President G. P. “Bud” Peterson has announced his intention to step down, leaving the Tech community with a pressing question: who will take his place?
Peterson’s tenure saw a healthy rise in Tech’s reputation, both in industry and in academia. Our rankings are consistently impressive and admissions are as competitive as ever. With an increased focus on Tech’s sometimes-toxic campus culture, however, new leadership could provide new opportunities to address issues like mental health that have proven to be stumbling blocks for Peterson.
The ideal candidate would seize upon Tech’s recent ethics concerns to highlight appropriate reporting practices and emphasize transparency and accountability, ensuring that Tech’s administration maintains the student trust that it is currently in the process of repairing.
The new president should also incorporate student affairs into their long and short term goals for the Institute, maintaining Peterson’s legacy of renown while also turning an eye inward and dialing in on issues that students feel have been swept under the rug.
Though the president reports to Georgia’s Board of Regents, there are times where they will need to push back on ideas that could be detrimental to Tech. The student body deserves a president that it can trust to fight on its behalf.
With new leadership comes a chance to break Tech’s cultural inertia and force a reassessment of values. Though it may seem counterintuitive, hiring someone from outside of Tech would likely bring more trust to the position than promoting from within. The administration should take all of these factors into account when filling the position as the growing dissatisfaction with life at Tech needs to be mitigated in order to allow the Institute to live up to the reputation Peterson has helped build.