Since beginning his tenure as Georgia State University’s seventh president in 2009, President Mark P. Becker has led Georgia State through a dynamic period of growth and advancement and put it on a trajectory to reshape itself and its region. Under his leadership, the university has pursued a 10-year strategic plan through which Georgia State has emerged as one of the nation’s leading higher education institutions.
Georgia State’s consolidation in 2016 with Georgia Perimeter College, a two-year institution with five campuses in metro Atlanta, raised its student population to 53,000 and made it the largest university in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation.
One of the most diverse universities in the U.S., Georgia State is a national model for student success, setting records for its graduation rates and the number of students it graduates, and leading the country in eliminating disparities in student achievement based on race, ethnicity and income. In 2017, Dr. Becker was honored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York with their Academic Leadership Award in recognition of the University’s achievements in “eliminating disparities in graduation rates based on race, ethnicity, income level and first-generation status.” Most recently, President Becker was the 2019 recipient of the TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education.
Under Dr. Becker’s leadership, Georgia State has built a burgeoning research enterprise, growing sponsored research at more than twice the national rate. Through the rapid development of its campus and its engagement with civic and business leaders, the university has been recognized as a major catalyst for the revitalization of downtown Atlanta and the economic vitality of its region.
Adding to Georgia State’s increasing national profile, Dr. Becker has fostered the development of NCAA Division 1 athletics. The university’s intercollegiate teams have won nine conference championships since rejoining the Sun Belt Conference in 2013, and Georgia State’s football team made its first bowl appearance in 2015. With MLB’s Atlanta Braves’ decision to vacate Turner Field in downtown Atlanta, he led the university’s acquisition and renovation of the stadium that became the home for Georgia State football in 2017.
Dr. Becker attended Harford (Md.) Community College, earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Towson State University in 1980 and his doctor’s degree in statistics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1985. He grew up in Havre de Grace, Md., near Baltimore.
Scott Jaschik is editor and one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. He leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.
It’s a New Day and Change is the New Normal
Dr. Karen Pedersen has a long history serving in various administrative positions in both public and private higher education institutions and is currently in the role of Dean for Global Campus at Kansas State University. Previously she worked as the Chief Knowledge Officer for the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) where she served as a thought leader and fostered initiatives related to learning innovation, quality enhancement, leadership development, and institutional transformation. She has expertise leading award-winning online and off-campus units, expanding partnerships, engaging cross-institutional academic operations, and pursuing integrated marketing solutions to realize significant enrollment growth and retention outcomes. Other experiences include serving on the launch team for a competency-based education initiative, leading a system-wide enrollment management transformation, and building academic collaborations in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brazil.
Prior to starting her administrative career, Pedersen served as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She holds bachelor of science and master of science degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a doctor of philosophy degree from Oklahoma State University.