Engineering, education graduate programs under review

Commissions will examine the state and future development of two graduate programs after they failed to make enough revenue to cover their costs, a University official said.

The commissions will examine the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Graduate School of Education and Human Development. They will begin meeting this month and are composed of faculty from within the schools, alumni, people outside the University and a student representative on each committee.

Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman asked the commissions to develop recommendations by April on how to improve their schools’ academic programs and their financial standings over the next 15 years.

The gap between expenses and revenues in a school occurs when tuition revenue is insufficient to cover the costs of the school’s specific programs and the University’s infrastructures like Gelman and financial services.

The commission for the SEAS is chaired by Lehman and vice-chaired by Timothy Tong, the dean of the SEAS.

Tong refused comment on the commission.

Can Korman, a commission member and the chair of the electrical and computer engineering department, said he would like to see strengthened undergraduate programs and new engineering facilities.

A new science and engineering facility is included in the proposed 20-year Campus Plan.

“There is potential, but it requires much more involvement by the University,” he said. “I think GW can greatly benefit by a strong engineering identity.”

The SEAS charge asks commission members to make recommendations concerning the adoption of the four-by-four model, the future of engineering education and the school’s recruitment process, all in light of the school’s financial standing.

The charge says an “inordinate amount” of financial aid must be given out each year to recruit engineering students and asks the commission to address whether this is appropriate.

Carol Sigelman, the associate vice president for graduate studies and academic affairs, said graduate schools usually generate less tuition revenue because of the smaller classes and the high number of students who receive fellowship or teaching awards.

The charge to the GSEHD says the school’s financial standing makes it necessary to “determine whether the resources being devoted to the school represent an investment in the future.”

Sigelman and Elliot Hirshman, the chief research officer, are co-chairing the GSEHD commission.

The charge asks the commission to address the school’s programs, student markets and whether some of the school’s programs would be better located outside of D.C. It poses the question of the significance of the school being located off the main campus.

“We’re looking at this as an opportunity to step back and look at the school,” said Mary Futrell, dean of the GSEHD.

Futrell said her school has undergone six reviews in the last five years, including reviews by national organizations, individual program reviews and a doctoral review performed within the University two years ago.

The charges to both commissions explain the University’s academic vision and mission in terms of “selectivity” and “focus.”

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