Survey and interviews identified clear themes for improvement.
In a message to faculty and staff, George Washington University President Thomas J. LeBlanc joined with the Culture Leadership Team to share the results of the university’s recent assessment by faculty and staff of the university’s culture.
The assessment, which included an online survey and interviews with faculty and staff, was conducted by the Disney Institute and overseen by the Culture Leadership Team, made up of faculty and staff.
“This is the first time the university has undertaken such an effort,” Dr. LeBlanc noted. “It was intended to help move the conversation from anecdotes to actionable data and we have achieved that goal.”
The assessment revealed clear themes common across the faculty and staff experience. In terms of what is going well at GW, faculty and staff noted the university’s current focus on enhancing the student experience, the commitment demonstrated by Dr. LeBlanc to improving the university’s culture, and the support they receive within their immediate departments.
Four themes emerged for needed changes to the faculty and staff experience, including inconsistent leadership behavior and accountability; communication and collaboration challenges; inadequate faculty and staff appreciation, recognition and care; and challenges to service excellence, including an inconsistent student experience driven by inconsistent faculty and staff experiences.
“We entered this process knowing that there are changes needed to create a culture in which all of us feel like we are on the same team,” said Dr. LeBlanc. “Now we have a roadmap that can guide the next steps we take as a university and a baseline we can use to measure our progress.”
The Culture Leadership Team will take the lead in outlining a process to address the four themes identified as needing improvement. This process will include defining a common purpose and expected values and behaviors that will be foundational to everything the university will do going forward. The Culture Leadership Team will provide further details and opportunities for faculty and staff participation early in the spring semester.
“While there are challenges that must be faced in our university culture, there are also significant opportunities to bring our community together in a way that will enrich the experience of all of our faculty and staff and in turn better serve our university community,” the Culture Leadership Team said. “We hope that all faculty and staff will approach this effort with an open mind and a spirit of collegiality.”
The Culture Leadership Team will continue to update the university community as the culture initiative continues. More information about the initiative can be found on the strategic initiatives website at strategicinitiatives.gwu.edu.