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The GW Hatchet

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Top official leaves position after two years in role, moves to law school

Hatchet File Photo
The tempietto basks in the sun in Kogan Plaza.

GW’s executive vice president and chief administration officer resigned this year after less than two years in the role.

Sharon Reich Paulsen, who interim University President Mark Wrighton appointed in July 2022 to serve as the executive vice president and first chief administration officer, resigned from the role, University President Ellen Granberg announced at the April Faculty Senate meeting. Granberg told the senate that Paulsen informed her “earlier this year” that she was stepping down from her current positions at the University to pursue “law and legal academia.”

Paulsen said she will remain at the University and turn her “current attention” to GW Law after she “greatly missed” working in the field.

Before coming to GW, Paulsen spent 18 years at the University of Minnesota as the associate dean of the law school and the university’s associate vice president of academic affairs from 2004 to 2011. Paulsen then joined the University of Vermont in 2016 where she served as the chief of staff and senior legal counsel and was later appointed as the vice president for legal affairs and general counsel and senior adviser to the president in 2017, a position she held until joining GW.

As of April 6, Paulsen’s position was no longer listed on the University’s senior leadership page. Her current position and responsibilities at the law school are not available on the GW Law website.

Paulsen said Granberg transferred her administrative duties to Chief Financial Officer Bruno Fernandes.

“Having administrative units fall under the CFO’s umbrella is the administrative structure that existed prior to my appointment by President Mark Wrighton in August 2022,” Paulsen said in an email.

Granberg said at the senate meeting that as a part of Fernandes’ transition, Baxter Goodly, the former associate vice president for field facilities construction and management, assumed the position of interim vice president for safety and facilities.

Paulsen worked alongside Wrighton and Provost Chris Bracey on the decision to drop the COVID-19 vaccination requirements in May 2023, which eliminated the testing services available through the University.

Paulsen and GW Police Department Chief James Tate presented updates to the Faculty Senate in September on the first phase of arming, which equipped the department’s top two officers with 9 mm handguns. The presentation also announced that phase two of the arming plan would begin late September.

Paulsen also told the Faculty Senate in December that she was working on a “one-pager” about protocol for faculty when there is an active shooter on campus.

Paulsen graduated from Yale University with a bachelor of arts degree in economics and earned her JD from Stanford Law School, according to her LinkedIn.

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