From the Dean's Desk - July 21,2020

Dear GT Computing community,

Georgia Tech Dean of Computing Charles Isbell

As I hope you noticed, we have some good news to start with today: Vivek Sarkar has been named the new Chair of the School of Computer Science. Please join me in congratulating Vivek and the School on this new chapter. Please also take a moment to join me in thanking Mostafa Ammar for his thoughtful and important leadership as interim chair for the past year.

As you all know, we also have another chair search ongoing for the School of Computational Science and Engineering. I am hoping to share the outcome of that search soon.

So, things are moving along. We are also starting to see how next year’s budget will play out in the College. So far, we have been able to protect our people; however, by definition that comes at a different cost. In this case one of the most significant cuts we are forced to make is to our annual travel expenses. In particular, we are putting a freeze on travel with state funds for now. That includes all travel-related expenses, including using state funds for registration, transportation, mileage, hotels, meals, and so on.

Now, these cuts are happening in a larger context. First, obviously, there isn’t likely to be a lot of travel this coming year (I say while enjoying the Snowbird Utah conference from the comfort of my home). Second, USG has stopped all “non-essential” travel at all USG universities until further notice.

Meanwhile, the Fall comes hurtling toward us. The Institute is continuing to work on the details that will shape our upcoming academic year, including matching courses to modes (updating and iterating as we know more) and hammering out the details of a testing strategy.  In the midst of these updates, there is still uncertainty around what it means to do hybrid courses. The Institute—correctly in my view—wants to allow individual faculty the latitude they need to educate their students in the way they know best makes sense. Having said that, there should be more—can we retire this word?—guidance coming down the pike. Be on the look out.

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to remember John Lewis, who represented Georgia Tech’s district in the U.S. Congress for more than three decades. He was a visionary, a leader, someone who made “good trouble” whenever he could, and never tired in his pursuit of equality and justice for all Americans. He touched many lives, including I know, some in the College. It is not possible to do his legacy justice in words, I think we can only hope to do what we can in deeds.



Charles L. Isbell, Jr.

John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean

College of Computing

Georgia Tech

EA: Alicia Richhart,, 404-894-8357

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