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Phoebe invests $240K in new education partnership with FVSU to address shortage of nurses in rural Georgia

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the critical nurse staffing challenges faced by hospitals across the country, particularly in rural areas.  We applaud Fort Valley State University for developing this 4-year nursing program to help address the problem in Georgia, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with the university and support their team in this important endeavor,” Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System President and CEO.

The partnership will include initiatives designed to attract and recruit both rural and male students into the nursing program. Phoebe will provide subject matter experts to assist with the emersion of professional workforce development into the FVSU program curriculum including regulatory compliance,  professionalism, quality, safety, patient experience and other practical skills that are essential for successful nursing.

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FVSU Joins National Educational Alliance to Address Equity Gaps in Higher Learning. In collaboration with other universities, FVSU is a founding partner of REP4

Fort Valley State University will be part of a national effort to explore ways to tackle a hot topic in higher education: the access and achievement gap for students from underrepresented or low-income households.

The REP4 alliance, announced Thursday, will focus on students taking the lead in a process called “Rapid Education Prototyping” to address equity gaps in higher education.

“Our university’s mission has long included making education relevant, impactful and accessible for students,” Fort Valley State University President Paul Jones said in a statement. “Collaborating with other like-minded institutions across the nation will provide a tremendous opportunity to shift the paradigm of how we approach learning, particularly for underrepresented communities.”

Board of Regents Chairman Sachin Shailendra and University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Steve Wrigley have announced Interim President Kimberly Ballard-Washington as the sole finalist for president of Savannah State University.

Ballard-Washington has served as Savannah State’s interim president since President Cheryl Dozier retired in June 2019. Prior to her appointment as interim president, she practiced law for 20 years advising the public universities and colleges within USG.

“Savannah State’s 130-year history could not be better served than with a candidate of Ms. Ballard-Washington’s leadership and determination to honor its legacy while helping students successfully complete their degrees in the 21st century,” Wrigley said. “Kimberly has invaluable experience gained from working at a number of public universities across the state, and understands the important role Savannah State plays as the oldest public HBCU in Georgia. She truly and deeply cares for SSU, its students and its mission.”

Ballard-Washington’s past experience includes as an associate vice chancellor for legal affairs at USG, an associate director for legal affairs at the University of Georgia and serving as assistant to the president for legal affairs and director of Equal Opportunity Programs at Valdosta State University. She also served as interim president at Fort Valley State University, before being tapped to lead Albany State University on an interim basis. She was previously named to Georgia Trend Magazine’s “Top 40 under 40” list.


University System of Georgia (USG) enrollment has reached an all-time high of 341,485 students, according to USG’s Fall 2020 Semester Enrollment Report. The record enrollment represents a 2.4% (7,978 students) increase over Fall 2019, extending USG’s growth trend to seven consecutive years

Among the demographic categories, the largest systemwide enrollment growth occurred among Hispanic and Asian students, both at 7.2%, while African American enrollment increased by 3.9%.

The enrollment numbers were released in the USG’s “Fall 2020 Semester Enrollment Report,” which breaks down enrollment by institution, class, race and ethnicity, in-state, out-of-state and international students, as well as gender and age. The full enrollment report is available here =

Fort Valley State University = 2827  7.7% +
Albany State University       = 6509 6.3% +
Savannah State University  = 3488 -5.4%


(Fort Valley, Ga.) – Fort Valley State University has launched a partnership with Robins Air Force Base designed to advance students’ knowledge in computer science and cybersecurity. The partnership makes FVSU the first historically black college and university (HBCU) to join forces with the Houston County, Ga.- based military installation.
RAFB serves as the largest single-site industrial complex in Georgia. Spanning more than 6,934 acres, the airfield base hires more than nearly 214,000 workers — active duty, reserve military, civilians and contractors. The base has an economic impact on Georgia of $43.38 billion.

This relationship is a tremendous opportunity for our students to gain real-world knowledge from professionals who work in the very fields they want to pursue,” said LuWanna Williams, FVSU director of the Center for Student Engagement. “Students will help in research and development of technology that advances their knowledge, specifically in computer science and cybersecurity.”
Under the collaboration, FVSU students will be introduced to more practical experiences in the high-demand fields of computer science and cybersecurity before graduating. In addition to instant access to industry experts, FVSU students will also have the chance to explore other RAFB career paths within STEM fields to support their growth as 21st Century learners. Coursework may also eventually include electronics, avionics and aging aircraft issues as well as manufacturing, electronic combat and environmental issues.
“Robins Air Force Base is one of the largest employers in the region,” said Dr. Greg Ford, FVSU’s dean of Arts and Science. “This agreement is not just about workforce development but diversity, which is important as we plan to help move our military forward. It’s also producing Wildcats who will become more than ready for the job market.”
The partnership will include guest lectures and demonstrations, professional development workshops, and modern technology and equipment from RAFB on loan and for transfer.
FVSU is developing a joint lab for RAFB personnel and students in the Blanchet Computer Technology and Mathematics Building on the main campus, Williams said. A campus ribbon-cutting ceremony is tentatively scheduled for November.
“Students will be able to work with customers on unclassified projects there, too,” she said.
Computer information and cybersecurity careers are on the rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analyst-related jobs are projected to increase 31 percent from 2019 to 2029. With a bachelor’s degree, this position’s median annual wage is $99,730.
RAFB employs over 1,600 scientists and engineers and numerous Information Technology (IT) professionals to support various missions.   
 “So many new doors can open because of this partnership,” Williams said, adding FVSU students will also have access to internships and future job opportunities.

General Discussion Forum / Chevron donates $1.1 million to FVSU
« on: October 23, 2020, 04:20:35 PM »

Chevron Corp. has made a $1.1 million donation to Fort Valley State University. The gift, which was announced during a check presentation on campus today, reflects the company’s investment in FVSU’s Cooperative Developmental Energy Program.

FVSU President Paul Jones applauded the donation, saying the funds would support ongoing growth for the institution’s robust STEM offerings.

“This donation is a clear reflection of Chevron’s continued commitment to supporting the development of future engineers and scientists at FVSU,” Jones said. “It’s a wonderful way to reaffirm our 30-year partnership and we look forward to more transformational moments like these that support FVSU and its students in meeting the energy demands around the world.”

Chevron’s relationship with FVSU dates back to the inception of the CDEP program in 1983. With this latest gift, Chevron’s philanthropic giving to FVSU has exceeded $2 million.

Niccole Boswell, Chevron Diversity & Inclusion Relationship manager, said the gift was a reaffirmation to her company’s work with and commitment to FVSU and other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“FVSU has been a partner of ours for over 30 years,” Boswell said. “This particular gift is to support CDEP and try to ignite the young people to pursue careers in STEM. We are also trying to ignite students in STEM to not only consider a career in energy but with Chevron.”

Dr. Isaac Crumbly, associate vice president for Careers & Collaborative Programs and CDEP director, said Chevron’s financial support of CDEP is a mutually beneficial contribution that will allow FVSU to continue addressing the need to increase underrepresented minorities for STEM.

“For over 30 years, Chevron has supported the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program and its students by hiring interns, hosting CDEP’s 12th-grade pre-college Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Academy annually, providing funding for scholarships and employing CDEP graduates,” Crumbly said. “On behalf of the student recipients, I extend my sincere appreciation to Chevron.”

Anthony Holloman, FVSU’s vice president for University Advancement, said the gift should also serve as an inspiration to other corporations that Fort Valley State University is a great investment and donations of this magnitude are a meaningful and tangible way to uplift the future of their respective industries.

“It’s so important that corporations embrace our shared interests regarding the future of their industries,” Holloman said. “Giving to Fort Valley State is a powerful way to make an immediate and lasting impact for the university, its students and the future of their companies. We all win when there is financial support to higher education.”


FORT VALLEY, Ga. – The new Wildcats tireless football staff never stop the recruiting trail. With the first of six late-spring incoming players, Fort Valley State announces the signing of Emanuel Wilson, one of the top 20 running backs of the 2019 NCAA Division II season.
After rushing onto the scene in his hometown Charlotte, N.C. for Johnson C. Smith University last fall, Wilson entered the NCAA transfer portal in hopes of finding a new home and found one in The Valley.

Sports Forum / FVSU’s Jarman and Harris Name SIAC Players of the Year
« on: November 22, 2019, 08:07:21 PM »

The Wildcats boast the two best conference players voted upon by the league members. Fort Valley State quarterback Slade Jarman earned the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year, while defensive end Demetrius Harris received the Defensive Player of the Year award to highlight the team's honorees.
The SIAC's top passing offense was led by Jarman, which the senior quarterback received the top honors of Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and All-SIAC First Team. The three-time SIAC Offensive Player of the Week and once named the BOXTOROW National Player of the Week ranked within NCAA Division II's Top 15 in eight different offensive categories when he unfortunately suffered a season-ending injury in the start of the third quarter of week eight's game. Jarman led the SIAC in passing yards per game (262.2 yds/gm) and set his personal best numbers of 174 completions in 281 attempts for 2,099 yards with 18 touchdowns to five interceptions for a 61.9-percent and a 142.25 pass efficiency rating. The Pensacola, Fla., native also rushed 123 yards on 74 carries with six touchdowns.

Sports Forum / Rude welcome for Tigers in SIAC preseason poll
« on: July 09, 2019, 09:29:48 PM »
Savannah State’s return season to the SIAC is not expected to be very successful, according to the league’s coaches and sports information directors.

Not only was Savannah State predicted to place 6th, the Tigers also have no players selected to the Preseason All-SIAC First or Second Teams.
“We’re not picked very well or any of that stuff. Great!” laughs head coach Shawn Quinn. "I’m just glad they’re going to let us line up and hopefully they’ll let us have 11 and maybe even wear helmets.”


Students at Fort Valley State University soon may be getting hands-on experience with solar technology. Fort Valley State University (FVSU) announced that Georgia Power will develop and construct an 11 megawatts (MWac), fixed-tilt solar generation facility located on the FVSU campus. It will serve as a living laboratory for FVSU professors and students who will help to build Georgia’s energy future. The solar farm will cover approximately 107 acres of land owned by the university. When completed, it will be one of the largest solar operations stationed on a college campus in the United States.


SACSCOC’s June 2018 action helps fuel the university’s evolution into the “college of the future”

(Fort Valley, GA)– The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) removed the warning issued to Fort Valley State University (FVSU) in June 2017 during its Board of Trustees meeting on June 14, 2018. The action was made public by SACSCOC yesterday evening.

“Fort Valley State University has proven its strong positioning for a bright future,” said Paul Jones, Ph.D., president. “We are engineering the college of the future and preparing our students for careers as change agents in fields and industries never before envisioned. This action by SACSCOC is a vote of confidence in our solid financial controls, student support systems, and instructional foundation as we prepare to evolve into a unique model of effectiveness in student academic growth and professional development.”

During the past two years, FVSU has significantly strengthened its operational efficiency and ability to deliver robust and relevant academic and co-curricular programming through the implementation of new technology, reporting processes, authorization procedures, and new leadership in audit, compliance, budget, financial aid, performance measurement, and student affairs roles. Over the two years, enrollment has increased by more than 2.7% and student residence halls occupancy has increased to 98%. The athletic programs have eliminated an annual deficit, and at the same time, the university has greatly enhanced private fundraising and communications capacity. FVSU’s most recent independent audit was returned with no new findings.

About Fort Valley State University

Founded in 1895, Fort Valley State University, a University System of Georgia institution, is one of the nation’s most innovative and affordable academic institutions. Leveraging its unique role as an 1890 land-grant institution, the college conducts more science, technology, engineering and math federal research than any other public teaching college in the state of Georgia, making curriculum-enhancing research opportunities available to students learning to be leaders in innovation. The university’s undergraduate and graduate campus and online degree programs enroll almost 3,000 students from all over the world. Named the most affordable online school in the nation for student economic mobility, the university has produced more African Americans with mathematics degrees than any other college in the nation in two of the past four years. FVSU students participate in more than 80 academic and civic organizations, honor societies and study abroad programs. FVSU is a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and NCAA Division II League.

Sports Forum / The Wildcats are down to two full-time paid coaches
« on: June 18, 2015, 11:55:11 AM »

A 6-4 season isn’t bad, but Fort Valley State still wasn’t happy that mark in 2014.

But winning records are getting tougher to come by at FVSU with a constantly dwindling staff.

The Wildcats are down to two full-time paid coaches, and one of them was at the Pigskin Preview.

Offensive line coach Keith DeGrate went to FVSU with head coach Donald Pittman, and while they no doubt expected to stay colleagues, they no doubt expected to have more than each other.

“Get up earlier,” DeGrate said, “and go home later.”

The Wildcats have made do with a list of volunteer coaches since the cuts started in full less than two months after FVSU’s playoff season of 2012 had ended. Finances haven’t been good on campus for years, and the school is yet again looking for a president.

The football staff lost one of its veterans when longtime defensive coach Terry Jones left to take a high school head coaching position in his home state of Oklahoma.

DeGrate said there are six bodies working with the team, but those volunteers aren’t fully vested in the other parts of the job, like recruiting, strength and conditioning, academics and player development.

Still, DeGrate thinks the Wildcats let two or three games get a away last season.

“We shouldn’t have lost three football games, that’s for sure,” he said. “Those four turnovers against Albany State killed us.

“But injuries played a big part on the last three ballgames. We don’t have the depth because we don’t have the funds to go get the kids.”

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Sports Forum / Donald Pittman makes excuses in loss to Delta State
« on: September 07, 2014, 12:26:10 PM »
Quarterback Tyler Sullivan threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as Delta State dismantled Fort Valley State with its high-powered offense 56-13 on Saturday.

Sullivan threw for 258 yards before taking a seat in the third quarter, while receiver Casey Osborne had three touchdown catches among his 12 receptions on the day.

“I am not a coach that makes excuses very often, but after this game I am,” said Fort Valley State head coach Donald Pittman, who was very upbeat afterward despite the loss. “Delta State had a week and a half more practice than us, they have more scholarship players than we have, which is a huge advantage on a hot day.

“And we had six players that took repetitions during the week and they weren’t able to play with us this week, and that hurt. All of those guys will be back next week.

“I told my guys that we are going to stand tall after this and get to work to become a better football team.”

Things actually started off on a positive note. The Wildcats took the opening kickoff and drove 77 yards on six plays and scored on a Malcolm Eady 1-yard run. The big play on the drive was an Eady pass to Brian Walker that covered 65 yards. But that would be the end of the offensive highlights for the day.

After exchanging punts, the Statesmen started to dominate. Taking advantage of great field position, they scored the next three times they were on offense.

The first drive covered 58 yards, with the touchdown coming on a pass from Sullivan to Osborne from 4 yards out. After a Wildcats fumble, Delta State took four plays to cover 25 yards, with Sullivan hitting Justin Leavy for a 12-yard score. After a three-and-out by the Wildcats, the Statesmen went 40 yards on five plays, with Sullivan scoring from 4 yards out to take a commanding 21-6 lead after a quarter of action.

Fort Valley State, which lost starting running back Jonquez Sanders early in the game, was unable to get anything going, and Delta State added two more touchdowns in the second quarter, both on short runs by Timothy Foy, to take a 35-6 lead into the break.

“We did not really get anything going on offense, and losing Jonquez hurt our running game, because we really thought that he was the guy who was going to carry a heavy load,” Pittman said. “I thought we would be better running the football, but they got penetration for most of the game, and obviously we have to put more of an emphasis on running the football.”

Delta State tacked on three more touchdowns to make it 56-6 before Fort Valley scored midway through the fourth quarter on a 6- yard pass from Otis Brown to Bolden Davis.

Sports Forum / FVSU starts new Wildcat Coaches Show
« on: September 05, 2014, 08:33:43 PM »

Wildcat fans and sports enthusiasts can snack on hot wings, sandwiches and other treats while watching Wildcat coaches discuss game day highlights and future strategies during a new show that will be televised live in a downtown Fort Valley restaurant. 

Starting Tuesday, Sept. 9, Fort Valley State University will be launching the Fort Valley State University Coaches Show featuring Donald Pittman. The show, which will be hosted by WMAZ sports anchor Marvin Jones, will be filmed at the Main Street Grill in downtown Fort Valley, Ga. on Tuesdays at noon. It will air on Thursday nights at 10 p.m., and Friday nights at 6 p.m. On ComSouth Channel 100.

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Sports Forum / Division II teams could form strong conference
« on: July 04, 2014, 08:07:43 PM »
On Tuesday, we saw an addition to the ACC the same day the conference lost one of its founding members. And we saw the Southern Conference lose four programs and replace them with three.

Louisville joined the ACC officially Tuesday to replace Maryland, which jumped to the Big Ten. While it hurts to lose a founding member, that’s a win for the ACC considering Maryland hasn’t been relevant in anything for some time, while Louisville in recent years has won a basketball national title and a BCS bowl game while also reaching the College World Series.

The Southern Conference lost Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Elon and Davidson, while Mercer, East Tennessee State and VMI moved into the conference. Some question Georgia Southern’s move up to the FBS and the Sun Belt, but as long as Eagles fans adjust their goals, that’s a solid step up for the program. Mercer’s move is also an overall positive, although the Bears left a terrific mid-major conference in the A-Sun.

It was yet another day of the process of realignment, which has ruled over college athletics for the past few years. Hopefully, that is about to come to an end, although it would be nice to see a little more realignment -- right here in our state on a smaller level.

The constant movement of the past few years has totally changed the Division I level -- and who knows what changes are about to come in regards to player payments. But the changes haven’t hit the Division II level on a large scale yet, although the Gulf South Conference did lose several of its western programs recently.

Before they are forced to make changes, it would be wise for the Division II programs in our state to be proactive and make moves to build their own conference and their own brand. And it could be a heck of a conference and a heck of a brand.

Just start with the football-playing programs: Albany State, Clark Atlanta, Fort Valley State, Morehouse, Paine, Shorter, West Georgia and Valdosta State. That’s a terrific start with eight pretty good athletics programs all right here in the state.

On the playing fields and courts, it makes sense because it would be a solid level of play in most sports. Off the fields and courts, it makes sense because there would be almost zero travel, which saves money. There also would be natural rivalries, which would build attention for the conference and get fans invested in games against one another. That makes money.

And we all know this is all about money.

But if eight programs aren’t enough to form a full conference, there are others to choose from (although football would be stuck at eight). There are many other Division II programs in the state for other sports, which could add depth and quality to the conference. That includes Georgia College, Armstrong Atlantic, Clayton State, Columbus State, Georgia Regents, Georgia Southwestern and North Georgia.

Any of those -- or all of them -- would be good choices to build a conference right here in the state and would give their students and fans something strong to cheer for and against.

It’s probably a long shot, mainly because the Gulf South Conference programs (Shorter, West Georgia and Valdosta) are tied to one of the strongest Division II conferences around, and it makes sense for them to stay put. Also, the SIAC programs (Albany State, Clark Atlanta, Fort Valley State, Morehouse and Paine) have longstanding ties to their conference that would be difficult to break, both for their leadership and fan bases.

Plus, the Peach Belt Conference is a terrific conference and has been for years.

Still, a new Division II conference focusing on state programs would be forward thinking and be a huge positive for everyone involved with very few negatives. That sounds like something everyone could invest in to be a terrific move for all the schools, their leadership groups and their fans.

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