2013 OIE Faculty Awards

The Office of International Education held its 2013 Annual Faculty/Staff Awards reception on March 28, 2013. The following individuals were honored at this event.


Link to Event Photos


Dr. John Ca
rroll - OIE Study Abroad Award
The Study Abroad Award, given by the Office of International Education, honors a faculty or staff member who has made significant contributions to the study abroad effort at the University of Georgia by working directly with a study abroad program and/or greatly contributing to the infrastructure that advances the UGA’s overall study abroad effort. 

Dr. John Carroll, is well known for his research and teaching on conservation and wildlife, but even better known because this work has taken him all over the world.  What is most significant, however, is the way in which Dr. Carroll has engaged students in international teaching and research.   In 2005, he received a National Academies of Science & Engineering grant to provide international research experience for undergraduates in rural areas of the Republic of Georgia.  This program evolved into a field natural history and ecology experience focused on conservation in southern Africa.  Since , Dr. Carroll has taken students to both South Africa and Botswana to develop their field skills, but also to help them understand the challenges of conservation outside the USA, and especially move beyond the television view of wildlife conservation in Africa.  Dr. Carroll’s students leave as internationally-engaged and informed graduates, empowered with a global view.   A student who participated in his Botswana program last summer shared the following anecdote: “Three endangered wild dogs were poisoned on the property during the course. Instead of downplaying this tragic event, Dr. Carroll organized for the Head of Anti-poaching for  the property, Rex, to come speak to the class. Students learned about what had led to this event and what could and could not be done to address it. Rex expressed that international pressure, above anything else, is the best way to bring attention to and financial support for stopping such poaching. Thus, students left feeling empowered to speak out on this issue on their return to the US.” 

Ms. Betsy Wenthe - Open Arms Award
The Open Arms Award is given in honor of Mary Ann Kelly who played a leadership role in the International Student and Scholars and Immigration Services unit of the Office of International Education.  The award honors University of Georgia faculty or staff that that have gone beyond their formal duties to facilitate the presence of international students and scholars.

Ms. Betsy Wenthe is administrative specialist in the research group of Dr. Jessica Kissinger in the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. CTGED is deeply involved in international collaborations and Betsy Wenthe was nominated by her colleagues for her efforts hosting international researchers and making them feel welcome.  Dan Colley says in his nomination letter, “she has run errands for newly arrived trainees, getting them at the airport, making sure they have a place to stay,  which often involves housing them or their families at her home until suitable arrangements can be made.  She tends to such things that boggle the minds of some visitors – getting the utilities turned on , navigating a supermarket, or finding flatware, sheets and toilet  paper to make it through those critical and challenging early weeks.  She has donated many of her own household items to allow trainees to cook or clean in their new accommodations.”  Yet, as another colleague notes, Betsy is humble and doesn’t really think she is doing anything above and beyond her responsibilities in all she does for international visitors.  A university’s international reputation is built on more than the US News and World report rankings.  Because of Betsy’s efforts, international scholars and trainees return to their home countries sharing with others the warmth and welcome that they received at CTGED and UGA – which more than anything else attracts a new generation of international scholars to UGA.

Dr. Leigh Poole - International Diversity Award
The International Diversity Award, jointly given by the Office of International Education and the Office of Institutional Diversity, honors a faculty or staff member who has shown dedication to promoting diversity in its many forms within international populations and activities at the University of Georgia.

Leigh Poole is UGA’s associate director for International Student Life and has an extensive background in international education.  She has received a Fulbright fellowship twice, taking her first to South Korea and then Germany.  She serves as the Chair of NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, Region VII.  At UGA, Leigh Poole is the force behind many of the international and intercultural themed activities and events at UGA including Archway to the World, the new international student orientation, the International Street Festival, World Fest, Global Friends, and the international coffee hour in Memorial Hall. Throughout her career, Leigh Poole has woven her efforts in internationalization with diversity-related efforts.   She has been active in recruiting students from underrepresented populations for study abroad, educating international students about U.S. cultural, ethnic, and religious, diversity; and increasing the inclusion of students with disabilities in international activities.  She has forged important linkages and collaborations between Office of International Education and the African American Cultural Center, the LGBT Resource Center, and the office of Multicultural Students and Programs.

Dr. Don Rubin - Richard Reiff Internationalization Award

The Reiff Award is given in honor of Dr. Richard Reiff, former executive director of the Office of International Education at the University System of Georgia, former chair of the international committee of the University System of Georgia, and past president of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The award honors a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who has made major contributions to the overall internationalization of the University of Georgia.

Don Rubin is professor emeritus of Communication Studies, Language and Literacy Education, and Linguistics and is currently a research scientist at the Center for Health and Risk Communication.  Over his career at UGA, Don Rubin taught graduate and undergraduate courses in intercultural communication and in English as an Additional Language.  He directed the program in instructional communication for international teaching assistants.  One thread of Rubin’s research program examines attitudinal responses of native speakers of English to non-native speakers, including US students’ stereotypes and comprehension of international instructors.  Over the past decade, Don Rubin has been engaged in one of the most ambitious and rigorous studies to date of learning outcomes accruing from education abroad. This study, in collaboration with Rick Sutton (formerly of the USG) is known as GLOSSARI:  the Georgia Learning of Students Studying Abroad Initiative.  It is widely known and cited by international educators and policy makers.  Carola McGiffert, a senior staffer who was in charge of Obama’s 100,000 Strong initiative, in speaking of the GLOSSARI initiative recently referred to it at the best study to date that she knew of that tracks the impact of study abroad, particularly with regard to completion and GPA.  Through the foundation set by Dr. Rubin, UGA has the potential to be a leader not just in the number of students studying abroad but the understanding and measurement of the learning that takes place on study abroad.

Paula Mellom - Costa Rica Adelente Award
Paula J. Mellom is an Assistant Research Scientist for the Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education (CLASE). As such, she is responsible for seeking funding for CLASE’s array of programs as well as researching their impacts.

In addition, Dr. Mellom takes the lead on CLASE’s “SALSA” program, a summer science enrichment course for ELL high-school students, and “Content and Culture in Latin America”, an international professional development experience for in-service teachers from Georgia. Since 2006, Dr. Mellom has led UGA Costa Rica's Language and Culture Service Learning study abroad course. Dr. Mellom earned her Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Georgia and her research interests include code-switching in the classroom and the ways in which globalization and issues of identity construction impact language acquisition and use.

Scott Belville - Dedicato a Cortona Award
Professor Scott Belville is a prolific artist with a distinguished career both as a painter and as a teacher. He has exhibited his works in gallery and museum venues form Atlanta to New York, Chicago,  Washington D.C. and regionally across the southeast. His art works have garnered numerous grants and awards including; two NEA Individual Artists Grants and a Ford Foundation Grant among others. Scott’s paintings are included in many important public and private collections; The Georgia Museum of Art, The Walker Art Center, The Joseph Hirshhorn Museum, The Greenville County Museum of Art, The Chase Manhattan Bank to name a few.

At the University, he has received research grants from the Willson Center, a Study in a Second Discipline Grant from the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and a Lothar Tresp Outstanding Teaching Honors Professor Award.

Scott’s connection to the Cortona Program is deep and nearly as ancient as the program itself. He first participated on the program in 1972-(during the Etruscan Period), and then again in 1974, when and where he met his future wife and artist- Judy Voss Jones. In 1975 Scott became an “Italian Godfather” for a “Cortona Family” and in time secured a position at The University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, allowing him to visit and teach in Cortona on numerous occasions under the guise as a “University Professor”.

In 2004 Scott established the Judy Voss Jones Cortona Art Scholarship in honor and memory of his wife, with the hope of encouraging more graduate student participation in the program. He has continued to passionately support this and other scholarships for this unique Art Study Abroad Experience.

Bob McGee - Friend of UGA Oxford Award
Bob McGee, with more than 28 years of higher education experience, serves as the associate controller responsible for payroll and global business transactions.

McGee began his career in the public utility industry and also worked in the oil and gas industry prior to joining Louisiana State University as the manager of general accounting in 1984. He was later selected to head LSU’s Office of Grants and Contracts and moved to the University of Georgia in 1991 in a similar role. He became the director of the payroll department in 1997 and his role was later expanded to also include leadership of the accounts payable and expenditure control departments. In 2004 he became associate controller and added the bursar office to his areas of responsibility for a period of time. In July 2012 he became responsible for payroll and global business  transactions.

McGee is a 1978 graduate of Mississippi State University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting. He also holds a master of business administration degree and became a certified public
accountant in 1980. He completed the College Business Management Institute at the University of Kentucky in 1990. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers (SACUBO) as treasurer and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He has coached many youth sports teams in the area and is active in the
First United Methodist Church of Athens.