Elliott School Dean Michael E. Brown to Step Down

Dr. Brown will leave his position next year and join faculty as international security expert.

Dean Brown
Dean Michael E. Brown has led the Elliott School of International Affairs for almost 10 years.
October 02, 2014
Dean Michael E. Brown, who brought global recognition to the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs during his almost 10 years of leadership, announced Thursday that he will step down from his position at the end of this academic year. 
Dr. Brown will retain his appointment as a tenured faculty member in the Elliott School.
“It has been a great honor to serve as dean of the Elliott School,” Dr. Brown said. “I am proud of the progress the school has made during my time as dean, and it has been a privilege to contribute to the advancement of this superb school. This has been the most fulfilling decade of my career.”
GW President Steven Knapp said Dr. Brown’s “dedicated leadership and clarity of vision have raised the Elliott School to a new level of national prominence."
“His impact on the university as a whole is reflected in the core status of globalization in the strategic plan unanimously adopted two years ago by the Board of Trustees," Dr. Knapp said.
During his tenure, Dr. Brown added 20 new faculty members who have strengthened the school’s expertise in key regions—including the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Africa—and critical areas of global development, international security and global women’s issues. The school has sponsored major research projects in democracy, climate change, U.S.-China relations, nuclear issues and more.
These enhancements have had marked results: The Elliott School is considered the ninth best undergraduate school and seventh best graduate school for international affairs in the country, according to a survey of international affairs experts and scholars that is published in Foreign Policy magazine. Only seven schools in the United States are recognized in the top 10 in both categories. 
Several programs augmented the Elliott School’s academic offerings during Dr. Brown’s time leading the school. Four institutes opened between 2007 and 2009: the Institute for International Economic Policy, the Institute for Middle East Studies, the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies and the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication—the latter in partnership with the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA). Each institute has connected outside experts, visiting scholars, students and faculty, providing them with a subject-specific forum and community. 
The Elliott School also launched a Middle East studies M.A. program and a global communication M.A. program, the latter also in collaboration with SMPA. Faculty and students were talking about the Middle East before the Arab Spring made the region front-page news, Dr. Brown remembered.
“Two things stand out as being especially rewarding: contributing to the Elliott School's academic excellence and getting to know many of the members of the Elliott School's extended academic community—students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, supporters and friends of the school. The Elliott School is a great school because it is a truly great academic community,” Dr. Brown said.
Additionally, the school’s endowment more than doubled in the last 10 years from $20 million to approximately $44 million. Gifts created the Oliver T. Carr Jr. Professorship in International Development Studies, the Nadler Fund in Leadership and Governance and the Elliott School Strategic Initiatives Fund. Sponsored research increased from $1 million to $2 million a year to more than $5 million annually in part because of major awards from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the MacArthur Foundation, the Luce Foundation and the Mellon Foundation.
The Elliott School’s events tripled from 100 a year to more than 300 a year during Dr. Brown’s tenure as dean, establishing the school as a major hub of discussion and debate on some of the world's most pressing issues. The school also created the Web Video Initiative that features recordings of high-level events and faculty interviews that have been viewed in 158 countries.
Following the conclusion of his successful career as a dean, Dr. Brown plans to keep teaching on GW’s faculty and expanding his work as an international security expert and scholar.
“As a member of the faculty, I will try to make further contributions to international security studies through my scholarship, teaching and policy engagement efforts,” he said.  
Provost Steven Lerman said the university is forming a committee that will launch a national search to find a new dean.
“Mike Brown has been an outstanding leader at GW since he first joined the university nearly a decade ago,” Dr. Lerman said. “He has been a tremendous asset to the George Washington community, and I am grateful he will continue to serve as a member of our faculty.”