President Mark S. Wrighton addresses the Faculty Senate | Today
George Washington University President Mark S. Wrighton chaired his first meeting of the Faculty Senate on Friday. His introductory address identified some of the objectives of his mandate, including the development of a shared governance program, strengthening GW’s interdisciplinary projects, enhancing research in all areas, driving the transformation of GW’s university medical enterprise, overseeing fundraising to expand the university’s financial aid resources, and improving recruitment and retention of faculty and staff.
The chairman has been working with the GW board to identify and begin work on these priority areas, he said.
“I know we have many talented leaders at the university who are already working in these areas, and I look forward to working with everyone, reaching consensus on who we want to be and what steps we’re going to take. we have to take to get there,” Wrighton said.
The President also acknowledged the ongoing challenges GW and other institutions are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as students, faculty and staff prepare to resume in-person classes and activities this week. . The GW Medical Advisory Group, a team of medical and public health experts, continues to monitor and assess the latest data on COVID-19 transmission in the GW community as well as local and national public health boards.
“I’m really, really pleased with how the medical advisory group and those associated with public health have helped the university develop the protocols for the start of this semester,” Wrighton said.
As chairman for “a relatively short term,” Wrighton said, his primary responsibility will be to put GW in a strong position to recruit “a truly exceptional academic leader” as his successor.
“I want to help improve the quality and impact of the university, and hopefully we can see clear progress over my time with GW,” he said.
“One of the topics of great interest to administrators and faculty is the commitment to developing a shared governance agenda that will be rewarding for all constituencies here at the university, and that work is well underway,” Wrighton said. .
As part of this work, Senate Executive Committee Chairman Arthur Wilson provided an update from the Shared Governance Task Force, which has been meeting regularly since December to develop ways to engage and Obtain feedback on shared governance from the faculty community. The working group will welcome four town halls for faculty members on the subject this week.
“The Shared Governance Working Group allowed faculty to work collaboratively with administration and trustees, and these discussions were very helpful in highlighting different perspectives,” Wilson said.
Back to campus
Provost Chris Bracey provided spring semester updates, including addressing concerns about COVID-19 protocols as in-person learning resumes. Professors should anticipate some disruption in the event that they or their students test positive and should prioritize continuity of education for students, he said.
“We reassure all members of our community that our layered approach to protection, which includes testing, vaccinations including recall, and the indoor mask mandate provides strong protection against spread in the classroom and that classroom spread has not always been an issue at George Washington University,” Bracey said.
The school will also distribute N95 masks through designated testing centers and distribution areas, Bracey said.
Dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health, Lynn Goldman, also endorsed the protocols for the semester, particularly highlighting the effectiveness of N95 masks over tissue or surgical counterparts and the importance of booster shots in improving health. efficacy of the vaccine against the omicron variant.
“We’re very confident with the booster shot, with the masking, with the general compliance of people on our campus…that we’re going to handle this very well,” she said.
Professor Joseph Cordes, Chair of the Senate Faculty Committee on Financial Planning and Budgeting, presented the annual report on the university’s financial planning and budgeting on behalf of the committee and co-chair Susan Kulp. The presentation included a general review of GW’s budget model, an analysis of the past year in university finances, and a discussion of the challenges and opportunities currently facing GW, which Cordes says is in “very good financial shape. “. The report is available online.