Strength of GW Community, Aspirations for Future Feature Prominently in Presidential Search Feedback

University community members attend forums, submit online comments expressing excitement about GW’s forward momentum and next chapter.

September 29, 2022

George Washington University students, faculty, staff and alumni continue to be active participants in the presidential search process, sharing feedback that has demonstrated a desire for excellence and eagerness to build on historic strengths as GW embarks on its third century. Community members recently attended in-person and virtual forums to share their thoughts, and many others are submitting their feedback online.

“It has been so gratifying to hear from members of our GW community who are excited for this moment in our history, and I hope we will continue to hear from you,” said Trustee Roslyn Brock, M.S. ’89, chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “There is clearly a desire from our stakeholders to come together to chart the university’s course and play an active role in our shared aspirations and future. Working with the many talented and engaged individuals at GW, the next president will have an incredible chance to advance our great institution.”

GW is a comprehensive research university with strengths and active collaborations across all disciplines, according to feedback, and the next president will have an opportunity to help advance partnerships and excellence in teaching, research and patient care.

“The conversations we have been having, and the feedback we are hearing, is critical to a successful search for our next president,” said James Tielsch, vice chair of the search committee and a faculty member. “This feedback sets the stage for the next steps in our process of identifying a new president who will help GW grow and prosper.”

Supporting the myriad individuals who drive GW’s success will be critical for a new leader. Showing a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and bringing people together around common goals and aspirations is very important, according to feedback. Given the broad expertise of GW’s students, faculty, staff and alumni, engaging the community in decision-making will strengthen the university’s path.

Location also surfaced as a strength across comments. GW is the largest institution of higher education in the nation’s capital, and there will always be special opportunities to leverage GW’s location to its advantage—whether through research partnerships with federal agencies, internships for students or as a convener for important discussions and resource for faculty expertise. Ensuring GW continues to be active in the nation’s capital and serve the District and its residents is also a priority, some said.

Students have commented that their success at GW is often tied to university priorities and the vision of the president, who must further cultivate a vibrant undergraduate and graduate student experience. The reimagined and fully renovated Thurston Hall and a commitment to increasing aid and graduate fellowships for students are recent examples of initiatives to improve the student experience. GW students also are active in advocating on issues, such as sustainability, and several noted the importance of the institution’s commitment to this and other pressing concerns.

The Presidential Search Committee also has heard feedback regarding resources for teaching and research infrastructure that grows all disciplines, including the arts, humanities, sciences and academic medical enterprise. Faculty said that the continued recruitment and retention of high-quality faculty—such as the individuals who will hold new endowed professorship positions—will help accomplish these goals.

Staff stated that ensuring the university uses its resources to operate in a way that best supports the community is crucial. They also cited the importance of being engaged and having pride in their place of employment to help build community.

The idea of pride also emerged in feedback from alumni. They focused on fond recollections of “only at GW” experiences on campus or in D.C., their lifelong connection with the university and with other alumni. Some alumni have shared that more engagement opportunities will help keep them connected and giving back to their alma mater.

The Presidential Search Committee will continue to update the community as its process continues. Students, faculty, staff and alumni are all key stakeholders in the search for GW’s next president. To make sure your voice is heard, please share comments on the presidential search website. The feedback form remains open throughout the search process.