Leadership also urged faculty to be involved in this year’s work developing the new strategic plan.
George Washington University School of Business Dean Anuj Mehrotra presented to the Faculty Senate Friday an update on the school, outlining its strategic priorities and future opportunities and challenges.
“We have started the process of really thinking ahead and looking ahead, and what we want to be and where we want to be,” Dr. Mehrotra said.
Among the school’s priorities are student success; leveraging its D.C. location; world-class faculty and thought leadership; engagement, such as experiential learning opportunities; technology infrastructure; and branding and communications.
In terms of opportunities and challenges, Dr. Mehrotra said that enrollment, staffing, market demands and competition, expenses and infrastructure are all factors that will play a role in the school’s future.
Importantly, the reality that students are seeking shorter, more specialized programs plays a role, too, he added.
A leader when compared to other schools of business, GWSB offers many “customizable” and “flexible” degree options, Dr. Mehrotra said, including various concentrations in degrees and specialized graduate certificate programs to meet students’ demands.
“We’re listening to the marketplace and what people are demanding,” Dr. Mehrotra said. “As the business world changes, this has made us agile to be able to quickly change … to create a degree for tomorrow.”
Engagement is also important for GWSB, and efforts include the George Talks Business series and other events and intentional communications with stakeholders. Supporting students’ and graduates’ “placement” in their careers is also critical, he said.
Ultimately, GWSB seeks “to emerge as a leading preeminent business school,” Dr. Mehrotra said.
Faculty budget report
Also Friday, Professor Joe Cordes, chair of the Faculty Senate’s Fiscal Planning and Budgeting Committee, presented the annual university finances report.
“Last year was a pretty good year,” Dr. Cordes said, noting that available budget numbers showed the university exceeding projections for fiscal 2019.
Dr. Cordes also noted possible impacts to the budget moving forward within the context of the initial framework of the strategic plan, including the 20 percent reduction in the on-campus undergraduate student population over five years and the increase in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors, from 19 percent to 30 percent.
Benefits stemming from the changes include improving the student experience, increasing GW’s standing among research universities and positioning the university to respond well to the digital revolution, Dr. Cordes said.
Costs associated with the changes include a decrease in revenue in undergraduate tuition, potential additional investments in STEM facilities and higher revenue volatility by having a greater share of revenue come from graduate tuition, Dr. Cordes said.
As a result, adjustments to budget revenue or expenses could be necessary, Dr. Cordes added, but he cautioned his report presented only possible scenarios, and the actual impact will depend on the final elements of the strategic plan.
- In her remarks Sylvia Marotta-Walters, chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, “strongly” encouraged faculty to be involved in the strategic planning process, culture trainings and ongoing efforts to assess and improve the university’s research ecosystem.
- Provost Forrest Maltzman commented on the strength of the university’s graduation and retention rates and said demand for the university remains “extremely strong” among applicants.
- President Thomas LeBlanc, in his remarks, noted the excitement and strength of community building among the first-year class this year.
He also engaged with faculty on several topics related to the initial strategic planning framework and called on them to be involved in the process moving forward this year, whether through committee work or the feedback form on the strategic plan website.
“I hope the conversation we had today will continue at each senate meeting as we go forward,” Dr. LeBlanc said.