On Dec. 17, 2010, the Institute announced the creation of the Center for 21st Century Universities, a new initiative that will be the testing ground for revolutionary educational ideas and concepts.
The Center for 21st Century Universities, or “C21U,” will be directed by the former Dean of the College of Computing, Richard DeMillo. He believes that Tech is the best location for an institution such as the center.
“The response has been tremendous.  Georgia Tech professors are ready for this,” DeMillo said. “We recognize that  to remain a top technological university in the 21st century we might  have to re-imagine what it means to be a university.  It’s the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that got Georgia Tech to this point as a top research university.  Imagine what will be possible if even a fraction of that research talent is devoted to higher education itself.”
The center will emphasize the role of disruptive technologies, or innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, and the educational opportunities for students.
Based out of the College of Computing, the center represents a diverse coalition of faculty members, including those from the colleges of Public Policy, Interactive Computing, Industrial and Systems Engineering and Management.
The center’s first plan is to develop a seed grant program that will identify and provide grants and funds for promising early proposals.
Some sample projects the center will be pursuing include social networks for expanding the reach and effectiveness of student-faculty interactions, open blogging platforms for facilitating student interactions, and artificial intelligence for augmenting human advising.
DeMillo emphasizes the active role that students will play in determing and participating in the future of this initiative.
“I expect that students will have an involvement from day one,” said DeMillo. “The only way to conduct experiments with concepts like [redesigning courses and curriculum] is to actually create learning communities and environments. That means students will be involved.  We will invent ways to answer [the students’] question.  In the process, some Tech students will get to ‘live in the future’ because they will be part of the research teams.”