Diane Lee; director of Georgia Tech-Savannah
to what kind of students does Georgia Tech-Savannah cater?
Our Savannah campus offers education for the lifelong learner, specifically professional development courses for area business and community leaders in areas such as mobile apps and technology, OSHA, Lean Six Sigma, and Supply Chain and Logistics. In addition, our campus focuses on the kindergartener who wants to learn more about science and technology in our K-12 STEM programs, to the high school graduate who wants to start a career in logistics and enrolls in our supply chain and logistics fundamentals courses. We also offer courses for our area veterans who are transitioning out of the military, and we offer courses for area executives who want to develop the next generation of leaders within their companies. In short, we offer education for all.
when did Georgia Tech open the Savannah campus and why?
In 1999, Georgia Tech began offering local degree programs to engineering students in southeast Georgia, and in 2003, the Savannah campus opened. Up until May 2013, we offered undergraduate and graduate degrees in four engineering majors in conjunction with Georgia Southern, Armstrong, and Savannah State, with students taking first- and second-year classes at those institutions. In 2011, our focus shifted to create a new academic and operational model for Georgia Tech Savannah that focuses on the lifelong learner by offering education to locally-based military personnel, executive education and other non-degree programs.
as director of Georgia Tech-Savannah, how does your background in senior leadership and fundraising for healthcare, non-profit, and Fortune 50 companies help your role in education? What are you responsible for at Georgia Tech-Savannah?
My prior background has been critical to our success at Georgia Tech-Savannah, particularly our mission as it pertains to the lifelong learner. We serve as a hub for education, so whether an organization is nonprofit, for-profit, or a health care facility, our programs apply to all. My background in strategic planning, business development, acquisitions and finance are also well-suited to running this campus and all of its operations. I work closely with community and business leaders to assess the educational needs of coastal Georgia and surrounding regions, work with faculty to design curriculum and also have oversight of philanthropy, business development, community relations, alumni relations, corporate relations and board development.
Over the past year, what kind of accomplishments and/or milestones has Georgia Tech-Savannah achieved?
There are so many moving parts on this campus and certainly too many accomplishments to name. However, there are several that stand out when
looking back over the past year. We delivered six Learners and Leaders programs (our breakfast series addressing topics of concern to area business leaders) to 338
participants, an increase of 65 percent from 2016. This included a sold-out presentation from renowned millennial expert Gabrielle Bosché, who addressed the timely topic of generational workforce transition. We also developed a VET2 101 online, entry-level course for transitioning service members, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, as well as a Supply Chain & Logistics Executive Roundtable, a senior management level membership program. Finally, as part of our K-12 outreach efforts, we developed a new Maker Mentor Program at The STEM Academy at
Bartlett. This six-week afterschool mentorship program paired middle school girls enrolled at the STEM Academy with high school girls from H. V. Jenkins High School of Engineering to challenge the norms and stereotypes that prevent some girls from reaching their full STEM potential.
Can you tell us more about the Veterans Education Training and Transition program?
Among the first of its
kind in the nation, the Veterans Education
Training and Transition (VET2) is a fully-funded program that provides education and job opportunities for veterans to help them translate military values into a successful civilian career. The courses partner service members with employers to provide experiential learning opportunities. After completing online and/or classroom learning, veterans are able to demonstrate their skills in an internship opportunity with an employer, earn a professional certificate from a world-renowned academic institution and are well positioned to land a civilian job. This past year, we added VET2 Lean Six Sigma Black Belt courses to the curriculum and created a custom VET2 Telecommunications track, with support from the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and Comcast.
Does Georgia Tech-Savannah have classes or programs available during the summer months?
Absolutely. We offer all of our normal educational programming, from lean to leadership to logistics during the summer
months. In addition, our FULL STEAM Ahead summer camps support learning high-level science concepts in unique ways and take place for six weeks. Last summer, we reached more than 400 students across three counties, including high school students who serve as camp counselors and are able to earn service hour credits through volunteer experiences.
Where do you see the Georgia Tech-Savannah campus in the future?
It is our goal to bring the world to Savannah, so it is critical our offerings continue to do so! As we partner with industry to provide custom courses and hear from them about their needs, we will expand offerings to help keep coastal Georgia businesses competitive and cutting edge, including a coding bootcamp coming in January 2017. Given the rapidly changing education requirements in the coastal region we must be focused on providing the programs that create the workforce to support continued economic development and differentiate Savannah as the best location for business.
– Eva Fedderly