From the Dean's Desk - Sept. 1, 2020

Dear GT Computing colleagues,

Georgia Tech Dean of Computing Charles Isbell

As you might recall from my note last week, I had a virtual chat with our students on Monday, and it was great to hear from them about their struggles and concerns.

Most of those concerns are familiar to all of us. The students feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of platforms they need to use to get their work done (Canvas, Outlook, Teams, BlueJeans, carrier pigeons, and so on). They are frustrated with the glitches that pop up when thousands of people are using new systems at once. I think we have all felt the same way and for the same reasons.

I told the students what our faculty and staff already know: this moment calls for a great deal of patience and grace, with our systems and with each other. As I have asked you as faculty and staff  to understand that many of our students are going through difficult times, I asked them to remember that the faculty and staff are also human beings living through this same pandemic, and probably have even more balls to juggle than they can imagine.

Another highlight of our conversation was a discussion of remote learning. They can see that remote education gives them options that they don’t necessarily want to give up. They were genuinely curious about how we might move to flipped classrooms, more interactive online learning, and how we might in other ways create a different and better learning experience in the future.

Our students also show great confidence in us and our abilities. I was asked how the faculty are going to use "their talents" to solve all platform problems, creating a unified and robust communication and learning environment. I was also earnestly asked what I was doing to ensure a completely on-campus return this Spring. At least we can say their expectations of us are not low.

Well, as I told the students, we are doing all we can. The computing community includes all of us, and if we all do our parts, we will eventually see something we might think of as not only normal, but better. We may not be able to do the impossible in the next couple of weeks, but I suspect we can learn exactly what is possible, and maybe do that. We will face whatever future semesters might bring.

Welcome to September. Stay safe.



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

Virtual chat:

Whatever future semesters bring: