Faculty in the nursing school are donating to the University at the highest rate of all schools at GW, officials said.
Officials said at a Faculty Senate meeting earlier this month that almost 100 percent of faculty members from the School of Nursing give back to GW – more than any other school. Nursing school faculty said they give back because they are dedicated to boosting the school’s resources and funds, which have allowed officials to proceed with recent renovations to expand the school’s lab spaces and provide students with more up-to-date equipment.
University spokesman Tim Pierce said “many” faculty members donate to the nursing school, including several who give on an ongoing basis through payroll deduction – but he declined to say exactly how many faculty members have donated. He said Pamela Jeffries, the dean of the School of Nursing, and the founding faculty of the nursing school are “strong advocates” for faculty giving and encourage “philanthropic support at all levels.”
“Faculty donors at GW Nursing support the school’s mission to train the next generation of nursing leaders and to improve patient care in local and global communities,” Pierce said in an email. “Their giving reflects the strong affinity and commitment the faculty has for the school.”
Pierce said the nursing school’s recently unveiled simulation lab space and student success center in Innovation Hall – the nursing school’s flagship building – are “powerful examples” of how philanthropic support can support student resources. He said faculty donations go toward academic programs, partnerships, teaching resources and research for the nursing school.
Pierce declined to say how faculty are encouraged to donate. He declined to say what the faculty giving rate at the nursing school was in fiscal years 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Pierce declined to say why the nursing school faculty give back more than other schools at GW.
Karen Dawn, an assistant professor of nursing, said nursing school officials have pushed for faculty members to donate to specific funds over the past year, like scholarship pools or global programs that allow students to travel to other countries. She said a high faculty donation rate shows faculty members’ commitment to improving the school’s programs and resources, which could encourage other faculty members and students to donate in the future.
“I think it shows that we’re committed to the school and to the University as a whole,” Dawn said. “I think that it’s like being a part-owner of something, and I think you take on more of a responsibility when you’re financially connected to it.”
Dawn said she donates to the school every month through payroll deductions, where money is directly taken out of her paycheck. She said she prefers payroll deductions because they’re “simple and painless” and ensure that she doesn’t lose track of the last time she donated.
She declined to say how much she donates to the nursing school each year.
“I think most faculty are like that,” Dawn said. “We’re busy and it’s just you think you did something yesterday and it’s really been quite a while ago.”
Lorraine Rilko, a clinical assistant professor of nursing, said most faculty in the nursing school recognize the high costs of nursing education and see giving frequent donations as a way to benefit their students outside of the classroom with scholarships and academic program funding.
“We know what a hardship it is for students,” Rilko said. “I think it’s because we all in the nursing program really care about the students and we understand how expensive education is and how expensive resources are.”
Nadine Marchi, a clinical assistant professor of nursing, said financial support from faculty can help support students who might not be able to afford nursing school tuition – which is more than $60,000 each year – especially as the United States faces a shortage in health care workers.
“If they can’t afford it, then we’ll be losing a great resource,” Marchi said. “We are the last line of defense, we’re checking patients in all the time, we’re the people who make sure things are getting done and getting done correctly for the patients. We’re the advocates for the patients.”
Mary Schumann, an associate professor of nursing and the program director of health policy and media engagement, said faculty’s commitment to their students and the nursing school is reflected in their consistent donations, and their engagement is also important to host events and develop new courses.
“I believe I have a responsibility to help support the profession,” Schumann said. “I do that through my membership and my professional organization memberships, I do that through service in my professional organizations, and I think I also do that through donations to the profession and this is one way in which to do that.”