Business school to offer graduate courses in northern Virginia

by Priya Anand

The GW School of Business is preparing to offer graduate courses at a facility in northern Virginia this fall, part of ongoing efforts to stay under a city-imposed population cap and offer convenience to students who live off campus.

Offering some matching courses in master’s programs at the site would cater to graduate students, many of whom do not live in the District, Murat Tarimcilar, the business school’s vice dean for programs and education, said. It would also lower the head count of students on the Foggy Bottom Campus to stay under the enrollment cap.

Courses will continue to also be taught on the Foggy Bottom Campus by the same faculty, who will teach and hold office hours at both sites.

“Students have to think that this is the same quality of education, the classroom quality is the same, it’s simply more convenient for me,” Tarimcilar said.

The expansion and technological upgrade of a classroom in Virginia is tentatively scheduled to begin in June and end in mid-August, University spokeswoman Jill Sankey said. The project’s budget has not been finalized.

Required courses within the professional master’s in business administration program will offer dual sections, and the master’s programs in project management and information system technology might offer slots in Arlington at least once a year.

The space at 950 Glebe Road, near the Ballston Metro station, houses mainly engineering and College of Professional Studies courses.

Asking departments to hold additional sections of courses off-campus will help ease enrollment concerns as GW nears the population cap outlined in the 2007 Campus Plan, an agreement with the city that limits the number of students who can live and take classes on the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses. The Foggy Bottom Campus fell just 200 students below the 20,000-person cap for full-time and part-time enrollment in September.

The tally of full-time students is determined through calculations of credits – not individuals – to reach a head count. Tarimcilar estimated that shifting 14 courses to the Arlington facility would lower the credits for Foggy Bottom by enough to cut the head count by about 50 students.

Chinese students in the business school’s master of science in finance program – launched in October in a partnership with Renmin University – will arrive in the U.S. this summer for orientation in Foggy Bottom, but shift to Arlington for courses in the fall. Tarimcilar said the business school plans to gauge student feedback on whether they choose to remain in Virginia or return to the District for the spring semester.

He added that some faculty initially pushed back on the request to teach at both locations but compromised when GW offered to pay for the commute. He declined to provide a figure for the compensation costs but said the number is not high.

“It is not the most convenient thing, of course at 4:30 [p.m.] you’re going to get into your car or take the Metro to go there, but they understand this is a service for the students, this is a service for the University in terms of the cap, it’s an optimal solution,” Tarimcilar said.

A course list for the Arlington site has not yet been finalized, he said.

Assistant professor of management Sheetal Singh, who lives in Virginia and drives by the center on her way into the District, said she would not mind holding dual office hours. But she said teaching courses at both locations might be inconvenient for professors who choose to schedule all their classes back-to-back.

“In the kind of bigger scheme of things, this is just something very small to take care of,” Singh said. “If I’m going for a three-hour class to Arlington, adding another hour for office hours is not a big deal. I don’t see it as an issue personally.”

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