William Frawley said he plans to address academic advising concerns and will work for a national ranking for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences as he takes over as dean of GW’s largest school this summer.
The former director of academic programming and planning at the University of Delaware will take over for Jean Folkerts, who served as interim dean for a year and will return to her former post as director of the School of Media and Public Affairs.
“Working at GW is a unique opportunity for me,” Frawley said. “I can use my interests and capabilities I developed through years working in education.”
At the University of Delaware for more than 23 years, Frawley also chaired its undergraduate and graduate linguistics and cognitive science programs.
After GW advertised the opening for the CCAS dean, Frawley was nominated by colleagues and began an extensive interview process with the administration at GW. The process took almost six months.
“I was very attracted to this position,” he said. “It links my past experiences with the real promise and progress of GW.”
Frawley also said GW’s capital location seemed to offer special educational opportunities that attracted him.
“The Columbian College has top faculty and students,” he said. “It has a good sense of direction.”
He said the school is well respected outside the GW community, and he looks forward to helping improve its national reputation.
“As an outsider, the Columbian College has a terrific reputation,” he said. “It can progress even more, everyone in it seems to have a real sense of progress.”
Frawley will spend the summer meeting faculty and learning about GW. He said he has a firm grasp on most of the issues that concern students about CCAS, and is eager to meet with students and discover the school’s most urgent problems.
“It is important for me, right now, to learn and listen,” he said. “The question of how I might change the Columbian College comes later.”
Frawley said he also intends to teach classes in the anthropology department.
“I hope to teach classes eventually,” he said. “It’s important for deans to teach.”
Frawley cited SMPA as one of the strongest parts of CCAS, saying he will help finance a push for a better national ranking for all of the Columbian College.
“We need to have a really energetic push toward visibility and strength,” he said. “We should do innovative things.”
He said a liberal arts college at any large university often lacks a unified identity, contributing to lower national rankings in comparison to business, engineering and international affairs schools.
“I think the Columbian College is terrific and has lots of different interests,” he said. “That’s the synergy that makes the identity of the college.”
Frawley also said he will address what many students perceive as the school’s most persisting and large problem – advising.
“It is a priority that I’m dedicating effort to,” Frawley said. “I know a lot about the issue, and I really want to push forward. I need to study the details, learn about the challenges and pressures, and talk to students to develop a plan.”
He called his approach to students relations as “participatory design,” saying he will meet with students both before and after school begins in the fall.
“Right now,” he said, “I am just meeting as many different people as possible, so that I can learn from them.”