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Driving Academic Innovation
Task force’s learning/teaching group focuses on enhancing GW’s academic mission.
December 14, 2009
By Jamie L. Freedman
Academic innovation and enhancement is the clarion call of the Innovation Task Force’s Learning/Teaching Committee, chaired by Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs Dianne Martin and Chief Information Officer David Steinour.
“Our primary focus is to enhance the academic experience at GW for both faculty and students,” says Dr. Martin, whose group is composed of department chairs, administrators, faculty, and students from across the University. The 16-member committee meets biweekly to generate and evaluate ideas to advance GW’s academic mission.
“Our group is charged with discovering efficiencies and improving the effectiveness of GW’s academic delivery system through innovation,” says Dr. Martin. “We are currently compiling, evaluating and soliciting creative ideas that will enhance the University’s academic quality and scholarly output, and increase student and faculty engagement. We’re working hard to meet the president’s mandate to move the University to the next level.”
The committee is in the midst of evaluating its first batch of proposals utilizing an Academic Innovation Assessment Template that measures a number of criteria—ranging from expected academic benefits to resources needed and potential savings realized. Subcommittees are tasked with evaluating ideas and conducting preliminary cost/benefit analyses. Ideas run the gamut from integrating study abroad experiences into the curricula of GW’s various schools to increasing the use of new instructional technologies to enhancing student engagement and feedback.
“Group members are divided into subcommittees focusing on specific ideas and are charged with assessing whether the ideas are viable, determining which initiatives will bring the most win back to the University, and recommending which we should move forward with,” says Mr. Steinour.
In the coming weeks, the co-chairs will meet with deans across the University to discuss preliminary ideas and solicit input. “We’re looking forward to engaging the entire GW community in this important initiative,” says Dr. Martin, who encourages stakeholders from across the University to submit their ideas for academic innovation to the task force’s electronic suggestion box at firstname.lastname@example.org. “We do not want this to be viewed as a closed process, but as a very open and exciting process in which we all are engaged.”
“The Innovation Task Force is incredibly important to the future of this University and to the enhancement of our academic mission,” adds Mr. Steinour. “By identifying and implementing efficient, effective initiatives to strengthen the teaching and learning environment at GW, we help to further position ourselves as a world-class university.”
Working Group Members
Ginger Beverly, Executive Associate, Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs
Vincent Chiappinelli, Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology
Jeffrey Cohen, Chair of the Department of English
Ingrid Creppell, Associate Professor of Political Science
Laura Eisen, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Gale Etschmaier, Library Representative
Gina Fernandes, Presidential Administrative Fellow
Maria Frawley, Executive Director, University Honors Program, and Professor of English
P.B. Garrett, Assistant Vice President and Deputy Chief Information Officer
Margaret Gonglewski, Associate Professor of German and International Affairs
Soham Gupte, Student Representative
Dianne Martin, Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs
Teresa Murphy, Associate Professor of American Studies
Bhagirath Narahari, Interim Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs & Programs, SEAS
Josef Reum, Interim Dean, SPHHS
Dave Steinour, Chief Information Officer