New Georgia Tech Strategic Plan Positions Ivan Allen College to Lead

Posted November 19, 2020

By Michael Pearson

Georgia Tech’s new strategic plan, unveiled Nov. 19, 2020, defines a vision highlighting the unique values and strengths of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

The new 10-year plan calls on Georgia Tech to continue to educate scientists and engineers, but also “designers, innovators, business leaders, and humanists who can deepen our understanding and shape our thinking about the most consequential issues that we face — the aspects of the human condition that need improving.”

Such issues are at the heart of what the Ivan Allen College is all about. Indeed, President Ángel Cabrera has identified the College as crucial to Georgia Tech’s vision of developing technologically capable graduates who are also creative, ethically minded, and globally aware, said Dean Kaye Husbands Fealing.

“From computational social science to media studies and arts; global security, economic development, and culture; and social justice, law, and ethics, the Ivan Allen College is built not only to work toward the solutions, but also to define the questions,” Husbands Fealing said.

“Georgia Tech’s strategic plan embraces the importance of centering human needs as we continue to develop science and technology,” Husbands Fealing said. “This is a core Ivan Allen College value, and we look forward to leading the way for years to come.”

The plan was developed during the past 14 months with the input of more than 5,000 members of the Georgia Tech community. It calls on Georgia Tech to, among other things, become one of the nation’s most research-intensive academic institutions; to provide all students with transformative learning experiences; and to be an innovative leader in defining the future of higher education.

In each of these areas, the Ivan Allen College continues to make vital contributions to the Georgia Tech vision.

In research, the College’s sponsored portfolio has grown to nearly $10 million in 2020, up from less than $5 million in 2013.

By embracing innovative interdisciplinary approaches that dissolve the traditional barriers separating STEM, humanities, and social sciences disciplines, Ivan Allen College scholars have created new educational experiences and new models for conducting research that make the College a national leader in liberal arts education.

For instance, the College offers programs to increase access such as scholarships for first-generation students that support globalizing experiences, including study abroad, programs to engage middle and high school students in STEM through music and coding; and flexible learning programs such as certificates and customizable 1-year master’s programs.

“The new strategic plan emphasizes the need to graduate students who possess a wide range of technical and critical skills that will benefit them in their careers, whether they choose to go into academe, business, non-profits, or government,” said Carol Colatrella, associate dean for graduate studies and faculty development. “The global expertise and cultural competence we help develop in students in Ivan Allen College, and across campus, enables them to take up positions anywhere, and to make the kind of positive global change this new plan seeks to foster.”

The new plan’s emphasis on the positive individual impacts Georgia Tech should have on its faculty, staff, students, and the surrounding community signals just how influential Ivan Allen College can be in defining the future for the Institution and the people it serves, said David Shook, associate dean of undergraduate studies.

“This plan promotes our ability to influence people and our societies in positive and productive ways for the future,” Shook said. “The programs of the Ivan Allen College are explicitly singled out in these descriptions to connect and collaborate with our colleagues across the Institute for the betterment of humankind across the globe.”

While the Ivan Allen College is just beginning its own strategic planning process, the focus on the human condition will remain a core component in the College’s vision for the future, according to Husbands Fealing.

Areas such as ethics and technology, digital humanities, understanding the history and sociology of technological issues, and analyzing and contributing to public policy that benefits all will always remain central to the College’s purposes, along with a strong commitment to social justice.

“Digging in and finding where the problems are and discovering ways to create a healthier, more just, and more equitable world is in our DNA at the Ivan Allen College,” Husbands Fealing said.

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Michael Pearson