Interim Provost: Getting SEH Back Online ‘Our Top Priority’

Forrest Maltzman addresses water damage; athletics, development, School of Business also discussed at Faculty Senate meeting.

Interim Provost Forrest Maltzman addressed last week's closing of Science and Engineering Hall at Friday’s Faculty Senate meeting. (William Atkins/GW Today)
February 17, 2016

Interim Provost Forrest Maltzman addressed the mid-week closing of Science and Engineering Hall at Friday’s Faculty Senate meeting, calling the sprinkler line break that released thousands of gallons of water into the building a “significant” and “unfortunate” incident and reaffirming the university’s efforts to reopen the building in a timely manner.

“The academic research being performed by the faculty in SEH is fundamental in the university’s research and teaching initiatives,” he said at the session, led by George Washington President Steven Knapp. “One of my top priorities is to try to get the principal investigators back into the building to inspect their labs and facilities.”

SEH reopened Tuesday. There also is limited elevator service. An attendant will operate the elevators manually between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. for those with accessibility challenges or those moving equipment.

General access to the building closed Feb. 9, when a construction crew working on the unoccupied seventh floor damaged a standpipe sprinkler line, causing significant flood damage and affecting the building’s core systems, including its elevators.

“Our top priority is getting the building back into normal operating condition,” he said. “We’re trying to address this as expeditiously as possible.“

Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero presented information on the academic accomplishments of GW's varsity athletes. The group boasted a cumulative GPA of 3.18 last fall. (William Atkins/GW Today)

Student-athlete accomplishments  

Friday’s meeting, which included remarks from Dr. Knapp and Faculty Senate Executive Committee Chair Charles Garris, also featured presentations from Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero, School of Business Dean Linda Livingstone and Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Aristide Collins Jr.

Mr. Nero presented data on the academic accomplishments of the university’s 500 varsity student-athletes.

GW’s 27 varsity sports teams boasted a cumulative grade-point-average of 3.18 in the fall 2015 academic semester, he said. Nearly 24 percent (119 of 500) of student-athletes qualified for the Atlantic 10 commissioner’s honor roll by compiling a GPA of 3.5 or higher last fall. Sixty-eight percent had a GPA of 3.0 or higher. GW’s graduation rate of 94 percent is significantly higher than the NCAA Division I average of 86 percent.

“We are doing very well, and we are able to go out and recruit very high-level athletes who are also very sought-after students,” Mr. Nero said.

The university’s global strategy, part of its Vision 2021 strategic plan, extends to its athletics program, he added. Sixty-three of GW’s 500 varsity athletes, representing 35 countries, are international students. GW’s emphasis on community service also is evident in its athletics program. GW was the winner of the 2015 NCAA and Helper Helper Community Service Competition, with its student-athletes amassing more than 9,500 hours of community service last year.

Linda Livingstone spoke about recent leadership changes at the School of Business, a new graduate certificate program and the fall installation of James Wade as the inaugural Tucker professor. (William Atkins/GW Today)

Business school updates

Dr. Livingstone provided an update on a busy past year at the School of Business, which in 2015 was the education partner for the San Francisco-based Fortune Global Forum.

“One of the premier reasons I came to GW was I felt it was a really unique opportunity to take advantage of being at the nexus of the private, public and not-for-profit world,” Dr. Livingstone said Friday. “That provides us with unique opportunities for faculty scholarship and our programs to do something almost no other business school in the world can do.”

Her presentation highlighted a few recent leadership changes at the school. Associate Professor of Accountancy and Business Law Leo Moersen was named associate dean for undergraduate programs in January after filling the position on an interim basis from August to October. Vivek Choudhury joined GW last month as associate dean for graduate programs.

“We’re excited about his leadership in an area that’s critically important to us as a school,” Dr. Livingstone said of Dr. Choudhury.

Recent news at the school also includes a new graduate certificate program in capital markets and the September 2015 installation of James Wade as the inaugural Avram S. Tucker Endowed Professor in Strategy and Leadership. Dr. Livingstone also provided a reminder about the university’s annual participation in Lemonade Day, scheduled this year for April 21.

Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Aristide Collins Jr. provided an update on the university's Making History campaign, which has raised more than $835 million. More than 56,800 donors have contributed to the $1 billion campaign. (William Atkins/GW Today)

Making History clears $835 million

Vice President Collins presented a report from the Division of Development and Alumni Relations, including an update on the university’s Making History campaign.

The campaign, which launched publicly in June 2014, has raised more than $835 million as of Feb. 9, nearly $200 million of which has gone to support the university endowment. More than 56,800 donors have contributed to the campaign. Alumni giving has increased during Making History from 8.5 percent to 9 percent, Vice President Collins said.

“GW is an exciting institution to be a part of,” he said. “Everywhere we go, and everywhere we travel, we always hear about our academic programs, we hear about the good work of our students, and we hear about the quality of our faculty.”

The faculty, he said Friday, continue to play a key role in the success of the campaign.

“It’s important to note that there’s a lifelong bond that is established between alums and members of the faculty,” Vice President Collins said. “It’s because of your relationship and commitment to them that they become committed to the university.”

Rise in undergraduate applications

Dr. Knapp, in closing the meeting, spoke of the university’s record-breaking number of first-year undergraduate admissions applications for fall 2016, a topic he addressed last week at the winter meeting of the Board of Trustees.

The university's July announcement that it would go test-optional played a role in the increase, Dr. Knapp said.

“Test optional continues to be a topic discussed nationally,” he said. “I will say, as a result of [going test-optional], we did see in our early decision round a more diverse and also academically stronger class then we recruited the year before. Right now, it looks like it’s doing what it was intended and expected to do.”