Friday, April 17, 2009

President Becker lays out goals for Georgia State University

Georgia State University President Mark Becker addressed hundreds of students, faculty and staff members on Thursday, highlighting how far GSU has come in its 96-year history and laying out goals for its future as a premier urban research university.

In what was believed to be Georgia State’s first State of the University address, Becker said GSU is now attracting brighter, more talented students while maintaining its diversity. He also touted that respected scholars and researchers are joining the faculty, securing more external research funding and increasing the quality of the university’s academic programs.

But Georgia State needs to pick of the pace in order to reach its desired status as one of the nation’s preeminent research universities, Becker said.

“We have a heritage of educating people who have gone on to be leaders,” Becker said. “It is a proud heritage, and from here we go forward recommitting ourselves to the never-ending goal of building a university in which our alumni and friends can forever be increasingly proud. For them, for us, it is time to pick up the pace and start running.”

Becker laid out goals for the university such striving for the highest level of academic quality, launching new areas of research, securing more philanthropic support and grants, increasing communication and becoming more “green.”

The president also acknowledged the challenging economic times facing the university, saying budget cuts would have to be made.

GSU will close for two weeks at the end of the current calendar year, Dec. 21, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010, to help reduce costs, Becker said. Details of the closure and other cost-saving measures would be announced in coming weeks.

Becker, who became Georgia State’s seventh president in January, said the university would recover from the anticipated budget shortfall.

“Demand for a Georgia State education has never been higher, the students we are recruiting are the best in our history and the faculty is the strongest ever,” Becker said. “We will emerge from the storm, headed in the right direction and with wind in our sails.”

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