24 March 2009

Georgia Tech Announces New PhD for Returning GIs

With President Obama’s accelerated timetable for withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq scheduled to be complete in August of next year, the nation will soon be faced with the task of reintegrating members of the U.S. armed forces into the workforce. Georgia Tech is leading the way by announcing today the development of an interdisciplinary Ph.D. to help returning GIs capitalize on the skills and military experience they’ve received while overseas. The new Ph.D. will be an interdisciplinary effort between the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and the College of Engineering.

“This new Ph.D. will prepare our military men and women to re-enter the civilian workforce as leaders in rebuilding America’s roads, schools, health, governance, energy and utility systems,” said Sue V. Rosser, dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

“As the country’s top producer of engineers and the home of active ROTC programs training future members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, Georgia Tech is a natural place for members of the armed forces to continue their education,” said Don P. Giddens, dean of the College of Engineering.

In just a few weeks, Tech will begin conducting an extensive survey of the needs and interests of GIs so that the new degree best capitalizes on their expertise. In addition, Georgia Tech plans on making this survey data available to all institutions so that they can use it in planning their own programs for returning GIs.

“There is a strong synergy between the engineering skills and experience of our Post 9/11 GIs and the nation’s need for such skills under President Obama’s initiative to rebuild America’s infrastructure,” said Rosser. “This survey will enable us to develop an interdisciplinary Ph.D. that precisely targets the intersection of the two, and can become a model for graduate engineering programs for returning GIs at institutions around the country.”

While the specifics of this new degree largely depend on what the survey data uncovers, Tech anticipates it will include courses in systems engineering, public policy, economics, project management and organizational behavior. The College of Engineering will work closely with the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and its Sam Nunn School of International Affairs in developing the degree.

Georgia Tech anticipates recruiting students for the new degree program at the end of 2009 and beginning the new Ph.D. in the fall of 2010, in time for veterans to take advantage of the educational benefits afforded by the new GI Bill.

“Georgia Tech demonstrates its leadership by winning National Science Foundation support for ‘Bridge to the Future for GIs.’ The project will both serve our returning veterans and will contribute to revitalizing our engineering and infrastructure,” said Susan Kemnitzer, deputy director for the Engineering Education and Centers Division of the National Science Foundation.

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