Faculty Senate Holds First Meeting of New Session

The senate adopted resolutions lauding outgoing Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell Jr., expanding scope of Educational Policy Committee.

Nelson Carbonell and Sylvia Marotta-Walters
Faculty Senate Executive Committee Chair Sylvia Marotta-Walters applauds Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell Jr., B.S. '85, on Friday after reading a resolution of appreciation in his honor. (William Atkins/GW Today)
May 13, 2019

The George Washington University Faculty Senate on Friday adopted two resolutions and welcomed 13 new senate members in its first meeting of the 2019-20 session.

The first resolution recognized the service of outgoing Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell Jr., B.S. ’85, who has served on the board for 17 years, including six as chair.

Sylvia Marotta-Walters, chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, noted Mr. Carbonell’s achievements, including his leadership in updating the Faculty Code; strengthening science, engineering, medical and clinical services and the arts; helping drive the Making History campaign; and contributing philanthropically with his wife, Michele, through an endowed professorship and scholarships.

“His outstanding legacy will be long remembered,” Dr. Marotta-Walters said.

After thanking the senate for the recognition, Mr. Carbonell recalled how he didn’t get off to the “best start” with the senate when he became board chair and started discussions about reviewing the Faculty Code.

He said he quickly learned about patience, the power of collaboration and consensus building—and that everyone has the “best interests of GW at heart.”

“I was fortunate to have all of you there to teach me,” Mr. Carbonell told the faculty. “A roomful of professors is always something to take advantage of.”

The resolution recommended awarding Mr. Carbonell an honorary doctoral degree at Commencement in 2020.

“Nelson was an extraordinary chair, and not just in the history of GW. He’s extraordinary in higher education,” Dr. LeBlanc said. “He has given of his time more generously than we could ever imagine.”

The senate also adopted a resolution to expand the scope of the Educational Policy Committee and rename it the Educational Policy and Technology Committee.

The committee mandate will now include working with university administration on developing and implementing policies involving technology that impact GW’s educational mission, Dr. Marotta-Walters said.

Also Friday, Dr. LeBlanc highlighted significant student and faculty recognitions: three student Goldwater Scholarships, a faculty Guggenheim fellowship and a student Truman Scholarship. The awards add to recent successes for a student at eMerge Americas and many others in the New Venture Competition as well as other university faculty awards.

Dr. LeBlanc also said that updates about searches for deans of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering and Applied Science would be provided as soon as possible. The search for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences dean is underway. GW Law recently announced its interim dean. The provost search has begun and a committee is collecting university community feedback.

In his remarks, Provost Forrest Maltzman said the student experience strategic initiative has formed three working groups to examine the graduate student experience, online student experience and Virginia Science and Technology Campus student experience. Dr. LeBlanc added that these are important populations that may experience unique challenges and the working groups would help address them.

Dr. Maltzman also noted that demand for a GW education is “extremely robust” and there are more than 63,000 applications for undergraduate and graduate programs.

This is about 8 percent more than GW’s four-year average and 1 percent more than last year. Dr. Maltzman also said new student enrollment is “on target” and that he did not expect difficulty meeting this year’s target of 2,765 new first-year and transfer students.

“The fact that more and more students are seeking a GW education is in large part a testament to what is happening on the GW campus,” Dr. Maltzman later said.

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