Showcasing Innovation

Veterans programs highlighted at Innovation Task Force’s phase five “showcase of ideas.”
November 14, 2012

Veterans programs took center stage yesterday at the Innovation Task Force’s phase five “showcase of ideas” on the Foggy Bottom Campus.

Five of the nine leading innovation ideas presented to the George Washington community for feedback at the university-wide meeting involved program offerings for military personnel and veterans—from online courses aimed at targeted military audiences to certificate programs to prepare veterans for public service careers. A second showcase will take place tomorrow on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus.

“We designed a package of ideas to build on GW’s reputation as a military- and veteran-friendly institution,” explained Wendy Martino, director of business process management in the Division of Operations, who co-chairs the ITF Exploration Committee with Christine Pintz, director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

“As the military begins to draw down, more veterans will need educational programs to transition to jobs after military life,” said Dr. Pintz. “Our five proposals for military members and veterans are designed to address those needs.” 

The showcases are the culmination of six months of rigorous behind-the-scenes work by the Exploration Committee, charged with generating a list of leading innovation ideas twice a year. A cross-section of the GW community turned out for the semiannual event to weigh in on the top-ranked proposals for phase five; six of the nine proposals will ultimately be selected for implementation from the following field of finalists:

Online General Education Courses for Military Personnel – Offer online general education courses to a targeted military/Department of Defense audience.

Second Service Certificate Program – Expand the Second Service Fellowship Certificate Program to prepare active duty and reserve military personnel and veterans for elected office or other public service careers.

Transition to Nursing Program - Create a program to assist in transitioning military personnel and veterans trained as medics and independent duty corpsmen into careers as military or private sector nursing professionals.

Semester in Washington for Veterans – Create a one semester experience for veterans, in conjunction with existing programs, to prepare the next generation of veteran political leaders.

GW Extension on Location at an Area Military Facility – Provide course offerings onsite at a military facility in the Washington region.

Training for International Judges – Create a series of one-week seminars to share the best practices of American courts with judges from developing nations.

Organizational Ethics Certificate – Establish a graduate certificate program in organizational ethics with a focus on corporate responsibility, compliance and federal regulations.

Sustainability Leadership Certificate – Create a sustainability leadership graduate certificate with a focus on federal employees and organizations with sustainability initiatives and personnel.

Expanded Unpaid Leave – Provide GW employees the opportunity to take voluntary unpaid leave during low activity periods when business operations allow.

Yesterday’s showcase featured brief overviews of the top-ranked innovation ideas, followed by breakout sessions focusing on individual initiatives. After the community meetings, the top proposals will be presented to President Steven Knapp and his council of senior administrators for final selection, followed by implementation planning which will begin soon thereafter.

“It is really exciting to watch faculty, staff, students and alumni come together in the spirit of collaboration and innovation,” said Craig Linebaugh, senior associate provost for academic operations and co-chair of the Innovation Task Force Steering Committee, during his welcoming remarks.

“The ITF has pulled the campus together and had a tremendous impact on the culture and the spirit of the university. It has been very exciting and gratifying for me personally to be a part of that.”

Dr. Linebaugh lauded the members of the Exploration Committee for their hard work. “I went to a lot of their meetings and can tell you that the deliberations and number of ideas that flew around were absolutely incredible,” he said.

Updating showcase participants on the ITF, Dave Lawlor, senior associate vice president for finance and co-chairman of the ITF Steering Committee, said that $55 million in recurring annual savings and revenue enhancements have already been identified toward the ITF’s $60 million goal and will be available to reinvest in academic priorities by FY 15.

“By the end of FY 2013 we will have spent more than $34 million of ITF funds on the university’s core mission,” he said. “The ITF already has more than 50 initiatives in play. Everyone should be very proud of these accomplishments, and we are still coming up with new ideas where everyone is a winner.”

Mr. Lawlor pointed to the ITF’s telecommuting initiative as a university-wide story of success. “We now have more than 100 employees telecommuting, and the feedback is great,” he said. “It is changing people’s lives—their work-life balance is improving, productivity is up and absenteeism is down. It is a great example of the sustainable change that comes with innovative thinking.”

Visit the the Innovation Task Force homepage for more information on the nine leading proposals.

Innovation Task Force Showcase of ideas