GT Computing staff enjoy a team-building event and tropical celebration

Tropical Celebration Highlights Critical Role Teamwork Plays in College’s Success

Hawaiian shirts, colorful leis, and a relaxed aloha vibe were part of a recent College of Computing staff luncheon.

A strong showing of 135 staff members from the college community attended the Tropical Celebration for Staff held on June 11. College of Computing Dean Vivek Sarkar hosted the team-building event.

The celebration was held in the Tech Square Research Building ballroom. Highlights of the event included remarks from the dean, school updates, and team-building games.

GT Computing Dean Vivek Sarkar enjoys a staff team-building event
Top: SAO Jan Morian (right) introduces School of Cybersecurity and Privacy staff members during a Tropical Celebration for Staff: Nancy Baker, John Popham, Jenny Eaton, Gina Anderson, Tiffany Darlington and Morian (pictured l-r). Above: Dean of Computing Vivek Sarkar (right) enjoys Mingle Bingo during the team-building event. Photos by Kevin Beasley/College of Computing

Sarkar, who took the helm as dean on June 1, used the occasion to underscore the critical roles community and teamwork play in the college’s success.

“Without teamwork, we can’t achieve our full potential. Teamwork starts with getting to know each other, and I think this event is a great start from that perspective,” said Sarkar during his remarks.

The dean encouraged staff members to take ownership of their organizational roles. He also emphasized the importance of learning about other teams and their business objectives to facilitate a more holistic approach to teamwork across the college community.

“You’ll never get that information dropped on you, partly because our organization is too complex. So, you must be active learners and take ownership of your role to help ensure the college’s success,” said Sarkar, who holds the John P. Imlay Jr. Chair in Computing.

During his remarks, Sarkar announced another initiative fostering teamwork throughout the college community.

The Staff Leadership Council results from conversations between the dean, the school administrative officers (SAO), and others leading up to the start of his tenure. These conversations revealed an opportunity to develop better staff connections throughout the college.

The council is a resource for staff members to provide input and feedback about their jobs and the college community. They advise the dean and his executive leadership team on staff-related issues. Council members include College of Computing Chief of Staff Tonya Peoples and each of the five school SAOs:

“I expect the Staff Leadership Council to be a conduit between the staff and the dean’s office. It provides for two-way communication to ensure all parties feel included and informed,” said Morian, who’s been with the college since 2017. 

Mingle Bingo was one of several highlights of the College of Computing's recent Tropical Celebration for Staff. Photo by Kevin Beasley/College of Computing
Mingle Bingo was one of several highlights of the College of Computing's recent Tropical Celebration for Staff. Photo by Kevin Beasley/College of Computing

Morian and her peers provided school updates following the dean’s remarks. Each SAO shared background about their respective schools, including current enrollment numbers, funding expenditures, and other statistics. They also introduced their team members and shared recent faculty and student news highlights.

"It was so informative to learn the background of other schools and how each manage their workload," said Connie Irish, the SAO of the School of Computing Instruction. "The college is very large, so you do not always get to put a name to a face. This celebration went a long way toward building our community together."

Once the SAO presentations were complete, staff members enjoyed lunch. Island macaroni salad, huli-huli chicken, coconut rice, and pineapple upside-down cake were just a few of the tropical dishes on the menu.

[PHOTO GALLERY: GT Computing Tropical Celebration for Staff]

The luncheon concluded with team-building games and staff members competing for college swag prizes.

Mingle Bingo required participants to meet new people and learn something about them ­–were they in a band; do they prefer mountain or beach vacations; or do they have cats– to get five consecutive horizontal, vertical, or diagonal signatures on their cards.

GT Computing team-building trivia game
Questions about Dean Sarkar were part of a trivia contest in the College of Computing's recent Tropical Celebration for Staff. Photo by Kevin Beasley/College of Computing

The staff then enjoyed a rousing game of trivia. The game tested their historical knowledge of Georgia Tech and the College of Computing. Questions about Dean Sarkar’s hobbies and favorite band were also part of the quiz. 

Morian said, “I loved Mingle Bingo! It is always great to get together with our colleagues from across the entire college whom we do not necessarily see often.

“I believe community and team building are critical to the success of any organization. The college has always supported staff. And this luncheon is another example of leadership’s commitment to staff.”

The college’s events management group organized the Tropical Celebration. It’s one of several team-building activities for staff that the group organizes each year. Upcoming events include a staff retreat scheduled for October.