The GW community is urged to review the reports and provide feedback by March 6.
The first public forum on the recently published strategic plan interim reports was held Monday, giving members of the George Washington University community the opportunity to provide feedback on the committees’ recommendations for the university’s direction over the next five years.
The reports, which were released in January, synthesized hundreds of GW community-generated ideas and include draft principles, metrics and recommendations for the four areas in which the university’s developing strategic plan will be focused—world-class faculty, high-quality undergraduate education, distinguished and distinctive graduate education and high-impact research.
GW Provost M. Brian Blake moderated the forum, which included representatives of the four faculty-led strategic planning committees.
During the forum, which took place in the Milken Institute School of Public Health Auditorium, the committees asked students, faculty and staff for any questions, concerns and suggestions on the reports' recommendations. The committees will use the feedback to improve the reports this spring, and will continue to share updates with the Faculty Senate, Strategic Planning Task Force and Board of Trustees.
“It’s always great to have this sort of forum,” Dr. Blake said. “They really incorporate student, staff and faculty into these conversations. The idea is for us to clarify any questions you have about the interim reports. In addition, we’ll take comments, feedback and things you think we can enhance or change.”
One audience member suggested more in-depth metric assessments on student learning be incorporated into the reports, noting that many of the current metrics focused on student participation and satisfaction in programs rather than learning outcomes. They also suggested that metrics regarding the report’s diversity and equity initiatives expand beyond the number of diverse community members in programs to include assessments of the services available to them.
Another attendee suggested increased support for career services, especially for graduate students.
Other audience members inquired about whether a draft of the strategic plan would be shared for public feedback before being submitted to the Board of Trustees for final approval in June. Dr. Blake said it would be.
Many attendees said they think the university is already doing great work, and some echoed concerns about whether the new strategic plan would change “too much too fast” at the university. Others expressed concerns about whether resources would be available for implementation of the report’s outlined goals in light of the plan to reduce the on-campus undergraduate population by 20 percent over five years.
Some said they wondered if the plan to increase undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors to 30 percent would leave non-STEM majors feeling left out.
Dr. Blake assured the audience that the developing strategic plan does not intend to displace current programs but instead hopes to elevate another “center of excellence” at GW that would allow students to graduate with technical and quantitative skills needed for future jobs.
“We are outstanding in political science and international affairs and a lot of other things,” he said. “But it would be really interesting if ultimately we could elevate another center of excellence to that level.”
On matters of funding and implementation, he said in this stage of planning it is best to focus on generating the best ideas for the plan rather than focusing on a budget. For the future, he proposed the creation of implementation committees to prioritize and implement the plan incrementally on an ongoing basis.
Dr. Blake said while change could be “scary,” his office would continue to collaborate with the GW community throughout the planning process.
He also encouraged the community to attend two additional upcoming forums. The next will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 in the Milken Institute SPH Convening Room. The third and final forum on the interim reports will take place 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on March 4 in the Marvin Center Amphitheater.