Georgia Southern President Jaimie Hebert Hosts Town Hall Event

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

During his first 100 days as Georgia Southern University’s 13th president, Jaimie Hebert, Ph.D., listened to alumni, faculty, staff and the community by asking them to share their thoughts with him through a unique survey open since July 1. In a town hall event on Monday, Oct. 17, he shared the results of the survey and discussed his vision for the University.

In addition to the insights provided in the areas of academics, administration and staff, alumni, athletics, faculty, students, and University news, Hebert also received thoughtful input on becoming part of the community from being baptized in Eagle Creek to where to find the best doctors.

“The hospitality I have experienced truly reflects the culture of this University and the core values that we espouse — kindness and civility,” said Hebert. “Those values weave themselves through everything we do, and as I looked at the responses to our 100 Days survey, I was amazed at how truly thoughtful you are. Georgia Southern is truly about community.”

The survey illustrated several themes consistent with what Hebert has heard over the past four months while getting to know students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community.

Hebert affirmed that it is the traditions and core values that make Georgia Southern what it is.

“As the University develops its collective vision, kindness, civility and social responsibility are non-negotiable,” said Hebert. “These qualities are embedded in our core values and are the qualities that each and every one of you live out each day as you do your important work on this campus.”  

Many survey comments highlighted the pride and passion of Georgia Southern alumni for the University. Others expressed a desire for the University to continue to connect to the surrounding communities, including Statesboro and Bulloch County, Savannah and Atlanta. Some noted that while Georgia Southern’s athletics program helps the University to receive national attention, the University’s successes in academics and research also are deserving of recognition at a national level.

“This is an excellent teaching institution with excellent scholars,” one survey response stated.

Faculty not only invited Hebert to visit their classrooms, they encouraged him to be available, get to know all minority faculty and encourage outstanding junior faculty. Additional faculty suggestions included building infrastructure and additional classrooms, beginning the strategic planning process, investing in research, increasing faculty salaries, growing the University’s graduate programs, and maintaining teaching above all else.

“Our Carnegie Foundation recognition as a Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution is an indication of the quality of scholars and the quality of faculty that we have on our campus,” said Hebert. “Being a comprehensive university means that we have the passion to embrace the teacher-scholar model to be recognizable, formidable researchers, and artists, and at the same time be passionate about student success in an undergraduate classroom.”

Students voiced a desire for continued improvements to campus safety, additional parking, and additional support of minorities. As the University continues to grow, many survey responses repeated the importance of maintaining Georgia Southern’s large-scale, small feel atmosphere as a core value of the University.

Staff impressed upon Hebert that the staff of Georgia Southern are exceptionally dedicated to the University and student success. They also shared that areas of improvement include morale, internal efficiencies and reporting structures.

“I don’t want to be a different University, I want to be a better Georgia Southern,” continued Hebert. “I absolutely love this place, but it is imperative, it is incumbent upon me, that I put us in a position to move forward to become that better Georgia Southern that I know we can be.”