College is Key to Tech Being Selected to AAU

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Georgia Tech has accepted an invitation to the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), becoming its first new addition in nearly a decade.

Tech President G. P. "Bud" Peterson emphasized research examining the ways in which scientific exploration affects public policy (research conducted primarily in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts) as a key to Georgia Tech's membership.

AAU members approved the invitation to Georgia Tech on April 20 at the association's annual spring meeting in Washington, D.C. The invitation was extended to Georgia Tech President G. P. "Bud" Peterson the same day by AAU President Robert M. Berdahl, and Peterson accepted on behalf of the Institute.

Berdahl said that the invitation followed an in-depth review of the university's research and academic programs. "Georgia Tech is an outstanding institution that, like other AAU universities, plays a major role in the nation's research enterprise, as well as in training the next generation of scientists, engineers and scholars," he said. "Georgia Tech belongs in AAU, and the membership was pleased to issue the invitation."

President Peterson noted that the quality and breadth of Georgia Tech's programs, especially the university's emphasis on exploring the ways in which scientific exploration affects public policy were important factors in the case for membership.

That emphasis includes ties between the sciences and the university's schools of public policy and international affairs.

Speaking with a reporter from the Chronicle of Higher Education, Peterson said, "We have very specific areas that we work in, and that is really focused on the role and impact of science, technology and engineering on society."

Georgia Tech is the first new AAU member in nine years. AAU membership includes 35 public universities, 26 private and two Canadian universities, all of which have strong research and academic programs.

"We are proud to be selected to join this prestigious group," said Peterson. "It is truly a credit to those who have worked so hard to make Georgia Tech the institution it is today. In particular, President Emeritus Wayne Clough and former Georgia Tech Provost Jean-Lou Chameau played a vital role in Georgia Tech achieving this wonderful accomplishment."

Georgia Tech's academic and research credentials made the Institute a strong candidate for the AAU. Since 1999, Tech has ranked among U.S. News & World Report's top ten public universities and currently ranks 7th.

The Institute thrives as an economic engine for Georgia and the Southeast. Through its sponsored research and industry partnerships, Georgia Tech has an annual impact of more than $2 billion, with its research labs producing more than 300 invention disclosures annually.

"The state's long and strong investment in Georgia Tech has placed this outstanding research university among the nation's top public universities for many years," said University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. "We are delighted that the AAU has recognized Tech's national and international scope and role in research. This is really a well-deserved recognition of Georgia Tech by its peers."

The addition of Georgia Tech brings the association's membership to 63 institutions. An invitation to join AAU requires approval by three-fourths of the current members. The association considers universities for membership periodically, using a set of factors to assess the caliber of a university's faculty, research enterprise and education programs.

AAU, which is based in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1900. The organization develops and promotes national and institutional policies that support research and scholarship, graduate and professional education, undergraduate education and public service in research universities.
A list of the other AAU members and the organization's membership policies can be found at the AAU Web site:

Written by Matt Nagel with edits by Rebecca Keane


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Rebecca Keane
  • Created:04/21/2010
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016