New senior associate provost to spearhead ‘supplemental’ programs for students

The inaugural senior associate provost for special projects said she wants to focus on forming connections with community members to address their concerns about GW.

Koren Bedeau, who previously served as senior vice provost for academic networks at Drexel University, began her role last week, which entails assisting Provost Brian Blake in identifying and administering his office’s top priorities. Bedeau said that in the near future, she aims to build “collaborative” relationships with members of the community and hear their concerns, which will enable her to address those problems moving forward.

“There are established pathways for connections that allow us to be in tune with each other,” she said.

Bedeau said her first major priority in office is to support students, faculty and administrators in graduate education and improve graduate programming from “good” to “great” to “prominence.”

“With each school, college, program, there are nuances specific to that discipline and training, but what are the things that we can do to support the community, students, faculty and staff in reaching their goals in terms of graduate education?” Bedeau said.

She said she will also look to create supplemental projects, activities and initiatives for undergraduates and graduate students to help them achieve academic success.

Bedeau said she was drawn to the post at GW because she felt her experience and background in building up programs for undergraduates engaged in research and for doctoral students meshed well with the University’s needs and goals.

“That background fits well with some of the needs that we have, in this time of change, and looking at strategies to elevate the University,” she said.

Bedeau said she has spent the past week trying to meet with students, administrators and other staff members she plans to work with and familiarizing herself with the goals of the University’s next five-year strategic plan and progress on it. Officials paused the strategic planning process for the “foreseeable future” last week, citing the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the key assumptions underlying the plan’s goals.

Blake, the provost, last week floated the idea of Bedeau chairing an internal search for a vice provost of graduate studies, a suggestion proposed by a committee associated with the strategic planning process. Bedeau said she and Blake have not “revisited” the timeline for hiring an official in charge of graduate studies because of recent changes on campus related to the pandemic but added that filling the role is a priority.

She said officials want the hire to have a “cross-school” outlook on graduate education to be able to support faculty mentors, students and academic advisers.

“What’s been clear that there’s interest in having a chief advocate for graduate education – someone that has that global perspective,” Bedeau said.

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