Presidential Selection, School of Nursing Updates Highlight Faculty Senate Meeting

The Board of Trustees will establish a presidential transition committee to help onboard Thomas LeBlanc as the university’s 17th president.

Nelson Carbonell
Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell addresses members of the Faculty Senate on Jan. 13. Mr. Carbonell said faculty feedback was a key component in the search for the university's next president, Thomas LeBlanc. (William Atkins/GW Today)
January 17, 2017

Just days after the appointment of Thomas LeBlanc as the university’s 17th president, the George Washington University Board of Trustees is already mapping Dr. LeBlanc’s transition onto campus.

Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell reported to the Faculty Senate on Friday that the Board established the Committee on Presidential Selection and Transition, chaired by Madeleine Jacobs, who served as chair of the Presidential Search Committee.

The committee will meet in February to help identify and schedule a series of events and meetings for Dr. LeBlanc as he prepares to take his new post and during his first months as president. Mr. Carbonell added that Dr. LeBlanc is interested in participating in town hall-style events as part of a listening tour.
Mr. Carbonell emphasized the importance for the university to continue to advance as it has under President Steven Knapp over the past decade.

“During this transition, I think there’s an important thing for us to keep in mind, and that is to maintain our momentum as an institution,” Mr. Carbonell said, referencing the Making History campaign, the need for continued student support, alumni engagement and research growth.

Mr. Carbonell also reflected on the presidential search process and faculty participation in particular, saying the board received “very positive” reports about Dr. LeBlanc from the Faculty Consultative Committee and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

Charles Garris, chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, complimented the board for the inclusive nature of the search.

“Throughout the search everybody was working as a team,” he said, later adding the Board of Trustees is “truly engaged in the welfare of GW.”

Mr. Carbonell said that he believes “we should all be proud.”

Also at the meeting, School of Nursing Dean Pamela Jeffries gave Faculty Senate members an update on the school and its goals over the next several years.

School of Nursing Dean Pamela Jeffries told the Faculty Senate that SON has grown significantly in the last several years and the school has several goals in the coming years, such as increasing its research portfolio and elevating the learning experience. (William Atkins/GW Today)

SON has roughly 800 pre-licensure and graduate students from across the United States and more than 60 full- and part-time faculty. It offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate of nursing practice degrees as well as post-master’s certificate programs in several areas—many of them online and all produced in-house by SON’s online and instructional design team.

The school, established in 2010, has grown considerably from 2012 to 2016, experiencing a 59 percent increase in total enrollment. During the same period, undergraduate enrollment increased by 147 percent and graduate enrollment increased by 39 percent. Meanwhile, the need for nurses is rising and is expected to continue to increase, Dr. Jeffries said.

“We’re in a good place with our strategic direction, growth, financial aspect and our contribution to our community and nursing profession,” she added.

SON has several goals:

  • Build its research base around health policy and workforce, quality and health disparities (including launching a Ph.D. program)
  • Create a Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement
  • Diversify its revenue opportunities (through partnerships and providing executive leadership resources to healthcare organizations) and elevate the learning experience
  • Build infrastructure for global and community engagement (recruit targeted international students and strive to obtain World Health Organization Collaborating Center designation)
  • Create culture of diversity, equity and inclusion (create diversity council and implement plan focused on diversity)

The school’s primary goal over the next five years, Dr. Jeffries said, is to elevate SON into the top 25 in U.S. News and World Report rankings. To do that, SON is focused on continuing to recruit quality faculty and students, increasing research and academic success, as well as enhancing branding and funding opportunities, Dr. Jeffries said.

In other Faculty Senate news:

  • Dr. Knapp said the Making History campaign has reached $950 million.
  • Dr. Knapp reiterated the university’s principles of support for undocumented students and said the university will continue to focus on this and diversity issues or concerns in coordination with students, staff and faculty.
  • Dr. Knapp said he is committed to ensuring a smooth transition to Dr. LeBlanc’s presidency.


Thomas LeBlanc, 17th GW President: ‘There Is a Special Opportunity Here’

January 09, 2017
Dr. LeBlanc addressed members of the university community on Friday, saying that leading GW will be a great honor, challenge and "incredibly exciting adventure."

Thomas LeBlanc Named 17th President of the George Washington University

January 06, 2017
Dr. LeBlanc brings extensive experience in academic leadership, innovation and budgetary management.

Faculty Elect Committee to Provide Input on Presidential Search

September 12, 2016
Faculty Consultative Committee to include 16 faculty members, including non-tenure track and specialized faculty.