Administrators and faculty are finalizing the strategic plan and toning down more dramatic initiatives as the drafting stage enters its final month.
Two of the strategic plan’s most transformative proposals – creating a one-college model and creating a massive GW-run think tank – have been chiseled down after hundreds of campus stakeholders weighed in.
Provost Steven Lerman will present a draft of the plan at October’s Faculty Assembly and finalize it by December.
The University will likely propose creating a few smaller think tanks geared toward the humanities and social sciences, instead of building up a larger think tank on par with ones at Stanford or Harvard universities.
“It’s taken a slightly different form, which is growing littler think tanks or bringing small outside units in to assemble a range of such things and not worry about building a Brookings-scale think tank,” Lerman said, referring to the D.C.-based Brookings Institution. “It’s a little more realistic.”
GW will also shy away from a one-college model that would have enrolled undergraduates in a new single school to promote cross-disciplinary studies. Lerman said that change may take a more conservative approach, with students applying to the University to take classes across schools instead of being tethered to one college. Students will still earn degrees from their respective colleges.
The provost also pointed to a faculty-driven initiative that the plan could adopt: a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Academy, or STEM Academy. Pitched by computer science professor Rahul Simha and physics professor Mark Reeves, the academy would promote STEM research among undergraduates, innovate with teaching techniques and provide more faculty advising and mentoring.
The academy would build off the attention that the fields will receive when the $275 million Science and Engineering Hall opens in 2015.
The strategic plan, the University’s first since 2002, will lay out ideas that revolve around four themes: globalization, policy and governance, leadership and interdisciplinary innovation.
Administrators and professors have also been debating changes to the University’s international footprint, as well as changes to faculty tenure rules.
Lerman said he will use faculty groups as sounding boards before ideas are solidified next month. Feedback has also flowed from students through the six undergraduate and graduate students on the plan’s working groups.
Cory Weinberg contributed to this report.
This article appeared in the September 4, 2012 issue of the Hatchet.