Faculty Hear Report on Online, Off-Campus Programs

Task force presents summary of findings and recommendations for programs at Faculty Senate meeting.

Kurt Darr
Kurt Darr, professor emeritus and chair of a faculty task force on online programs, addresses the Faculty Senate on Friday. (William Atkins/GW Today)
October 16, 2017

The George Washington University offers a significant number of online, hybrid and off-campus degree programs and faculty members are involved in approving and monitoring them, but the university should develop standard guidelines and perform assessments of student learning outcomes and program reviews to ensure that they meet high standards, according to the faculty-led Joint Task Force on Online and Off-Campus Programs.

Kurt Darr, professor emeritus and chair of the task force, reported a summary of the group’s findings and recommendations to members of the Faculty Senate Friday. The report will provide a foundation for further investigation and discussion for members of the senate, said Sylvia Marotta-Walters, Faculty Senate Executive Committee chair.

In their initial review of the report, some faculty expressed concern about not having received enough information about the enrollment in some online programs as well as the number of part-time faculty who teach in some of the programs.

Provost Forrest Maltzman said he appreciated the “thoughtful report” and said he is pleased faculty are thinking about these issues.

“Online education has been a critical component of expanding the accessibility of higher education,” Dr. Maltzman said, adding that having different learning modalities, such as online, are important for those who learn better in such environments or for working professionals who need flexibility to advance their education. Dr. Maltzman also said all academic programs should be held to a high standard and receive regular reviews.

Online learning will continue to be important for GW and its future growth, President Thomas LeBlanc said, adding, “We have to have principles in place that will guide us as we continue to evolve as an institution.”

president leblanc, provost maltzman

Drs. LeBlanc and Maltzman at Faculty Senate on Friday. Dr. LeBlanc said online education will be important for GW's growth. (William Atkins/GW Today)

Also Friday, Teresa Murphy, deputy provost for academic affairs, provided an overview on space allocation for various academic units that have been or will be relocated as a result of a redevelopment project on the Foggy Bottom Campus. Dr. Murphy said she knows moves are disruptive but appreciated faculty members’ cooperation throughout the process.

In his remarks to the senate, Dr. LeBlanc said he continues to meet university community members—including at five community meetings he has held on GW’s three campuses—and that he looks forward to Colonials Weekend, which will bring thousands of alumni, family and friends to campus Oct. 19-22. He also briefed faculty on plans for his upcoming inauguration. Finally, he said he has opened a search for a new vice president for the Division of Development and Alumni Relations.

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