University seeks new ‘star’ professor

GW is searching for a new university professor – the most prestigious and honored title the school can confer on a faculty member, an official confirmed this week.

James Goldgeier, professor in the Elliott School of International Affairs and chair of the University Professor Search Committee, said the University is primarily looking to fill an international affairs position since Harry Harding, former dean of the Elliott School, left the University. There are only eight university professors at GW.

“Respectively, we are looking for somebody for the Elliott School, but an individual is chosen who will appeal to different kinds of people on campus and is interesting to more than one discipline,” Goldgeier said in an e-mail. “For the purpose of their position they are not tied to a specific department.”

The current eight university professors are teachers and leading individuals in their fields, coming to GW to research, maintain a presence on campus and serve the GW community as a whole, Goldgeier said.

Current university professors include Vanessa Gamble, Amitai Etzioni and James Rosenau. Rosenau is an international political theorist, and Etzioni, GW’s first-ever university professor, teaches in the Elliott School and has served as a senior adviser in the White House.

Among the many benefits a university professor receives – including the right to teach any subject he or she desires – the professor has a reduced teaching load, said Stephen Saltzburg, professor of law and university professor since 2004.

Saltzburg holds governmental positions and serves as a mediator for the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C., but also advises undergraduates on law school and careers, and teaches an introduction to criminal justice and law.

“I love my undergraduate class,” Saltzburg says. “I’d like to introduce every undergrad to criminal justice and law.”

Saltzburg, who serves as a member of the search committee for the new hire, said the University is looking for a “star.”

“The person must be someone who is regarded nationally and internationally as a star and must be a world class international scholar. GW has an exceptional international faculty in the Elliott School, the law school and elsewhere,” Saltzburg said. “A new university professor has to be better than our full professors on campus, and that is a really demanding standard to meet.”

Goldgeier said a “good number” of names have been nominated, both from outside and within the GW community, but declined to give a precise number of applications. Hiring for this position is an extensive process, he said, taking much longer than the process for appointing a new faculty member.

“We are very excited and the University is in a position where it could really get an excellent person for the job,” Goldgeier said. “It would be great if students who read this would nominate someone because we truly want a professor that the students want.”

Applications will be accepted until Dec. 1, and the professor could begin teaching as soon as fall 2010, according to the advertisement.

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