Dean's Desk - July 13, 2021

Dear GT Computing community,

It’s July, and that means it’s beginning to feel like summer. It’s July 2021, and that means we’re coming up on the long-awaited return to campus. I’d like to take a moment to talk a little bit about how that will likely look. Of course, the details will vary from group to group and person to person, but we can see the outline for the rest of the year.

First, there’s the timing. Classes begin for the Fall semester on Monday, August 23. This is the key date around which most of our plans must revolve. In particular, the students will be fully back on campus studenting. As such, all of us across the entire campus have to plan to engage fully with them by then. Some of us will have to engage even before then in order to prepare for their arrival.  Actually, many of us are on campus now (quite literally today) managing our once-again-in-person FASET meetings with parents and new students. 

Second, I think we all know work will look a little different this Fall and it will continue to evolve over the rest of the year. Just as with timing, how we return to campus will likely look different for different groups. I am empowering different offices and supervisors across the College to create plans for their teams consistent with what we know is allowed by GT and USG rules. Our goal is to be at least as—and even more—flexible than we were pre-COVID on the one hand but to also make sure that our plans for each team across the College allows us to serve our constituents even more effectively and efficiently. Online and virtual services are wonderful, but they absolutely mean that more, not fewer, will take advantage of these services. We need each group to think deeply about what you do and how best to be effective in this new environment.

Finally, I’d like to reiterate the Institute’s rules around masking and social distancing. Outside of labs, no one can require another person to wear a mask. You may not put up signs asking visitors to your offices or spaces to wear masks. Now, it may be within your good judgment to wear a mask yourself, and if so I encourage you to do so. But we must follow Institute rules on this matter.

And there we go. We have a little bit of thought and effort ahead of us, but I believe that if we work together we’ll end up in a better place for everyone in the GT family eventually. 

Oh, before I let you go, I would like to share that one of our graduates, Andrea Fletcher (BS CS ’16), has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, talking about her dream career working for Roblox. As we all work through our worries about going back to work, let us remember that we are making dreams come true. It’s worth it.

So keep that difference you make in the lives of so many in mind for the next month or year or decade or so. And for now, enjoy the weatherget out and play, see your friends and family. Be safe. I’ll see you soon.


Charles L. Isbell, Jr.

John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean

College of Computing

Georgia Tech


EA: Alicia Richhart,, 404-894-8357


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Return to campus:

Profiled in the Wall Street Journal:

Enjoy the weather:

Get out and play:

Friends and family: