The George Washington University’s Faculty Assembly voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a resolution electing a Faculty Consultative Committee, which will serve as a faculty voice during the upcoming search for a new president of the university.
Seventeen faculty members from all 10 schools and colleges were named to serve on the committee during the virtual meeting of the Faculty Assembly.
The committee election is the result of several Faculty Assembly and Faculty Senate resolutions that provided an election process prior to the previous presidential search. These resolutions ensured the election of a single faculty member from each school as well as a mechanism to expand the committee by an additional seven members in order to broaden faculty representation. In August, the Faculty Senate voted to augment the school-elected process for diversity considerations by working from short lists of recommended faculty from each school and college.
During the presidential search process, the consultative committee recommends to the Board of Trustees some of its members to serve on the Presidential Search Committee, provides commentary to the drafting of the presidential position profile and advises Presidential Search Committee members during the search.
“This is a key step in the lead-up to the search for GW’s next president,” said Shaista Khilji, professor in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
President Thomas LeBlanc provided introductory remarks, welcoming new faculty to the university community this semester.
“GW is a unique place made great by our people, our location and our shared mission, and we’re really delighted to welcome you to that community,” said Dr. LeBlanc.
The president thanked faculty for collaborating with leadership to support the health and safety of the community, naming in particular their attention to the mental health needs of GW’s students during the transition to a “new normal.” He also praised faculty’s commitment to continuing to advance GW’s academic mission through the pandemic.
“There are tremendous opportunities and challenges ahead, and I’m confident that our university will seize the opportunities and conquer the challenges as we continue to build toward our shared aspiration of preeminence as a comprehensive global research university,” said Dr. LeBlanc.
Interim Provost Christopher Alan Bracey provided several updates. He reviewed the forthcoming shared governance process outlined in the recent message signed by the provost, Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights, and Faculty Senate Executive Committee Chair Arthur Wilson. He also outlined the forthcoming diversity, equity and inclusion review and assessment. A core committee will lead the review, with the support of several advisory boards of key stakeholders and a data-collection effort comprising literature reviews, surveys and community-wide forums.
The result of the review will be an action plan with concrete recommendations for the university.
“I encourage everyone to participate in this community-wide effort to assess and address prevailing concerns about diversity, equity and inclusion among students and faculty,” said Professor Bracey.
Professor Bracey also gave an overview of his academic vision and priorities for the academic year. He emphasized the university’s need to make strategic decisions in consideration of a clear academic vision. He named several priorities: continued commitment to the attainment of preeminence as a comprehensive, global research university; continued commitment to GW’s mission of creating a high-quality educational environment and training future leaders, as well as pushing the frontiers of knowledge through impactful research; and making academic excellence the “touchstone” of academic efforts.
“The academic program of study at GW is immensely complex, but I look forward to engaging our campus leaders in a conversation about how to proceed from here,” said Professor Bracey.
Faculty Senate executive committee chair’s remarks
Dr. Wilson provided an update on senate activities since the last assembly in November 2020. He highlighted the senate’s engagement in discussions about enrollment, fiscal planning and budgeting, return-to-campus planning, campus facilities and planning, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Dr. Wilson emphasized in particular the importance of the faculty’s forthcoming shared governance process in partnership with the administration and trustees.
“Together, we look forward to strengthening shared governance at GW and will stay in touch with you for your feedback and input,” Dr. Wilson told faculty.