The senate also approved a resolution recommending updates to the Faculty Code.
In the annual report on research efforts across the George Washington University, Vice President for Research Robert Miller presented updates on key metrics the university uses to comprehensively assess its research performance, from tracking faculty scholarship to measuring student engagement and GW’s overall research spending.
For non-sponsored research and scholarship, Dr. Miller highlighted the hundreds of books and creative works faculty produced, high performance of faculty citations and faculty recognition as Fulbright scholars and National Academy of Inventors Fellows.
“We continue to put investment into our non-sponsored research activity,” Dr. Miller said, emphasizing the importance of documenting faculty successes in this area.
Between 2014 and 2018, the number of principal investigators and grants received in several of GW’s schools and units increased and cross-disciplinary collaboration among faculty is strengthening, Dr. Miller said.
GW also reported $156.9 million in research expenditures in fiscal 2018 from federal sources, a measure of an institution's research activity and an increase over fiscal 2017, Dr. Miller added.
“We’re continuing on an upward trajectory,” Dr. Miller said. “We’re encouraged by these numbers."
Regarding the ongoing research ecosystem review as part of the research strategic initiative, Dr. Miller said the university would soon be reviewing recommendations to be submitted by four working groups addressing pre-award processes, post-award processes, research integrity and compliance and non-sponsored research and scholarship. The recommendations will inform improvement plans in these areas.
The university also will launch another phase of working groups that will address facilities, postdoctoral recruiting and hiring and big data/high-performance computing infrastructure.
Dr. Miller said he is “hugely impressed” with the “effort and energy” faculty have put into the ecosystem review so far.
“I’m excited about this process,” Dr. Miller said.
Looking forward, in 2019 Dr. Miller said the university is focused on building its national and international reputation, promoting multidisciplinary research, identifying best practices for supporting non-funded research and scholarship, and expanding its clinical and translational research.
Other priorities this year include establishing a “robust” workforce pipeline, collaborating with partners to enhance big data and high-performance computing and identifying opportunities at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus.
GW also is working to launch an office for postdoctoral affairs and is exploring ways to enhance support for undergraduate research by collaborating with GW Libraries and Academic Innovation and Enrollment and the Student Experience, Dr. Miller said.
Also Friday, the senate approved a resolution recommending that the Board of Trustees make amendments to the Faculty Code. (The senate last month approved a separate resolution recommending other minor changes to the code.)
The most recent resolution recommends adding language that allows the provost to extend a faculty member’s tenure probationary period or suspend a faculty member’s tenure review, with the faculty member’s consent, to await the outcome of a pending disciplinary review.
Separately, the resolution also endorsed Provost Forrest Maltzman’s recommendation that a provost review, comparable to the dean review that was added to the code in 2015, be included in the code. The language specifies that the president’s review of the provost incorporate feedback from the university community and includes parameters for the process and timeline for the review.
Professor Jeff Gutman, chair of the senate’s Committee on Professional Ethics and Academic Freedom, introduced the resolution.
Additionally, the senate decided to postpone consideration of two other resolutions addressing Faculty Code changes. The resolutions included changes suggested by the Professional Ethics and Academic Freedom committee. While the senate voted 16 to 15 to consider the additional changes in the first additional resolution, the motion to proceed required more votes because the resolution was just sent to the senate this week. The vote to consider the second additional resolution failed by a similar margin.
The Board of Trustees’ Committee on Academic Affairs will review at its February meeting all proposed changes to the code that the senate or others may make. It will then circulate proposed changes that it will consider at its May meeting.
In his remarks, President Thomas LeBlanc said the university has resources available for those affected by the partial government shutdown and provided an update on the university’s strategic initiatives.
He noted in particular that results from the culture assessment are available and urged faculty and staff to review the memo they received by email with the information.
“We are trying to be very transparent about what we learned throughout this process,” he said, later adding the results are “a very candid look at what our people are saying about what it’s like to work here.”