Test Tubes, Tubas & Threads - A Winning Combination

Institute Prepares Students for Global Reality of 21st Century According to Best-Selling Author

According to Thomas L. Friedman, renowned best-selling author and New York Times columnist, Georgia Tech's President G. Wayne Clough "had to rethink education in a flattening world out of sheer necessity." Friedman showcases Georgia Tech's approach to education in the 21st century, as well as the College of Computing's redesign of the computer science major called Threads, in the rerelease of his most recent book, The World Is Flat.

In Chapter Seven, entitled "The Right Stuff," Friedman extensively quotes Clough in the "Tubas and Test Tubes" section and describes how Georgia Tech has worked over the last ten years to attract and retain more students who have more wide-ranging interests such as music and film, with the thought that these students are more flexible and able to adapt and work across disciplines.

Friedman points out that, "very few presidents of premier technology universities boast about their tubas as much as their test tubes. But Clough has reason to boast, because my guess is that by making Georgia Tech sing-and by making other user-friendly additions to the undergraduate teaching system, and by making education overseas easily available for Georgia Tech students-he is producing not just more engineers, but the right kind of engineers."

Friedman continues his observations, sharing conversations with Rich DeMillo, dean of the College of Computing, and Merrick Furst, associate dean of the College of Computing. Friedman highlights the College of Computing's redesign of the computer science major called Threads. The new curriculum features nine 'threads' that combine computing with another field such as media, information, or people, to produce graduates with a broader knowledge base and set of experiences than the traditional fixed set of computer science skills.

"What the Georgia Tech model recognizes is that the world is increasingly going to be operating off the flat-world platform, with its tools for all kinds of horizontal collaboration," writes Friedman.