Provost M. Brian Blake highlighted progress on several student and faculty metrics.
Many of the university’s core indicators of academic excellence are strong or improving, Provost M. Brian Blake told the Faculty Senate Friday.
The core indicators assess key areas of the university’s efforts in fulfilling its academic mission. They include metrics measuring student success, such as retention, graduation rates, engagement and GPAs, as well as faculty recruitment, salary and composition, among others.
“What we see in the data right now is that there is an emphasis to really promote faculty-student relationships, particularly in creating thought partnerships,” Dr. Blake said.
Among the highlights of this year’s core indicators, Dr. Blake noted:
- A 20-year high and three-year upward trend in students’ graduation rate.
- A higher percentage of students with a high school GPA between 3.4 and 3.75.
- Increased competitiveness in faculty salaries in certain areas.
- Stable diversity in gender and underrepresented minority representation in the faculty and an improved student-to-faculty/staff ratio.
- A slight decrease in student retention, which was driven significantly by the impact of the pandemic.
- An increase in students engaged in joint degrees.
Looking toward the future, it is important to add indicators focused on enhancing the overall student academic experience, including in areas such as global engagement, experiential learning, innovation and research, fellowships and awards and diversity, Dr. Blake said. With respect to faculty and staff, indicators should include more recognition metrics, career development and continuing education, among other areas.
“I think we need to go into greater detail below the surface and look at how our students are engaging with what we offer, and making sure we offer the things that really enhance the student experience,” Dr. Blake said.
Dr. Blake also mentioned the recent enrollment recommendations and targets from the Future Enrollment Planning Task Force, which he shared with the university community in a message on Friday.
Bill Borden, professor of medicine and health policy and chief quality and population health officer at GW Medical Faculty Associates, and Lynn Goldman, dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health, provided an update on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and GW’s role.
The GW medical enterprise is following D.C. Health guidelines in providing the vaccine, with guiding principles that are evidence-based, fair, equitable and transparent, Dr. Borden said. Currently, the medical enterprise is vaccinating health care workers and D.C. residents who are 65 and older.
“It is just the beginning. Vaccines are just vaccines, and we need to put shots into arms if we are going to turn them into vaccinations and save lives,” Dr. Borden said. “And that’s what we’ve been focused on.”
An important effort is educating people about the vaccine, listening to their concerns and answering questions, Dr. Borden said, and the medical enterprise has a vaccine ambassador program to help accomplish this. Dr. Borden added that he believes based on the research that the vaccines available are safe and effective.
Dr. Goldman encouraged members of the community to accept the vaccine when offered and said the university is providing resources to help community members track when the vaccine may be available to them.
“We’ll do whatever we can to help facilitate access,” Dr. Goldman said.
She also reminded the community that even when vaccinated it will be critical to continue to follow all public health protocols, including for masking, testing, distancing and hygiene.
- President Thomas LeBlanc said the university recently marked the start of its bicentennial year with an opening ceremony that kicks off eight months of events. The university will virtually host Christopher Jackson, who played George Washington in “Hamilton,” on Feb. 22 in recognition of Washington’s birthday and the bicentennial. Dr. LeBlanc also noted the importance of the university’s latest sustainability commitment to eliminate single-use plastics on campus, recognizing students for their role in the effort.
- Dr. LeBlanc also thanked the faculty, staff, students and entire GW community for everything they are doing for one another and for the university. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the many frontline health care, safety, security and facilities staff who have been working to keep us all safe,” he said.
- Dr. Blake introduced Alyssa Ayres, the new dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, who was attending her first GW Faculty Senate meeting.