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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Administrative hires and replacements this summer, explained

Hatchet File Photo

Updated: Aug. 28, 2019 at 1:36 p.m.

Since students left campus for the summer, several of GW’s top administrators departed the University, and a slate of new individuals have taken over key posts.

Former Senior Vice Provost for Enrollment and the Student Experience Laurie Koehler and former Dean of Admissions Costas Solomou vacated the student affairs office, members of the Board of Trustees elected new leadership, a new dean arrived last week and officials created new positions to manage the University’s finances and human resources.

In case you’ve missed the announcements this summer, here is a list of who is leaving and joining the ranks of administrators:

Student affairs and enrollment
Koehler stepped down Aug. 7 to serve as the vice president for marketing and enrollment strategy at Ithaca College.

At GW, Koehler oversaw the restructuring of the student affairs and enrollment divisions and headed an overhaul of the financial aid office, pairing students with a financial aid adviser and launching a council for students to advise officials about financial aid concerns. Soon after Koehler arrived at the University, her office came under fire in 2013 for falsely claiming it was need-blind for admissions.

Ed Gillis, the former dean of enrollment management at the University of Miami, took over as interim vice provost for enrollment management on Aug. 6.

Solomou, the former dean of admissions, left GW in August to serve as the vice president for enrollment at the State University of New York at Geneseo. The admissions rate has increased each year since Solomou assumed the post until this year, when it dipped about 1 percentage point.

Under Koehler’s and Solomou’s tenures, the admissions department aimed to attract a more diverse student body, undertaking several recruitment trips to target students from historically marginalized and international communities. Last academic year, the undergraduate student population was the University’s most diverse in recent memory.

Ben Toll, who arrived at GW in February 2012 and serves as the director of recruitment and outreach, became the interim admissions dean.

Finances and human resources
The Board of Trustees elected Grace Speights in May to serve as the board’s first woman and African American head beginning June 1. Nelson Carbonell, the board’s former chair, stepped down from the board at the end of his six-year term and now serves on the board of the GW Medical Faculty Associates.

During his tenure, Carbonell increased the student presence on board committees and task forces and voted to approve a free 18th credit for students following a referendum showing broad support for the change. Trustees also upped the number of dining dollars allocated to students for three consecutive years to address food insecurity concerns.

Carbonell also helped create a University-wide tenure committee based on faculty feedback and reduced the size of the board from more than 40 members to about 20.

Officials created the post of chief people officer in March as part of University President Thomas LeBlanc’s strategic initiative to improve GW’s institutional culture. A culture assessment conducted last year with the help of the Disney Institute pinpointed poor communication and service culture as top issues among employees.

In July, officials named Dana Bradley, Northwestern University’s associate vice president for human resources, to the position. Bradley, who starts Sept. 3, will lead payroll, compensation and benefits as well as Human Resource Management and Development’s recruitment, performance management and professional development functions.

When Bradley joins GW next month, she will be the first permanent head of the human resources department in more than three years. The University is the first of its peer institutions to hire a chief people officer.

Patricia Carocci, the former director of advancement at The Spence School, a private girls’ high school, joined the University as the senior associate vice president for alumni relations and annual giving July 22. The alumni relations position had been vacant for nearly six months after Matthew Mantra left GW in February.

Carocci oversees the recently established GW Alumni Association, which is conducting an alumni listening tour through mid-September to guide its operations.

Officials hired Jared Abramson as GW’s inaugural vice president of financial planning and operations July 1 to head the University’s strategic financial planning, budgeting, financial forecasting and analysis. He comes to GW after a more than 15-year career in higher education and health care financial administration, most recently at the University of Miami.

As Provost Forrest Maltzman prepares to step down from his post once a replacement is found, searches for multiple deans and directors of GW’s schools and colleges are underway.

Officials named Kym Rice, the director of the museum studies program, as the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design’s interim director effective July 12. Sanjit Sethi, appointed in 2015 to be Corcoran’s first director, left his post in July to become president of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Officials have not publicly announced a search for a permanent Corcoran director.

John Lach – a professor of electrical and computer engineering and the former engineering director of cross-cutting initiatives at the University of Virginia – became the new dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science Thursday, filling a vacancy created by David Dolling’s departure last August. Officials said they sought a candidate who could improve the school’s undergraduate gender balance, boost faculty retention and work with federal agencies to increase research grants.

Rumana Riffat, a professor of civil and environmental engineering who serves as SEAS’ associate dean for academic affairs, led the school as interim dean after Dolling’s departure.

Officials also named Christopher Bracey as the law school’s interim dean after former law school Dean Blake Morant vacated the position at the end of last academic year. A search for a permanent dean is underway.

This post was updated to correct the following:
The Hatchet misspelled Kym Rice’s last name. It is now spelled correctly. We regret this error.

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