Peter Konwerski: GW’s culture of innovation

“There is nothing permanent except change.”

This was the fortune included in a cookie I opened recently. While I enjoyed the sentiment in the instant, it also became apparent this is the concept, moving forward, that the University must utilize to better meet the emerging needs of the student body while maintaining that hallmark feel of GW.

GW is changing fast, and I would like to tell you about the direction the University is moving in. I have had the fortune of working with each of these efforts along the way, and I believe this culture of change and innovation is particularly important as we embark upon this new school year.

As the University evolves, we continue to carefully align our goals and plans with the mission and vision being set by University President Steven Knapp and other campus leaders.

For GW, this focus on change means we have a team of students, faculty and staff continually looking to transform the campus through innovative efforts that renew our focus on results and cost savings.

While much of the results of our campus progress efforts will be seen down the road, this culture of innovation is apparent on campus even today.

The changes we have implemented in student life are designed to respond to emerging trends in the campus community, but also to ensure that GW remains a special place to learn and grow.

You might have noticed that the judicial arm of the University has made some policy changes. These are being made with an eye toward forwarding civility and education.

Our programming efforts are focused on building GW affinity and strengthening community. Our efforts to support student engagement in residence halls, Greek life, clubs and organizations are driven by a desire to measure learning and developmental growth for students across their college experiences.

Our work in diversity and inclusion supports the most well-rounded student population possible with a fresh focus on LGBT issues, faith and spirituality and a continued support for the variety of genders, races and cultures we see at GW.

For our student services division, which has long embraced change, this same methodical approach is being unveiled. As we continue to make GW a more nurturing place for students to meet their social, cultural, living, health, recreational and developmental needs, we have new opportunities to build alliances around student life and learning and faculty engagement that will help propel our world-class academic experience.

It is in that same spirit of constant change the University launched the Innovation Task Force two years ago, and as co-chair of the Exploration Committee, I am eager to see the infusion of many new, solid concepts that will move GW from “idea to new opportunity” as the best innovations continue to percolate up.

The creativity of our community will inspire the spirit of exploration that academia is known for, and together we will break new ground and truly change the culture to one of, well, change.

–The writer is the dean of students and a senior associate vice president.

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