On Jan. 15, Dr. Raheem Beyah officially began his duties as the new dean of Tech’s College of Engineering (COE).
Prior to his appointment as dean, Beyah held numerous positions at Tech, including Vice President for Interdisciplinary Research, Executive Director of the Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity program and the Motorola Foundation Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).
Before working at Tech, Beyah was a co-founder of Fortiphyd Logic Inc., an industrial cybersecurity company.
He also worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Georgia State University (GSU). Beyah graduated from the Atlanta Public School system.
He earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1998 and completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at Tech in 1999 and 2003 respectively.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have … good experiences,” Beyah explains.
“The fact that I’ve just sort of had consistent, high quality education, I think it’s certainly benefited me tremendously.” As the new dean, Beyah has a strong vision for Tech’s COE which he summarizes in a simple phrase: “seize the moment, accelerate the future.”
“I think we are in a moment that we have to pay attention to — from the pandemic [to] the political turmoil that affects us all [and] the racial issues,” Beyah explains. “At the same time, we also got to think about our future and realize that we won’t be always stuck in this moment.”
To think about the COE’s future, Beyah plans to “focus on our people, innovations, and partnerships.”
In a recent interview with the Technique, Beyah explained how these three foci relate to many of his past experiences before he was appointed COE dean.
Beyah first stated that as Vice President for Interdisciplinary Research, he felt too removed from the student body. This inspired his new goal as COE dean “to have as many touch points as [he] can with many different student groups.”
And beyond that, Beyah strives to “not leave out folks that are not involved in student groups.” In the interview, Beyah explained how he was not very involved with student groups as an undergraduate student and now wants to make sure students like him can always feel included and “like they absolutely belong.”
Beyah then went on to describe how his focus on innovation stems from his previous work co-founding Fortiphyd Logic Inc.
“Starting my own company has helped me be very entrepreneurial,” Beyah stated. “I question everything and say, ‘Why can’t we innovate? Why can’t we be better?’”
Beyah explained that these questions will lead him as dean to look into better options for student advising, hiring processes, and course instruction — both in-person and remote.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, Beyah stated he hopes to look into better solutions for safe schooling.
“Microsoft Teams is fine, but it’s not great for teaching. It’s okay … but we actually could develop something that is outstanding,” Beyah suggested.
Beyah finished by stating how his focus on partnerships is inspired by his experiences at GSU in the early 2000s when he taught in the school’s recently established computer science department.
“Computer science was maybe 14 faculty — really tiny … I learned a tremendous amount [about] the experience of being a small fish,” he stated.
As Beyah begins to lead the largest college on Tech’s campus, he plans to “remember the six years when [he] was…a small fish in a small pond…and wanted really to partner with some of the bigger folks.”
As vice president for Interdisciplinary Research, Beyah worked with colleagues from the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, one of the smaller colleges on Tech’s campus, to create the new Ethics, Technology and Human Interaction Center (ETHICx).
As dean of the COE, Beyah wants to continue partnering with the Ivan Allen College as well as various local, regional, and global organizations.
Beyah’s focus on people, innovation and partnerships illustrate his goal to build on the strong legacy of Tech’s COE for an ambitious and successful future.
Even with all the challenges that are present within the school, both internal and external, Beyah hopes to work towards a future where “we all share the same feeling about Georgia Tech … we smile when we think about our Institute.”