circularGeorgia State University is developing a national reputation for innovation and excellence in undergraduate education – the U.S. News & World Report, for instance, recently named it the 14th best school in the country at educating undergrads, in company with some of the most exclusive and well-known universities in the country. GSU’s pedagogical excellence has been a major fueled by a willingness to experiment with new forms of learning, to provide pilot-funding for innovative educational projects that have the ability to transform classrooms, and to bring successful programs “up to scale” so that they can reach as many students as possible. This commitment is reflected in GSU’s #5 ranking among the most innovative schools in the country.

The Student Innovation Fellowship Program (SIF) supports GSU’s burgeoning tradition of excellence and innovation, by connecting faculty to technology and providing the staffing necessary to turn ideas into projects and projects into reality. Our network of academic professionals, IT staff, faculty, and two dozen graduate and honors undergraduate fellows combine deep content knowledge from across the arts & sciences with skills in video and audio production, data-mining and visualization, active learning pedagogies, GIS, and programming to promote innovative teaching and research at GSU and enrich the city of Atlanta. 

 Our work can play a substantial role in helping GSU achieve its long-term goals as articulated in its strategic plan. 

Goal 1: Become a national model for undergraduate education by demonstrating that students from all backgrounds can achieve academic and career success at high rates.

We promote a number of initiatives aimed at increasing the quality and reach of GSU’s undergraduate education, particularly those designed to faculty make the leap from passive instruction to active learning. SIF fellows are

  • developing new standards for training GTA’s in the physics department.

Goal 2: Significantly strengthen and grow the base of distinctive graduate and professional programs that assure development of the next generation of researchers and societal leaders.

The backbone of the SIF program is its fellows, the majority of whom are graduate students. SIF fellows have the unique opportunity to engage in long-term collaborative projects that draw on and enrich their disciplinary training and prepare them for future careers in and out of the academy.

  • English and computer science graduate students are collaborating with Ryan Carlin to automate data collection practices for the executive approval database.

Goal 3: Become a leading public research university addressing the most challenging issues of the 21st century.

The SIF program provides an important resource for research at GSU by linking IT staff (particularly at the CII and the university library), graduate students, and faculty. SIF fellows are at work on a number of substantial research projects across GSU.

  • creating visualizations to support the School of Public Health’s Global Tobacco E-book.
  • designing the After Malcolm website, an online digital archive of materials documenting the history of Atlanta’s Muslim Community. This work has been the subject of an exhibit at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
  • providing technical and research skills to assist theUnpacking Manuel’s project, a large scale digital humanities project documenting the history of an Atlanta landmark.
  • evaluating the effectiveness of social marketing campaigns promoting tourism in Latin America.

Goal 4: Be a leader in understanding the complex challenges of cities and developing effective solutions. 

Many of the SIF projects taken inspiration from the urban location of GSU and engage in issues related to urban policy, planning, and the history of Atlanta.

  • The GSU Growth Map, tracks the growing footprint of GSU on downtown Atlanta and, after the consolidation with GPC, to the metro area at large.
  • The 3-D Atlanta project, is recreating Decatur Street at Central Avenue in the 1920’s-1930’s in a 3-D virtual environment.

Goal 5: Achieve distinction in globalizing the University.

Though much of our work is designed to directly benefit the students and faculty of GSU and the community of Atlanta that we call home, SIF projects strive to connect GSU to the world at large through innovations in scholarship and teaching.

  • partnering with the University of Toronto and other universities across the country and around the world.
  • building tools to better understand political dynamics in Latin America.
  • evaluating the effectiveness of social marketing campaigns promoting tourism in Latin America.

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