From the President
CONSOLIDATION WITH GEORGIA PERIMETER WILL EXPAND THE UNIVERSITY’S FOOTPRINT AND ENHANCE STUDENT SUCCESS
Georgia State’s consolidation with Georgia Perimeter College (GPC), announced Jan. 6 by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, is a milestone in our development. Throughout our more than 100-year history Georgia State has changed and grown to meet the higher education needs of Georgia and Georgians. Now, we have the unique opportunity to create one university with multiple campuses for the 21st century.
The Board of Regents’ decision will make Georgia State the largest university in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation, with a student population exceeding 54,000. Most important, this consolidation will enable us to greatly improve opportunities for students and expand Georgia State’s reach and impact across the metro Atlanta area and beyond.
Georgia State has emerged as one of the nation’s premier urban research universities and is now widely recognized as a leader in higher education for pioneering innovative approaches to helping students stay on track and earn their degrees.
Our acclaimed work in establishing a national model for student success has been paralleled by huge strides forward in research. Georgia State scholars are having unprecedented success in attracting research funding to address some of the most pressing issues of our day. It is no accident that for the past two years Georgia State has been identified by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 10 “Up and Coming” national universities.
Georgia State’s commitment to being a premier urban research university in the heart of Atlanta is unchanged with this consolidation. We will continue in the months and years ahead to make significant investments in our research enterprise and continue to offer high-quality bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs that are the hallmark of a top-tier national research institution.
Georgia State’s Alpharetta Center is a state-of-the-art learning facility built to serve students in North Fulton and surrounding suburban areas. The Alpharetta Center is right next to Georgia Perimeter’s Alpharetta campus, making it a natural transition for students looking to earn their bachelor’s degree.
The new campuses and programs arising from the consolidation will complement our highly regarded academic programs and research enterprise by building on a productive and strong relationship between GPC and Georgia State. For decades, this relationship has provided thousands of students with an outstanding education and a path to a Georgia State degree. About 1,300 Georgia Perimeter students annually transfer to Georgia State, accounting for about 20 percent of Georgia State’s undergraduate enrollment at any given time. Those students have performed at the same academic level as students who began their four-year program at Georgia State. The new Georgia State will build on that record to create more and better opportunities for students.
The new Georgia State will be a multi-campus university that combines the best of a modern research university with a network of campuses that provide access and a pathway from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree. On our downtown campus we will remain a top-tier research university with highly selective admissions. Other campuses will have access missions by offering certificate and associate’s degree programs that bridge to further education or jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree. Similar models have been in place for years at institutions such as the Pennsylvania State University and the University of South Carolina. Elements of our model also bear some similarity to Emory University and its Oxford College campus.
The first goal of the university’s strategic plan, adopted in 2010, is to become a national model for undergraduate education by demonstrating that students from all backgrounds can achieve academic and career success at high rates. We have become that national model, and the national attention we have received from news media and others confirms that. This consolidation puts us in a position to serve more students more effectively and efficiently and help them achieve academic success. I expect to see a major increase in the number of students who will earn their undergraduate degrees at Georgia State.
An implementation committee, composed of faculty, staff and students from Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter, is working on the consolidation. Numerous committees and working groups will support the work of the implementation committee. The consolidation is expected to be complete in January 2016, and we are committed to keeping our community informed as the process moves forward. I hope you will follow planning and implementation by regularly checking the website created for this purpose, consolidation.gsu.edu.
Mark P. Becker