From the Dean's Desk - July 10, 2020

Dear GT Computing colleagues,

Georgia Tech Dean of Computing Charles Isbell

So we’ve come to the end of another week of learning about some things and waiting for clarity on others. We are getting close on the budget, specifically on translating what the Institute is seeing into what it means for the College of Computing (through a mix of careful management of costs and increases in revenue). More on that soon. We are also moving to finalize and announce our new School Chairs. More on that soon as well.

Of course, we’ve had another major source of uncertainty and entropy introduced into our planning because of changes issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program. Between the lawsuits, ongoing clarifications, and everything else going on around this issue, no one really knows where we are. I am deeply concerned about these developments, and I know that you are as well. It creates uncertainty for our international students, something I know we all feel keenly.

Secondarily, it creates uncertainty for us around budgets, space planning, and planning for the Fall. The ground is still shifting every day on this one, unfortunately. The Institute is planning to communicate with students, and I know that many of you as individuals and as units have done the same. Our intention is to make sure our international students can continue their Georgia Tech education no matter what, and they can do so safely and with confidence. I am sure you are as committed to this proposition as I am.

Reading back on the last few paragraphs, I find that I am once again asking you to be patient. I am not happy to be in the position of asking for this patience. I’d much prefer to have all the information we need and to be able to share it with you. We don’t have it, so what I do is try to share with you what we do know. Rest assured, we are doing everything in our power to move things forward. I know that all of you are doing the same.

Having said all that, while progress is slow and uncertain, do not lose sight of the progress we have made together. We know that students will be required to wear masks in class this Fall, and that the mayor of Atlanta has issued an order to wear masks, which affects our environs. There is a new and expanded list of medical conditions that are eligible for accommodations. We have initial numbers on requests for in-person, hybrid, and remote courses and the Institute is cranking through those to see if we must expand our remote options. We have begun organizing ourselves for the Fall in terms of our budgets, our teaching, and our support for our students, international and domestic. The College has a statement of its values around equity off our front page, and we are working with our alum, our board, and our current students to build a stronger, safer, and equitable environment for research and learning. 

We have new colleagues who will be joining us the next academic year. We have found new academic units and programs and are moving toward making those stronger. We have updated some of our degrees, and continued to make progress on both organizational and personal fronts. We have seen promotions and awards for many of you in our community, and I see no evidence that this will slow down. And do not forget that we have new students joining us soon. All indications are that we will see more students in the future, not fewer, despite everything happening around us. Computing is still growing and will come out the other end as a thriving community.

Each new gust of headwind makes it easy to forget that we are still moving forward, but we are.



Charles L. Isbell, Jr.

John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean

College of Computing

Georgia Tech

EA: Alicia Richhart,, 404-894-8357

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