Building Partnerships

Dr. Dabney Dixon, Center for STEM Education Initiatives, Georgia State University

Currently, our most important partnership at Georgia State University (GSU) is between the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS) and Perimeter College (PC, a two-year, open access institution). The merger occurred in January 2016. The "new GSU" now serves over 50,000 students and offers more than 300 degree and certificate programs in over 100 fields of study, as well as associate degrees in over 30 areas of concentration. There are six campuses: Alpharetta, Atlanta, Clarkston, Decatur, Dunwoody, and Newton, as well as online. GSU has one of the most diverse student populations in the nation. The Atlanta campus alone has graduated more African-American students than any other non-profit university in the country. Joint projects include improving math preparedness; providing support and wrap-around services for first-generation, women, and other populations that have been traditionally underrepresented in STEM; a multiple semester initiative focused on the fall freshman class for the most academically at-risk students; and assisting beginning STEM students with the rigors of STEM coursework by providing Supplemental Instruction, Learning Assistants and Tutoring Centers. All of these support the goal of improving performance and increasing retention in STEM core courses and majors with the anticipation that this will lead to increased graduation rates.

Prior to this year, the two GSU STEM Center's most important partnership/collaboration was with the university administration. GSU began a new advising program at the Atlanta Campus with $2M of new funding from the Board of Regents. Through this initiative, GSU has become one of the first universities in the nation to implement a web-based marker advising system to track all GSU undergraduates. Our system uses ten years of Georgia State's own historical RPG data to identify over 700 markers noting when students have gone off course in their individual academic programs. We have hired more than 40 new academic advisors to ensure that we can intervene in a timely manner—and before damage is done to the students' chances for graduation. The STEM Office works with the advising team to identify points where early intervention can help students, particularly in course placement and course selection. The rapid growth of the sciences at GSU has meant that classes are often full. We have been working with the administration to study and make recommendations regarding this "unmet need." We support a variety of administrative changes that save time and effort for the faculty. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness has been able to supply our office with quantitative data about our students and the impacts of our STEM programs.


Center Profile: Center for STEM Education Initiatives - Georgia State University