Five things to know about Georgia Tech’s new strategic plan

Georgia Tech students masked up and enjoyed a warm day alongside the Albert Einstein monument (who was not wearing a mask) on the Georgia Tech campus on Monday, August 10, 2020. The Albert Einstein Monument on at the northwest corner of Tech Green near the Atlantic Promenade is a 3,500 pound statue that was created by American sculptor Robert Berks (1922-2011). JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM
Georgia Tech students masked up and enjoyed a warm day alongside the Albert Einstein monument (who was not wearing a mask) on the Georgia Tech campus on Monday, August 10, 2020. The Albert Einstein Monument on at the northwest corner of Tech Green near the Atlantic Promenade is a 3,500 pound statue that was created by American sculptor Robert Berks (1922-2011). JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Georgia Tech unveiled a strategic plan Thursday it hopes will guide the school in the coming years to maintain its position as one of the nation’s top academic institutions while increasing its racial and gender diversity and expanding its reach globally.

The school’s enrollment has grown by nearly 50% since 2016, from nearly 27,000 students to almost 40,000 this fall, largely due to about twice as many students taking master’s degree courses.

Georgia Tech, though, has had challenges such as the departure of several top administrators in 2018 because of questionable ethics decisions. It’s also facing financial disruptions created by the coronavirus pandemic. Officials announced last week it is laying off 27 workers and not filling 129 vacant positions.

Here are five interesting goals in its plan:

  • Increase need-based scholarship funding. President Ángel Cabrera, in his second year on the job, has talked about this as part of his effort increase the percentage of historically underrepresented groups on campus. About 13% of Georgia Tech’s students are Black or Latinx.
  • Develop and expand social innovation and entrepreneurship programs. Georgia Tech’s Technology Square has become a popular destination point in recent years for startups, entrepreneurs and students. The plan discusses building a “rich network of venture capital, incubators, and corporate partners,” programs to support female and minority entrepreneurs and student programs in these areas.

The side of Coda, the latest addition to Technology Square, is shown at the building's grand opening at 756 West Peachtree Street Northwest in downtown Atlanta, Ga., on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
The side of Coda, the latest addition to Technology Square, is shown at the building's grand opening at 756 West Peachtree Street Northwest in downtown Atlanta, Ga., on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Casey Sykes

Credit: Casey Sykes

  • Expand international partnerships for student exchange, study abroad and virtual exchanges. Georgia Tech typically sends about 2,000 students abroad each year. They want to do more, but that goal will be delayed because of the pandemic. Georgia Tech has increasingly become a destination for foreign students. Its out-of-country student enrollment has increased since 2016 from about 7,400 students to more than 11,000 this fall.
  • Develop and execute a Climate Action Plan. This is another issue Cabrera has spoken about frequently. The plan mentions finding new ways to clean water and energy available to everyone, “reducing the stress on our planet, and protecting ourselves against the threat of new infectious diseases.”
A group of people gather at a memorial for Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Atlanta. Schultz, an engineering student at Georgia Tech, was shot by Georgia Tech campus police after allegedly wielding a what looked like a knife and telling them to shoot. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
A group of people gather at a memorial for Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Atlanta. Schultz, an engineering student at Georgia Tech, was shot by Georgia Tech campus police after allegedly wielding a what looked like a knife and telling them to shoot. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

  • Expand programs for physical and mental health. Georgia Tech has been criticized and has acknowledged it needs to do more to help students grappling with mental and emotional health issues.

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