Lecture discusses global initiatives

Photo by Brenda Lin

Tech hosted a lecture, in the ES&T Building, on the various forms of global outreach in which the staff and student body are engaged. The topics included —  international education, research, innovation, and alumni engagement.

The speakers brought to light how Tech is tackling one of the key goals in its current strategic plan: “Expanding our global footprint and influence to ensure that we are graduating as good global citizens.”

The first speaker to present was Yves Berthelot, Ph.D., vice-provost for International Initiatives and the Steve A. Denning Chair of Global Engagement. Berthelot highlighted the importance of Tech’s international programs.

“We want to prepare students for success and to be functional professionally and even personally in the 21st century. This is a global world, whether we want it or not,” Berthelot said. “When I see the impact [of these programs] on students, … it’s really meaningful … and in fact it speaks for itself. Employers love to hire students who have gone through these international experiences.”

Berthelot went on to explain the guiding principles Tech uses to decide which international initiatives to undertake. These include — making sure the initiative is something Tech wants to do, something Tech can do well, something which benefits Tech and that the project is resource-neutral (or resource-positive).

Beyond the continuing and established efforts at GT-Lorraine, Tech is continuing to expand its efforts in Singapore, Panama, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia and most notably in Shenzhen, China. In December of 2016, President G.P. “Bud” Peterson signed an agreement with Shenzhen University to establish a joint institute.

Tech will be offering Master’s programs at the location, and Berthelot hopes to one day expand to a full campus.

Amy Henry, the executive director of the Office of International Education (OIE), spoke next. When she joined Tech’s staff in 1995, Henry became Tech’s first Study Abroad Coordinator. As such, she talked about all the various international student bodies, both on and off campus.

International students, who come from abroad to study at Tech, make the greatest population of Tech affiliates involved with the OIE. There are many on campus efforts to integrate international students with U.S. based students. Some of these programs include freshman living-learning communities, International Education week and I-House, where about 48 students — half international and half American — live together in a dorm on 4th Street and participate in programs that promote integration and learning about each other.

Of all undergraduate students based on Tech’s Atlanta campus, approximately 54 percent graduate with international experience. Most of these programs are led by Tech faculty, and the most common location of these experiences are in France. Last year, 2,111 students participated in any of the 94 international programs.

The final speaker was Bernard Kippelen, Joseph M. Pettit professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and co-president of l’Institut Lafayette.

Kippelen played a key role in the establishment of L’Institut Lafayette, an innovation and research facility in Metz, France, located adjacent to the GT-Lorraine campus. The plans for the Institut Lafayette were first signed in 2005, and the facility became research-ready last year. The 30 million euro, 25,000 square feet innovation facility focuses on optoelectronics research, and aims to be a resource for industry and research, all while maintaining its inclusive partnership with Tech and creating an ecosystem for economic development.

“I think one part … that really resonates with [our partners abroad] is Georgia Tech’s ability to integrate education and research … with innovation and the training of our students in entrepreneurship,” Kippelen said.

The panel was part of the ongoing “Demystifying How Georgia Tech Works” event series, organized by Tech’s ADVANCE Program. The next lecture in the series, titled “Driving innovation through partnerships: Lessons from a public-private partnership initiative” will be held on Feb. 9 from 11 a.m. to noon in Scheller 314.