Dr. Becker talks with students on campus

Goal 1

Become a national model for undergraduate education by demonstrating that students from all backgrounds can achieve academic and career success at high rates.

As Georgia State has grown, our student body has retained the characteristics that make the University one of the most distinctive public research institutions in the nation while becoming a destination of choice for high-ability students. The opportunity to teach and learn in such a rich environment is one of the University’s greatest strengths. Our goal is to continue to position the University as a model of academic success for diverse populations and to lead among research institutions in producing engaged citizens of the 21st century.

INITIATIVE 1:
Increase the level of scholarship support for undergraduate students.The ability to recruit highly qualified students as well as the academic performance of enrolled students are both greatly influenced by the level of a student’s financial need. Although the academic ability of our students has been steadily increasing, their socio-economic profile is unique for a research university in that nearly 90 percent of students qualify for financial aid. To enhance Georgia State’s ability to attract the best students and to address the detrimental effects of financial need on student recruitment, retention and graduation, the University proposes doubling the level of institutional support for merit- and need-based scholarship funding. This support also will assist in expanding our unique retention programs such as Keep HOPE Alive, which gives students an opportunity to participate in academic and financial aid counseling and intensive academic skills development. Central to increasing the effectiveness of our scholarship offerings is the development of an Office of Fellowships and Scholarships that connects students with a range of internal and external scholarships.

INITIATIVE 2:
Establish a Student Success Center. To ensure the success of our students, Georgia State will establish a Student Success Center identified as the campus location for a complete range of student academic support programs. As part of its commitment to student success, the University will commit to lowering the student/advisor ratio to the national standard of 300 to 1 and will establish a new advisement program that will track each student’s academic progress and create mandatory points of advisement and interventions at key academic junctures. The Student Success Center also will house Georgia State’s Center for Teaching and Learning, where faculty can explore innovative classroom pedagogies and technologies. Housed within the Center, a Teaching Academy will promote the scholarship of teaching and learning and serve as an entity to seek external funds to enhance learning and instruction. Faculty who become Teaching Academy Fellows will conduct research on improving student learning in their courses with a goal of publishing this work in peer-reviewed journals. The Student Success Center will serve as evidence of the University’s commitment to student success by providing resources to both students and faculty to improve the process of teaching and learning at Georgia State.

INITIATIVE 3:
Implement an Undergraduate Signature Experience. The University will establish signature experiences for undergraduates. Undergraduates will complete at least one signature experience before graduation. These programs represent a commitment to applied learning as an integral part of our educational mission. Initially the four signature experiences will be structured as follows: (1) The Research Fellows program will allow undergraduates to join a research team or work with individual research faculty. (2) The City Fellows program will involve participation in the Council for the Progress of Cities or the President’s Leadership Academy. The Academy will hone students’ practical and applied real-world skills through coursework, civic engagement and internships and will culminate in an international trip hosted by the University president. (3) The Professional Fellows program will provide a way for students to partner with those already working within their chosen profession. Both the City Fellow and Professional Fellow programs will draw on our extensive alumni base for mentors, internship directors and civic contacts. (4) TheInternational Fellows Program for Studying Abroad will offer students an opportunity to learn and engage as world citizens. Academic units are encouraged to organize additional Signature Experiences.

INITIATIVE 4:
Establish an Honors College. Georgia State University will establish an Honors College and thereby join other universities nationally in giving its Honors efforts stature and visibility on campus. The Honors College will advocate for the educational experiences and resources needed by our high-ability students. The College will gain resources for instructional support to allow faculty from across the University to offer individual Honors courses or be appointed as Honors Faculty Fellows. The Honors College will be a place where faculty can work with our most talented students to advance undergraduate scholarship, enhance research, foster service, and compete for prestigious awards and fellowships.