Staff Editorial: A student for every search

On Friday, GW announced that Mary Futrell, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, and Susan Phillips, dean of the School of Business, will step down from their positions on June 30, 2010. Combined with the search for a new provost, these announcements mean that GW will be looking to fill three important administrative positions this year. It is vital that the University include students on the search committees for new administrators.

Although the bylaws do not necessarily require student representation, Dean Futrell said in an interview she would recommend a student be added to the search committee. Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said Saturday that the University will do just that, and we applaud GW for doing so. Because GSEHD is a graduate school, the student representative will be a graduate student intending to serve the interests of the GSEHD student population. The search committee for a new dean of the School of Business will include both an undergraduate and graduate student, since both populations will be affected by the decision.

Now, students must be included on the committee to fill the new provost position. The University has stated students will be allowed to meet with and critique candidates, but this is not enough to ensure student representation in the process. When the search for President Knapp was conducted in 2006, a student – in that case, Student Association President Lamar Thorpe – was included as a full member of the search committee. Because the provost position will have a similar influence over the lives of students, it would be irresponsible of GW to not put at least one student officially on the committee.

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