I am pleased to announce that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has agreed to be the keynote speaker at GSU's fall commencement this year. The bachelor, master and specialist commencement ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. on December 15 at the Georgia Dome. I'm sure you join me in anticipating Mayor Reed's remarks, and I look forward to seeing many of you at the Dome in December.
Jennifer McCoy, a professor of political science at GSU and Director of the Carter Center's Americas Program, will be the keynote speaker at the Ph D hooding ceremony on December 12 at 3 p.m. at the Rialto Center for the Arts. We look forward to her message as well.
As we approach the holidays, I want to take this opportunity to remind employees that Georgia State University will be closed for two weeks at the end of the calendar year. The final work day of 2010 will be Friday, December 17, and we will return to work on Tuesday, January 4, 2011.
As announced earlier this year, all employees will be required to use five vacation days during this two-week period. The only exceptions are for personnel who are responsible for maintaining essential on-campus services, such as public safety. Those employees will work with their supervisors to create an appropriate work schedule.
Shutting down for two weeks, a plan implemented last year, allows the university to use this unique period of extremely low campus activity for substantial cost savings during what continues to be a challenging budget climate. I thank each and every employee for their commitment to being budget conscious during this time.
Finally, you may have read recent media reports that the U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding Atlanta $47 million for an east-west streetcar project in downtown. As planned, the route would be from the Martin Luther King Jr. Center on the east to Centennial Olympic Park on the west. It likely will run through our campus on Edgewood Avenue. While it is not a GSU project, we will work with the city of Atlanta and other involved parties as this long-awaited project becomes a reality during the coming months and years.
Thank you again for a productive fall semester and all you do to make Georgia State a wonderful place to work, live and learn.
Mark P. Becker
EMBA program ranked 26th
Rankings released by the Financial Times place the Executive MBA (EMBA) at Georgia State University's J. Mack Robinson College of Business 26th among U.S.-based programs and 78th worldwide. The rankings, limited to the world's top 100 programs, are based on program, student and faculty information such as alumni satisfaction and changes in their salaries, faculty and cohort diversity, thought leadership by faculty (research productivity), and international experiences in the program.
Arts in the spotlight this weekend
Georgia State University's Center for International and Collaborative Arts is presenting "Mauricio Kagel: Film Music, Music Performance, Performance Film" at 7:30 tonight at the Florence Kopleff Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public. And Saturday night, Georgia State University's Rialto Center for the Arts will present the varied artistry of Mexican chanteuse Lila Downs at 8 p.m., and Grammy-winning vocalist Angélique Kidjo at 8 p.m. on Nov. 13.
Michael J. Beran, a senior research scientist at GSU, and J. David Smith, a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, recently received grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation to explore what is called metacognition – or "thinking about thinking" – in humans and animals. The awards total more than $1 million.
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