WEB EXTRA: Faculty Senate discusses research funding

A Faculty Senate report presented at Friday’s meeting found that, on average, sponsored research loses GW money.

The report states that the University and the Medical Center combined spent $54 million on research, which is not completely recovered in direct financial benefits. But it states that research has non-financial benefits, like attracting better quality students by offering stipend and tuition money paid from grants.

“It’s a prestige item for the University,” said Donald Lehman, the executive vice president for academic affairs.

Losing money by funding research is not unique to GW. Frederic Lindahl, an accountancy professor, said in a meeting between faculty members and University President-elect Steven Knapp. Knapp told the group that research is a financial loss at Johns Hopkins University, where he is the provost.

“If it’s a net loser at Johns Hopkins, it’s a net loser everywhere,” Lindahl said.

He added, “As President Knapp said, it may be a loser, but it’s what we do.”

At the meeting, faculty also raised the issue of where the Square 54 revenue will go. The empty old hospital site, which is nearing construction approval, will include a revenue-generating commercial complex. While some said a new science center is their top choice for construction of new buildings, the revenue should go to academic programs before it goes to construction, faculty said.

“At least in CCAS, we feel we have a hard time producing a quality education for students who are paying absolutely top dollar,” said faculty senate member and philosophy professor William Griffith. “Extra space is nice, extra facilities are nice, but our concerns are somewhat different than those.”

Michael Brown, the dean of the Elliott School, gave a report to the Faculty Senate about the school’s rankings and its prospects for the future.

According to the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, the Elliott School is ranked seventh for its masters program and tenth for its undergraduate program. Brown said Elliott School students on average have SAT scores that are 40 points higher than the overall student body.

Brown said: “In baseball terms, we are now playing major league baseball.”

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