From the Dean's Desk - Aug. 14, 2020

Dear GT Computing community,

Georgia Tech Dean of Computing Charles Isbell

Well, here we are. We’ve been working for this moment all summer, and here it is: Monday our fall semester finally begins. I suspect this is the strangest and most uncertain semester any of us has experienced in our careers. No matter how it develops, I’m completely sure we will all do what we can to provide a world-class education for all our many students. They are the reason we're here, after all.

Of course, our primary concern has to be keeping our community safe, and that’s going to take, well, all of us. To that end, here are a couple of reminders.

First, you've probably already heard that the campus has a robust testing system set up, and is encouraging—but not mandating—undergraduates to get tested weekly. Faculty members who include undergrads in their research activity, however, can require those students to get tested and to commit to ongoing testing before agreeing to supervise their research.

Second, I know that pretty much every College employee with any responsibility for children is working hard to balance childcare and work right now. And I know that one seemingly obvious solution is to bring your children to your office if you are coming to the office. Unsurprisingly, this sort of action is against Institute policy. 

Policy aside, the real issue here remains safety. Bringing children onto an open campus during a pandemic is not safe. We’re also not set up to be childproof, among lots of other things. My intent in bringing this up is not to announce a plan to police anyone, or to count to see how many minutes someone’s child might be in a building; rather, it is to provide a reasonable environment for you and the rest of the community. Supervisors are aware of this policy, but also aware that our primary goal is support. We want to minimize risk and maximize support. If you’re struggling, please work with your supervisor to find an alternate solution. We want to make it work.

On a different note, I’d like to take a moment to make an announcement about an opportunity at the College. As you will all hopefully recall, Beki Grinter stepped up to take up the role of Associate Dean of Academic Affairs when the previous AD stepped down from that position a little over a year ago. She has done an admirable job juggling these duties on top of her AD of Faculty Development duties even in the face of the huge amounts of extra work that has come up during the pandemic. Now that we have found our Chairs and begun to settle into the new year, we are ready to launch a formal search for the next AD of Academic Affairs. The application process is simple: any interested person should send a cover letter and a CV to Marcus Johnson by next Friday 8/21. I will announce this again early next week. In the meantime please join me in thanking Beki Grinter for all her hard work. She will hold onto this role until we have concluded this search and will then continue to serve as the Associate Dean of Faculty Development.

So there we go. I hope you have a calm, relaxing weekend. In many ways, we spent the spring and summer sitting in limbo, spending our time planning, planning, and planning. I know that I am not the only one who is relieved to shake a tail feather and spring into action together.

Enjoy your weekend. I’ll be on Canvas all weekend updating my syllabi.



Charles L. Isbell, Jr.

John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean

College of Computing

Georgia Tech

EA: Alicia Richhart,, 404-894-8357

Don't just adopt opinions,  develop them

Waiting for this moment:

Finally begins:

The reason we're here:

Sitting in limbo:

Shake a Tailfeather: