In response to a call from President Barack Obama to expand higher education opportunities for low-income students, GW President Steven Knapp today announced the formation of a university-wide Task Force on Access and Success. The task force will build on the commitment Dr. Knapp announced last week while participating in the White House summit on college opportunity and seek to create models that can be replicated nationwide.
Dr. Knapp charged the task force with focusing the university's current efforts, looking for new ways of encouraging college attendance, and ensuring that the university does everything possible to guarantee the academic success of lower-income GW students.
“I remain as committed to making GW accessible to students from all backgrounds as I was on my first day on campus. But there is more that we can and must do not only to open our doors but to ensure the success of our students once they arrive. We also have a role to play in encouraging high school students from across the District of Columbia to go on to higher education, no matter what institution they choose to attend,” Dr. Knapp said.
Chaired by Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Terri Harris Reed, the task force will include Dean Ben Vinson III of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Dean Michael Feuer of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, and Dean Jean Johnson of the School of Nursing, as well as faculty, students and staff from across the university.
On Jan. 16, Dr. Knapp joined more than 100 university and college presidents, as well as corporate and nonprofit leaders, for an all-day summit at the White House on expanding college opportunity for students from lower-income families. Each president participating in the summit made a commitment to new initiatives.
Dr. Knapp offered a number of steps that GW will take to support students who may have difficulty navigating the college search and application process, as well as their parents and the counselors who serve them. The university plans to assign admissions liaisons to underserved high schools, bring more local students on campus visits and host Saturday workshops for middle school students, so they see college as a possibility before they even reach high school.
GW will work with community-based organizations to host workshops on its campuses and at local libraries to provide students and their families assistance with applications for admission and financial aid. The university will also expand partnerships with community colleges, creating new pathways for high-achieving students to complete their bachelor’s degrees at GW.
“I am pleased President Knapp has appointed me to lead this task force,” said Dr. Reed. “Our charge reflects GW's commitment to do the right thing for higher education, our institution, as well as the local, national and global community.”
Task Force on Access and Success Members
Terri Harris Reed, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion (Chair)
Michael Feuer, Graduate School of Education and Human Development
Ben Vinson III, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences
Jean Johnson, School of Nursing
Will Alexander, alumni representative