A new vision in Ga. Tech’s 125th year

From the beginning, the Georgia Institute of Technology has focused on solving problems. Our growth has responded to the needs of both a city and a state transitioning from the agricultural to the industrial to the digital age. As we celebrate Tech’s 125th anniversary in October, I know that our future success will depend upon our ability to leverage partnerships that build on our strengths in science and technology and expand on our creative spirit through alliances with the Woodruff Arts Center.

In this regard, Georgia Tech has established a well-earned reputation, now international in scope, as an innovative thought leader in engineering, technology and related fields. While we’ve achieved many accomplishments that would be the envy of any educational institution, in order to build on our history of excellence, we must continue to think ahead.

Just over a year ago, we engaged the Tech community in a 25-year strategic vision.

After having 70 town hall meetings, openly soliciting ideas via the Web and engaging students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community, we have a plan that is collaborative and compelling. It includes five goals, coupled with both short- and long-term strategies.

Our newly released strategic plan charts our future course and sets benchmarks that we feel passionate about. The final framework highlights several initiatives that aim to maximize the potential of our students and our faculty and staff while nurturing innovation, assuming a leadership role in technology policy and evolving research into successful business ventures that benefit metro Atlanta and the global world in which we live.

A few of our ambitions:

● Becoming the “Innovation Institute.” Each of our students possesses the abilities to be a leader in innovation. Formalizing an environment that provides the resources and structure to achieve this is an imperative. Such a program would coalesce practices of economics, business, law, commercialization and entrepreneurship to promote a culture that values and measures the impact of research and serves as an economic engine for the region.

● The “X College.” The interdisciplinary nature of many fields of study continues to factor into the contemporary educational experience. Preparing students for success in this uncertain world will require a less structured curriculum, one that’s tailored to their potential and talents. The “X College” would provide students a venue where they could customize their degrees with faculty assistance and receive a nontraditional certification for the competencies their future success will require.

● Exploring the role of technology and law. Technology has an unprecedented impact on areas as diverse as the arts, design and medicine, and the legal aspects of this evolution are becoming critical. Working with the Board of Regents, Georgia Tech will begin researching partnerships and strategic alliances with law schools to produce graduates skilled in areas from intellectual property and cyber law to bioethics.

These are just a few of the concepts outlined in the new strategic plan. It is both bold and exciting, and I encourage you to take time to see how Georgia Tech plans to “design the future.”

G.P. “Bud” Peterson is president of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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