Roger Whitaker, the founding dean of GW’s College of Professional Studies, announced that after serving seven years as CPS dean, he would step down on Aug. 1.
Following a year-long sabbatical, he plans to return to GW as a faculty member at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
“Simply put, the lifestyle of a hard-working productive faculty member is not easy, but it does offer some of the flexibility that my wife and I find attractive, especially now that we are proud grandparents,” Whitaker said.
Currently, the Office of Academic Affairs is preparing an announcement of the open position at CPS and is organizing a search committee for Whitaker’s successor. Whitaker said he would like to play a large role in choosing the next dean.
“I am looking forward to (Whitaker) helping us achieve the appointment of his successor,” said Donald Lehman, executive vice president for academic affairs. “He did an absolutely marvelous job in the role, and will be difficult to replace. He won’t be, in a sense. We won’t get another Roger Whitaker.”
CPS was founded with residents of metropolitan D.C. in mind. The college offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs aimed at professionals in a variety of continually changing fields.
“We had in mind a college that would be entrepreneurial, innovative, market responsive, academically rigorous, and focused on the needs of the regional economy,” Whitaker said.
CPS offers courses to almost 700 students and combines interdisciplinary fields into programs including landscape design, publishing, healthcare, corporate compliance and police science. Since fall 2003 CPS has added 11 new programs.
Excluding students in the Graduate School of Political Management and non-degree students, there were about 400 students enrolled last semester. Their average age was 30 and 70 percent were female.
Considering the constant change an integral aspect of CPS, Whitaker has developed an outline for “CPS 2.0” which he presented to the Faculty Senate in November. The development plan involves offering online courses for students nationwide, expanding the services of the assistant dean for student success, and designing assessment methods for evaluating the impact a CPS education has on students, employers, and communities.
Whitaker said that his successor must be innovative and entrepreneurial. He or she would need to understand the role of CPS within the broader goals of GW.
“(Dean Whitaker’s resignation) is both an unfortunate loss to CPS, but also an opportunity for the college to think through where it wants to go in the next few leaders and recruit the appropriate leader, said Gregory Squires, a professor of sociology and public policy and public administration, and member of the Dean’s Council.
Ali Eskandarian, CPS’s senior associate dean, said that he hopes the college will continue its tradition of finding new fields and programs for its students that may not yet be integrated into academia, and that the new dean would have to understand CPS’ role as an innovative unit within a larger university.
He added, “I would like to see CPS continue its present success, and grow its existing academic programs while emphasizing their quality and expanding their accessibility to audiences who otherwise would not benefit from GW’s educational offering.”