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University funds initiatives in arts and in language and literacy

5/14/2008 – Ann Claycombe

Arts and Sciences departments will play key roles in two major new initiatives recently announced at Georgia State. Beginning in July 2008, the university will provide funding for “Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy” and “Internationalization of the Arts at Georgia State University” areas of focus programs based in A&S.

“We already have distinctive strengths in both areas,” said Dean Lauren Adamson. “Now we can build a strong institutional basis to support our students and faculty as we move forward.”

Language and Literacy will pursue several innovative lines of research. First, the program will study how people learn to comprehend both the spoken and the written word. Most universities focus on either one or the other.

The program will also build on the university’s existing research into those who face challenges in learning to speak and read. These groups include children and adults with autism, cerebral palsy and developmental disorders, among others, and people who grow up surrounded by more than one language. The idea is not only to help these populations improve their skills, but to shed light on language and literacy acquisition in general.

The Language and Literacy initiative will receive $1.6  million over the next three years. The money will pay for new tenure-track hires, new facilities and graduate student stipends. The program will pull in faculty and graduate students from units all over campus, including the following in Arts and Sciences: Psychology, Anthropology, Applied Linguistics, Philosophy, Modern and Classical Languages, the Center for Research on Atypical Development, and the Language Research Center.

The other initiative getting new funding is coordinated by the Center for Collaborative and International Arts (CENCIA). The center, founded three years ago, has worked thus far to promote collaborations between artists in different fields and works to further Georgia State as a center of the arts in Atlanta.

With the new funding, CENCIA plans to develop an international focus for the university’s arts programs. The center will foster opportunities for students and faculty to study, perform and exhibit abroad, and to bring artists from other countries to campus. CENCIA was awarded $90,000 for program costs and to pay for a half-time staff coordinator.

Georgia State is unique among Atlanta’s universities in the number and diversity of its arts programs. It is the only school in the area to have a School of Music, a School of Art and Design, and to offer degree programs in art, music, creative writing, and film and video. In addition, the university features several fine performance and exhibition venues: the Rialto Center for the Arts, the Kopleff Recital Hall, and the university Art Galleries. The international initiative will involve all of these programs.

One other major area of focus program has been funded at Georgia State, in the Robinson College of Business, to study risk and its management.