Potts to Helm Undergraduate Education as Vice Provost

After 20 years of serving undergraduate students in roles with the College of Computing, Colin Potts will continue to do so for students across campus as the Institute’s new vice provost for undergraduate education.

Colin Potts
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Colin Potts was named vice provost of undergraduate education in 2012.

In the new position, which originated out of the Office of the Provost's recent leadership reorganization, Potts will oversee the offices and programs affecting undergraduate education, including the Division of Professional Practice, Honors Program, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, Office of Undergraduate Studies, Athletics Academic Support and the Center for Academic Success.

“When I teach large, interdisciplinary classes, which I enjoy, I can have some effect on undergraduate education across campus,” Potts said. “It's now going to be possible for me to help not just 150-200 [students] in a classroom, but 15,000 across campus. That's very exciting.”

As an associate professor in the School of Interactive Computing, Potts has been involved with various initiatives outside of his regular teaching. He has traveled with study abroad programs in Barcelona and Oxford, led a ThinkBig living learning community and participated in the development of the X-Degree and TechArts, both projects to emerge from the Institute’s 25-year strategic plan. Earlier this month, he received the 2012 Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award, in recognition of his contribution to introductory undergraduate education at Tech.

“Colin’s enthusiasm for undergraduate education and programming is evident in his demonstrated commitment to enhancing student learning and the student experience, both of which are foremost priorities in our strategic plan” said Rafael Bras, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Enhanced student-faculty interaction is another tenet of the Institute’s strategic plan, one that Potts hopes to address by making students “feel that they are members of the same community as faculty.” He’s also passionate about more seamlessly integrating the arts into students’ lives.

“Our students are very creative, and they need and deserve sustainable outlets for their expressive talents, including ways for these talents to intersect with technology and science,” Potts said. “It’s treated recreationally right now.”

Anderson Smith, senior vice provost for academic affairs, has served as interim in the undergraduate education role since December. Potts will assume his new role August 1, but plans for plenty of assessment before action.

“I want to walk around and listen to people. I’ve seen people come in like that, with ideas but also wanting to listen to others and see what makes them tick, and I’ve seen others who come in like a bull in a china shop — those people don’t tend to last. I’d like to last.”