Responding with Resilience

In a moment of unprecedented transition, GTPE leveraged its experience to support learners and the University in robust ways

During an unprecedented year of transition, Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) supported faculty and students across all Georgia Tech’s campuses to preserve academic excellence and provide the best remote learning experience possible. 

As the Institute’s global campus and lifetime learning arm, our long history in learning at a distance has enabled us to help the Institute adapt to the reality of delivering high-quality education during a global crisis. 

Here is a snapshot of the many ways we helped ensure the continued success of our programs, productivity and engagement of staff, and safety at our facilities, while positioning the organization – and Georgia Tech – for success in a post-pandemic world. 


When coronavirus made remote learning an overnight reality, we were uniquely positioned to lead the campus transition to virtual learning, thanks to our longstanding experience in education technology.

Emergency Remote Teaching

As campus quickly pivoted to emergency remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, GTPE Learning Systems, in collaboration with the OIT Digital Learning Team, Center for Teaching and Learning, and Center for 21st Century Universities, provided proactive support for 628 faculty and 91 advisors, including overview sessions on online learning platforms; virtual office hours to answer questions related to remote teaching; and 30-minute one-on-one practice sessions to get up to speed with real-time interaction tools and lecture recordings.

Remote student learning online from instructor

Remote Delivery Training

As campus faced the start of a new summer semester, a training program was established to support faculty as they navigated remote learning environment. Alongside other leaders across campus, Nisha Botchwey, associate dean of Academic Programs, and Yakut Gazi, associate dean of Learning Systems, served as co-directors, educating more than 2,500 faculty, teaching assistants, and advisors — across spring, summer, and fall semesters — through a curriculum of asynchronous modules and synchronistic sessions. Access the Training Course >

Virtual Learning Across Campus

GTPE Academic Programs and Student Services played a key role in supporting the Institute during the transition to remote learning. They worked closely with the Office of Summer Programs and other units across campus to support summer enrollment goals and provide clear communication about summer classes and remote learning. In addition to collaborating closely with undergraduate advisors, the team also presented at a webinar and various Facebook Live events to support students and parents.

Boy and girl sitting on sidewalk looking at laptop


Amid the ongoing public health crisis, our experts served as thought leaders, providing insight on the difference between remote delivery and true online education to the larger higher education and business communities.

New Perspectives on Scale

Taking on new relevance during Covid-19, an annual signature event for Georgia Tech, the Affordable Degrees-at-Scale Symposium, was moved virtually and brought together more than 150 innovators from around the world discuss the future possibilities of at-scale and affordable education. Hosted by Yakut Gazi, associate dean of Learning Systems, the virtual symposium led an intensive conversation on the current- and future-state of at-scale programs and how institutions can move forward with at-scale and affordable education in crisis.

Speakers sitting a front of room. One speaker is holding microphone to talk while others look at her.

A Sampling of Knowledge Sharing

  • Baker, N. Changing Roles of Online and Distance Education: Learning from Covid-19. Webinar with the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez. Oct. 1, 2020. Online.
  • Courville, T. & Gazi, Y. Remote Delivery is Not Online Learning. Fireside Chat hosted by Pantheon. May 27, 2020. Online.
  • Gazi, Y. Assessment of Student Learning in the Age of Covid-19: Approaches and Technologies. Webinar with Bogazici University. May 28, 2020. Online.
  • Gazi, Y. Blended Learning in 2020. Community Panel with Canvas, Sept. 16, 2020. Online.
  • Gazi, Y. A Defining Moment for Online Learning. Panel discussion during edX's Virtual Forum. June 24, 2020. Online.
  • Gazi, Y. What Awaits Higher Education After Covid-19 Pandemic? Webinar with Cyprus Science University. June 1, 2020. Online.
  • Harmon, S. Growing International Virtual Exchange: The Case for Virtual Exchange. Panel discussion presented by The University System of Georgia, Atlanta Global Studies Center, and Clemson's Office of Global Engagement. Oct. 9, 2020. Online.


From revamping our facilities to launching new offerings outside our core tech subject matter, we have seized the opportunity in this crisis, and we believe that innovations in education are the heart and future of success in a post-pandemic world.

Tech Moving Forward

Following Georgia Tech's initial return-to-campus plan, GTPE prepared its facilities, staff, and learners for modified in-person courses and events at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center and Georgia Tech-Savannah. Using a phased approach, the plan included enhanced safety and sanitization procedures and door-to-door virtual tour to help prepare visitors on what to expect when returning to our facilities.

Record Enrollments Online

In 2020, we saw a nearly 200% increase in lifetime learners, largely stemming from the rise in online programs due to a newly remote workforce pursuing professional learning during Covid-19. Enrollments in our online master's programs were up nearly 50%, while enrollments across our massive open online courses (MOOC) skyrocketed 552%. As the pandemic continues to force remote working and learning, flexibile learning options will be more important than ever before.

Online graduate learner wearing mask

Georgia Tech Professional Education certificates
Academic and Research Continuity Teams

Several members across GTPE participated on the Academic and Research Continuity teams for the Institute. They provided knowledge articles, along with guidance and support on technologies, the ramp-up of the research enterprise, and best practices for remote instruction.

Comeback Committee

A GTPE Comeback Committee — chaired by the Director of Decision Support, Pat Kelsey — was formed to discuss operational resumption plans. The three comeback teams — personnel, customers, and buildings — discussed the supplies and logistics of GTPE returning to campus. This team was part of the Service & Outreach Work Group as part of the Georgia Tech Recovery Task Force.

Georgia Tech Global Learning Center
Business Continuity Plan

The Operations team worked with the Office of Emergency Preparedness to develop a Business Continuity Plan that will be used in the event of business closures going forward.

Virtual Event Services Expansion

In order to expand our meeting and event offerings to meet the needs of our customer under the new normal, GLC Events upgraded their event services and capabilities to include new virtual and hybrid experiences. Scheduled to launch by the end of 2020, the new virtual meeting services will include basic virtual events, livestream events, hybrid events, and large-scale virtual events.

Working professionals meeting virtually for meeting

Transition to Virtual Delivery

For the safety of our community, we transitioned 66% of our in-person professional course offerings to a virtual format to support continued learning, progressing, and connection. These flexible training options supported industry in subject areas such as occupational safety and health, supply chain and logistics, and defense technology to meet specific employer and employee professional development needs. Additionally, both our veterans education and boot camp programs were able to continue to 100% virtual delivery, with 118 and 650 graduates respectively.

Working professional reviewing data on tablet computer

Cultivating Emotional Resilience

While we continued to offer our professional development courses through virtual delivery, we also launched new online offerings to meet the current and future needs of our adult learners. This online expansion also included looking at learning opportunities outside our core tech subject matter. From this, a new professional certificate in Emotional Intelligence and Resilience was launched in October 2020, and teaches fundamental mindfulness skills that are indispensable for professionals and support whole person education.

Working professional meditating

GTPE by the Numbers

More than 129,000 learners turned to us in 2020 to sharpen their skills, acquire new knowledge, and earn high-demand credentials to advance their careers.