Effective Jan. 1, Expanding Career, Education, and Leadership (Excel at Georgia Tech) has become a unit within the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC), a restructure that moves the program out of the Scheller College of Business and into a centralized unit within the Office of the Provost.
Excel at Georgia Tech was founded in 2014 by Professor Terry Blum, Tedd Munchak Chair in Entrepreneurship and faculty director for the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ILE) in the Scheller College of Business. The four-year program is designed as an inclusive postsecondary educational (IPSE) program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Excel students are integrated into many aspects of the undergraduate student experience, and with the support of same-aged peer mentors, they strengthen their independent academic, social, fitness, and cooking skills. Upon completion of the program, students receive two separate certificates: Academic Enrichment, Social Fluency, and Career Exploration; and Social Growth, Leadership, and Career Development. Since inception, the program has been organizationally housed within the ILE, with curriculum and certification support provided by Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE).
The organizational move follows the recommendations of a small institutionalization task force convened by Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Rafael L. Bras in Spring 2019. The task force, chaired by Steven Girardot, associate vice provost for Undergraduate Education, spent several months assessing program objectives and meeting with campus stakeholders including faculty and staff from GTPE, the Scheller College of Business, Student Life and Campus Services, Enrollment Management, Undergraduate Education, CEISMC, and the College of Sciences, as well as members of the Excel Student Advisory Board.
“The task force affirmed that the Excel program is well-established and thriving,” said Bras. “The program is exceptional and has become a part of Georgia Tech’s fabric as an institution. This move to a centralized unit will allow us to best ensure its long-term security, sustainability, and success.”
Excel is one of nine IPSE programs in Georgia and represents one of more than 270 similar programs at colleges and universities across the United States. The first cohort of Excel students began in Fall 2015. As of the last academic term, 38 students were enrolled. In May 2019, seven students received certificates, representing the program’s inaugural graduates. Notably, the program has achieved 100% placement of graduates into employment opportunities, compared to an average of approximately 60% by other programs.
As CEISMC, under the leadership of Executive Director Lizanne DeStefano, takes programmatic and curricular elements of the program, GTPE will continue to contribute to the program’s business operations. While newly aligned organizational operations within CEISMC will commence immediately under a transition plan, a physical move will take place at a later date.
“The Scheller College of Business has been a wonderful home for Excel for the past five years,” said Ken Surdin, director of Excel. “The faculty, staff, and students of the College have been true champions of the program and its students. But the organizational move to CEISMC does present a great opportunity for the future of the program as we look forward.”
Institute Communications | Office of the Provost