Director and Staff

The staff of the VIP Program, including the Director and Program Manager, provide the following services to VIP teams:

  1. Interface with Departments, Schools and Colleges: The Director works with administrators and the curriculum committees in each discipline to develop appropriate ways for VIP to count toward degrees in those disciplines.
  2. Recruit Students: The VIP Program provides a centralized process for recruiting students for all VIP teams. Targeted recruiting for for lower-enrollment teams is also possible, with emails to students who have taken specific classes identified by the instructor.
    • Beyond recruiting students, we recommend maintaining a webpage with departmental policies on how credits count. This makes it easier for prospective students to understand how VIP will fit within their program of study without having to navigate a student handbook. You will need to periodically check with departments to confirm your wordings are correct.
  3. Supporting Tools: Centralized tools should be managed by VIP staff, including the student application process/system, the issuing of registration permits, peer evaluation process/software. Program staff should also manage program evaluation tools as expertise permits – we find most sites are works in progress in this area, including our own, as there is always room for growth.
  4. Mentor New Teams: In smaller programs, the VIP Director (or other VIP faculty) can mentor new teams to ensure that they get off to a good start and that grading and other processes are implemented as uniformly as possible across all VIP teams. As programs grow larger, though, you will likely want to develop on-boarding workshops.
  5. Letters of Support: Providing letters of support, VIP descriptions, etc. as needed for the education sections of NSF proposals, especially CAREER proposals.
  6. Program-serving Grants: The Director should identify and apply for grants, equipment, endowments, etc. that would benefit the entire VIP program.
  7. Campus Policy for Donations: Most campuses have policies and systems in place for corporate donations to support Senior Design projects. Since the funds support student activities and not research, the funds come in without overhead/indirect. It is important to negotiate and document similar policies for VIP, so individual instructors do not have to re-navigate the bureaucracy (i.e. fight red tape) every time.


We strongly recommend obtaining teaching release time for the VIP Director(s). The activities outlined above take time and energy.

Academic Program Manager

We recommend hiring an academic program manager once you reach 10 teams, if not sooner. Before this, we recommend working with your home department, to find another person to issue registration permits and/or assist with student applications. Georgia Tech’s academic program manager job description aligns well with our program. If you don’t have a similar job description at your institution, you could use this as a starting point.