Faculty Senate Hears Update on GW Libraries and Academic Innovation

Geneva Henry highlighted new and ongoing resources for faculty and students and discussed opportunities in online education.

geneva henry
Geneva Henry, dean of GW Libraries and Academic Innovation, told the Faculty Senate on Friday that her team continues to enhance support for teaching and learning, in person and online. (William Atkins/GW Today)
May 15, 2017

The recent blending of George Washington University Libraries with online efforts as well as course design, teaching and learning resources has encouraged “cross-pollination” and blossomed into “something truly magnificent,” Geneva Henry, dean of GW Libraries and Academic Innovation, told members of the Faculty Senate Friday.

GW Libraries and Academic Innovation brings under one group Academic Technologies, the eDesign Shop, the University Teaching and Learning Center, Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research and elements of the STEM Academy. Ms. Henry is currently recruiting for a new associate dean for innovative teaching and learning who will oversee some of these areas.

“Everyone is really focused on how we create excellent teaching and learning opportunities,” Ms. Henry said. “That really is our primary theme of what we do.”

Ms. Henry said her teams are providing more opportunities for faculty development, such as the Course Design Institute; a program designed specifically for how to teach online and other ongoing professional development workshops; spaces for faculty to swap ideas for successful teaching approaches, like the faculty lounge in Gelman Library; and ways to incorporate retention efforts and diversity and inclusion training into course design curriculum.

Support also continues to be enhanced within classrooms, as GW Libraries and Academic Innovation updates technology and provides audio-visual assistance and trains faculty on how to use technology while responding quickly to technical issues that may arise.

Online, Ms. Henry and her colleagues see a “tremendous and consistent rise in enrollment.” The university continues to emphasize in-house online course development that supports consistency and quality across programs.

GW has roughly 70 programs offering a bachelor’s degree or higher along with dozens of certificates and some associate degree programs as well. As part of a new agreement, the university is also more easily able to offer these programs in more states.

Challenges remain, however, in deciding how to allocate available resources within the university’s libraries, Ms. Henry said, adding that she and her colleagues “actively look for how we get you what you need.”

The group looks to maximize borrowing and joint licensing with the Washington Research Library Consortium while making data-driven decisions on collection expenditures, looking at usage, research impact and equity across schools, among other factors, Ms. Henry said.

Meanwhile, student participation in fellowships and research has “increased significantly” over the last several years, Ms. Henry said. The Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research works with approximately 450 applicants each year for nationally competitive fellowship programs and roughly 130 each year win their awards. The university also often ranks as one of the top producers of Fulbright scholars.

In other Faculty Senate news:

  • GW President Steven Knapp and Provost Forrest Maltzman encouraged faculty to attend Commencement on the National Mall on May 21. Dr. Knapp said he consistently hears from students who say their relationships with faculty members contribute greatly to their GW experience.
  • Dr. Maltzman said early indicators of undergraduate and graduate enrollment for the next academic year are strong.
  • Sylvia Marotta-Walters, professor of counseling and human development, served in her first meeting as Executive Committee chair.
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