Georgia State University’s Remarkable Turnaround
It’s hard to find success when you don’t know who you are.
That’s what Georgia State university president, Mark P. Becker, discovered when he took the position in 2009.
“There was a period when Georgia State lacked an identity,” Timothy M. Renick, the school’s senior vice president for student success, told Richard Fausset in a recent New York Times article.
“We really became comfortable with saying we’re not about being the next University of Georgia or Chapel Hill,” Renick told the Times. “Rather than trying to find a way to get students other than the ones that enroll at Georgia State and then find a way to serve them, why don’t we just find new ways to support the students who we do enroll, and who come to us in great numbers?”
The school has become a national leader when it comes to graduating African-American students. And under Becker’s leadership, it’s become a major catalyst for social mobility. A new focus on academic support and retention has boosted graduation rates from 32 percent in 2003 to 54 percent in 2017.
A web of programs serve as a safety net for students, ranging from small grants distributed to prevent financial-motivated dropouts to a robust advising schedule for students. Monitoring the daily progress of more than 40,000 undergraduates is no small task, but school administrators have embraced data analysis to predict potential academic problems.
For the students on the receiving end of all of these new initiatives, the path to social—and economic—mobility just got easier.
Read more about Georgia State’s recipe for academic success here.