Finalists for Vice Provost address Institute

Steven Girardot (left) and Stephen Ruffin (right) are the two finalists for Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. // Photos courtesy of news.gatech.edu

Last summer Colin Potts stepped down from his role as the vice provost for Undergraduate Education at Tech, and the Institute is close to ending their search for his replacement. 

Since Potts left the role to accept another position at Missouri University of Science and Technology, Steven Girardot has acted as the interim vice provost for the past year. Girardot served as Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education before being temporarily promoted and is also a finalist for the permanent role.

The other finalist for vice provost is Stephen Ruffin, a professor and associate chair for Undergraduate Programs in the aerospace engineering department. More information about both candidates’ experience can be found on the search website. Girardot and Ruffin also hosted seminars detailing their respective goals if selected as vice provost, with Girardot presenting on Feb. 17 and Ruffin presenting the next day. 

“We all play a role in changing the lives of our undergraduates for the better,” Girardot said in his opening to his seminar. He then detailed his academic and personal journey at Tech, starting with his first days as an undergraduate at the Institute and his growing love for teaching and helping students. 

“The person coming into the role of vice provost for Undergraduate Education must be prepared to embrace the full meaning of education,” Girardot said. 

Girardot then offered his guiding vision for the role: “Georgia Tech will deliver excellence in undergraduate education and provide the resources and support needed to empower all undergraduates to realize its transformational benefits.” Girardot then noted how he wants Tech to be looked on fondly at students’ graduation, focusing on supporting students’ academic journeys and giving students opportunities to grow. He then touched on the initial priorities for the future vice provost, and then highlighted how he would achieve his vision and priorities. 

Girardot then highlighted his qualifications for the role and ended his session by reasserting  his guiding principles and taking questions from the audience. 

The next morning, Ruffin gave his seminar, and started by introducing himself and his experience up to the search, relating the skills he gained in the aerospace engineering department and other organizations to the vice provost role. 

Ruffin declared his vision for the role to be “instrumental in meeting the renewed GT strategic emphasis centered on enhancing the student experience and student success.” He also listed his personal qualities that he would like to draw upon as vice provost, such as being data driven, collaborative, and focused.

Ruffin then listed some current challenges in higher education and the questions that need to be answered to address them, noting how the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education can fit into Tech’s strategic plan for the next decade. 

He also detailed tasks needed to provide “Progress and Service for All,” and emphasized looking beyond the numbers to address problems in undergraduate education. He gave a summary of his vision for the vice provost role and then also received questions from the audience. 

After the seminars, feedback surveys for both candidates were opened to collected insights from the Tech community on both finalists’ abilities to serve in the vice provost role. The hope was to try and allow for students, faculty and staff to have an outlet to voice their opinions, whether in support or opposition of the candidates and their plans for the future of the Institute.

Members of the Tech community can browse the finalists’ CVs and goals for the Institute, as well as watch the recorded seminars through the search website, and the announcement for the future Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education is expected to be delivered to the Institute community later this month.