Letter to the Editor

Collaborating to make a stronger dean search

This letter is in response to an article printed May 9, “Dean names second GSPM interim executive director,” regarding the status of proposals for Graduate School of Political Management director as called for by the school’s adjunct faculty, students and alumni. We are listening and making changes.

Under the outstanding leadership of its founding dean Chris Arterton, GSPM has a distinguished history of offering the best in political management education. Thanks to the leadership of Arterton and, recently, professor and intermin executive director Charles Cushman, GSPM has a solid foundation. We will soon have Dr. Dennis Johnson, a highly regarded interim director with extraordinary credentials.

Not every search yields the optimal results, and we are necessarily guided by the recommendations of the search committee.

I see resolution not far down the road. For example, we are hiring a well-qualified search firm to produce a much wider field of applicants than would otherwise be possible. We have revised the educational requirements to include a preference – but not an absolute requirement – for a terminal degree as part of the search criteria. Moreover, our first search committee was somewhat traditionally comprised mainly of distinguished full-time faculty. Now we are broadening the search committee to include two adjunct faculty members, a student, an alumnus, a member of the school’s advisory board and faculty.

GSPM is also benefitting from new financial and business processes, made in concert with the University’s structures and policies. I am very pleased by the cooperation and support we are receiving from the overwhelming majority of faculty and staff. GSPM is now living within its annual budgets, with sound business practices that are in consonance with GW policies.

All of these positive changes have taken some time to put in place, including the new search committee. No one person within GW has the authority to simply order change. We are too collegiate for that, and rightly so.

President Steven Knapp, Provost Steve Lerman and I have met often with faculty, adjunct faculty, students, alumni and members of the Council on American Politics. I will meet as often as these groups desire. We are all part of the same GW community, and we must share our views, with civility and mutual respect, to reach our common goals.

In the fall semester, I have no doubt that we will all have a GSPM that is stronger than ever before.

Kathleen Burke is the dean of the College of Professional Studies.

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