Young man and young women walking on campus


The history of Georgia State University is one of transformation

from its founding in 1913 as an evening school of commerce, to its emergence as an independent college in the 1960s, to its designation in 1995 as one of four research institutions in the state university system. GSU is now the second-largest university in the University System of Georgia, with more than 30,000 students, over 1,000 faculty members and over 250 degree programs in 62 fields of study that generate cutting-edge research and educate one of the most diverse student populations in the nation. Our students, faculty, staff, graduates and programs are integral to the city of Atlanta, Georgia’s capital and largest city, marking an important distinction for us among universities in Georgia. Our boundaries and influence are growing as our campus extends throughout the greater metropolitan area, with an economic impact on the metro area of more than $1 billion annually. This strategic plan builds upon Georgia State’s trajectory of growth in quality, size and impact, anticipating increased prominence as we approach our second century and vie for a place among the leading public research universities in the United States.

The Georgia State community is characterized and strengthened by its diversity, which is among our greatest sources of pride. Our student body reflects the makeup of our state and anticipates the increasing diversity of our nation as a whole, as acknowledged in the University’s Diversity Strategic Plan, an executive summary of which is appended to this document. We take as a matter of course that all of our students, who come from every county in Georgia, every state in the nation and more than 150 countries, deserve a first-rate education. And while we have continued to provide access to nontraditional students, over the past decade GSU also has attracted many of the state’s most talented undergraduates. We are confident that thus far we have been successful in educating our multifaceted student body and are proud of our alumni, who have excelled and led in all areas of endeavor at local, state, national and international levels. In 2009 Georgia State was named one of the Top 100 Public Universities in the U.S. by Forbes magazine, based on student satisfaction, affordability and success in job placement of its graduates. We have made continued improvement in teaching a priority in this Strategic Plan.

GSU, once known as a commuter school, now offers a rich and vibrant student experience through a remarkable array of academic, social and cultural opportunities including community-building programs in athletics, student life and recreation, Freshmen Learning Communities, and peer tutoring. Over the past 15 years we also have added extensive undergraduate housing. And over the past decade we have built exciting, competitive NCAA athletic programs, including the GSU Panthers football team, which established a winning record in its first season of play in the Georgia Dome.

GSU faculty research, as measured by external funding, publications, rankings and prestigious awards, has shown sustained and impressive growth. The creativity and productivity of individual faculty members have enhanced Georgia State’s status nationally and among the four research institutions in the University System of Georgia. They have also given rise to a number of nationally ranked graduate programs, including GSU’s program in health law, which is ranked among the top five in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. GSU’s part-time MBA is ranked among the best in the nation by BusinessWeek and U.S. News & World Report and its Executive MBA is on the Financial Times list of the world’s best EMBA programs.

GSU research and service projects have garnered national attention, financial support and recognition for their innovation and contributions to the broader community. In 2005 the White House selected Computer Assisted Debate as a signature program for Helping America’s Youth. Since 1999 GSU’s Bio-Bus has introduced more than 100,000 students in over 150 schools to cell biology, the basics of DNA and other life science concepts. In 2010, faculty members from the Robinson College of Business and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies developed the first comprehensive nationwide calculator for small businesses to determine eligibility for tax credits under federal health care reform. Since 2005, Georgia State’s Partnership for Urban Health Research has facilitated interdisciplinary research on health disparities in urban communities and brought in over $12 million in external awards. GSU scientists, working in state-of-the-art facilities such as the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) and the new Parker H. Petit Science Center, have garnered major support from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. As an example, the Center for Behavioral Neurosciences, an NSF science and technology center, has been awarded over $40 million since 1999.  Recently, GSU’s College of Education received a Teacher Quality Partnership Grant to support its innovative teacher preparation programs in collaboration with school system partners. And GSU’s Center for Collaborative and International Arts brings music, film, visual and literary arts from around the world to campus, often in collaboration with GSU’s distinguished Rialto Center for the Arts.

This preamble provides a context for the Strategic Plan that follows. Over the past few decades GSU has grown and advanced at a dramatic rate due to the creative efforts of individual faculty across disciplines as well as collaborative undertakings in our emergent areas of focus. The University is committed to supporting and rewarding ongoing faculty achievement, as all faculty accomplishments contribute to the excellence and reputation of the institution. Based on our campus dialogue, the Strategic Plan identifies five major goals and outlines a series of supporting initiatives that will promote innovation, accelerate research and build on our existing strengths. With broad agreement from President Mark P. Becker and Provost Risa Palm, and from faculty, students and staff, we have resolved (1) to become a national model for undergraduate education by demonstrating that students from all backgrounds can achieve academic and career success at high rates; (2) to significantly strengthen and grow the base of distinctive graduate programs that assure development of the next generation of researchers and societal leaders; (3) to become a leading public research university addressing the most challenging issues of the 21st century; (4) to be a leader in understanding and addressing the complex challenges of cities and developing effective solutions; and (5) to achieve distinction in globalizing the University.

We believe that these goals and the specific initiatives that support them are worthy, and we are committed to their success. Over nine decades GSU has shown significant growth. Yet we believe we have the potential to achieve more during our second century than could have been imagined in our first. We invite you to join us in realizing these goals.