Faculty Assembly approves consultative committee for presidential search process

Media Credit: Danielle Towers | Assistant Photo Editor

Faculty had canceled a special assembly meeting earlier this fall to approve the slate after trustees delayed the presidential search process.

The Faculty Assembly convened for its regular annual meeting Tuesday to unanimously approve a 17-member committee of professors who will provide input on the search process for a new permanent University president next year.

The faculty consultative committee will advise the Board of Trustees’ presidential search committee, and officials can also select members of the consultative committee to serve on the presidential search committee. The Faculty Senate voted in August to expand the consultative committee to include up to eight additional professors beyond to the nine faculty members from each of GW’s nine schools with senate representation to diversify areas like rank, discipline, gender and race.

Faculty expressed concerns during the last presidential search in 2016 that the search committee lacked diversity – the six faculty members who served on the search committee were all white and from science, math, law or medical fields. All but one were men.

“[The consultative committee] provides a representative body faculty voice during the drafting of the position profile, and it advises presidential search committee members as they conduct their work,” Shaista Khilji, a faculty senator and a professor of human and organizational learning, said at the meeting. “It is imperative that the FCC be in place before the search committee begins its work.”

The consultative committee is made up of three professors from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, one professor from the School of Business, two professors from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and one professor from the College of Professional Studies.

The committee also consists of two professors from the Elliott School of International Affairs, two professors from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, two professors from the School of Nursing, two from the Milken Institute School of Public Health, one from GW Law and one from the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

University President Thomas LeBlanc initially announced in May that he would step down at the end of this academic year, but Board Chair Grace Speights announced last month that officials would accelerate the transition. Mark Wrighton, the former chancellor at Washington University in St. Louis, will take over as interim president on Jan. 1 as trustees delay the presidential search process. Wrighton will serve in the position for up to 18 months.

Faculty had called for a special assembly meeting in September to approve the consultative committee slate, but cancelled the meeting after Speights announced the delay in the search process. Speights said officials will begin the search for a new president in “early spring.”

Khilji said faculty senators will present new legislation to the senate that would simplify the process for the establishment of a faculty consultative committee for future presidential search processes following the completion of the upcoming search.

“Once this presidential search has concluded, the [Faculty Senate executive committee] and senate expect to propose a new procedure for the composition of future FCCs for approval by the Faculty Assembly to streamline and formalize this process,” she said.

Daniel Patrick Galgano and Eduardo Rivas contributed reporting.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.