Since beginning his tenure as Georgia State University's seventh president on Jan. 1, 2009, Mark P. Becker has launched a major strategic planning initiative focused on positioning the university, as it sets its sights on its second century, to become one of the nation's premier urban universities. Embracing its commitments to recognized excellence in both education and research, as well as its unique location in and commitment to Atlanta, the university is poised to rise to new levels of accomplishment and impact.
Under Becker's leadership, GSU in 2011 approved and began implementation of its 10-year Strategic Plan, whose mission is to position Georgia State "as a dynamic academic community where teaching and research combine to produce leaders and create solutions to conquer the challenges of the 21st century."
In 2010 Becker oversaw the launch of the Second Century Initiative for faculty excellence, most often referred to as "2CI." This initiative is recruiting 100 additional faculty members to Georgia State over five years to build internationally recognized scholarly strength and critical mass in areas of priority.
Seeking to recognize the importance and influence of international commerce and technology for Georgia State students and researchers, Becker has worked to enhance Georgia State University's global reach, the cornerstone of which was the 2010 opening of GSU's Confucius Institute, a partnership with the Beijing Language and Culture University and one of the first business-oriented Confucius Institutes in the United States.
In addition, Becker leads a diverse university whose undergraduate academic profile continues to rise, and a number of the university's excellent graduate programs enjoy strong national rankings.
Becker also has overseen a number of physical improvements and enhancements, including: the opening of the Parker H. "Pete" Petit Science Center; the university's first freshman housing and dining complex, to be followed by the Piedmont North housing and dining complex coming on line this fall; the construction of on-campus Greek housing; and the purchasing of land for future growth and expansion in downtown Atlanta.
Prior to his appointment to Georgia State, Becker served as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of South Carolina.
Before assuming that role, Becker spent three years at the University of Minnesota as a biostatistics professor, dean of the School of Public Health and assistant vice president of Public Health, Preparedness and Emergency Response.
From 1989 to 2000, Becker was a professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health. He also has held academic appointments at the University of Washington, the University of Florida and Cornell University.
Becker earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Towson State University and his doctorate in statistics from the Pennsylvania State University.
Active in the Atlanta community, Becker is a member of the Central Atlanta Progress Executive Committee; Atlanta Committee for Progress Board of Directors; Georgia Aquarium Board; Woodruff Arts Center Board of Trustees; Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Georgia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Georgia Research Alliance Board of Trustees; Commerce Club Operating Board; ARCHE (Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education) Board; the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities Board of Directors; and the World Affairs Council of Atlanta Board of Directors.
During his career, Becker has been involved in several professional associations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Biometric Society and the American Statistical Association, where he is a fellow. He has been principal investigator on research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and he has published extensively in leading journals of medicine, public health, and statistics. Becker has served on a number of editorial boards, was co-editor of Sociological Methodology, and was a guest editor for Sociological Methods and Research and for the Journal of the American Statistical Association.
Becker and his wife, Laura Voisinet, have two grown children, Matthew and Julia.