The University’s shared governance task force will hold four town hall meetings this week to hear faculty input and help establish a definition of shared governance at GW.
David Maxwell, a senior consultant and fellow at the Association of Governing Boards, and Ann Franke, a former tenured general counsel of the American Association of University Professors, will facilitate the virtual town halls throughout the week, according to an email that officials sent to faculty last week. The email states the task force will use key themes from the town halls to develop a shared governance survey and hold a later town hall to discuss the survey results.
The meetings will take place Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 3:30 p.m. and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to noon, according to the email.
“Because faculty members are a key constituent in shared governance, we want to make sure we hear your views on what shared governance means and how it can best function at GW,” the email reads.
Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights said at a Faculty Senate meeting in September that trustees spent the summer meeting with outside consultants to discuss how the University should approach shared governance. She sent an email in May stating she had been “troubled” by some professors whose discourse did more to “foment discord” than contribute to civil dialogue leading up to former University President Thomas LeBlanc’s announcement that he would step down.
GW community members said a lack of shared governance came to define LeBlanc’s tenure as trust in his administration faltered and calls for his resignation grew.
The email states that the task force is comprised of three groups of trustees, faculty and administrators, each with four members.
Interim Provost Chirs Bracey, one of the task force’s co-chairs, Senior Vice Provost Terry Murphy, Columbian College of Arts and Science Dean Paul Wahlbeck and interim Deputy General Counsel Richard Weitzner make up the administration membership, according to the email.
The email states faculty include Christine Pitza, a professor of nursing, and faculty senators Shaista Khilji, a task force co-chair and professor of human and organizational learning and international affairs, Joe Cordes, a professor of economics and public policy and public administration, and Arthur Wilson, the chair of the senate’s executive committee and an associate professor of finance. Trustees Amr ElSawy, a task force co-chair, Mark Chichester, Madeleine Jacobs and Todd Klein will also serve on the task force, according to the email.
Officials will hold a retreat with administrators, trustees and members of the Faculty Senate’s executive committee to discuss the results of the survey before the task force takes its own retreat. Members of the task force will then develop a set of recommendations on how to strengthen shared governance at GW for the Board to approve at its meeting in May.
“We believe a common understanding of shared governance is an important part of the University’s academic mission and must inform proposals to build mechanisms and a culture that supports core principles of shared governance,” the email reads.
This article appeared in the January 18, 2022 issue of the Hatchet.