University launches new website to track LeBlanc’s major goals

Officials launched a new website Monday to track progress on University President Thomas LeBlanc’s five top priorities for GW, according to a University release.

The “strategic initiatives” website tracks five goals: the student experience, research, fundraising and alumni engagement, the relationship between GW’s medical organizations and institutional culture. Individual goals for each project and steps taken to achieve them are listed on the website along with the primary administrator overseeing the project.

“We have heard so many great ideas from our community, and now we are transforming those ideas into action as we look toward our bicentennial,” LeBlanc said in the release, referring to GW’s upcoming 200th anniversary in 2021.

LeBlanc said the priorities emerged from listening sessions, town halls and meetings with students, faculty and staff over his first academic year at GW. LeBlanc first announced he would focus on these priorities last August in an interview with the Hatchet.

Last fall, LeBlanc hosted four town halls, taking questions on topics like college affordability and the Title IX office.

The University has completed two to six initiatives related to each goal, according the website. Officials have made the progress on the “student experience” goal, touting initiatives like the creation of a new student experience and enrollment office and the announcement of more funding for the dining plan as victories for the goal.

Under the website’s research tab, the University announced the use of task forces to “perform a comprehensive review of the research ecosystem across the institution to identify successes and areas for investment and develop an action plan for improvement.”

Leo Chalupa, the University’s first research vice president, who is listed as the primary administrator on the initiative, announced last month that he would step down this summer after serving in the role for nearly a decade.

Since taking office, LeBlanc has repeatedly discussed the need for GW to continue to sharpen its research focus and officials plan to convene a faculty task force on the issue by next month.

The website also highlights fundraising as a primary concern, as the University aims to develop a better fundraising structure and increase alumni giving, which has historically lagged behind peer schools.

LeBlanc launched an alumni speaking series in January to connect with potential donors and officials have sought to boost the giving rate with a Board of Trustees task force focused on volunteer engagement.

Under “medical enterprise,” officials named strengthening the relationships among the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Medical Faculty Associates and GW Hospital as a key goal – something LeBlanc has talked about throughout the academic year.

The website also lists “institutional culture” as a priority, as officials attempt to improve a “transactional” culture that has long been criticized by students, faculty and staff. LeBlanc has frequently said in interviews, town halls and public appearances this year that GW’s bureaucracy often leaves students and faculty feeling frustrated and unheard.

LeBlanc announced in February that he adjusted the winter holiday and three-day weekend schedule for staff as the first steps toward improving employee morale.

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