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Emerging Leaders Program Summer Tour Introduces Faculty to Georgia Communities

ELP Summer Tour Participants

ELP Summer Tour Participants

Have you ever wondered about the communities your students come from? Helping faculty members better understand this background information is one of the reasons why each year members of the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) take a tour of a region in Georgia.  

“It’s good for faculty to get out of Atlanta and see where our students come from — and often where our students return to work,” said Terry Blum, the faculty director of Georgia Tech's Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship. “It’s really part of faculty development to have a perspective beyond our own walls. That way, as faculty move up in their leadership roles, they have a bigger picture that helps them understand what to do for the Tech community.”

ELP is a one-year program for tenured faculty, designed to improve their leadership skills. It’s open to faculty from every college and provides opportunities including leadership development workshops, a fall weekend activity, and the summer tour. As for this year’s tour, 18 faculty members visited the northwest region of the state in early May. The tour included stops at the Floyd County College and Career Academy, Dalton State College, and several other colleges and organizations in the area.

At the Floyd County College and Career Academy, the group learned more about the communities that surround Tech. “We got to see how students prepare for college, and how students there are becoming more employable and improving the standard of living in the area,” Blum added. “It’s great to see how other colleges are also engaged in improving the economic climate around them.”

At Dalton State College, the group met with Margaret Venable, the president and a Tech alumna, to learn about her position and career path after graduating from the Institute. Then, they toured campus with students to gain perspective on student life at other Georgia colleges. The group also met with the Rome Floyd Chamber and toured individual companies, including Engineered Floors and Southwire Company, LLC. These company tours are a way to help faculty build relationships with businesses and alumni in the area, Blum explained.

“Sometimes, faculty will trade cards with business owners on the tour, and they’ll plan consultation or classroom trips,” Blum added. “Last year, we went to Fort Gordon. Since we were just launching our cybersecurity master’s degree, some faculty talked to the leaders there in civilian cybersecurity to learn more about the industry and what their students should know.”

Participants for the 2019-2020 program have already been selected, but tenured faculty can apply for the next cohort in March 2020. For more information about ELP, visit

Reprinted from Georgia Tech Faculty Affairs.

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