Back in May, The Hatchet wrote a staff editorial asking students to “stay tuned” to five issues that were primed for updates over the summer.
The editorial board wrote: “If we have major news to catch up on when summer break ends, the only way our complaining will be justified is if we’ve paid attention.” Now that students are back on campus, we can look back and see what has changed, started, ended or remains unknown.
Progress for student health
After three students committed suicide on the Mount Vernon Campus last semester, GW pledged to bring permanent counseling services there. That promise has become a reality, with the University Counseling Center offering walk-in hours on the Vern five days a week. The hours, 3 to 7 p.m., are convenient for students with morning-heavy class schedules, and the Academic Building is centralized and easily accessible. GW not only took quick action to provide counseling on the Vern, but also followed through to make those services long-lasting.
And after the University committed to bringing Student Health Service and UCC to the Foggy Bottom Campus, construction is underway to renovate the Marvin Center for that purpose. Slated to open at the start of 2015, the new wellness hub has booted merchandise out of the campus bookstore to a new location on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Corcoran merger moves along
D.C. court signed off on the Corcoran’s petition to change its founding charter in August, allowing it to merge with GW and the National Gallery of Art. The future for both the college and GW now looks clearer and brighter than ever before: We’re excited at the prospect of GW expanding its focus to more disciplines, and Corcoran students will now have the benefits of a larger, financially stable institution.
Unfortunately, though, about one third of the Corcoran’s employees face unemployment.
Not every question about how the Corcoran will become a part of GW has been answered, but the University gives us updates regularly. We found out in June that the Corcoran will be absorbed into the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, and its students may have to complete the same general education requirement as other CCAS students.
More recently, the admissions office announced that prospective students who are interested in studying in the Corcoran school must submit artwork portfolios, though they do not need to provide standardized test scores. Those requirements are the same as the ones the Corcoran had when it was an independent school, so it’s good to see the University is not completely overhauling the Corcoran’s traditions.
Sexual assault in focus
We were critical of the University in May because it had not yet found a replacement for former deputy Title IX coordinator Tara Pereira. They have since hired an official to assist with Title IX compliance… but it’s not exactly what we had in mind.
Rival faculty groups
Last semester, discontent among faculty – an often stagnant group – started to boil over. Frustrated with rising health care costs and the increasing number of adjunct faculty, the Faculty Association formed in opposition to the Faculty Senate. This move could be an opportunity for professors to open up discussion to different viewpoints, hash out new solutions and bargain more efficiently with administrators, all in an effort to ensure professors have the best support. The Faculty Association hasn’t made too much noise yet this semester, but we’re looking forward to seeing how its presence and advocacy steers professors’ conversations.
It’s safe to say that some of the dust that was kicked up a year ago has finally started to settle. When the University fired then-dean Doug Guthrie in August 2013, it brought the total number of leaderless GW schools to three. Search committees were in high gear at the end of the spring semester, and the University announced new deans for both the business and law schools in June. After months of turbulence, we hope some calm can finally come to the schools, leaders can chart new directions for their students and fundraising can pick back up.
We’re still waiting for a replacement for the nursing school dean, Jean Johnson, who will retire at some point this year. She has agreed to stay at the school until GW chooses a successor, but the University must now pivot its attention to the nursing school so she can move on.