Rankings in Real Life
This week, Georgia State University was ranked the second most innovative university and third for its commitment to undergraduate teaching in the 2020 Best Colleges edition of U.S. News and World Report magazine. Among public universities, Georgia State ranked first in undergraduate teaching. Other categories that Georgia State ranked highly in are social mobility and the first-year experience.
While Georgia State has been a leader in several of these categories for the past two years, it is important to ask what these rankings mean for you as a student. We sat down and spoke with two Georgia State seniors who see the impact of them both in and outside of the classroom.
Pre-med student Sarah Beth Johnson’s career goal is to work in family preventive medicine in low-income areas. Johnson is pursuing a bachelor’s in physics, with a minor in neuroscience. She stated, “I think the biggest place I have seen innovation in all four of my years is research. I started out freshman year doing research in a neuroscience lab, which is how I picked up my minor.”
While research is such a significant component of her major, there are many ways her time in the classroom allows for hands-on learning experiences that help her prepare for life after college. She explained, “In the classroom, all of my physics classes so far have really been interactive. They have integrated what we are learning into real life examples. We do a lot of experiments in class that show us how we apply what we are learning right now to what you are going to be doing in the future.”
This was the second year in a row Georgia State was praised for its excellence in undergraduate teaching for good reason. Johnson credits her professors for always being mentors in her educational journey. She stated, “All of my teachers are still currently in research or practicing in their field, so they are going through what we will be in the future so they provide a lot of advice. They are also very available. They have office hours, and even outside of office hours they will still meet with you.”
Mentorship is not the only resource our outstanding faculty offers. Johnson explained, “They also provide opportunities. If you are willing to put time into your classes, they are willing to give back to you and focus on how to improve your resume, how to get that job you want and helping create the connections.”
Film student Kai Stephenson is in a new innovative dual-degree program that the School of Film, Media & Theatre offers. “In five years, I am going to be graduating with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in film production. The focus of the last year of your master’s is to create your own short film. You will have advisors and professors that will help you throughout the process and get you into festivals and get your name out there. You can actually get into the industry with your own short film having been produced under your name, which I think is really cool,” Stephenson said.
His program isn’t the only innovative resource that the Georgia State film and video program provides him. He stated, “I have taken classes at the CMII for VR animation, which is something that I have never tackled before. Our professor is currently working in the industry of VR Visualization and Imaging so we just jumped right into it. From the start, our professor was enlightening us and teaching us how to work with this new software that most of us have never worked with before.“
Stephenson credits his professors for their modern teaching methods. He stated, “Mainly for film, it was really refreshing to have courses where you get it and just starting working, rather than sitting through lectures because our professors have all worked in the industry and realize that you don’t really learn from just sitting down and watching someone else do that, you have get in there and get hands-on experience. That is what I found the most helpful in my classrooms.”
While Stephenson has a passion for film, he even noticed Georgia State’s innovation in his prerequisite classes. “I see innovation through the way that professors use and visualize data. From one of my history classes early on in my college career, most of our assignments were focused around utilizing historical data and actually visualizing how it has it changed throughout the years,” he said.
No matter which major you decide to pursue at Georgia State, our innovative resources and outstanding faculty will help you achieve excellence throughout your college journey. Are you interested in learning more? Click here to explore the 250+ degree programs that we offer!