President Shares Progress Report, Answers Questions
From questions about merit raises and dealing with rising tuition costs to sharing the successes of the past year, the annual Institute Address provided the campus community with an opportunity to hear straight from President G. P. “Bud” Peterson.
The president kicked off the address by thanking leaders of the 15 active projects that have developed out of the Institute’s 25-year strategic plan launched two years ago. (For more information about each project, click here.)
“Thanks to the continuing engagement of the Georgia Tech community, we have made solid progress, and I continue to be impressed by the collaboration and innovative spirit of those working on the various aspects of the plan,” Peterson said.
He also discussed some of the new facilities that will be opening on campus in the future, made possible through a combination of private philanthropy, state and industry support. The McCamish Pavilion will open to the public in September, and the Ken Byers Tennis Complex will open in January. Tech will undertake a $10.5 million renovation of the Mason Building for Civil and Environmental Engineering and is continuing the phased renovation of residence halls and dining facilities.
In addition to other renovation and construction projects, Peterson spoke of the new Engineered Biosystems Building that is under construction on Tenth Street.
“This facility will allow us to continue to expand our world-class activities in the biotechnology arena and will provide an economic boost to the state by fueling Georgia’s growing biotechnology industry,” he added.
Peterson mentioned the innovation ecosystem that Tech is creating, partnering with the City of Atlanta, the state and industry.
“We are actively and aggressively working to commercialize the technologies developed at Tech, moving the discoveries made in our laboratories to the marketplace, and building the companies that will create jobs, drive our economy and stimulate growth,” he said.
Peterson also touched on topics including safety and research initiatives.
Following the address, Peterson responded to questions that had been submitted prior to the event and to those asked by members of the audience, online and through Twitter.
One faculty member submitted a question regarding the lack of merit raises for faculty and staff. Peterson acknowledged the challenging economic environment that has resulted in no across-the-board merit increases for state employees.
“Over the past several years, we’ve been prohibited by the state from giving merit raises, but at the same time we’re working to do everything possible to ensure that we can retain the best faculty and staff,” Peterson said.
He cited the job compensation and classification system that was implemented in recent years as one way the Institute is trying to better understand how various positions should be compensated.
Another question pertained to the rising cost of tuition.
“The cost of higher education isn’t going up that fast — we’re actually educating more students for less money than we did five years ago,” he said. “What is going up is tuition because state appropriations are going down.”
Peterson explained that while Tech’s tuition rate is still well below its peer averages, the Institute is working on additional revenue sources to help keep tuition costs down.
For more of Peterson’s responses and to view the address in its entirety, click here.