Online education leader to step down, join law school faculty full time

Paul Schiff Berman, vice provost for online learning and academic innovation, will return to the GW Law School full-time faculty in January. Hatchet File Photo
Paul Schiff Berman, vice provost for online learning and academic innovation, will return to the GW Law School full-time faculty in January. Hatchet File Photo

Updated: Oct. 23, 2015 at 9:54 a.m.

Paul Schiff Berman, the vice provost for online education and academic innovation, will step down from his post in January to serve as a full-time faculty member of GW Law School, Provost Steven Lerman announced Thursday.

Berman, who led the law school for 18 months, transitioned to the vice provost position from dean in 2012 after facing declining enrollment numbers. Months later, some faculty members said they had planned to oust Berman from the school after disagreeing with his leadership style and poor decision making, and had plans for a vote of no confidence in the leader.

Since leaving the law school, Berman has spearheaded online education initiatives that University leaders have started to lean on more heavily as enrollment numbers in graduate programs dropped and online learning offered a more inexpensive alternative to in-person courses. More than 100 online degree and certificate programs are now offered through GW.

Berman also oversaw the launch of three massive open online courses and the start of an in-house program where faculty and officials can work with animators and technicians to enhance online materials.

Berman said he was looking forward to concentrating on teaching and research full-time. He has maintained a faculty position since taking on the vice provost position.

“I commend President Knapp and Provost Lerman for having the vision to create this important university role, and I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to serve the university in this crucial strategic area,” Berman said in the release.

Lerman said in the release that Berman has done a “tremendous” job in building GW’s online course portfolio.

“I’m extremely grateful for his efforts over the past three years to help develop new and innovative courses, and look forward to his continued contributions to the university community as a member of the GW Law faculty,” Lerman said.

No replacement for the vice provost position was announced in the release, and plans for a search were also not stated.

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