Dr. Colin Potts, vice provost for undergraduate education and professor of interactive computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, will become provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at Missouri S&T effective June 1.
“Dr. Potts is a dynamic and effective leader who brings an exceptional record of academic and administrative experience to S&T,” says Dr. Mo Dehghani, Missouri S&T chancellor. “His nearly 30 years at Georgia Tech, as well as extensive experience in the private sector, will serve S&T well as we move forward with our plans to make S&T the destination of choice for exceptional students, faculty and staff, and research partners. I look forward to working with Dr. Potts and having him as an important partner on our leadership team.”
At Georgia Tech, Potts oversees the offices and programs that govern the entire undergraduate education experience. These include undergraduate research and innovation; Complete College America and retention initiatives; living-learning programs; academic, career and pre-professional advising; tutoring and academic support; community engagement and service learning; and the Honors Program. Since becoming vice provost in 2012, first-year retention has reached 96% and the six-year graduation rate is 90%.
Potts is president of the national Reinvention Collaborative, a coalition of over 80 national research universities that promotes undergraduate education in research-intensive environments. He represents Georgia Tech’s undergraduate academic affairs to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and the Association of American Universities, among other constituencies.
Potts has grown the Georgia Tech Honors Program into a community of over 500 students that acts as an incubator for educational innovation, and established a program to integrate service learning into community-based faculty research. He also evaluates and approves academic policies that affect undergraduate students and proposals for all undergraduate courses and programs. Potts is a member of the president’s cabinet.
As provost, Potts will oversee S&T’s academic programs as well as academic support, enrollment management and global learning operations.
“I am honored and excited to be joining the remarkable students, staff and faculty at Missouri S&T, and I also look forward to working with its alumni and community partners,” Potts says. “As a first-generation college student, I admire S&T for how it is rooted in its region, embraces its heritage, and contributes to the critical mission of public research universities to uplift communities intellectually and culturally. S&T is poised for an exciting new chapter of growth and broader impacts.”
Potts will succeed Dr. Stephen Roberts, who has served as interim provost and executive vice chancellor since July 2019. Roberts will continue as interim through May 31 and will assume responsibility for leading the implementation of the S&T’s Kummer Institute effective June 1.
“I am very grateful to Steve for his service as interim for nearly two years,” Dehghani says. “Steve very effectively guided our academic efforts during this trying pandemic year, and thanks to his diligence, we successfully completed our fall semester with a blend of in-person, online and hybrid courses, and began our spring semester in the same manner. He provided steady leadership and wise counsel as we addressed significant budget issues due to the coronavirus, and he has been instrumental in revamping our enrollment management operations. Steve has also been instrumental in shaping the organization and programming for the Kummer Institute. I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role with the Kummer Institute.”
After earning a Ph.D. from Sheffield University in cognitive psychology, and then working as a software engineer and ergonomics consultant, Potts joined the department of computing at Imperial College London. Later, he moved to the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp. in Austin, Texas, as a senior member of its technical staff. Potts joined the Georgia Tech College of Computing in 1992 as a faculty member in what is now the School of Interactive Computing. His research over the past 25 years has spanned the fields of requirements engineering, software design methods, human-computer interaction and information privacy.
Potts has taught at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels, and has taught professional development seminars and evening courses. He has designed courses in software engineering, human-computer interaction design and evaluation, and the social and ethical implications of information technology, and he enjoys teaching introductory computer science to non-majors. He led an undergraduate living-learning community and has taught nine study-abroad programs in Spain and the UK. In recognition of his teaching, he has been awarded Georgia Tech’s William “Gus” Baird Faculty Teaching Award, Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award and a Hesburgh Fellowship.
A native of London, Potts is a Class A chess player and an accomplished photographer. His photographs have been featured in several one-person exhibits at public and commercial galleries, group shows, book covers, and magazines.
Joining Potts at S&T is his wife, Dr. Karen Head. Head currently serves as associate chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Literature, Media, and Communication and executive director of the Naugle Communication Center. Since 2006, she has been a visiting scholar and artist at Technische-Universität-Dortmund in Germany. An accomplished poet, she is editor of the international poetry journal Atlanta Review and is the Poet Laureate of Waffle House – a title that reflects an outreach program to bring arts awareness to rural high schools in Georgia through the support of the Waffle House Foundation. She will join the English and technical communication faculty in the fall, and, as S&T’s arts and innovation director, will be involved in elevating arts education and programming on and around campus, and promoting collaborations among artists, scientists, and technologists engaged in solving complex problems.
Founded in 1870 as the University of Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,600 students and part of the four-campus University of Missouri System. Located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 99 degree programs in 40 areas of study, including engineering, the sciences, business and information technology, education, the humanities, and the liberal arts. Missouri S&T is known globally and is highly ranked for providing a strong return on tuition investment, exceptional career opportunities for graduates, and an emphasis on applied, hands-on learning through student design teams and cooperative education and internship opportunities. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.