Vice Provost for International Initiatives Named

Steve McLaughlin Named Vice Provost for International Intiatives

As the Institute continues on its ambitious plan for a "global Tech," the Office of the Provost has named School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Steve McLaughlin as its first vice provost for International Initiatives.

Within the Office of the Provost, McLaughlin will work closely with all units on campus to ensure that the Institute's global efforts in education and research meet the highest standard of excellence. His office provides leadership and strategic direction to the Office of International Education which includes education abroad programs and its international student and faculty exchange programs.

In announcing the appointment, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Anderson Smith cited McLaughlin's intimate understanding of Tech's overseas operations and how those partnerships are fostered.

"Steve McLaughlin has served as deputy director of Georgia Tech Lorraine since 2004 and is aware of how important research and economic development are in our international plans," he said. "We have outstanding opportunities for our students to be involved in international study and work, and we need to expand those opportunities. However, we also have to support our international initiatives that involve research and graduate education at international sites.

"Steve will be Georgia Tech's point person on all our international activities. I look forward to working with him as we shape the global Georgia Tech."

During a public presentation in August, McLaughlin outlined his perspective on and vision for Tech's global initiatives. First and foremost, he said, these programs are essential ingredients in making both its students and faculty more competitive in the so-called 'flat world' of globalization.

"If we accept the flattened world proposition, then it comes down to preparing individuals - not only to compete against others but also to work together - and I think that's what Tech's international programs are all about."

"At Georgia Tech Lorraine we have interaction with dozens of companies, and all of them want students with experience in multicultural, multilingual environments," that mesh with their own multinational business operations, he said.

McLaughlin also sees Tech's international initiatives as a key differentiator of its brand over the next several decades.

"We're already being recognized as a leader in some aspects of international education and research. I'm absolutely convinced that this should be a major piece of our brand for the next generation or two." Moreover, this is an area "where we can be the clear leader, in a way that sets our nation's vision and defines policies and priorities for others."

Mindful of its responsibility to the state, McLaughlin said Tech also has an obligation to foster the kind of international partnerships that in can have an impact on Georgia's economic development.
"As a state institution, we need to do things that are in line with what the state needs," he said. "The competition is primarily going to be in the technology space, and I think we're in a position to be the leading university in this area."

Most of all, McLaughlin is enthusiastic about international opportunities for the kinds of life-altering experiences they produce. Having spent three years in Metz, France, he noted the impact that experience has had on both his career and family.

"I'm convinced that these international programs change people, sometimes in profound ways but also in ordinary ways. It also changes our international partners, the way they view us and the way we view them."