President Cabrera debuts strategic plan draft

Photo courtesy of GT Communications

Last semester, with the ushering in of Tech’s new president, Angel Cabrera, an all call was put out for students, faculty and everyone in between to share their dream for Tech’s future. Between working sessions, meetings and QR codes spread around campus, over 5,700 people contributed towards a new vision for Tech in the coming years. 

The Strategic Plan was divided into three phases, which include the “Visioning” phase, a “Goal Setting” phase, and an “Implementation” phase. The visioning phase concluded on time, as it was projected to last from Sept. 2019 to Jan. 2020. 

During the visioning phase of the process, the strategic planning team utilized appreciative inquiry to gather data through various sessions and surveys. The appreciative inquiry approach is a method of organizational change that focuses on engaging the stakeholders of the Institute, including students, faculty, alumni and community partners, in definitive goal seeking and change making. In using this data gathering method, the strategic planning team was able to identify common goals, achievements and values that the Tech community wants to strive to work towards and preserve. 

With the completion of the visioning phase came the initial working draft of “A Vision for Georgia Tech: 2020-2030.” The strategic plan is meant to serve as a blueprint for the goals the administration wants to work to achieve within the next decade of the Institute’s existence. 

After analyzing all of the data brought in by Cabrera’s strategic planning sessions, a working draft was made available to the public that outlined the Institute’s objectives to tackle within the next ten years. The publication of the draft marked the beginning of the goal setting phase, which is to last from now until June 2020. 

The working draft outlines the values, beliefs and strategic themes that serve as the foundation of the vision. The values and beliefs cited in the draft include excellence, diversity, collaboration, the nurturing of the wellbeing of the overall Tech community, freedom of expression, ethics and the Institute’s responsibility to act as stewards. 

The section titled “Vision 2030” lists the “strategic themes” for the plan, which act as categories for the proposed actions listed later: “In order to achieve this vision, we will amplify impact, champion innovation, connect globally, expand access, cultivate well-being and lead by example”. The working draft emphasizes Tech’s continuing commitment to working in its immediate community, the city of Atlanta and Georgia as a whole. These stated goals include, “be a trusted partner in addressing the most pressing social, economic and environmental issues in our city and state … be the innovation partner of choice for leading companies and organizations in the communities we serve,” and “partner with public schools in Atlanta and across the state to increase enrollment of underrepresented students and support teachers who inspire students to pursue careers in science and technology”.

This strategic plan further narrows a commitment to Tech’s closest surroundings. Dr. Magnus Egerstedt pointed out in Oct. 2019 that, “We are not always as effective as we could be when it comes to partnering with our immediate neighbors and communities, it’s true that every year we get a little better,” in reference to Tech’s incrementally improving inclusivity of local neighborhoods in its economic success, specifically in terms of education outreach. While Tech is known for sending its promising students to local Atlanta businesses such as Lockheed Martin and Coca-Cola, this new vision for Tech aims to include surrounding public schools and bring in promising students from the area, as well.

One notable point may be the intention to “empower and facilitate the mental and physical wellbeing and holistic development of all members of the Georgia Tech community”. Mental health resource quality and availability have been areas of contention for students at Tech for years, and administration has made them high priorities since 2017. President Cabrera has expressed interest in being personally involved with current and future mental health initiatives, which aligns with this stated goal.

With all the goals set out in the working draft, the implementation phase of the project should commence this July. During the current goal setting phase, students, staff and community members can apply to be part of working teams that correspond with the six strategic themes. For more information, visit https://strategicplan.gatech.edu/