Strategic Plan 2019-25

Download the Strategic Plan as a PDF

Chair's Message and Executive Summary

Welcome to the School of Modern Languages Strategic Plan for 2020-25. Developed collaboratively by faculty, staff, and students with input from internal and external stakeholders, alumni, and community and corporate partners, this plan will guide the School during a period of expansive transition as we strengthen our contributions to the Institute, the greater Atlanta region, the nation, and the world. Founded in 1905 as the fourth non-engineering department at Georgia Tech, our legacy includes more than a century of innovative, adaptive, and integrated language and culture studies and research. Today we offer a dozen languages –many less commonly taught – and unique interdisciplinary degrees in Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies (B.S. and M.S.), Global Media and Cultures (M.S.), Global Economics and Modern Languages (B.S.), and International Affairs and Modern Languages (B.S.). We remain a hub of global engagement with fifteen immersive faculty-led study abroad programs on five continents; experiential, applied, and online learning that promotes deep cultural and linguistic competence for a STEM-driven environment; partnerships with the private and public sector; and internationally recognized scholarship, artistic creation, and sponsored research in arts, media, literature, linguistics, sustainability, foreign language pedagogy, and inter-and cross-cultural studies. We look forward to the next century of innovation and to changing the conversation, together!

John Lyon
School Chair, Charles Smithgall Jr. Institute Chair, and Professor of German
School of Modern Languages

Our Purpose

The School of Modern Languages is a national leader in the study of cultures, languages, linguistics, and media. Our faculty are consistently recognized for their impactful and interdisciplinary research, artistic creation, innovations in curriculum development, expertise in study abroad, and close collaboration with industry professionals. As scholars and educators, we are proud of our established strengths in equipping the next generation of global leaders with the essential knowledge, skills, and professional opportunities necessary to foster meaningful communicative and cultural interactions. Our cross-disciplinary partnerships enable the exchange of diverse perspectives. We support the pursuit of purposeful and innovative research, education, and careers that generate lasting and positive social change.

We Champion

  • Interdisciplinary and innovative research and education in cross-cultural humanities and language studies
  • The exchange of diverse perspectives and impactful collaborations and partnerships
  • Global competence and inclusivity
  • Curiosity about the world and its caretaking
  • Transformative experiences and lifelong professional growth

We Support and Adhere to Georgia Tech’s Core Values

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Community
  • Accountability
  • Adaptability

Goal 1: Enhance Access to Advanced Language Learning and Intercultural Studies and Strengthen Recognition as a National Leader in Cross-cultural Humanities Graduate Education with a Career Orientation


  1. Double the number of undergraduate majors through
    1. strategic, deliberate, and intentional curricular and academic program planning
    2. collaborations with Georgia Tech STEM units as well as regional, national, and international partners
    3. innovative, accessible, and attractive summer offerings that fulfill degree requirements
  2. Expand, enhance, and sustainably resource our graduate programs and develop graduate opportunities fo professionals as well as PhD minors for Georgia Tech students
    1. generating impactful and innovative recruitment
    2. identifying and securing student funding opportunities
    3. developing interdisciplinary graduate certificates and PhD minors for Georgia Tech students and continuing education for working professionals.
  3. Sustain and leverage the School’s extensive international reach and its support of the Institute’s priority to “educate good global citizens” (Goal #4 in the Strategic Plan) by
    1. maintaining strong and varied faculty-led study abroad programs
    2. integrating semester-long study abroad and global internships into the curriculum
    3. engaging heritage learner communities and international native-language students into the School’s programs.
  4. Strengthen inclusive, diverse, experiential, and applied learning by
    1. integrating undergraduate and graduate research into the curriculum
    2. enhancing service-learning and community engagement in collaboration with Serve –Learn – Sustain
    3. prioritizing career education; professional and internship opportunities; and Create-X participation
  5. Further champion our programs as central to the Institute’s emphasis on sustainability, innovation, entrepreneurship,public service, leadership and the educational priorities articulated in Creating the Next in Education, such as Whole Person Education, training T-shaped professionals, or 21stCentury Skills.
  6. Support online curricula and instruction to enhance student learning in virtual environments, from introductory to advanced levels, and for professional education.
  7. Increase financial support for students through philanthropy, grants, and partnerships at the Institute and beyond.
  8. Establish a robust Modern Languages culture where alumni know they are recognized, valued, and supported.

Goal 2: Sustain and Grow Excellence in Interdisciplinary and Cross-cultural Research and Scholarship


  1. Solidify, align, and promote our recognized strengths in:
    1. cultural, cinema, media, and literary studies
    2. theoretical, applied, and comparative linguistics(especially sociolinguistics, computational linguistics, bilingualism, and language contact)
    3. sustainability, globalization, and climate change; digital humanities; gender, memory, race, and migration studies
    4. foreign language pedagogy at the cross-section of the humanities, science, and technology.
  2. Recruit and retain tenure-stream and PhD-holding faculty who are leaders in their fields and support our educational innovation, intellectual priorities, emphasis on inclusivity and diversity, and demonstrate an entrepreneurial and can-do attitude.
  3. Support and champion a collaborative and creative scholarly culture that
    1. enhances the scope, reach, and impact of faculty research
    2. increases the number of sponsored projects and philanthropic project support,
    3. provides opportunities for informal and formal collaboration through working groups, collaboratoria, symposia, and speaker series
    4. prioritizes faculty’s professional development, and
    5. integrates our faculty into the Institute’s and College’s research and grant acquisition priorities to support innovative interdisciplinary scholarship.
  4. Expand our innovative post-doctoral teaching fellow program in Global Cultures, Languages, and Technologies(GLACT) and promote it as a national model.

Goal 3: Leverage the Atlanta Factor and Inclusive Community Engagement


  1. Strengthen our many regional partnerships in ways that demonstrate our support of local communities, increase awareness and appreciation of Modern Languages at Georgia Tech, and provide opportunities for faculty and students to be engaged globally at home and serve the rich international ecosystem of Atlanta.
  2. Further develop our innovative collaborations with the private and public sectors to support industry, state, city, and community needs for advanced language, global, and intercultural competence.
  3. Grow our educational sector collaborations with the K-12 community and regional universities to expand instruction of less commonly taught languages, support innovations in pedagogy, and facilitate multi-institutional research collaborations.
  4. Support the mission of and continue the partnership with the Atlanta Global Studies Center, a Title VI National Resource Center and Foreign Language and Area Studies Program funded by the U.S. Department of Education.Objectives:

Goal 4: Optimize School Organizational and Financial Resources


  1. Encourage and foster a diverse and inclusive community of excellence for our students, faculty, and staff, including through training and professional development activities.
  2. Streamline and identify clear processes for academic program operations and curriculum management; allocation of technology and equipment; HR and faculty affairs requests; facilities maintenance and space management; and other operational efficiency.
  3. Maintain and consistently adhere to a School-wide communication plan to champion the contributions of students, faculty, staff, alums, and partners to increase recognition of who we are and what we contribute at the Institute and beyond.
  4. Strengthen the School’s diverse portfolio of revenue and funding sources and secure additional permanent funding, with a priority to fund the School’s ambitious hiring plan to substantially increase the number of tenure-stream faculty
  5. Prioritize the physical expansion of the School to accommodate an expanded faculty and set of academic programs.
  6. Enhance support for philanthropy and development with individuals, corporations, foundations, and alumni.

How We Make the Institute and the World Better

Our ability to continue our trajectory as technological leaders in the 21st century is predicated upon our ability to produce future leaders who have the linguistic capacity and intercultural competency to connect in meaningful ways across the global community in which we live. The School of Modern Language cross-cultural linguistic focus in scholarship and education prepares the next generation of leaders to continue our global impact in the future.

Archie W. Ervin, Ph.D.
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

The School of Modern Languages is an integral part of Georgia Tech’s ethos of global engagement, fostering a spirit of being open to the world and productive in collaboration across geopolitical, cultural, and linguistic boundaries. Many thousands of Georgia Tech students benefit from the School every year and develop the confidence and skills necessary to become global citizens.

Yves H. Berthelot, Ph.D.
Vice-Provost for International Initiatives and Steven A. Denning Chair in Global Engagement

With faculty whose internationally recognized research and scholarship advance cross-cultural understanding, the School of Modern Languages is home to some of the most innovative undergraduate and graduate programs at Georgia Tech. Its world-renowned faculty-led study abroad programs Language for Business and Technology (LBAT) are jewels in Georgia Tech's crown. As pioneers in on-line instruction, the School has provided enhanced access to thousands of students.

John Lawrence Tone, Ph.D.
Interim Dean Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts

How to Support Us

We invite each of you to engage more deeply with the College, to understand current goals and priorities needs. Whether through philanthropic gifts or gifts of time and talent, your support is vital to our ability to sustain the leading edge and realize the promises of

  • Our remarkably talented students
  • Our faculty, whose research has a commanding presence in their field and defines the future horizons
  • Our vision of academic excellence, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Please contact the Ivan Allen College Development Office to explore opportunities for student support and mentoring, faculty support, and program enrichment.