Town Halls Take Long View on Tech Innovation, Library

The Office of the Provost provided updates on two important parts of Georgia Tech’s learning environment last week: education innovation and the Library Renewal Project. 

At the education innovation event on Oct. 20, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Rafael L. Bras announced the launch of the Creating the Next in Education Task Force, a group that will dedicate itself to continuing Tech’s pursuit of cutting-edge innovation in education.

Bras also discussed the reorganization of the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) that will bring that group under the Provost’s Office. 

Rich DeMillo, director of C21U, talked about the upcoming Learning Management System pilot to support classroom instruction and collaborative work. The faculty-led project will evaluate three different systems for use on campus, in addition to the T-Square system already in place.

The Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Professional Education, and Office of Information Technology also participated in the event. 

Library Renewal

The Oct. 22 event discussed the five-year project that is already underway, as the Georgia Tech and Emory University Joint Library Service Center (LSC) is scheduled to open in January 2016. Print collections will be moved to the joint LSC beginning in spring 2016. At the end of December, Crosland Tower will close to the public, with construction on this portion of the project beginning in summer 2016. Crosland is expected to be completed in 2018, at which point Price Gilbert will be cleared out for construction. The full complex is expected to reopen at that time. The phased approach will ensure that one of the two library buildings is in operation throughout the duration of the project.

One new physical element of the renovation will be a Library Store, which will function as the face of the Library. A teaching studio will give faculty and graduate students who teach an opportunity to try new teaching methods and technology, as well as learn new software and hardware features of classroom technology before the first day of class. 

An enhanced and expanded digital media center will have experts available to facilitate
the use of new technologies and tools used for scholarship and research. An innovation and ideation studio will provide a kind of digital maker space for students to pursue their projects and develop designs. 

A scholar’s event network will be housed in what was the original front door lobby of Price Gilbert. This will feature a large space for presentations, such as dissertation defense and small meetings, as well as breakout rooms and exhibit space. Finally, a collections showcase will feature unique materials from the Library’s own collections as well as ongoing research at Georgia Tech and materials on loan. 

When complete, the Library Renewal Project is expected to double seating space and reduce energy use by 60 percent. The vision is that the Library and Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons will function as an integrated complex. 

With the opening of the LSC, both Emory and Georgia Tech will immediately benefit from increased access to each other’s collections. Eventually, the goal is for both to have full access to the other’s collections, both in the LSC and on each others’ main campuses. The collaboration is ideal for both sides, as the collections only overlap by about 17 percent. 

“Libraries began as places to talk, think, and motivate each other,” Bras said. “To an extent, it feels like we’re coming full circle.”

Presentation materials from both town halls are available at

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  • Library Renewal Rendering

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Kristen Bailey
Institute Communications

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