Dr. G.P. "Bud" Peterson
"Changing Expectations for Higher Education—Staying Ahead of the Curve"
Presented Tuesday, March 26, 2013
10:30 a.m. - Fiedler Hall Auditorium
The role of institutions of higher education is changing and in fact may be at the transformational point in their development. It is no longer acceptable for universities just to enroll good students and graduate them. Today, universities are expected to ensure that graduates are both employable and prepared to adapt and lead in an ever-changing world that many times requires an interdisciplinary approach to developing solutions to grand challenges. While there has long been an expectation that our research universities would perform fundamental research, today there is an expectation that they will move that research to the consumer and enhance economic development of the region and nation to create more jobs. Being a regional or national university is no longer acceptable. American institutions of higher learning are expected to be global in nature and to provide lifelong learning opportunities for the world using advanced technology. Our challenge in higher education is to think carefully about the added value we can offer, adapt our teaching methods and materials, and work to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve to meet and even exceed changing expectations.
Dr. G. P. “Bud” Peterson became Georgia Tech’s 11th president on April 1, 2009. Under his leadership, the Tech community has developed and begun the implementation of a 25-year strategic plan, Designing the Future, that envisions what the Institute might be like on its 150th anniversary. Launched in conjunction with the Strategic Plan was the public phase of Campaign Georgia Tech, with $1.2 billion of a $1.5 billion goal raised over the past several years. Gifts will help the Institute realize goals in the strategic plan, add endowed chairs and professorships, scholarships and fellowships, and construct facilities.
Peterson came to Georgia Tech from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he served as chancellor. Prior to that, he served as provost at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. He served on the faculty and in leadership positions at Texas A&M University for 19 years. He has worked for NASA and the National Science Foundation.
Throughout his career, Peterson has played an active role in helping to establish the national education and research agendas, serving on numerous industry, government, and academic task forces and committees. He has served on a number of national accreditation agencies, with a focus on improving and asses¬sing outcomes for higher education. He also has served on a number of congres¬s¬ional task forces, research councils, and advisory boards, including the Office of Naval Research, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy, the National Research Council, and the National Academy of Engineering.
A distinguished scientist, he was appointed in 2008 by U.S. President George W. Bush to serve as a member of the National Science Board through 2014, which oversees the National Science Foundation (NSF) and advises the President and Congress on national policy related to science and engineering research and education. In 2010 he was named by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke as a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In June 2011 President Barack Obama named him to the newly created Advanced Manufacturing Partnership steering committee.
He is a fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and in 2011 was presented with the AIAA Distinguished Service Award. Peterson is the author or co-author of 16 books or book chapters, 200 refereed journal articles, and more than 140 conference publications. He also holds a total of eight patents, with two others pending.
Peterson earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, a second bachelor's degree in mathematics, and a master's degree in mechanical engineering, all from Kansas State University. He earned a PhD in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. He and his wife, Val, have four adult children.
As one of the newest members of the Association of American Universities and a top ten public research university, Georgia Tech has outstanding programs in architecture, business, computing, engineering, liberal arts, and the sciences. With more than 21,000 students and 133,000 living alumni who work in business, industry, and government throughout the world, Georgia Tech has become internationally recognized for the quality of its educational and research programs.