnson, and Dana Pergrem presented a panel entitled "COMMunity: Communication Professionals Giving Back," in which they each shared information about the outreach work they do in the community. Laura Beth discussed her work with GHC's Fabulous Fridays, Dana discussed "Rise and Shine," a program she created to help local kindergarten students get a jump start on good public speaking skills, Leslie discussed her work with the Cartersville-based group GEMS (Girls Encountering and Maintaining Success) as well as Earthshare, and Meredith shared information about her involvement with the Cobb Education Consortium, particularly her work with planning and running a high school guidance counselor's workshop held at Kennesaw State University. Meredith and Laura Beth also presented GIFTS (Great Ideas for Teaching Speech), which allowed them to share innovative teaching strategies with colleagues across the state.

Pictured from left to right are: Dana Pergrem, Laura Beth Daws, Leslie Johnson and Meredith Ginn.

Dr. Jon Hershey, chair of the division of Humanities and Professor of English  presenteda lecture on February 23 at the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, entitled "Gatsby, the Harlem Renaissance, and Dreams Deferred," as a part of the National Endowment of the Arts "Big Read" program. Dr. Hershey also serves as the faculty advisor for the GHAME Initiative and Brother 2 Brother program. In April, Dr. Hershey will attend the Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB) National Conference in Indianapolis, along with eight students from Brother 2 Brother. Later in April, he will attend the USG’s African American Male Initiative (AAMI) Conference in Macon. At the conference, he will serve as a panelist for a session entitled: "Strategies for Developing and Sustaining an African-American Male Program on a College Campus." Brother 2 Brother members will also serve as panelists for the student sessions at the conference.
On November 5, 2010, five GHC faculty members presented at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) conference held in Atlanta, GA. They were members of an annually recurring panel spotlighting teaching in two-year schools. The 2010 focus was “Using Short Stories in Composition Courses.”  Sue Munn presented her unique approach to Gabriel Garcia’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” and its connections to R.E.M.  Rick Bombard entertained the whole room with his students’ letters that were written in response to Mark Twain’s “Letters from the Earth.” Michelle Abbott, David Miller, and Rachel Wall all presented sample assignments and best practices for the incorporation of literary works and literary analysis into Freshman Composition. The panel was well received and plans are underway for more GHC faculty to present at SAMLA in 2011.
Alexandra MacMurdo, Lecturer of Communication, Meredith Ginn, Assistant Professor of Communication, and Kathryn Garcia, Assistant Professor of Spanish, attended the GCIS - Georgia Consortium for International Studies held in Helen, GA in February 2011.  Attending this conference gave us a unique perspective and insight to help us in leading our Study Abroad Trips planned for this MayMester 2011.
Dr. Kristie Kemper, professor of English and adviser for the Six Mile Post student newspaper, recently received an award for twenty-five years of service from the Southern Regional Press Institute. The award was presented Feb. 25 at the SRPI awards luncheon on the campus of Savannah State University. Dr. Kemper has been a member of the planning committee for the press institute for a number of years, and at this year’s institute she served as a consultant and made a presentation on editorial writing during a session for college students. Four GHC students attended the SRPI, and the Six Mile Post collected a total of ten awards. Dr. Kemper also participated in the Georgia College Press Association’s annual press institute in Athens, Feb. 4-5. She was pleased to find two former Six Mile Post staff members (Daniel Bell and Jeremy Stewart) among the professional journalists leading roundtables at the GCPA press institute.  Eleven GHC students, representing five GHC campuses/sites took part in the press institute. Kaitlyn Hyde from the Cartersville campus was elected GCPA treasurer, and the Six Mile Post received fifteen awards. During fall semester Dr. Kemper attended the National College Media Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

Cindy Wheeler, Assistant Professor of English attended the Georgia Conference on Information Literacy in Savannah last October where she co-presented a workshop session about the creation and implementation of IC@GHC, the college’s information competency initiative. In October, she also attended the national convention of the College Media Advisers and Associated Collegiate Press Association in Louisville, KY where advisers and students heard presentations and attended workshops led by media professionals from around the country, like Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas French.  She also attended the Georgia College Press Association conference and awards luncheon in Athens, Georgia on February 4-5 and attended sessions by journalists from around the state including former Six Mile Post staffers who are working in professional print media. She attended the 60th annual Southern Regional Press Institute and awards luncheon in Savannah February 24 and 25th where she served as director of the workshop “Editorial and Column Writing” that was attended by journalism students from around the Southeast. This convention was highlighted by a keynote speech by Maya Randall, a finance and economics reporter for the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets.

Kathryn Garcia, Assistant Professor of Spanish and faculty advisor of the Spanish Activities Club attended the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT) in Baton Rouge, LA in March. Other activities connected to the Spanish Activities Club include attendance at the Spanish Cultural Night hosted by the Cartersville Public Library in March and attending “Rumbos de Cuba” at the Rialto Theater in April.

Robert Adams, Assistant Professor of Music recently participated as an adjudicator at a vocal competition in Nashville, Tennessee. The competition was in connection with the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and designed to help collegiate students prepare for future state and regional competitions.
Carla Patterson and her husband, David, are serving as the volunteer youth coordinators at Trinity United Methodist Church in Rome. As such, they will help organize and chaperon weekly Wednesday and Sunday night programming as well as approximately eight overnight and out-of-town trips for the church's 55 youth fellowship members, including their annual twelve night Choir Tour, which stops in six states.
On Saturday, February 26, Erica Simpson, Assistant Professor of Communication, judged the South Rome Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year Speech Competition. High school students ranging from ages 15 to 18 competed for the title. The winner of this competition, Ricardo Ramsey, a Rome High School student, received a $2000 scholarship and will go on to compete at the state-wide level. The winner of the state competition will advance to regionals and will be awarded an additional $10,000. The entire contest culminates with a national contest, an additional $15,000 scholarship and an opportunity to meet the President of the United States. In the past, the winner of the South Rome competition has received little guidance in preparing for the state competition. This year Ms. Simpson has been meeting with Mr. Ramsey to help him organize, write and prepare his speech for the state competition in Atlanta on Thursday, March 24, 2011.
Alexandra MacMurdo will be leading a group to London, Brussels, The Hague and Amsterdam for a trip entitled "Government and Politics in Europe" and teaching and IDIS 1100 Course in Intercultural Communication.  She will be alongside Becky Sims, who will be teaching a POLS 2401 Global Issues course.  The trip will run May 20-29, 2011 and students will visit sites such as the British Library, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, The Peace Palace in The Hague, The International Court of Justice, The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and the European Commission in Brussels.
Meredith Ginn will be leading a trip entitled "Spain:  A Land of Many Cultures"  and will be teaching a COMM1100 Human Communications course alongside fellow humanitarian Kathryn Garcia who will be teaching SPAN 1001 Elementary Spanish.  Their dates are June 1-11, 2011 and will include the following cities:  Madrid, Seville, Granada and Barcelona.  Sites to be explored include El Prado Art Museum, El Palacio REal and La Plaza Mayor in Madrid, The Alhambra in Granada, where Christopher Columbus discussed his plans for sailing to India, and explore Barcelona's modernistic architecture.
The GHC chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges has won the national chapter award for 2011.  Humanities females are heavily involved in the organization, making up over 1/3 of the membership.  The following individuals serve in leadership roles for this group:

Meredith Ginn, Communication - President
Laura Beth Daws, Communication - Secretary
Leslie Johnson, Communication – Treasurer
Travice Baldwin Obas, Communication - Membership Chair
Cindy Wheeler, English - Publicity Chair
Rachel Wall, English - Community Service Chair
Kerin Miller, English - Douglasville Campus Liaison
Dr. Richard Stafford has photographed, written and edited an educational slide-video centering on World War II and the Island of Saipan.  Stafford's father, 1st Lt. James M Stafford, now age 86, served on the Island as a crew member of a B-29 named "Pride of the Yankees" in 1944 and 1945, and his son Daniel is currently an attorney of the Island located in the South Pacific near Japan. The youngest Stafford moved to Saipan three years ago to be the clerk for the Supreme Court Chief Justice, and later served as the general counsel for the Court, itself.  The 8 minute video will be shown during the final banquet of the 73rd Bomb Wing's annual reunion in Nashville on May 25. The video, "Saipan: Yesterday and Today," compares the Island from 1944 to today.  It can be seen on by searching for the title.
Norcross High School in North Atlanta recently staged an International Baccalaureate theatre production written by senior IB student, Devon Peet.  Devon's full-length production was a prequel of the well-known novel and play, Treasure Island.   Over 30 Norcross students and 10 parents participated in the production, which was directed by Georgia Highland's College communications professor, Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D.  Dr. Stafford spent a year advising Mr. Peet as he wrote the play and then served as the production's director as a community service to the local school and community in North Atlanta.
Poet/environmentalist Janisse Ray will be visiting Georgia Highlands on March 30th to help us celebrate National Community College Poetry Day. This event is being coordinated by Clayton Jones, Instructor of English and Writers’ Collaborative Faculty Advisor. One of Ray's major concerns is the relationship between land use, personal responsibility and the health of our rivers and streams. Thus,  in conjunction with the Coosa River Basin Initiative [CRBI], Rome, Georgia's only grassroots environmental organization dedicated to informing and empowering the community to protect, preserve and restore the Coosa River Basin,  the Georgia Highlands College Writers' Collaborative, Green Highlands, Phi Theta Kappa, and Keep Bartow Beautiful are seeking volunteers to participate in The Storm Water Stenciling Project. Using wire brushes, stencils and spray paint, volunteers will affix stencils on storm drains on both the Rome and Cartersville campuses that read: “Dump No Waste; Drains to the Coosa River”.


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