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Georgia Tech Center To Explore 21st Century Universities

The Georgia Institute of Technology is setting up a new center specifically to serve as a living laboratory for testing new forms of education. Driven by the growth of social networking, online learning, and other developments, the Center for 21st Century Universities will enable faculty at the Atlanta institution to experiment with new approaches to curriculum and its delivery. According to former College of Computing Dean Rich DeMillo, who will lead the center, it will also work with national and international groups involved in higher education reform.

The first item on the center's agenda is to develop a seed grant program for promising early proposals.

"The goal is to use the output of this living laboratory to drive innovative, diverse--perhaps competing--visions of higher education in the 21st century," said DeMillo. He added that he expected results to help traditional institutions hold their own in an educational environment that is increasingly wooing students against nontraditional and international competitors.

"We've got to figure out how to scale a Georgia Tech education to a much larger population of students while retaining every bit of the intellectual rigor that makes that experience what it is," said Steve Cross, the Institute's executive vice president for research. "The last decade has shown us that different models of education delivery can not only work but succeed. Given our nature and history as a technological university that responds extremely well to the shifting demands of industry, it's appropriate that Georgia Tech help lead the way toward a thriving system of higher education in [this] century."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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