Campus-Wide Conversation

Forum brings topic of academic diversity to the table

Tech's vice provost of Academic Diversity opened dialogue to faculty, staff and students at the Institute's inaugural Diversity Symposium last week.

According to the vice provost's office, roughly 180 participants attended the half-day forum, held Sept. 14 at the Global Conference and Learning Center from
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

President Bud Peterson welcomed the attendees, relating the discussion of academic diversity to the strategic planning process currently under way. He recounted Tech's history as the first major institution in the South to peacefully integrate in 1961, as well as Tech's legacy of producing African-American engineering undergraduate and graduate degrees.

"Diversity should be included in everything we do," he said. "My goal is that the Instiute arrives at a place where the Office of Academic Diversity is no longer needed."

Guest panelists attending the forum were Gertrude Fraser, vice provost for Faculty Advancement for the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; Richard Tapia, mathematics professor and director for the Center of Excellence and Equity in Education at Rice University; and Cathy Trower, director of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Following the panel, guests attended a luncheon, where the discussion continued as people dined at each table.

According to the Office of Vice Provost for Academic Diversity, the breakdown of attendees was 31 percent administration, 52 percent faculty members, 23 percent staff and 14 percent students.

"Based on turnout and the level of discussion generated by panelists and participants, the Diversity Symposium was successful in reaching its intended goal of raising the level of discourse on diversity and inclusion at Georgia Tech," Barabino said.

"Guided by the insightful presentations of our panelists, we were able to pay special attention to faculty diversity and the link between it and student diversity and achievement, as well as the influence of institutional climate and culture on faculty and student success and the achievement of institutional goals."

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.