Georgia State University today named W. Bartley Hildreth as the new dean of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies beginning July 1.
Here’s my hope. Perhaps Hildreth can put “urban” back into focus at the GSU School.
Currently, Hildreth is the Regents Distinguished Professor of Public Finance at the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs at Wichita State University. From the release that came out today, Hildreth is an expert on muncipal securities as well as state and local finance.
Although Wichita isn’t the metropolis that Atlanta is today, my hope is that Hildreth understands the academic role between a university and an urban community — something that seems to have been diluted at GSU over the years.
Back in 1977, I started working on my Master’s degree in urban studies at Georgia State’s College of Urban Life. At the time, Georgia State was a leading urban university spolighting the problems, challenges and solutions in city and metro issues.
But, as time went on, the College of Urban Life morphed into the College of Public and Urban Affairs; and then the word “urban” disappeared altogether.
Despite being in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the capital city of our state and the economic center for the Southeast, Georgia State has been downplaying its urban education.
It’s a shame, not just for the institution, but for the our community as well. We need students, professors and researchers helping us work through the myriad of our municipal problems.
And there’s no better place for that to happen than at Georgia State.
Now that GSU has a new president — Mark Becker — and a new dean of the School of Policy Studies, perhaps we can bring “urban” back into the fold.
At least, I hope we will.