Cabrera’s strategic plan seeks student input

Photo by Taylor Gray Student Publications

A new effort is underway to collect the opinions of the campus community as the administration is launching a new strategic plan to determine the direction of the Institute over the next ten years. It will be replacing the strategic plan of 2010, put in place by President Peterson and intended to last until 2035.

The effort to collect opinions and views of students is lead by the Department of Strategic Consulting, a relatively new addition to the administration. The group is described as “an internal team focused on advancing organizational effectiveness.” It was founded in 2013 in order to increase the efficiency of the administration through implementing enterprise solutions.  

The “Visioning Sessions,” as they are called, are intended to collect student opinions about what they would like to see from the Institute in the future. This is only the first stage of the plan, which is intended to generate an idea of the direction for the strategic plan. The next stage will involve the plan’s creation and eventual implementation. 

During the visioning sessions, representatives of the Strategic Consulting department ask students what their vision (hence the name) is for the Institute in ten years. Answers are recorded through an online form on
an iPad. 

The visioning sessions are held in various locations around campus, such as in the Clough atrium and the Student Center ballroom, as well as through online webinars. An online RSVP is required for entrance into the sessions. They are offered in two flavors: one that is open to the entire campus community, including faculty and staff, and one that is restricted to students, both graduate and undergraduate. 

The previous strategic plan was released in 2010 under President Peterson. It was intended to provide guidance for the Institute over a 25-year period, out to the year 2035. It consisted of five overarching goals, which focused mainly on improving the administration, elevating the Institute’s ranking and prestige and continuing to excel in scholarship and research. There is not a reference to the campus community in the five goals, and many of the measures undertaken under the old strategic plan did not focus on those issues.

Some of the advancements under the plan include the launching of Create-X, launching the Institute’s program at the new campus in Shenzhen, China and launching innovation centers in Tech Square with companies like NCR and The Home Depot. 

So far, there has been little official communication from the new administration regarding the new strategic plan, although representatives from the Department of Strategic Consulting have presented to campus leaders, such as the Student Government Association in an attempt to spread the word. A Google search for “gatech strategic plan,” however, will yield information exclusively on the strategic plan from 2010, and none regarding the new iteration.

Following the shooting of Scout Schultz in 2017, the administration responded with the Path Forward, which was essentially a smaller and more specific version of the overarching strategic plan that focused on the campus community and campus mental health. Advancements under the plan include the opening of GT Care in the Student Center, the increased number of mental health counselors and the expansion of the LGTBQIA Resource Center.

Some of the concerns voiced by students at the visioning sessions have centered around the perceived lack of progress coming out of the Path Forward initiative, with additional comments discussing the Institute’s poor communication skills as publications intended to inform students on Institute happenings like the daily and weekly digests are frequently ignored.