New leadership brings fresh start to Va. campus

In October 2004 the University took a hit when a former professor at GW’s Virginia satellite campus was arrested for embezzling $1 million in federal research money.

This summer, the campus that houses graduate programs and research laboratories put an eye to the future with the appointment of Executive Vice President of Academic Planning Craig Linebaugh as the University’s chief academic operating officer of the Virginia campus.

Established in 1991, the Virginia campus, located in the state’s Loudoun County, offers graduate programs for the School of Business, Graduate School of Education and Human Development and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. In addition, the Virginia Campus is home to research laboratories for transportation safety, electromagnetics and nuclear physics, Linebaugh said.

While administrators at the Virginia campus push ahead, they are also trying to put the past behind them.

In June 2005, former Virginia campus professor Nabih Bedewi was convicted for embezzling federal funds from the University prior to October 2004. He is serving a 38-month sentence in a Loretto, Pa., federal prison for his crime.

Bedewi pled guilty in April 2005 to stealing nearly $1 million in federal research money. However, Bedewi was only ordered to pay $872,000 to the University, which agreed in April 2005 to a $1.8 million settlement with the government.

“Bedewi’s crimes are deeply disappointing, given that prior to the discovery of his dishonesty, he was a respected faculty member, researcher and mentor,” said Donald Lehman, executive vice president for academic affairs, in a June 2005 press release. “GW and the remaining National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC) staff have high integrity.”

Until June 2004, Bedewi headed the NCAC at the Virginia campus. According to documents released by the court, he diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars to a private company he part-owned, and also used the money to pay for Washington Redskins tickets, a car and a Florida condominium.

Linebaugh said his first order of business as chief academic operating officer of the Virginia campus is to ensure that all needs of the campus’ students and faculty are met. Linebaigh said he plans to promote the campus’ resources to the local community in western Fairfax and Loudoun County.

To accomplish these goals, Linebaugh is working to develop a strategic plan for the Virginia campus, a plan he expects to have drafted by mid-October.

“The plan will focus on first-rate graduate and professional education programs, research and creating a solid infrastructure to support those programs,” Linebaugh wrote in an e-mail.

Louis Katz, executive vice president and treasurer of the University, said GW employs about 350 Virginia campus administrators and staff and that it’s very important to develop a focus for the campus.

“Obviously we believe there’s a real future at the Virginia campus for this University,” Katz said. “Have we realized all our development dreams out there? No.”

“I think you’ll see a different campus there a decade from now,” Katz said.

In order to implement the Virginia campus’ strategic plan effectively, Linebaugh will be working with Chief Research Officer Elliot Hirshman. Hirshman said he will aid Linebaugh in advancing the research enterprise at the Virginia campus.

“We will be attempting to identify research projects that may benefit from being located at the Virginia campus because they are consistent with the (Virginia) campus and University’s strategic themes or because they advance strategic partnerships in Loudoun County,” Hirshman said.

Roger Whitaker, dean of the College of Professional Studies, will also be assisting Linebaugh in his implementation of the Virginia campus’ strategic plan. As dean of the College of Professional Studies, Whitaker helps support programs outside of the Foggy Bottom campus.

Added Linebaugh “He plays a key role in the educational programs offered at the Virginia campus,” said Linebaugh, who met with Whitaker last Thursday.

“We will work closely together to enhance participation in the existing programs and to identify opportunities for new programs.”

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