University Making Progress on Preparations for Fall Semester

President Thomas LeBlanc also recognized the one-year anniversary of the pandemic during Friday’s Faculty Senate meeting.

March 15, 2021

The George Washington University is continuing to take productive steps toward its goal of returning in person to the fullest extent possible in the fall, President Thomas LeBlanc told the Faculty Senate on Friday.

Given positive developments related to vaccines, virus transmission rates and public health capabilities on campus, leadership is “optimistic” about the future, Dr. LeBlanc said.

In planning for the fall, the university will incorporate flexibility wherever possible to meet the varying in-person or remote needs of faculty, students and staff, Dr. LeBlanc added.

“As always, safety, care and our commitment to our academic mission is going to guide all of our decisions as we move forward,” Dr. LeBlanc said.

Dr. LeBlanc also reflected on the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, noting that around this time last year, the university was shifting to virtual teaching, learning and working.

“There have been a tremendous number of challenges … but it’s really been inspiring to see how members of our community have responded,” including GW’s frontline workers, faculty, staff and students, said Dr. LeBlanc, who also sent a message of gratitude to the university community on Friday.

Provost M. Brian Blake echoed his appreciation for faculty.

“I’ve heard great stories about how the faculty have been conducting their classes,” Dr. Blake said. “I know that it’s not easy … and I want to continue to recognize your hard work.”

Dr. Blake also provided an update on faculty hiring, noting the university continues to hire faculty and open tenure-track faculty searches as part of the Resource Allocation Committee process.

He said he is currently in conversations with the deans regarding approving faculty hiring requests for the coming fiscal year in order to continue to advance academic and research priorities.

Dr. Blake also noted the recent announcement of the formation of a Financial Aid Student Advisory Council to enhance the student experience. Student interest in serving on the council has been strong, he said. Students interested in participating can submit an application before March 26.

The university also recently announced plans for Commencement, Dr. Blake said, which include hosting in-person celebrations on the National Mall when it is safe to do so and conferring degrees in May during a virtual celebration. Schools and colleges also will host celebrations that recognize students individually. The decisions were driven by feedback from graduating students and their families.

Also Friday, the senate passed a resolution approving changes to the Code of Academic Integrity. The resolution and code are available in the Faculty Senate’s meeting agenda.

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