Faculty senators will debate a resolution Friday that calls for University President Thomas LeBlanc to develop a plan to rebuild trust with faculty members who’ve started losing confidence in the administration.
In the resolution, which the Faculty Senate will discuss at a special meeting Friday, senators stress their concerns about University leadership in the face of shrinking support from GW community members. The resolution pressures LeBlanc to develop a plan to integrate transparency and shared governance into his leadership in collaboration with the senate and the Board of Trustees before the senate’s September meeting.
The resolution comes on the heels of a faculty survey that revealed a slim majority of professors has lost confidence in LeBlanc with “overwhelmingly negative” views of GW leadership and campus climate. Professors have begun to question Leblanc’s future at GW in recent months, saying they don’t think the administration will be able to salvage relationships with the University community.
“Given these findings of misalignment between the faculty and the university leadership, the Faculty Senate expresses serious concerns about the leadership’s abilities to advance GW’s vision and mission effectively, the success of which require broad support from faculty, students and staff,” the resolution states.
The resolution recommends that the Board of Trustees share the quantitative and qualitative results of the faculty survey – which the Faculty Assembly voted to conduct last fall – with the outside firm that is helping conduct the second standard review of LeBlanc in two years.
Board Chair Grace Speights has said she plans to look at the survey results but will largely rely on the Board’s standard review to make the decision about whether or not to renew LeBlanc’s contract.
“We’re going to rely on a process that we put into place to make sure that we have a fair and independent process,” Speights said in an interview earlier this year. “That’s what we’ve done with every president, and that’s what will be considered.”
The senate should conduct “regular” faculty surveys on campus climate and University leadership in the future, and the Faculty Assembly should hear the recommendation of more surveys at their next meeting, according to the resolution.
“Future surveys may also address other matters of current concerns beyond the leadership abilities of the President and their team,” the resolution states.
The resolution states LeBlanc should work with the senate and the Board to develop a strategic plan to support GW’s “existing strengths” and come up with a proposal to “rebalance” the University’s educational or research profile. LeBlanc should also increase support for underrepresented students, faculty and staff and develop a vision for “post-COVID education innovations,” according to the resolution.
The resolution calls for officials to enhance the University’s research infrastructure, which faculty say will be underfunded with the administration’s current budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.