Planning Strategically for Future Success

Planning Strategically for Future Success

Planning as effectively as possible for the success of students yet to be born is no simple task — but it is work that defines the ethos of Georgia Tech.


A tall male student wearing shorts and a backpack stands before three eight-foot-high panels that ask for audience participation with headlines like It's time for class in 2040 - Who are you? The student is writing on the center panel, and there are a handful of comments on the other two panels, plus a polaroid picture stuck to one.

Georgia Tech students share their vision for what the Institute could and should be in 2040.

“The Commission’s role is ... to consider the ideas, experiments, and novel ways of organizing that can inform future strategy.”

‘Discovering the Drivers of Change in Higher Education’ Report

Fashioning A Strategic Path Forward

The critical work of envisioning Georgia Tech’s future and laying a foundation for long-term success was advanced significantly this year.

The Commission on Creating the Next in Education (CNE) — launched by Provost Rafael L. Bras in fall 2015 to explore education innovation — is an initiative of the Educational Innovation Ecosystem, a coordinated effort of Institute units dedicated to the adoption of new and innovative educational methodologies. Through a multi-phased approach, CNE is looking at the Institute’s current methodologies and approaches, benchmarking best practices in higher education (including issues of delivery and accessibility), and making recommendations for a plan that will maximize Georgia Tech’s strengths, and position the Institute as a transformational leader amongst research institutions.

CNE has released “Discovering the Drivers of Change in Higher Education,” the first in a series of reports that will provide a window into the Commission’s findings and activities.

“The mid-21st century is well beyond Georgia Tech’s current planning horizon,” the report’s executive summary states. “The Commission’s role is not to engage in premature planning but rather to consider the ideas, experiments, and novel ways of organizing that can inform future strategy. CNE will develop roadmaps that describe the events and forces that led Georgia Tech to its current point and peer into possible futures for the Institute and higher education in general.”


Women Faculty/Staff/Graduates Assume More Key Leadership Roles

The Institute’s strategic plan is unambiguous in its resolve that all members of the Georgia Tech community be offered equal opportunity for learning and professional success. The development of more abundant and robust opportunities for women faculty, staff, and students is critical to this goal’s success.

Women now comprise more than 40 percent of the undergraduate student body for the first time in Tech history, and the Leading Women @ Tech program is providing unprecedented support for faculty and staff. Another key barometer is the number of women appointed to key leadership roles in fiscal year 2017. This list includes:

Rachel Kuske, Chair, School of Mathematics

Susan Margulies: Chair, Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering

Anna Stenport: Chair, School of Modern Languages

Bonnie Ferri: Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development

Gisele Bennett: Associate Vice President for Research

Jennifer Bonnett: General Manager, Advanced Technology Development Center

Trudy Riley: Head of Contracting, Office of Sponsored Programs

Andrea Laliberte: Chair, Georgia Tech Alumni Association, and Professor of the Practice, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Wendi Sturgis: Chair, Georgia Tech Advisory Board
Chief Customer Officer, Yext

About two dozen people of various ages standing in a large group at the base of Tech Tower are happily lifting their arms in victory and smiling.

For the first time, the graduating class of the Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS) program was honored during last fall's Commencement weekend with a reception at The Biltmore and a campus tour.

Expanding Role of Online Learning

The phenomenal success of Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS) program — launched in January 2014 — continued last year with the total number of graduates approaching 500. For the first time, OMS CS graduates were honored during Commencement weekend with a special reception at The Biltmore and a campus tour designed just for them.

“I’ve been doing this program for two-and-a-half years, and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to meet the people and professors and teaching assistants,” said fall 2016 graduate Pramod Recard, who traveled all the way from India to don his gown and mortarboard. “Getting to do this after so long, and seeing the beautiful Georgia Tech campus, is a really nice experience.”

Augmenting the OMS CS is a new OMS in Analytics degree initiated in fall 2017. The new degree program — offered at a quarter of the cost of the Institute’s on-campus program — is being delivered in collaboration with edX, the leading nonprofit provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

The top 10-ranked analytics degree program is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering, College of Computing, and Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business.

Portrait of Thomas Orlando in his lab

Professor Thomas Orlando is a renowned leader in bringing together multiple academic disciplines to advance scientific knowledge and, consequently, the human condition.

Prominence, Momentum on the Rise in Tech’s College of Sciences

Of critical long-term, strategic importance to Georgia Tech is the vitality and relevance of all academic disciplines on campus. The College of Sciences is helping to lead the way with successes such as the REVEALS project.

REVEALS (Radiation Effect on Volatiles and Exploration of Asteroids and Lunar Surfaces) is a multi-institutional research team led by Thomas Orlando, professor in the School of Physics. NASA announced last March that REVEALS is one of four teams chosen by the space agency for inclusion in SSERVI, the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute. NASA created SSERVI to work with scientific institutions around the world to learn more about the lunar surface, near-Earth asteroids, and the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos.

Within Georgia Tech, Orlando’s team includes Phillip First and Zhigang Jiang in the School of Physics, Peter Loutzenhiser in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Carol Paty and James Wray in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, John Reynolds and Joseph Perry in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Jud Ready in the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

A veteran of applying for NASA requests for proposals, Orlando says the REVEALS win is his biggest yet, because of its interdisciplinary approach.

“It’s probably the most important because it links many entities on campus that haven’t been linked before,” he said. For example, Orlando will be working with Georgia Tech aerospace engineers, some who have launched experiments in shoebox-sized satellites, called CubeSats.

“Then it links us across the country, and it links us to groups in Germany and Italy, so we have this pretty strong team that’s global.” REVEALS is a worldwide project, Orlando said, “but it’s based at Georgia Tech, and we’ll manage the budget and science directions.”

“REVEALS will further establish Georgia Tech, the College of Sciences, and the Southeast region of the U.S. as leaders in this most human of scientific endeavors,” said M.G. Finn, chair of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the James A. Carlos Family Chair for Pediatric Technology.

College of Sciences Faculty Who Make an Impact: Professor Gary B. Schuster

Portrait of Gary Schuster

  • Former Interim President of Georgia Tech

  • Former Provost of Georgia Tech

  • Former Dean of the College of Sciences

  • 23-year Veteran of the Georgia Tech Faculty

  • Vassar Woolley Professor Emeritus in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • 2017 recipient of the Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award (Tech’s highest faculty honor)

  • Primary Research Interests: Organic and Bio-organic Chemistry

  • Tireless Advocate for the Scientific Enterprise

Read more about Professor Gary Schuster at