Reports on Academic Success, Faculty Compensation Highlight Faculty Senate Meeting

Faculty gets update on the George Washington Museum and The Textile Museum opening.

Steven Lerman
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Lerman provided a report on indicators of academic success at Friday's Faculty Senate meeting. (William Atkins/GW Today)
March 23, 2015

By James Irwin

A report on indicators of academic success, an interim presentation on faculty benefits and an update on faculty governance highlighted the monthly meeting of the Faculty Senate Friday.

A presentation reporting on median SAT and ACT scores of incoming freshmen students, university graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratio, employment after graduation and composition of faculty, among other criteria, was presented to the senate by Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Lerman. The same report had previously been presented to the university Board of Trustees in February.

According to the report, the university’s student-to-faculty ratio (12.7) is the same as it was in 2013 and nearly a full point lower than it was 10 years ago (13.5), while combined median SAT Math and Verbal scores of incoming freshmen students was at 1300 for the fourth time in five years. In a series of surveys conducted among 2014 graduates, 75 percent reported they had secured full-time employment or were continuing their education within six months of commencement.

“These are core indicators of academic success,” Dr. Lerman said. “Of interest is the information from our graduates. The methodology for collecting this data that we used up until 2013 was a one-time survey. It had a response rate as low as 23 percent and as high as 46 percent. In 2014, in order to improve our data, we adopted a multi-survey approach—the six-month survey and also communication through the alumni association. We were able to get to a response rate now of 85 percent. I believe we’re getting better data.”

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Professor Tyler Anbinder presents findings of GW faculty benefits. (William Atkins/GW Today)


An interim report from the Committee on Appointment, Salary and Promotion Policies also was presented Friday by School of Engineering and Applied Science Professor Robert Harrington and Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Professor Tyler Anbinder. The report was compiled from the findings of seven meetings held during the 2014-15 academic year regarding GW’s faculty benefits compared to peer institutions.

GW, Dr. Anbinder said, has kept pace with peer schools regarding salaries (Dr. Lerman’s core indicators report also showed this information.) The committee report found that the university ranked near the bottom of peer universities regarding faculty benefits. George Washington President Steven Knapp formed a benefits task force in January to study health, retirement and tuition benefits at GW, compare them with those offered by peer institutions and make recommendations.

“I think it’s great you are doing this work and bringing these issues up,” Dr. Knapp said. “The point is to be able to compare benefit-by-benefit with other institutions and look at the total amount. Our aim in all these efforts is to be competitive with our peer institutions.”

George Washington President Steven Knapp outlines the efforts of the benefits task force, which is compiling a breakdown of compensation at peer institutions and an analysis of the methodology of reporting the information. "The point is to go benefit-by-benefit so we have reasonable comparisons," he said. (William Atkins/GW Today)


Faculty Senate Chair Charles Garris provided an update on the progress of GW’s ongoing faculty governance efforts, outlining differences between the university’s current Faculty Code and the work being conducted by the four groups appointed to review faculty governance. The April meeting of the Faculty Senate, he said, could include an open discussion of proposed recommendations from the university Board of Trustees.

Nominations for election to the Faculty Senate Nominating Committee were presented Friday with Professors Miriam Galston, Mary Granger, Paula Lantz, Murray Loew, Barbara Miller, Kathryn Newcomer, Joyce Pulcini, Gary Simon and James Williams being named to the committee. Dr. Knapp closed the meeting with brief remarks on the opening of the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum this week.

“As it’s opened, what’s most gratifying is our students and faculty have been actively involved in designing and mounting those exhibitions,” he said. “Of course, one of the things most interesting about this process was the number of departments that have some interest in aspects in this project.”

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