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The Innovation Continues
April 06, 2012
The GW community is weighing in on 12 new innovation ideas this week at university-wide Showcases of Ideas.
By Jamie L. Freedman
The GW community is gathering this week at two university-wide Showcases of Ideas to weigh in on the latest top-ranked proposals under consideration by the Innovation Task Force.
The dozen leading ideas—ranging from online degree programs for military families and national service participants to a post-baccalaureate pre-health professional certificate—were unveiled at the Foggy Bottom Campus showcase Tuesday and presented to students, faculty and staff for feedback and fine-tuning. A second showcase on the Virginia Campus for Science and Technology will be held at 3 p.m. today in Enterprise Hall.
Proposals include a six-credit Summer of Service program at GW for students from across the country, an accelerated degree path for undergraduates, online college courses for high school students, and expanding master’s programs at partner organization work sites.
The community-wide meetings feature brief overviews of the phase four leading ideas by ITF Exploration Committee co-chairs Richard Cosentino and James Mahsie, followed by breakout sessions focusing on individual initiatives. At six tables, each representing two ideas, participants discussed the feasibility and drawbacks of the proposals and offered suggestions.
Six of the ideas will ultimately be selected for implementation from the following field of finalists:
Columbia Plaza Utilization – Maximize year-round occupancy at Columbia Plaza by subsidizing rent for targeted populations such as international graduate students.
Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Health Professional Certificate – Create a post-baccalaureate pre-health professional certificate program on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus for prospective medical, dental, veterinary and nursing students.
On-site Master’s Program with Partners – Expand on-site master’s programs with corporate and other public and private organizational partners.
Winter Enrichment Programs – Offer additional and unique educational opportunities for GW and non-GW students during winter break.
Undergraduate Online Degree Program for Military Families and National Service Participants – Offer fully online undergraduate extension programs to military families and national services participants.
Summer of Service – Offer an eight-week, six-credit service learning summer program at GW for students from across the country.
Expand Master’s Level Online Programs – Adapt suitable existing graduate programs to fully online master’s programs.
Relocate Off-Campus Sponsored Projects to On-Campus – Increase net indirect cost recovery by strategically moving off-campus sponsored projects to on-campus locations.
Reduce Bottled Water Usage – Install water filtration systems in university buildings to reduce expense and waste from bottled water.
Online College Courses for High School Students – Offer college-level online courses to high school students for college credit.
Three-Year Graduation Option – Create an accelerated degree path for undergraduate students.
Integrated Graduate Program Advertising – Conduct a thorough and detailed analysis of current graduate program advertising to determine if problems with coordination and/or redundancy exist which, when eliminated, will generate efficiencies and cost savings. This has been recommended for study.
The showcases are “invaluable,” said Dave Lawlor, co-chair of the ITF Steering Committee, since community participation is key to both the ITF vision and the success of its proposed projects. “The energy is high and the commitment is high,” he said. “The ITF is changing the culture of GW—how we think about and how we do business.”
Updating Foggy Bottom Campus showcase participants on the ITF, Mr. Lawlor said that $43.4 million in recurring annual savings and revenue enhancements has been identified toward the initiative’s $60 million goal and that $11.2 million of ITF funds has been budgeted for investment in the university’s top academic priorities in fiscal year 2012.
Provost Steven Lerman underscored the centrality of the ITF to the university’s mission of educating students, advancing research and serving the nation and world and called GW “extraordinarily foresighted” for launching the initiative. “Saving $60 million annually in recurring savings is like doubling our endowment,” he said.
“The ITF is one of the most exciting projects I’ve been involved with in my 36 years at the university,” said Craig Linebaugh, co-chair of the ITF Steering Committee, during welcoming remarks. “People from every facet of the university have come together with the common goal of strengthening our core mission. It is a privilege to serve as co-chair.”
Since its establishment in October 2009, the ITF has solicited more than 500 ideas from the GW community aimed at making university operations more effective, efficient and innovative. The showcases are the culmination of months of rigorous behind-the-scenes work by the ITF’s Exploration Committee, charged with selecting six new innovation ideas for implementation every six months. The 17 top ideas selected in the first three phases of the initiative are now well on their way to implementation.
For more information on the 12 leading proposals and the Innovation Task Force, click here.