When describing the home of the Buff and Blue, most students envision the lettered and numbered streets in Foggy Bottom, or the sprawling field at Mount Vernon Campus. But in actuality, GW has more than 20 branch campuses, spanning five states and three countries.
Brian Williams, a graduate student of human resource development at the University’s Ashburn, Va., campus, said he never forgets that he’s a GW student – even though he’s 30 miles from Foggy Bottom.
“I personally have been very much aware of the name GW and its prestige, and the reputation that comes along with the University even though I was taking classes farther away,” Williams said.
Although these branch campuses are smaller in physical size and student enrollment than GW’s flagship sites in D.C., their diplomas still bear the University’s name.
“Each (campus) has a lot of faculty, students and staff, and an overall sense of community,” said Matt Lindsay, media relations specialist.
Last fall, 19 GW graduate students studied education and human development at the Singapore Institute of Management, and more than 100 undergraduates attended the University’s Naval School of Health Science in San Diego, Ca.
Sixteen part-time graduates enrolled at GW’s College of Jewish Studies in Rockville, Md., and 43 students studied at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in Reston, Va.
Many of the University’s Foggy Bottom schools offer programs outside of the area, drawing students to specialized courses such as landscape design, publishing and healthcare corporate compliance.
Annette Allgood, director of GW’s Alexandria Graduate Education Center, which boasts an enrollment of nearly 400, said the branch campuses are unique because they draw a different type of student than the ones studying in D.C.
“What happens in our center here is every bit as productive, if not more so, than what happens in traditional programs on traditional campuses,” Allgood said. “What (students) bring to the classroom is so valuable … the one constant in all non-traditional programs is the rich content of the classes.”
The College of Professional Studies offers administrative support to the branch campuses, where classes are typically held in the evenings and on weekends. Roger Whitaker, dean of the College of Professional studies, said despite their distance from the University’s main halls, the school’s branch campuses still feel connected to GW.
“They really are part of the University, and that’s the strategy we have used to develop these programs,” Whitaker said.
Since most of GW’s branch campuses offer graduate programs in the D.C. metropolitan area, many students at these sites are looking to build on their Bachelor’s degrees and complete graduate work in specific programs.
“They are people working in government agencies and corporations,”
said Dave Burt, director of the Arlington Graduate Education Center, where 674 students were enrolled last year. “They choose this university because of its quality and type of education that they will get here opposed to somewhere else.”