Researcher tapped to head Columbian College

Marguerite “Peg” Barratt, an official with the National Institutes of Health, edged out four other candidates and was announced as the next dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Monday.

After an almost 10-month-long process, the CCAS Dean Search Committee selected Barratt following a series of interviews and deliberations with University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman and President-elect Steven Knapp.

“It is such a great opportunity to work at a good school on its way to becoming even better,” Barratt said in an interview Monday. “I met a lot of people here during my visits and interviews … I am very excited to work with the faculty, students, staff and alumni.”

Barratt will join other new faces in GW’s administration next year including incoming University President Knapp and incoming Chairman of the Board of Trustees W. Russell Ramsey.

A GW alumna of the psychology doctoral program, Barratt has worked at Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin as a professor and department chair. She is deputy director of clinical research policy analysis and coordination at the NIH, the primary federal agency for medical research.

“She is terrific. She’s a good she’s got good character skills, leadership skills, she’s a component manager, has a promise of strong fundraising and the capacity to work well with others,” said Trachtenberg, who will be stepping down as University president this summer. “Overall, a good choice.”

Before working at NIH, Barratt worked for the National Science Foundation and before that at various universities for 23 years.

Lehman said her most recent work will help her be a successful dean in terms of funding projects and research ventures. He said the diversity of her experience and the relationships she has developed will help create opportunities for enhancing faculty projects.

“Dr. Barratt was the best fit for CCAS in terms of where the school is today and where we want to take it. Her credentials and experience fit what we were looking for,” Lehman said. “Compared to the other candidates, she has the broadest set of experiences.”

One of the major issues Barratt will oversee is the possible implementation of a dramatic restructuring of the academic schedule from a five-course three-credit system to a four-course four-credit system. CCAS faculty voted to delay a final decision on the administration-sponsored plan until a permanent dean of the school was chosen.

Barratt said she needs to learn more about the four-by-four plan before crafting a definite opinion.

“(GW) would benefit from thoughtful curriculum reform, which might come from the four-by-four plan or might just happen,” she said.

University President-elect Steven Knapp commended the new dean’s credentials.

“Dr. Barratt exemplifies the research acumen, teaching credentials and leadership experience that we need to help advance the stature of the University as a preeminent research institution,” he said in a statement.

According to the search committee, 98 people applied for the position, which was vacated last June when former dean William Frawley left to become president of Mary Washington University.

-Brandon Butler contributed to this report.

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