A SPECIAL LETTER FROM THE PROVOST
As we wind down toward commencement, I want to thank you for all that you have done over the past academic year.
Our achievements reflect the strength of our faculty and their commitment to our academic enterprise and our students.
An example of such dedication are faculty members MaryAnn Romski and Rose Sevcik. Significant contributors to the university’s research and scholarship, both are esteemed Regents Professors – two of eight women holding this highest professorial rank at Georgia State.
They also work to ensure that women are seen in the academy – mentoring its next generation.
Syrina Merilan, one of their students, excelled in the recent Three-Minute Thesis competition, and participated in one of the nation’s premier conferences for behavioral scientists conducting research in intellectual and developmental disabilities. She will present at another national conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders (SRCLD), this summer.
Their support and mentorship exemplify the spirit of GSU faculty – providing students opportunities that they might not otherwise have.
And through their service, GSU faculty set the example for others to follow to do the same: Syrina is participating in outreach to undergraduates interested in graduate school and has given a training for the Honors College on the topic.
There are others of you who are also doing something day-in, day-out, to give students opportunities, support and mentorship beyond measure. For that, I am profoundly grateful.
With our spirit and drive, we have accomplished so much over the past year, and there is much more to come!
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Students are at the heart of what we do, and to ensure our new first-year students’ success in the fall, we must prepare them on the front end in the summer.
This summer, faculty will assist with 57 new student orientation sessions, presenting Real Talk with a Professor: 8 Tips for Academic Success. They will share the basics, including time management, preparation, note taking, reading strategies, office hours, and more.
It is the first time we have engaged faculty in the orientation process to this extent.
I must thank our faculty participants, and the leadership of Allison Calhoun-Brown, Vice President for Student Success and Chief Enrollment Officer, Heather Housley, Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement, and the entire student success team, for their work in this effort.
Over the past academic year the university has worked collaboratively to put forth a new strategic plan, Blueprint to 2033. We engaged our community with charettes across our campuses and virtually to get input, and I join President Blake, Senior Vice President Nancy Kropf, Committee Co-chairs Jared Poley and Karen Wheel-Carter, and the entire strategic plan committee in thanking you for getting involved.
When we set forth a new roadmap, we can’t do it alone – and it takes multiple perspectives to make it happen. I highly encourage you to read the new plan, in addition to our values statement, at https://strategic.gsu.edu.
Over the summer, we will prepare for an official launch of the plan during the fall semester.
As we continue our work to make Georgia State the best place to work in higher education, once again I’m thrilled to see such an enthusiastic response rate to the COACHE (Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education) faculty satisfaction survey as we undertake our second COACHE improvement cycle. We’ve not only exceeded our own previous cycle’s response rate (67 percent versus 54 percent) – we’re leading among our peer institutions (where the average response rate is 50.5 percent). You can see rates by college at https://provost.gsu.edu/coache/. And once again, congratulations to the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions for having the highest response rate of nearly 93 percent!
The university will receive the results this summer and send a team to the Harvard Graduate School of Education to discuss them. College-, school- and institute-level reports will follow a few months later during the fall semester. We will share the results with our university community.
Faculty Affairs & Success
We continued to offer many opportunities for development and community, including new faculty check-in and department chair check-ins, the Write-In Network to support faculty scholarly writing goals, building careers and communities workshops for non-tenure track faculty, and more. The Leadership Academy for Women Faculty celebrated its second graduating cohort, along with its sister program, the staff-oriented Executive Leadership Academy for Women.
From May 14 through August 5, 18 outstanding faculty members will participate in the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD) Faculty Success Program. Faculty in the 2022 cohort reported positive benefits from the program, including better work-life balance and increased productivity.
Leadership Transitions & Searches
Over the past academic year, we’ve seen important leadership transitions and appointments. We appointed new leadership, including Corrie Fountain as Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Jennifer Sherer as Executive Officer for Entrepreneurship, among others.
We wished a fond farewell to former Dean Sally Wallace from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, and to former Associate Provost Wolfgang Schlör of the Office of International Initiatives. For these positions and the dean of Perimeter College, we formed search committees and retained firms to assist in national searches.
The national search process will continue through the firms this summer. Presentations will occur during the academic year and further information about finalists and presentations will be sent via campus email and online. We are also continuing the search process for a new Director for Faculty Development. Further information about each search is online at https://provost.gsu.edu/searches/.
After setting a record of $164.2 million in research funding, it’s clear that our research trajectory continues to accelerate.
Working with Tim Denning, Vice President for Research and Economic Development, along with other colleagues at Georgia State, we’ve taken action to support researchers and scholars on campus to continue their impactful and innovative work.
We celebrated the selected winners of the RISE research competition this past fall, and continued to support initiatives for research support.
The Georgia Policy Labs are working to select winners of their second round of the Engaged Research Competition, awarding up to $35,000 to support engaged research with public or nonprofit winners.
An arts and humanities pilot program will support scholarship in these fields through a special initiative (the deadline having closed on April 7).
The new Access to Careers in Research Administration program is also developing a college-to-career pathway for the recruitment of research administrators.
In honor of research excellence, winners of the Ignite Awards will be selected this summer. The review committee will evaluate nominations over the coming weeks and notify winners this summer; winners will be celebrated this fall.
Our research and scholarly achievements, including publications, books, grants, and more, are too numerous to mention here, so make sure to read up on them at https://news.gsu.edu/.
During calendar year 2022 and this past academic year, we worked to reorganize many of the functions that make our university’s academic enterprise successful into the new Office of Academic Affairs.
I am pleased to share the launch of the office’s new website at https://academic.gsu.edu, which serves as an online hub to connect our community with offices, policies, procedures, and additional information in one convenient location. This includes linking information to academic program management and review, accreditation, general education, and other important information.
The Office of Academic Affairs coordinates and supports university-wide efforts in the following areas:
- academic strategic planning
- academic program management
- academic program review
- assessment of student learning
- general education initiatives
- discipline-specific accreditation
- support for excellence in teaching and learning
- institutional effectiveness
With this restructuring, during the past academic year I also charged a new Online Education Committee to assess our online education programs, policies, and support operations. You can learn more about the committee’s charge and membership at https://academic.gsu.edu/online-education-committee/. Their work will continue into the summer and the fall.
Safety and Security
Before our students can pursue academic excellence, they need to feel safe. Before our faculty can pursue research and scholarly excellence, they need to feel secure. Our communities of students, faculty and staff have made this clear at town halls and in meetings with leadership this year.
I am pleased that we have taken decisive action to improve safety and security on and in the immediate vicinity of our campuses, especially our central campus in downtown Atlanta. If you have not followed along with updates from our chief operating officer, Jared Abramson, and the chief of the Georgia State Police, Anthony Coleman, I highly suggest that you keep an eye on your emails for updates – and make sure to check out https://news.gsu.edu/campus-safety/ for more information. The operations division will post updates on a new website that is coming very soon this summer.
ABOUT THIS EDITION & NEWS FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PROVOST
This letter from Provost Parsons-Pollard is a special edition of News from the Office of the Provost, an e-newsletter published twice each fall and spring semesters. The e-publication contains news from across the divisions reporting to the Provost, and is distributed to faculty and staff.
If you are a GSU faculty or staff member and are not receiving the newsletter regularly, please contact [email protected].
The first issue for the next academic year is anticipated for publication on August 15, 2023.
Back issues of the regular editions are available below.
Published May 3, 2023