Meet the Provost Fellows, 2018 – 2019

Meet the Provost Fellows for 2018 – 2019:



Kendra Russell, Ph.D., RN
Professor and Director
Program Innovation & Evaluation – Nursing
Middle Georgia State University -Jones 257, Macon Campus
100 University Parkway, Macon, GA 31206
O: 478-471-2776

Research Interest:
Building Faculty Community

Engagement Opportunities:
Please attend one of the listening sessions identified below.
January 29th – 2pm-3pm and 4pm -5pm – Warner Robins – 207 Academic services
February 5th – 1pm-2pm and 2pm-3pm – Macon – PSC 341
February 12th – 1pm-2pm and 2pm-3pm – Eastman –  Room 1148



Melinda Robinson-Moffett, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Career Services
Middle Georgia State University
Macon: Student Life Center, Suite
254; 478-471-2441
Cochran: Sanford Hall, suite 112; 478-934-3110
Website:  www.mga.edu/cs

Research Interest:
As a Provost Fellow my research is focused on implementing a more student-centered approach to promoting, tracking, and expanding the breadth of internship opportunities available to current MGA students.  As the QEP ends, the university is in a unique position to consider how Academic Affairs and Student Affairs can partner to offer more diverse opportunities in a seamless process. What are your thoughts and/or past experiences specific to the delivery of internship opportunities university-wide? Internship Work – Group Survey.



Kara Smith Svonavec, Ph.D.
Lecturer of History and Political Science
Middle Georgia State University – Dublin Campus
O: (478) 274-7807  

Research Interest: 
As a Provost Fellow, my focus is on Adult Learners at the Dublin and Warner Robins campuses.  These students represent a significant percentage of our campus populations and may have unique interests, needs, and challenges on their paths to graduation.  If you are interested in this topic and would like to contribute to the discussion, please get in touch!



Christopher Cairney, MA, MA, Ph.D.
Assistant Chair, Department of English
Editor-in-Chief, Culture in Focus
Jackson Hall 201, Cochran Campus
Middle Georgia State University
1100 2nd St. SE, Cochran, GA 31014
O:  478.934.3349

Research Interests:
Learning Communities and Student Retention

As a Provost Fellow this year I am working on ideas about how we might “roll out” Learning Communities in ways that match our institutional goals and the needs of our students: In particular I am studying the role of LC’s in promoting student well-being.  I know we can benefit from sharing our experiences of LC’s, and so I have created a form to make it easy to share ideas.  Please also feel free to call or email me as well, I would love to get your feedback and your help.  Here is a link to the form.



Amy Berke, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences
Middle Georgia State University
Macon Campus: Phone (478) 471-5739 | Fax (478) 471-5794 |Office 219, COAS Building
Cochran Campus: Phone (478) 934-3085 | Office 100, Russell Hall

Research Interests:
Faculty Development

As a Provost Fellow this year, I am interested in investigating ways in which faculty members (especially first year faculty) can engage in a broad range of development activities, especially in the area of teaching excellence.  Last semester, I presented “Documenting Teaching Excellence” during a day of faculty development sessions on the Macon campus, and I look forward to repeating the presentation on the Cochran campus this semester.  I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many of you regarding your ideas for improving and broadening faculty development opportunities, and I look forward to hearing from others with ideas and suggestions.  Please call or email at your convenience.



Eric L. Sun, Ph.D.
Associate Dean and Professor of Biology
College of Arts and Sciences
100 University Parkway, Macon, Ga. 31206-5145
Office 208, COAS Building, Macon Campus
O: 478.471.2493

Research Interests:
Academic Advising

As a Provost Fellow for the current year, I am examining the role of academic advisors in promoting student engagement and success. While academic advisors are commonly associated with helping students build schedules and get registered for classes, they play an integral role in the education of the student. This aspect of academic advisors is often overlooked but is gaining much attention and is a frequent topic of conversation at all levels of academia. I know we all have opinions regarding academic advising and the role of advisors. Please share your thoughts with me. I look forward to your calls, informal chats and emails. 



Sumitra Himangshu-Pennybacker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor School of Education
Assessment Coordinator
School of Education & Behavioral Science
Middle Georgia State University
100 University Parkway | Macon, Ga. 31206-5145
Phone: (478) 757-2544/471-2545
Office 307, Education Building, Macon Campus

Research Interest:
Enhancing MGA Learning Environment: Identifying Institutional Identity

As a Provost Fellow for the current academic year, I am working to advance MGA’s learning environment by focusing upon (and adding definition to) our institutional identity. Can we better understand the culture of our campus communities by identifying the learning needs of MGA’s varied student base(s)?  In order to accomplish this goal, we will create a series of conversational focus groups with the university community: students, faculty/staff, and professional advisors. Please email me if you would like to participate in ‘conversations to advance our institutional identity’.