Town & Gown: Another year to be cocky


This Town and Gown was written by Julie Skinner in Jacksonville State University’s Office of Public Relations.

As Jacksonville State University prepares to leave the 2011-2012 academic year behind, there are a number of fresh accomplishments, happy memories and new Gamecocks to reflect back on.

JSU kicked off 2012 across the pond in London, England, as the Marching Southerners led the New Year’s Day Parade. The parade was the first official event for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 London Olympics. The parade was viewed by over 250,000 people, who lined the 2.2 mile route that stretched from Piccadilly to Parliament Square. Many back home watched their loved ones via television and the internet.

JSU welcomed new faculty, including the new Vice President for University Advancement, Dr. Charles Lewis; Vice President for Information Technology, Vinson Houston; and Athletic Director, Warren “Moose” Koegel. We are always happy to add new Gamecocks to the family.

Academically, JSU continues to advance towards making the university the very best it can be.

This academic year, JSU reached its second highest enrollment with 9,490 students, and a record for first-time freshman, a whopping 1,414 new faces. The Doctor of Science in Emergency Management continues to grow in its second year, adding 12 new students to the original ten that began the program.

The Southerners weren’t the only ones to travel out of the country; the English Department offered a course in Chinese culture that included study at Taizhou University in China, where the students stayed for two weeks. Twenty-six applicants applied, and ten honor students were selected for the opportunity.

JaXSpots, a rewards program that allows students to check in at campus events and earn “spots” or points, also made its way onto the JSU campus. Within the first two months, students earned JSU spirit bracelets, t-shirts, all access campus parking passes and an invitation to a party at the end of the semester, just for attending events across campus.

Multimedia continues to grow, as well. Houston Cole Library is funding the establishment of a multimedia center on the 4th floor, equipped with a big screen TV and computer to aid students in studying as a group. Students will be able to make reservations to use the room. Vice President for information Technology, Vinson Houston, wrote a grant to allow JSU to distribute iPads to two classrooms; one in Arts and Sciences, and the other in the College of Education and Professional Studies. 150 iPads were also purchased for faculty and administration to further enhance interaction within the classroom. JSU also increased fully online programs to 35 in the 2011-2012 year, allowing students across the globe more opportunities to study at JSU without ever having to set foot on campus.

While the campus may be growing in size and technological advances, one thing always stays certain: JSU is dedicated to being the friendliest and most helpful university in the South. Students remain part of the JSU family long after they graduate and settle into their careers. It’s not just the campus, but the community of Jacksonville, that allows students near and far to experience the beauty and comfort of Jacksonville State University.

Thanks for another great year, and happy holidays to you all.

For more information on new advancements in the past year, contact Jacksonville State University’s Office of Public Relations at 256-782-5636.

This article originally appeared in the "Town and Gown" of the Jacksonville News.