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New Lifelong Learner Programs for 50+

lifelong learner programs

The Georgia Southern University Division of Continuing Education (CE) is expanding its offerings to include specially designed courses for the 50+ population.

The Lifelong Learner programs feature a wide breadth of travel, artistic and language-based offerings among others. The Beaufort Tour and Charleston Tea Plantation excursions are the first of their kind developed by CE since the Flying Eagles program of the early 2010s. Both educational tours explore some of South Carolina’s most beloved and historic cities, rich in Lowcountry history.

These new programs come on the heels of the Evening at Armstrong Community Lecture Series, a series of events led by members of the community designed to provide lifelong enrichment for those seeking to stay engaged after retirement. These lectures feature a diverse range of topics; past lecturers include Pat Prokop, a veteran meteorologist of more than 30 years who is also known for his green thumb and “backyard astronomy” photographs.

Deedee Southerlin, Ed.D., the program manager working alongside director Diane Badakhsh, Ed.D., and other members of CE have piloted several of these lifelong learning courses for the spring 2020 season.

“The intent of lifelong learning content is more about engaging individuals in something they find meaningful—that continues to help them develop intellectually,” Dr. Southerlin said. “The programs that are successful will match the interest of their communities.”

Those interested in learning more about the Lifelong Learning Programs through CE can view a listing in the spring 2020 issue of Advance., on the website, or contact Dr. Southerlin at or 912-478-5555.

A Jewel Retires from CE

It is bittersweet that we announce the retirement of Ms. Jewell “Judy” Hendrix, executive assistant to the director and an all-around amazing woman, effective Aug. 1. Over the past 30 years with the Division of Continuing Education (41 with the University), she has positively impacted countless lives—student, instructor and coworker alike. 

Whether working with the National Youth-At-Risk Conference, the Governor’s Conference and Model UN, among others, her favorite part of work has always been the people that she’s met along the way. “[It’s] the clients you get to work with, the partnerships and friendships you form.” Hendrix said. “As the years have passed, you see their families grow and change and you celebrate the happy times and mourn the sad times. I always enjoy the feeling of knowing that I have done my best and when a customer walks away with a smile on their face.”

Judy Hendrix, far right, at the 30th Annual National Youth-At-Risk Conference

Before joining the Division of Continuing Education in 1990, Hendrix served as senior secretary for the Department of Management in what was then the School of Business, where she began in 1979. In 1988, she was acknowledged for her outstanding contributions by then Georgia Southern Vice President, Harry S. Carter, and again in 1989 as one of Today’s Women in Bulloch County. “The Georgia Southern of 1979 is very different [from] the Georgia Southern of 2020 and we are living in unprecedented times. It is encouraging to see the way that our administrators, faculty and staff have come together to support the University and the community.”

This community—Statesboro and Bulloch County—is one that she has called home since she was 14 years old, when her family decided to move back to her parents’ hometown. She currently is involved with her church, working in their nursery, and has assisted with weeklong camps she says have “shaped and changed the lives of many young people.”

Judy Hendrix, age 6 (or 7).

Before calling Statesboro home, Hendrix spent her early years in the countryside of Acworth, Georgia where she and her family belonged to another tight-knit community. She fondly recalls swinging with her siblings on the neighbor’s giant tire swing, helping her parents tend the gardens, and taking care of the cows—especially Betsy—using the milk to make homemade butter.

Now, a few weeks before her retirement is official, she says she’s excited about the future. “I’ll continue to be faithfully involved in my church and its ministries. I’m looking forward to turning the page and following the path that the Lord has for me because he has promised that he will guide me and will never forsake me, and I can trust him in the sunshine and in the storm.”

Before she leaves Georgia Southern and settles into retirement, Ms. Judy wants to leave just one more nugget of wisdom. “Take time to enjoy the occasions, really enjoy time spent with parents and family, the joy of a child’s laughter, the wonder on their face, listen to the birds singing, smell the flowers, take a photo, enjoy a hug, share a whispered prayer, really listen, smile at a stranger, help when no one is looking, read a verse and savor the Lord speaking to you. Sing to your heart’s content, feel the sun’s rays on your face, enjoy the journey, you are never going to say, ‘I wish I would have worked more.’”

The mission of the Division of Continuing Education is to support Georgia Southern University’s commitment to extending the learning environment beyond the classroom to the communities it serves, promoting lifelong success by delivering multi-modal, multi-site and empowering opportunities for the individual. Our offerings are available online and in-person, designed to meet various cultural and generational learning needs and provide traditional and non-traditional learners with the flexibility needed to maintain a work-life balance.

The Georgia Educational Research Association invites proposal submissions for its 45th annual conference

GERA call for proposals is open

The call for proposals is open for the 45th annual Georgia Educational Research Association (GERA) conference, taking place Oct. 2.

This conference allows educational researchers, including faculty, administrators, and graduate and undergraduate students, to share their research and progress as well as attend and participate in multiple research presentations. The conference also features the organization’s annual business meeting.

In concurrence with the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the theme for this year is, “The Power and Possibilities for Public Good.”  The priority deadline for proposal submissions is Aug. 30.

Those interested in submitting a proposal may also be considered for the Distinguished Paper Award, which allows the winner to present at the 2021 AERA Annual Meeting. Currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students are eligible to submit papers for the Outstanding Student Research Award, the winner of which will receive recognition at this year’s GERA conference.

To submit a proposal, please visit

For more information on GERA from the Division of Continuing Education, please contact the conference services specialist Michel Blitch at

Continuing Education, Department of Public and Nonprofit Studies Partner For New Certificate Program

The Georgia Southern University Division of Continuing Education and Department of Public and Nonprofit Studies have partnered to offer a brand new certificate program. The Nonprofit Management and Leadership Workshop Series will take place October 5-9, 2020 at the Armstrong Center in Savannah, Ga.

This five-day program is focused on practical skill building and covers a range of management principles including board governance, budgeting, grant writing, strategic planning and volunteer management among others.

“As we work through the COVID-19 crisis, the nonprofit sector landscape is experiencing dramatic shifts in a number of key areas such as service delivery, fundraising and philanthropy, and volunteer management,” said Trent Davis, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Public and Nonprofit Studies. “This strategic partnership will allow us to bring practical, relevant and timely skills based training to nonprofit professionals in Savannah and surrounding areas.”

While the program is certificate-earning, there are also drop-in rates available for those looking to hone a specific skill to better serve their organization. Each session is taught by a professor in the Department of Public and Nonprofit Studies.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a hardship rate is available for those who qualify. Anyone interested in registering for the program may find more information at

For more information on the hardship rate or other adult program offerings from the Division of Continuing Education, please contact Deedee Southerlin, Ed.D., at

Why Mental Health Matters

Photo courtesy of Bekir Dönmez

According to Mental Health America’s annual State of Mental Health in America report, over 40 million adults have a mental health condition. Of those 40+ million Americans, 1 in 5 adults still aren’t getting the care they need and 61.5% of youth ages 12-17, who had reported a major depression, received no treatment.

Among veterans, experts see a similarly troubling trend.

Thirty percent of active duty and reserve military personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have a mental health condition that requires treatment.

— Mental Health First Aid

What’s more troubling is that only half of that 30% actually receive the treatment they need.

What does this mean for you? 

It’s likely you or someone you know experiences a mental health condition. While access to care is increasing, there is still a call to action for people from all walks of life to become a resource for someone in need. 

Mental Health First Aid certification enables everyday people to become everyday heroes, equipping them with the knowledge and strategies to help others recognize their strengths, identify their support systems, and seek out the resources to get appropriate care.

The Division of Continuing Education offers an area-specific course to meet the needs of its communities, each led by highly trained and certified instructors:

Mental Health First Aid for Veterans

October 18, 2019 • 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Armstrong Center at Georgia Southern • Savannah, GA

For many Americans in service, the battle doesn’t always end when they leave the field. This course gives you the know-how to recognize and respond to mental health and substance abuse challenges while also understanding the unique cultural factors of military life.

Light breakfast and lunch will be served at this workshop. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Senior Program Specialist, Deedee Southerlin, Ed.D., at (912) 478-5555 or at