Our Work in Helping Students Succeed is Drawing National Attention

Posted On June 3, 2013

June 2013

This spring I’ve had some terrific opportunities to tell the story of the outstanding work being done by Georgia State’s faculty and staff. There have been a variety of events and meetings where I have had the chance to tell the story of how Georgia State is developing a model for undergraduate education that is of national importance. Our success in graduating an economically diverse student body speaks directly to President Obama’s national priority and Governor Deal’s state priority to increase the number and proportion of college graduates in the population.

Led by Tim Renick, vice provost and chief enrollment officer, Georgia State is one of the nation’s leaders in implementing innovative programs aimed at ensuring student success. Our work in this area is gaining significant national attention, in the media and by policy makers who are taking notice of our success.

Georgia State was recently featured in an “NPR Marketplace” segment that told the story of Georgia State student Lucille McGee and highlighted programs the university has implemented to help students such as Lucille achieve their dreams of graduating with a college degree 

Listen to the story here: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/education/getting-college-students-across-finish-line

Student success initiatives also were topics of discussion at a meeting of leaders of urban serving universities hosted at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Washington, D.C. office on April 23, and at a meeting supported by the Lumina Foundation at the New America Foundation in D.C. on May 21. The New America Foundation is a nonpartisan public policy organization that seeks to advance equity, access and excellence in education through its Education Policy Program.

The meeting at the Gates Foundation was a cooperative effort of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities Office of Urban Initiatives with the Gates Foundation’s Office of Post-Secondary Initiatives to discuss a vision of post-secondary education for the next 20 years. The Gates Foundation is highly interested in finding ways to support systems change in higher education that will improve the overall capacity, productivity and performance of the higher education system, and this meeting demonstrates they see urban universities as important to those efforts. The April 23 meeting marked the beginning of a process, and work on next steps is already underway.

The Lumina Foundation has a goal to increase the number of Americans with post-secondary credentials, including college degrees, to 60 percent by 2025. The May 21 meeting was for the release of a report by New America Foundation on “Next Generation Universities,” which was supported by a grant from the Lumina Foundation.

The “Next Generation Universities” report focuses on six universities, including Georgia State, that are serving economically diverse student bodies and are simultaneously increasing enrollments, graduation rates and research productivity. At the report release event on May 21 I was among the presidents featured on panels that focused on initiatives and innovations that are producing the exemplary results spotlighted in the report.

Here’s a link to the report: http://education.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net

And here’s a great story out of Diverse Issues in Higher Education tied to the panel:


A new book, “College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students,” by Jeff Selingo, an editor at large for The Chronicle of Higher Education, addresses disruptive innovation and the future of higher education. Georgia State is among the universities Jeff discusses in his book, and he also is a co-author on the New America Foundation report. He tells me he is sorry he only learned of the impressive work at Georgia State when his book was about to go to press, otherwise the coverage of Georgia State in his book would have been more extensive. However, Jeff recently followed up “College (Un)Bound” and the “Next Generation Universities” report with a Chronicle of Higher Education article on how Georgia State is using data to improve its student success programs.

Here’s a link to that article:


Georgia State is making a mark on the state and national higher education agendas, and is now a part of the national discussion of issues and ideas that are shaping the future of higher education in America. Tim Renick and I will be participating this June in programs at meetings in Aspen, Colo., Chicago, Orlando, Fla., and Washington, D.C. where Georgia State’s innovations again will be featured in discussions about student success and the future of higher education. These events and others like them remind me we are breaking new ground in areas where few others have met with success, and as a result we have a dynamic story to tell.