Provost creates task force to analyze enrollment cut, STEM increase

Media Credit: File Photo by Maansi Srivastava | Photographer

Provost Brian Blake said the task force, which consists of students, faculty and administrators, will meet weekly moving forward.

Brian Blake, GW’s new provost, formed a task force last month to examine officials’ plans to reduce the undergraduate population while upping the proportion of STEM students.

Blake, who arrived at the University in early November, said he formed the group – dubbed the “Future Enrollment Task Force” – on Dec. 18 to evaluate various enrollment scenarios and provide guidance to implement enrollment changes. Officials plan to reduce the undergraduate population by nearly 20 percent and increase the share of STEM majors from about 19 percent to 30 percent.

Blake said the group, which consists of students, faculty and administrators, will meet weekly moving forward.

“This work is related to the strategic planning process in so much as this committee will partner with and deliver its outputs to the Strategic Planning Committee on High Quality Undergraduate Education,” Blake said in an email. “While the Strategic Planning Committee is devising strategy, this committee is investigating the tactical realities of achieving our strategic goals.”

University President Thomas LeBlanc created four committees, including the undergraduate education committee, and an overarching Board of Trustees task force last fall to guide GW’s strategic planning process. Officials intend to approve GW’s next five-year strategic plan this summer.

The Faculty Senate debated a resolution at the body’s last meeting that criticizes officials’ implementation of the enrollment plans as “inconsistent” with established principles of shared governance earlier this month. The resolution was referred to a special committee following four hours of debate.

Internal models developed in October, which were obtained by The Hatchet, revealed that the enrollment changes could drop net revenues and reduce levels of diversity. LeBlanc addressed the Faculty Senate in December about the changes and said officials “will not give an inch” on diversity.

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