Cross Named Executive Vice President for Research
President G. P. "Bud" Peterson has selected Stephen E. Cross as Georgia Tech's executive vice president for research (EVPR), providing leadership, strategic focus, and support for the Institute's multifaceted research and economic development enterprise. Cross, who has served as vice president and director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) since 2003, will be the first to hold this newly created position. He will assume the role on May 1.
In this capacity, he will serve as the Institute's principal research officer with direct oversight of the Institute's interdisciplinary research centers, the Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and the Georgia Tech Research Corporation. He will work closely with the colleges, affiliated units, and faculty. The EVPR will report directly to the president and will be a member of a new executive leadership team consisting of the president, the provost, and the executive vice president for Administration and Finance.
"At every point in his career, Steve has increased the breadth of the technology portfolio and the size of research budgets under his direction," Peterson said. "He will be a strong advocate for Georgia Tech, both supporting a robust research enterprise internally and extending our influence with external research partners."
In a presentation to the campus in February, Cross said he views the role as that of a "chief marketing officer … spending a lot of time outside the Institute building relationships with senior officials in government and industry."
At the same time, Cross underscored the importance of a shared understanding between research and academics.
"The provost has to have a role in research," he said. "It is critical that the EVPR work with the provost to proactively support faculty hiring and retention. We have to be anticipatory, based upon solid planning with clear objectives."
During the next 100 days, Cross plans to seek the counsel of senior administrators and faculty, conduct a baseline review of budgets and research operations, and develop a plan for moving forward.
"My approach to the decision-making process centers around clear communication to those within our research enterprise in order to foster a shared understanding of the issues, goals, priorities and actions in front of us," Cross said. "It is through this process that we can collectively move our research enterprise from its current state to an envisioned state that is being articulated as part of Georgia Tech’s new strategic plan."
While Cross will stay involved with GTRI through his oversight role, he will, by May 1, announce who will serve as interim director. The announcement will be followed by details concerning the search for a new director for GTRI.
Cross holds faculty appointments as a professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and as an adjunct professor in both the College of Computing and the College of Management. Since August 2009, he has played a lead role in Tech's ongoing strategic planning initiative. He serves on the research advisory boards of the Health Systems Institute, the Georgia Tech-Emory Collaboration for Regenerative Medicine and the Tennenbaum Institute. His personal research interests focus on leadership, culture change, workflow simulation, and enterprise transformation. In January 2010, Cross was appointed to the Defense Science Board.
He joined Georgia Tech in 2003 after serving as director and CEO of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, which he joined in 1994. Previously, Cross served at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Washington, D.C.
Cross earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1983, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1977 and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Cincinnati in 1974. He is an IEEE Fellow and current associate editor of IKSM (an online journal of information, knowledge, and systems management). He has supported numerous National Research Council studies and has testified on numerous occasions before the U.S. Congress on topics including innovation, cyber security and software engineering.