Faculty Senate Hears Update on Presidential Search

Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell said the search committee continues to receive nominations.

November 14, 2016

Nelson Carbonell

Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell addresses members of the Faculty Senate on Nov. 11.

Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell on Friday provided the Faculty Senate with an update on the presidential search, saying the search committee has received some “terrific nominees”—more than 100 diverse candidates so far. 

“We will close the nominations when we hire somebody,” he said, encouraging faculty to submit the name of anyone they believe would be a strong leader. “We’re going to continue to keep the process open.”

Mr. Carbonell, B.S. ’85, said he and other board members have been to dozens of town halls and faculty meetings and have met with other university and D.C. stakeholders to learn about the qualities they would like to see in the next George Washington University president. The board recently published the presidential profile.

Mr. Carbonell also told the Faculty Senate that the search committee has begun soliciting community input in crafting questions that candidates may be asked.

The presidential search committee—led by trustee Madeleine Jacobs, B.S. ’68, D.Sc. (Honorary) ’03, and Professor Alan Greenberg from the Milken Institute School of Public Health—is charged with bringing the board two or more finalists who are worthy next presidents for the institution. As specified in the university bylaws, the board will then elect a president with input from the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the Faculty Consultative Committee.

In response to faculty questions regarding leadership style and research priorities, Mr. Carbonell said the search committee is focused on finding someone who will support the vision for the university’s future and understands the importance of all areas of research.

The Faculty Senate also on Friday approved six members who will serve on the Benefits Advisory Committee.

The members include: Joseph Cordes, professor of economics, public policy and public administration and international affairs; Robert Harrington, professor of engineering and applied science; Elisabeth Rice, associate professor of special education and disability studies; Tyler Anbinder, professor of history; Miriam Galston, associate professor of law; and Anne Markus, associate professor of health policy.

Also at the meeting, Provost Forrest Maltzman and GW President Steven Knapp discussed the recent presidential election.

Dr. Maltzman said that while the university is nonpartisan it has core values, including a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and that GW is a stronger institution as a result. He also said that he has met with a handful of students who said that they feel particularly vulnerable as a result of the election, but who also highlighted the helpful role played by faculty and class discussions.

“It’s really a tribute to our faculty that in a large number of our classes there were discussions about the election that students found were a very appropriate and healthy forum for expressing some of their concerns.”

Dr. Knapp also read his recent statement on civil discourse in which he urged “our students and all members of our community to continue to respect our differences, maintain civility and celebrate our diversity.”

Dr. Knapp said that the university’s distinction as the most politically active campus in the country is not just about students being involved in demonstrations, but “the truth is our students are politically engaged in the sense that they want to be involved in the process, they really want to make a difference, they really do want to make history.”

In other Faculty Senate news:

  • Dr. Maltzman encouraged faculty to consider cost of materials when developing syllabi and work to use open-access materials and materials readily available through GW’s library system when possible, saying small reductions in cost “will have significant impacts” for students.
  • Dr. Maltzman said Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Christopher Bracey is forming a faculty committee with a representative from each school to “help guide development of a process for the review of the deans,” as required by the Faculty Code.
  • Faculty expressed concerns about the university budget and faculty input into identifying the cuts being made. Dr. Knapp reiterated the university’s previous comments about its approach to long-term budget challenges and the university’s commitment to hearing feedback from all university stakeholders about the effects of challenges.