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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Officials release report on community discussions to create strategic plan

Daniel Heuer | Staff Photographer
Provost Chris Bracey speaks during a Faculty Senate meeting.

Officials on Tuesday shared a draft summary report about discussions held by GW community members this semester to help shape GW’s strategic planning framework.

Provost Chris Bracey released in an email a collection of feedback officials received through conversations about planning GW’s future from students, faculty, staff and alumni in February and March. He said the feedback will be used to create a set of themes to help develop a strategic framework for the University, which has been without a strategic framework plan since 2020.

University President Ellen Granberg announced the conversations and the creation of a strategic framework — a plan with goals and initiatives to grow the University — in February.

Officials put former University President Thomas LeBlanc’s  strategic plan to reduce GW’s undergraduate population by 20 percent and grow the amount of STEM students by 30 percent on hold in 2020 after a dip in enrollment during the pandemic, and officials waited until the appointment of a new permanent president to create a new plan.

Before former interim University President Mark Wrighton’s tenure, faculty said in 2021 that they hoped GW’s next president took their opinions into consideration before a putting in place a new formal strategic framework plan.

Bracey said an online feedback form will be open through May 3 for community members to provide feedback on the draft report. The form asks individuals to respond with anything they feel was left out in the report.

The report states that faculty said the University should “capitalize” on its location in D.C. through community initiatives and civic engagement activities related to democracy. Faculty also suggested the University should engage with real-world problems to strengthen and grow internships, research opportunities and address large problems like climate change, hunger and inequality.

Faculty also said the University should develop a “broad and challenging” curriculum that teaches students how to use artificial intelligence and data to analyze information, work across disciplines and create skills for students to show future employers. They recommended that the University should “re-invent” first-year experience courses and living and learning communities.

Students said the University should provide them with the skills to secure a job, present a diverse variety of viewpoints in liberal arts courses and “emphasize” the importance of applying students’ education to improve democracy. Students also said the University should teach them how to use AI, improve access and affordability of GW and adopt a more global perspective.

Graduate students said the research training they receive is valuable while also wanting to speak to professionals in their field. Some graduate students also said the University should explore more flexible options of instruction like hybrid classes while most undergraduate and graduate students preferred live, in-person classes.

Staff said the University should expand remote learning opportunities, increase financial aid and benefits packages for students and staff and provide training in change management due to the “accelerated pace” of societal changes. Staff also said the University should be more engaged with potential future employers of students and view graduate degree programs as allowing them to be more effective at their jobs.

Alumni also said the University should leverage its location and alumni network to build connections with potential employers for students. Alumni also said the University should invite more leaders to campus and said the political science program at GW is one of the University’s strengths.

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