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Mountain Lines January 2011

YHC President Cox to Compete in ‘CEO Battle’ for Childhood Literacy

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox is one of seven Georgia CEOs/Presidents competing against each other for the title of “Favorite Reader” to raise awareness and funds for the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy in the second annual CEO Battle.

The contest began on Thursday, Jan. 13, and votes can be cast daily through Monday, Feb. 7.

The other executives from across Georgia participating in the friendly competition include Paul Wood, CEO, Georgia EMC; William Griffin, CEO, Rosser International; Michael Russell, CEO, H.J. Russell; Ruth Knox, President, Wesleyan College, Raymond King, CEO, The Atlanta Zoo; and William Kimble, Managing Partner, KPMG, Atlanta.

Each competitor was filmed reading to a class of students, and President Cox read to a class at the Towns County Pre-K on Dec. 6. The videos are available on the Ferst Foundation website.  The first vote cast each day is free, and viewers may cast additional votes for their CEO of choice for $3 each, the cost of one book for a child enrolled in the Ferst Foundation’s reading program.

Donation-votes made be made online at the Ferst Foundation’s website or by mail to P.O. Box 1327 Madison, Georgia 30650.

The CEO video that receives the highest vote total will be declared the winner, and the winning CEO will be announced at a ceremony in Atlanta on Feb. 14.

The Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy (FFCL) began in 1999 in Morgan County, Ga., through the efforts of Robin Ferst who modeled her program on the Imagination Library initiative begun by musician and philanthropist Dolly Parton in Tennessee. The program sends age-appropriate books directly to the home of each registered child from birth until the age of five. The FFCL strives to improve early learning opportunities for every Georgia child regardless of income, race, religion, or gender with the philosophy that any child who cannot read is at-risk. With more than 2.3 million books having been sent to more than 140,000 pre-school children in 75 counties, the Ferst Foundation is contributing to the development of an educated productive, competitive workforce. The Foundation’s corporate partners participating in this friendly competition are helping to highlight one of the easiest ways to improve a child’s school preparedness—reading to him or her daily.  

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox read to a class at the Towns County Pre-K on Dec. 6.

Young Harris College to Kick Off Founder’s Weekend with Special Chapel Service

Young Harris College will commemorate its 125th anniversary with a year full of celebrations, beginning with Founder’s Weekend, January 26-29. To kick off the weekend of festivities, YHC alumnus Dr. John Kay, ’56, will speak during a special chapel service held on Wednesday, Jan. 26, in Susan B. Harris Chapel.
“I hope to address the topic of ‘legacy’ from the context of Christian accountability as well as our role as stewards of the YHC heritage,” Dr. Kay said. “In my mind, there is a compelling argument for honoring the past and showing concern for the future by living dutifully in the present.”
The service will also include sermon notes from former YHC president Dr. Joseph A.Sharp incorporated into a prayer by Campus Minister and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Tim Moore, D.Min., as well as a slideshow featuring historical photos of the College along with quotations from prayer journals dating back to 1987.
“It has been a thoroughly enriching experience to work on this project. It has been interesting to see how God has used the faculty, staff and students throughout time to plant a legacy of faith at YHC,” said Amanda Noonan, a senior English major from Smyrna who is serving as coordinator for the special service. “To be able to see how people have grown in the Lord throughout the years has reminded me that God has a specific plan for each of us and that we are each uniquely made in His image.”
Four Young Harris College alumni will also contribute to the service by participating in a skit titled "Who Will Fill My Shoes." Testimonials written by Cas Nowicki, ’09, Von Rogers, ’73, Jim Manor, ’03, and Emmie Manor, ’04, regarding their experiences at YHC will be read by current students as monologues.
“I am also embarking on a ‘one word’ project in which I am asking people to describe their faith in one word,” Noonan said. “I will make a collage of pictures and words collected from students, alumni and former and current faculty and staff that will be displayed during the service and on campus throughout the weekend.”

The Founder’s Weekend festivities will continue on Thursday, Jan. 27, when the Young Harris College Student Government Association hosts “Exploring the History Day” in which various activities will expose students to places and people in the College’s past. Various student organizations will co-sponsor a student dance on Friday, Jan. 28, and a banner will be displayed at the men’s and women’s basketball game that represents the present time at YHC on Saturday, Jan. 29.

YHC Music Faculty and Administrators Lead Professional Organizations

Young Harris College is represented this academic year in the leadership of three music-related professional organizations.
In November 2010, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Music Keith DeFoor, Ph.D., took over the presidency of the Georgia Music Teachers Association (GMTA), the state affiliate of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).
In June 2010, Dean of the Division of Fine Arts and Professor of Music Benny Ferguson, Ph.D.,began his two-year term as president of the Southern Division of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC). In July 2012, Dr. Ferguson will begin a two-year term on the national executive board of MENC as past president of the Southern Division.
Senior Instructor of Music and Director of Bands Mary Land is currently president-elect of the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) and will begin her presidency in May 2011.

“It is exceptional for an institution of any size to simultaneously have three state and regional leaders in the same discipline,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Ron Roach, Ph.D., said. “The fact that Young Harris College does speaks to the caliber of these professors, to the stature of the music department and to the quality of the College faculty as a whole. We are most proud of this achievement.”

Academic Service Learning Program Continues to Develop at Young Harris College

Young Harris College will introduce four new courses this semester that integrate academic service learning into the curriculum and provide YHC faculty, staff and students the opportunity to work at community partner agencies, participate in established service programs and become involved in grant-funded projects.
During the fall 2010 semester, approximately 40 students participated in service learning courses that were successfully integrated into the curriculum. These courses were assessed via focus groups and standard assessments developed during the semester.  
According to Academic Service Learning Program Coordinator and Bonner Leaders Program Director Rob Campbell, the student assessment process revealed that many students found strong connections between the course objectives and the service learning objectives and underscored the importance of the intentional reflection carried out in the class regarding service learning experiences.
“For students, the service learning component seemed to be the most beneficial in terms of helping them understand how the course subject matter could be applied to real world settings, increasing their awareness of cultural differences and their own biases and prejudices, strengthening their communication skills and raising their sense of civic and social responsibility,” Campbell said.
Students partaking in academic service learning courses during the spring semester will have unique opportunities to work with community partner agencies that offer appropriate work to coincide with the subject matter presented in the courses.
Foreign language courses taught by Assistant Professor of Spanish and French Isabelle Therriault, Ph.D., and Associate Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of Foreign Language Diana Santiago, Ph.D., will allow students to workat after-school programs that target low-income children. Students will work with the Hiawassee River Watershed Coalition and the Mayor’s Office of Young Harris as part of an environmental policy course taught by Assistant Professor of Business and Public Policy Nathan Gray, Ph.D. As part of Campbell’s honors course regarding the theory and practice of service learning, students will develop their own projects at community partner agencies.

“The fall semester proved extremely beneficial in terms of the variety of service learning components that we were able to offer and the feedback and assessment we have started to receive from them,” Campbell said. “We are gathering and synthesizing the information we need to develop and sustain a unique and creative academic service learning program that meets the needs and expectations of our students, the College, the community partner agencies and the clients with whom they work.”
For more information or to inquire about proposing a course, contact Campbell at (706) 379-5104 or

During the Fall 2010 semester, students from Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Speaking Center Director Jennifer Hallett's interpersonal communication course worked at after-school programs for children of low-income families or at U.M.A.R., a group home for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Front row (left to right): Senior Kathleen Layton of White, junior Sharon Albertson of Carrollton, and senior Cat Durham of Macon. Back row (left to right): Freshman Matt McClure of Waynesville, N.C., Dr. Hallett, and junior Kene Obi of Chicago, Ill.

Young Harris College Students Assist Towns County Food Pantry

The Duckworth Library staff presented the Towns County Food Pantry with a $160 check on behalf of the students of Young Harris College. The money was raised by waiving the usual fee of five cents a copy for photocopying and printing in the Duckworth Library from Dec. 1-9 and giving students the option of dropping the usual fee into a jar.

“When they would have paid a nickel for a piece of paper, they dropped in a quarter,” Associate Library Director Deb March said. “They emptied their pockets and change purses in the jar with a happy smile. This was during the final exam period, so they were tired and stressed, but pleased to be able to help.”

Founded by David and Margaret Mullins and Jimmy and Pat Hicks, the Towns County Food Pantry is a partnering agency with The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia located in Athens and is governed by the Towns County Cooperative Ministries Board.

For more information about volunteering or making a donation to the Towns County Food Pantry, contact (706) 896-4783. Donations may be made Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Towns County Food Pantry Building at 1294 Jack Dayton Circle in Young Harris.

Outdoor Leadership Program Introduces New Experiential Learning Opportunities for Students

During the fall 2010 semester, the Young Harris College Department of Outdoor Leadership coordinated 642 “user days,” a new element to the program intended to enrich the education of outdoor leadership students by providing them with additional first-hand experience. A “user day” is defined as a day that a student spends “in the field” as part of an outing to a natural area.
“Having experiences in nature is foundational to our program, and getting students outside and engaged in outdoor activities is the heart and soul of what we do. The outdoor leadership program has taken students on outings in the past, but never to this scale,” Assistant Professor of Outdoor Leadership Drew Cavin, Ph.D., said. “Students learn exponentially more when they can have experiences in nature where they are taken past their comfort zone and challenged to demonstrate their own leadership abilities.”
During “user days,” students participate in a variety of outdoor activities including whitewater kayaking and canoeing, rock climbing, rafting, backpacking, caving and completing challenge courses. These excursions allow students to become familiar with wilderness areas surrounding the College including the Appalachian Trail, Fontana Lake, Nantahala River, Ocoee River, Mount Yonah and Petty John’s Cave in Georgia and Pickens Nose and Looking Glass Rock in North Carolina.
“In all of our classes we highly value the natural world as a learning environment. The amazing resources around Young Harris provide an excellent setting for students to learn and grow in outdoor leadership courses,” Dr. Cavin said.
To further enhance the outdoor leadership program, a "Discovery Semester” was introduced in Fall 2010. During this immersive semester that takes place during the fall of the student’s junior year, the student is enrolled exclusively in outdoor leadership courses that are taught in an intensive "block" format. The juniors that participated in the program’s inaugural "Discovery Semester" each spent 29 “user days” in the field.
“The 12 students that took part in our first Discovery Semester learned by experience the ins and outs of the course material including how to guide a raft, set up a climbing area and lead a group through a challenge course,” Dr. Cavin said. “These students also made incredible memories along the way.”

Junior Jennifer Watford of Cedartown and sophomore Callie Stevens of Clermont enjoy a "user day" on Fontana Lake.

Senior Jake Beggs of Clermont also participates in a "user day" on Fontana Lake.

Young Harris College Students Prepare to Embark on Mission Trip to the Bahamas

Eight Young Harris College students, faculty and staff members will travel to the Bahamas, March 5-12, to take part in an alternative spring break trip facilitated by the Office of Religious Life. The group will volunteer with Bahamas Methodist Habitat (BMH), a building ministry that repairs old houses and builds new homes for local residents on the islands.  
“The Office of Religious Life plans an alternative spring break trip every year, and the students made the decision to travel to the Bahamas after presenting several options regarding areas to visit,” Campus Minister and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Tim Moore, D.Min., said. “We will principally be doing construction and repair of family residences of the local population, but there will also be time for worship and some fun on the beach.”
To offset travel costs, members of the Inter-Religious Council will begin selling “stock” in the trip at $10 per share in Grace Rollins Campus Restaurant beginning the first week of spring semester. This initiative will continue until all of the necessary funds have been raised.
Faculty, staff and students may still register to attend the alternative spring break trip, although space is limited. The registration deadline for this event is Friday, Jan. 14. For more information about the trip, contact Rev. Dr. Moore at or (706) 379-5166. For more information about Bahamas Methodist Habitat, visit

Five Young Harris College Students Selected for Georgia All College Band


Five Young Harris College students were recently selected to perform in the Georgia All College Band that is comprised of 75 music majors representing colleges and universities throughout Georgia. The students will perform during the Georgia Music Educators Association’s (GMEA) Annual In Service Conference held in Savannah, Jan. 27-29.
Students selected include senior Tara Shiver, clarinet, of Covington, junior Raquel Jasso, clarinet, of Gainesville, sophomore Jake Wentzek, saxophone, of Blairsville, sophomore Jeremiah Kersting, trumpet, of Sugar Hill, and sophomore Nic Gannon, percussion, of Blue Ridge.
“This is the first time Young Harris College has had representation in this prestigious event,” Senior Instructor of Music and Director of Bands Mary Land said. “Membership in the All College Band is a significant accomplishment in a college student's musical career, and we are extremely proud of the students who were chosen.”
Students are selected to participate in the Georgia All College Band through director recommendation followed by an on-site individual audition. Nominees are ranked according to their ability to play major and minor scales and arpeggios the full range of his or her instrument, along with public performance skills.
“It is an honor to be chosen for this because it will benefit me as a musician and, most importantly, it will benefit my future career,” Wentzek said. “I will get to meet many music teachers from all over the state of Georgia ranging from kindergarten teachers to college professors.”
“I am extremely excited about being chosen for the Georgia All College Band,” Shiver added. “This is a great opportunity as a performer to meet new people while connecting with individuals that will aid us in our future careers as performers.”

Three Senior Biology Students to Attend Graduate School

Three Young Harris College senior biology students were recently accepted into graduate school programs.Kyle Hatley, of Kennesaw, was accepted into the North Georgia College & State University's (NGCSU) doctor of physical therapy program, while Meg Patterson, of Toccoa, and Katie Dyer, of Hiawassee, were accepted into the Medical College of Georgia's (MCG) School of Dentistry.
“NGCSU's program is very competitive, and Kyle's hard work during his studies here at YHC and all of his many, many hours shadowing and assisting physical therapists has earned him a place there,” said Dean of the Division of Mathematics and Science and Professor of Biology Paul Arnold, Ph.D. “Kyle’s research experience also proved to NGCSU that he is a very adaptable and multi-faceted young man who can think well on his feet.”
During his studies, Hatley conducted a senior research project that involved helping the Georgia Department of Natural Resources improve bear population assessment protocols by using stealth cameras.
Patterson and Dyer will attend the Medical College of Georgia's School of Dentistry, which is the only dental school in the state of Georgia. The program is extremely selective, with approximately 60 students accepted each year.  
“It is almost unheard of for a college the size of YHC to have two students accepted into this program when there are often 350 or more students applying to the program each year,” Dr. Arnold said. “It is also very rare for new graduates to be admitted on the first application, since they are competing with people who have repeatedly applied and have graduate school experience under their belt.”
Patterson and Dyer both worked on research projects directly related to the dental field during their studies and will be presenting their research at the Georgia Academy of Science Annual Meeting held at Gainesville State College in Watkinsville, March 25-26.
“Both Katie and Meg are extraordinary students, and they thoroughly impressed the School of Dentistry’s admissions staff who found them to be extremely knowledgeable, skillful and flexible,” Dr. Arnold said. “I think that YHC's liberal arts education was a definite plus in providing them with a broad-based education, but yet at the same time honing their critical scientific skills.”

ACC 411: Requirements for Recruits

A recruit, often referred to as a prospective student-athlete, is any student who has started classes for the ninth grade. Once the student becomes a prospective student-athlete, the athletic recruitment of that student is strictly monitored and must follow all rules and regulations set forth by the NCAA.
An institution may not provide a freshman or sophomore any athletically related recruiting materials. However, it is permissible for a freshman or sophomore to receive institutional recruiting materials from the admissions office.
Beginning Sept. 1 of a prospective student-athlete’s junior year, the athletic department is permitted to begin sending athletically related recruiting materials. It is impermissible for any contact to be made in-person to any high school freshman, sophomore or junior off the institution’s campus or for any telephone calls to be made to those students.  
Beginning June 15 prior to a prospective student-athlete’s senior year in high school, an athletic department may make one phone call each week to that recruit. In addition, a senior may receive unlimited emails and printed materials regarding athletic recruitment.
An institution’s athletic coaches may make three in-person off-campus contacts during a prospective student-athlete’s senior year, provide one paid visit to the institution’s campus and give an unlimited amount of evaluations of that recruit. A prospective student-athlete may visit campus on their own as many times as they wish.
In 2007, the NCAA placed a ban on text messages to recruits. Only a prospective student-athlete that has signed a national letter of intent or a grant-in-aid agreement may receive text messages from an institution’s athletic department. All recruiting activities must be documented and kept on file in the institution’s compliance office.
For more information, contact YHC Compliance Officer Jennifer Stearsman at (706) 379-5107 or

Faculty and Staff Notables

Dr. Drew Cavin, assistant professor of outdoor leadership, and Danae Turchyn, instructor of outdoor leadership and assistant director of the Outdoor Leadership Center, attended the Association for Outdoor Recreation and Education Annual Conference in Keystone, Colo., Nov. 11-13. Dr. Cavin was the author of a publication, titled “An Analysis of Nature in Three African American Autobiographical Narratives,” that will be published in the Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism & Recreation Research, Vol. 3, No. 1.  

Dr. Benny Ferguson, dean of the division of fine arts and professor of music, chaired a roundtable discussion titled “The Dynamics of Fine Arts Administration in the Small College or University” at the International Council of Fine Arts Deans Annual Conference in Sarasota, Fla., Oct. 27-30.

Mary Land, senior instructor of music and director of bands, conducted the New York All State Band in Buffalo, N.Y., Nov. 4-6, and the Tri-State Honor Band at Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky., Nov. 19-21. Land also presented a session titled “What You Should Know, Before You Go” at the North Carolina Music Educators Association In-Service Conference, Nov. 7.

Dr. Amanda Song, assistant professor of chemistry, recently received a starter grant in the amount of $500 from the American Chemical Society (ACS) to start an ACS chemistry club student chapter at Young Harris College. Dr. Song was author of a paper, titled “Exploring Possibilities for Using UV/Vis and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy to Directly Differentiate Soil Organic Matter in a Soil Profile,” that was recently published in the peer-review journal Spectroscopy Letter, 43:561–566.