Provost previews GW’s $100 million strategic plan for faculty

Provost Steve Lerman discussed the vision, approach and major themes used by the University to develop the strategic plan at a town hall earlier this year at the Marvin Center. Hatchet File Photo

Provost Steven Lerman called Tuesday for the doubling of international undergraduate students and up to 100 new faculty members, the most momentous pieces of a $100 million strategic plan.

Lerman highlighted “concrete actions” of the 10-year University-wide plan, a draft of which will be posted online Friday or Monday, at the Faculty Assembly in Jack Morton Auditorium.

He called for:

  • Admitting undergraduate students to the University instead of specific schools to create an easier pathway to study multiple disciplines and allow them to engage in GW-wide “core competencies”
  • A doubling of international undergraduates, which would bring the group from 6 percent of the undergraduate body to 12 percent.
  • Hiring 50 to 100 faculty in brand new, interdisciplinary positions.
  • Increasing funding to attract better post-doctoral students.
  • Creating more cross-disciplinary research centers, like the new Global Women’s Institute

The University has targeted $100 million worth of investments for the plan. Lerman said he expects the University to fundraise twice that amount to pay for more of the plan.

Lerman has said he hopes to have the draft finalized by December, and the plan will have to wait for approval until the February meeting of the Board of Trustees.

He said he will host more town halls and events at his home on the Mount Vernon Campus for faculty and students to discuss the draft of the plan.

Administrators, professors and trustees have molded the draft in planning groups, retreats and faculty meetings over the past year. Some students, including the Student Association, also weighed in.

University President Steven Knapp called the plan his top priority last year, charging Lerman, his number two, with drawing up GW’s next decade. The last plan was created in 2002.

University officials have touted the “bold” ideas the plan will include, but have softened many portions of the plan, like a one-college model and creating a large think tank.

The investments and budgeting priorities in the plan will require aggressive fundraising and money carved out by the cost-cutting Innovation Task Force.

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