The Dean’s (To-Do) List

a beautiful woman, smiling, standing with her arms crossed.

Pamela Shortt started as Forsyth Tech’s new dean of Business & Information Technology (BIT) with a blueprint. In her first months, she’s already demonstrated her ability to build her division’s future.

Her first step, shortly after starting in February, was to get to know the instructors and other staff members. She met all 35, one-on-one. Next, they worked together to define their mission. “We asked ourselves, ‘What is our purpose?’” explains Pamela. The answer: “Preparing individuals for careers and a life of learning using innovative resources to achieve excellent results,” she says.

Among her multiple priorities, a key responsibility is “making sure we feel the beat of the business community and that we stay in touch with their needs.” For example, right now companies are looking for three things:

  • how to make information secure;
  • how to keep up with mobile technologies; and
  • how to analyze and compile information, otherwise known as Big Data.

So far, BIT is on the right track. The division offers programs in information security and cyber crime technology that address security issues. Additionally, Pamela says, “We’re responding to the explosion in mobile technologies by creating two new certificates, one in mobile applications, the other in social media.” And to provide specialists in business analytics, BIT’s offerings include programs in healthcare informatics and database management.

Pamela’s outreach to local businesses has an additional upside. Although 29 percent of Forsyth Tech work-based learning placements already come from BIT, she sees room for growth. She hopes to convince even more business owners to give students an opportunity to acquire on-the-job experience before they join the workforce.

That may sound like a packed agenda, but Pamela is energetic and optimistic. “I’m helping strengthen the division and build confidence,” she reflects. Meanwhile, she hasn’t lost sight of what it’s all for: “Everything comes back to our students.”