LeBlanc aims to reduce undergraduate population by 20 percent over five years

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

University President Thomas LeBlanc addresses the Faculty Senate at a meeting this year.

University President Thomas LeBlanc plans to cut undergraduate enrollment by 20 percent over the next five years, according to a University release Tuesday.

In a message to the GW community, LeBlanc said the rising undergraduate population over the past five years has “stretched” GW’s facilities, staff and faculty, he wrote in the release. Officials’ aimed enrollment drop would bring in about 2,400 fewer students than its current population of roughly 12,000, according to institutional data.

The announcement comes after garnering feedback from University leadership and faculty, who said officials should prioritize the quality of GW’s resources in following its main goals.

“This gradual reduction in size will help us offer the high-quality undergraduate experience our students expect and deserve,” he said in the release.

LeBlanc mapped out his top five initiatives in a website launched last April, focusing on philanthropy, alumni engagement, student experience, institutional culture, research and medical enterprise. Users can follow the website to track LeBlanc’s progress on his goals, which were first announced last April.

From conversations with officials and faculty, LeBlanc said the University will focus on four main areas: enhancing undergraduate and graduate education, hiring and retaining world-class faculty and encouraging “high-impact” research, according to the release.

Officials also plan to boost the number of students in STEM departments, LeBlanc said. The population of undergraduates studying science-related topics reached 19 percent last fall – a nearly 9 percentage point jump over the past 11 years.

“Increasing our capacity for teaching and research in STEM also will strengthen our students’ experience in non-STEM fields, preparing all GW graduates for an increasingly technological society,” LeBlanc said.

He said officials will develop a strategy to bolster its master’s and doctoral programs and provide more opportunities for students to become involved with data analytics, according to the release.

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