The Faculty Senate is debating a proposal to appoint a University provost, who would fill in for GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg when he is away.
Trachtenberg said he “needs some help” because of increased domestic and international travel fundraising to “wrap up our Capital Campaign.” GW is currently less than $10 million away from reaching the campaign’s $500 million goal.
“I’m going to be on the road fundraising more than ever,” he said. “Having somebody that could stand in for me from time to time would be an available (resource).”
Trachtenberg estimated that he currently spends about 20 percent of his time away from the University and could be on the road for almost a third of the next school year.
One of the proposal’s resolutions went back to the drawing board last Friday after the majority of Faculty Senate members saw problems with the proposal and requested alterations.
Trachtenberg amended it Thursday to alleviate senate concerns about the provost’s control over specific University departments and to expedite the appointment.
Trachtenberg initially proposed that the provost would have academic control over the Law School, Medical School and School of Public Health and Health Services, according to the resolution.
Senate members complained the provost would cause division among the schools without oversight over all academic departments. The senate voted 16 to 4 to have Trachtenberg alter the resolution.
The current proposal now reads that the vice president for academic affairs will oversee all GW schools while the president is away, while the provost will oversee the vice president for international and corporate affairs and the vice president for communications, Trachtenberg said.
The members of the senate executive committee will review the president’s memorandum this week, Faculty Senate Chair Lilien Robinson said.
She said the senate has no opinion about the changes because members have not looked them over yet.
Trachtenberg proposed to appoint John Williams, vice president for health services and dean of the Medical School, as the provost for the next three years. The position would last three years and would be renewable
Some senate members noted that Trachtenberg wants to hire Williams as provost because Williams might leave GW if he is not given the position.
“I’m trying to give him a professional challenge that would discourage him from looking elsewhere,” Trachtenberg said.
Although Williams said he and Trachtenberg never discussed the possibility that Williams might leave, he said Trachtenberg “knew he was getting a lot of offers” from other institutions.
Williams said his consideration for the job of provost “absolutely” makes his decision about staying at GW easier.
“I’m excited,” Williams said. “I think it gives me a chance to work with other vice presidents and continue to deliver high quality service.”
Trachtenberg also said Williams can handle his current positions plus the provost office.
“It’s as if somebody were in the student senate and also on the baseball team,” Trachtenberg said. “You can do two things.”
Trachtenberg said he would like the senate to report its opinion about the provost by the end of October.
“But (the resolution is) not resolved. I want to wait and see what people have to say,” Trachtenberg said. “I think it’s a good idea, but if people are screaming fighting and gnashing their teeth, then maybe it isn’t a good idea.”
He said the provost will be instated “as soon as I can work it out,” but no exact date has been set.
Different administrators take Trachtenberg’s spot when he leaves D.C. now, he said.
“It depends who’s in town,” he said. “I call around.”
-Amanda Mantone and Mosheh Oinounou contributed to this report.