Dean Royster reappointed, defends Liberal Arts

Photo by Basheer Tome

Last month, Dr. Jacqueline Royster was re-appointed as the Dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts after a customary five-year review of her time as Dean.

According to Royster, Ivan Allen is sometimes misunderstood.

“[My] experience is that people who question liberal arts at Georgia Tech are people that don’t know what we do,” Royster said. “And I think that once they understand what we do and how we do it, that question just doesn’t come up.”

Tech students are required by Georgia Law to take two English courses, six hours of humanities and twelve hours of social sciences. According to Royster, it is vital for all students to take these courses.

“I believe that the liberal arts are an excellent way to become an educated person,” Royster said. “It was how I was educated myself, and you tend to have a deep affection for the things that form the culture in which you yourself were made, and I consider my commitment to human centered things to be a part of that.”

When responding to doubts about the liberal arts at Tech, Dean Royster says that she believes in the capabilities of the college.

“We have as much of an obligation as any of the other colleges, Royster said. “It’s a collaborative enterprise; that’s what universities are. They work together to make sure that there is academic excellence.”

Despite the focus that many at Tech place on engineering and the sciences, according to Royster,  liberal arts are a key component to education, and to the world.

“This is a world with human beings in it, this is a world with science and technology in it, and this is a world that we put together at Georgia Tech in a really dynamic way,” Royster said. “It’s just powerful in its effect and its ability to equip people to be the leaders, movers, and shakers that they’re going to be in the world.”

Dean Royster graduated from Spelman College and earned an M.A. and D.A. in English from the University of Michigan. According to Royster, her background in English inspires her to develop and expand the liberal arts, and she believes there is no better place to do so than Tech.

“I believe that Georgia Tech students are wonderful people,” Royster said. “I think that one important advantage that we add for people who are not our majors is that we help them to broaden their worldview, their experience, and their capacity to be a good productive citizen, and we help them to become people who are capable of interacting with others no matter where you find yourself.”

Dean Royster hopes to help Ivan Allen progress, advance, and evolve even further.

“Going forward, we need to be able to exercise our greatest potential,” Royster said. “We need to be able to show the quality of work that the liberal arts has the capacity to do. In an institution like this that’s so attune to addressing some of the world’s thorniest problems, I think it’s a marriage made in heaven.”

Currently, Ivan Allen College has 622 undergraduate students and 255 Masters and Ph.D. students.