News and Analysis


Board of Trustees

Updated: Oct. 21, 2016 at 11:35 a.m.

More than 100 people have been nominated to fill the role of University president.

Board of Trustees chairman Nelson Carbonell said at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting that the board now is in the process of building a diverse pool of candidates from the 100 nominees to fill the position.

Faculty were encouraged to submit names of people who might be interested in or qualified for the position, Carbonell said at a Faculty Assembly meeting last month.

Over the summer, University President Steven Knapp announced that this would be his last academic year at GW. Knapp was chosen to replace University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg in 2007. More than 100 people applied for the position in 2007.

The 19-person presidential search committee consists of 10 trustees, six faculty members, the president of the Alumni Association, a staff member and the Student Association president. The final presidential selection will be made by the Board of Trustees in the spring.

Since the launch of the search committee in June, some faculty have expressed concerns that the committee is not diverse.

Despite these concerns, the search committee developed a profile for candidates that includes a commitment to diversity and inclusion, a vision on how to grow fundraising, management and leadership skills and a dedication and accessibility to the student body.

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The Alumni Association is 40 percent of the way to its goal of raising $100,000 for students’ unpaid internships.

The group should reach its goal by 2018, Alumni Association President Jeremy Gosbee said at a Board of Trustees meeting Friday. Fundraising for the project is “well on track,” he said.

Gosbee announced the program at a Board of Trustees meeting last year. The fund marks the first time the Alumni Association has put the majority of donations to one cause.

Gosbee said at Friday’s meeting that the fund is designed to supplement the Knowledge in Career Internship Fund, which also supports students who participate in unpaid internships.

The fund provides $5,000 grants to three or four students each year, and Gosbee said he hopes the stipend program can grow in future.

This project is one of multiple Alumni Association efforts to encourage alumni to engage with current students and give them professional advice.

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Trustees Nelson Carbonell and Madeline Jacobs field questions at a presidential search town hall for faculty last month. The search committee released its profile for prospective candidates Monday. Hatchet file photo by Madeline Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Trustees Nelson Carbonell and Madeline Jacobs field questions at a presidential search town hall for faculty. The search committee released its profile for prospective candidates Monday. Hatchet file photo by Madeline Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The presidential search committee are looking for candidates with a commitment to diversity and fundraising.

The Board of Trustees released its profile for the University’s next president in a document Monday. The profile states the challenges and opportunities the University’s 17th president will face and the qualifications that the search committee is looking for.

Among the seven challenges and opportunities for the next president, the profile states that the candidate will need to articulate a “distinct vision” for the university, show an ability to further develop the commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus, and grow fundraising, according to the document.

The search committee will be looking for qualities in the next president that include “proven, visionary leadership,” previous academic leadership, management skills, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, dedication and accessibility to the student body, personal character and fundraising experience, according to the document.

The Board of Trustees developed the profile after more than two dozen town halls for students, faculty, staff and alumni in September and October.

“I greatly appreciate the feedback we received from a wide range of university community members,” Nelson Carbonell, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in a release. “The input has helped inform the profile we have developed for a transformational leader who can guide the university in its third century.”

The presidential search website allows members from the community to give feedback and submit questions for the search committee to ask presidential candidates. The board is expected to make its selection in spring 2017 with input from the search committee, the Faculty Senate’s executive committee and the faculty consultative committee.

The presidential search comes after current University President Steven Knapp announced in August that he would leave the University at the end of this upcoming academic year. Later that month, GW selected the national executive search firm, Isaacson, Miller, to help facilitate the search.

The Board announced the launch of the presidential search process in June with a 19-member search committee.

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Trustees Nelson Carbonell and Madeline Jacobs field questions at a town hall meeting for faculty. Madeline Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Trustees Nelson Carbonell and Madeline Jacobs field questions at a town hall meeting for faculty. Madeline Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporters Lauren Gomez, Sam Rosin and Sera Royal.

GW students, faculty and staff attended a series of town hall meetings Monday afternoon to give input on the University’s presidential search.

At all three town hall meetings, Jonathan Post, the assistant vice president for board relations, moderated the discussion, while the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Nelson Carbonell and Madeleine Jacobs, a trustee and chair of the presidential search committee, described the search process and answered questions. Deputy Executive Vice President Ann McCorvey also sat on the panel during the staff town hall.

At all three town halls, Post asked attendees questions about important qualities to look for in the next president, opportunities and challenges that face they face regularly and priorities they should have to help create a profile for potential candidates.

At the staff town hall meeting, around 90 GW staff members gathered to talk about issues from diversity of the search committee to transparency.

Carbonell said he is unconcerned about the search committee’s current level of diversity, after some faculty raised concerns over the makeup of the committee, and stressed his belief that a new president must embrace diversity as a core university value.

“From the board standpoint, diversity isn’t just something that we want to stress just because we are nice people, or we think that it’s popular,” Carbonell said. “In 20 years, we are going to have a very different country, and GW has to be a place that’s welcoming to everyone. It has to be a place where everyone can thrive and succeed. If we don’t have that environment, we’ll fail.”

He later noted during an interview that when looking at the overall makeup of the committee, including board members, the committee becomes significantly more diverse.

Carbonell said the University must also select a president committed to finding new ways to fundraise, acknowledging that traditional fundraising techniques, like tuition and philanthropy, currently provide the bulk of the University’s resources.

“We need to have somebody who’s going to think outside the box to bring resources to the university,” Carbonell said. “We need somebody to innovate to help us gather the resources we need to operate.”

Staff attendees, which varied from board members to men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan, underlined the need for the new president to value online learning, international recruitment and coordination with groups and institutions in the greater D.C area.

Staff members also expressed their hopes for a change in leadership style. They encouraged the search committee to hire a candidate with an “open-door policy,” who would properly the “appreciate” the high-level of staff effort.

At the open town hall later in the afternoon, about a dozen students, faculty and staff emphasized a focus on student engagement, philanthropy and affordability for the new president.

International students said they wanted more avenues to provide their perspectives to the GW community, and other students said they wanted the administration to be more receptive and respectful toward student activism.

Some students spoke about fundraising issues at GW. Yannick Baptist, the president of GW Veterans, said he was particularly troubled by the low number of alumni who participate in fundraising efforts and give back to the university.

“A majority of students see this as an institution where they pay, they do their courses, then they leave,” he said. “How do we create this environment that will be more of a home for them, so they’ll be more inclined to give back?”

Attendees also voiced concerns about the accessibility of the University given its high tuition rates.

“Higher education institutions across the country are facing increasing tuition and decreasing family income,” Thomas Falcigno, the Student Association’s executive vice president, said. “GW is facing this issue of affordability, and I’d like to see GW to be a leader in how we address those problems.”

At the faculty town hall, about eight faculty members voiced concerns on issues like finding a president committed to academics, generating increased resources and revenue, especially given D.C.’s cap on students for the University and taking better advantage of GW’s location in D.C.

Gregory Squires, the chair of the sociology department, said he believes it is important to have a president with strong academic values.

“We need somebody who is committed to core academic values and understands something about the pursuit of knowledge and critical thinking,” Squires said. “That’s my concern because with basic core values, the rest just follows.”

Marie Price, a professor of geography and international affairs, said she was concerned about finding alternative revenue streams to traditional things like tuition and sponsored research, as well as negotiating the student enrollment cap currently placed on the University by D.C.

Carbonell said the he is trying to get a meeting with D.C.’s mayor and city council to discuss the cap, which he called a “constraint on resources,” and something the next president will have to address.

“The student cap itself borders on ridiculous,” Carbonell said. “It’s one thing to cap undergrad students, and there may be some reasons to do that, but it’s absolutely ridiculous for us to have a cap on grad students. So the next president is going to have to be able to be a pretty good politician on that.”

Carbonell said in an interview Monday that as the search process moves forward, he and other trustees will continue to meet with different schools and programs at GW and solicit feedback from all different kinds of members of the University.

“That’s so when the president shows up, he or she can be a successful president, and all of us are behind our president and we see them collectively as our leader – not just the board picked the president,” he said. “So I think that’s why we’re putting the energy in now upfront.”

Jacqueline Thomsen contributed reporting.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016 1:35 p.m.

Board of Trustees chair elected to second term

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Nelson Carbonell was reelected to a second term. Hatchet File Photo.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Nelson Carbonell was reelected to a second term. Hatchet File Photo.

The Board of Trustees elected Nelson Carbonell to a second three-year term as chair of the Board of Trustees, which began on July 1, according to a University release.

Carbonell first became chair in 2013, after serving as vice chair for six years. He earned his bachelor’s degree from GW in electrical engineering, was inducted in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Hall of Fame in 2011 and is the “founder, chairman and CEO of Nelson Carbonell and Associates,” according to the release.

“It has been a great honor to serve as chair of the Board of Trustees, and I look forward to continuing to work with the administration, faculty and the board to build on the progress we have made on behalf of the George Washington University,” Carbonell said in the release.

In his past three years as chair of the Board of Trustees, Carbonell has helped to oversee the creation of the Science and Engineering Hall as well as the Milken Institute School of Public Health. He has also helped fund an autism research hub at GW and approved changes to faculty regulations.

In his upcoming term Carbonell will be significantly involved in the selection of a new president for the University, following current University President Steven Knapp’s announcement last month that he will not be seeking to renew his contract at the end of the upcoming academic year.

The Board of Trustees also reelected Ellen Zane as vice president and Grace Speights as secretary and reelected three charter members: Roslyn Brock, Michael Hoffman and Madeleine Jacobs, according to the release.

A new charter member was also elected – Amr ElSawy. ElSawy is currently the CEO of Noblis and “has extensive experience leading organizations and developing innovative solutions to some of the most complex challenges facing public sector enterprises in national security, transportation, health and the environment,” according to the release. He was also inducted into SEAS’s Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:15 p.m.

University launches presidential search

Board of Trustees Chairman Nelson Carbonell said he and other presidential search committee members will look for a candidate to build on the work done by University President Steven Knapp. Hatchet File Photo.

Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell said he and other presidential search committee members will look for a candidate to build on the work done by University President Steven Knapp. Hatchet File Photo.

GW has started the search to find its next president, the University announced Thursday.

A 19-member search committee, chaired by Trustee Madeleine Jacobs and vice chaired by Alan Greenberg, a professor and chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics, will have votes “in the process of selecting finalists to be recommended to the board,” according to the release. The final presidential selection will be made by the Board of Trustees.

The presidential search comes after current University President Steven Knapp announced earlier this month that he would leave the University at the end of this upcoming academic year.

Jacobs said in the release that she and Greenberg will “keep the GW community informed about the search process” once the process begins.

“We look forward to engaging the university community and will provide additional details about how community members can provide feedback and input in the coming months,” Jacobs said in the release.

The search committee will come up with a “statement of desired presidential qualifications,” based on University priorities for the next decade and will be made public once approved by the Board of Trustees, according to the release. Finalists will be chosen by January and the final selection is expected to be made by early 2017, the release stated.

“We are looking for an exceptional leader who will build on the progress made by President Knapp and bring the George Washington University to new heights as it enters its third century,” Nelson Carbonell, the chair of the Board of Trustees, said in the release. “The committee will conduct a vigorous national search, and I am certain we will attract the most highly qualified candidates.”

The University will also seek help from an outside search firm, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and “a faculty consultative committee to be elected in the fall by the Faculty Assembly.” The search committee will begin its work over the summer, according to the release.

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Luther Brady, a Board of Trustees member and two-time alumnus, will be inducted into the Spanish Royal Academy of Medicine, BusinessWire reported Wednesday.

Brady is recognized for his work in oncology, and he will travel to Madrid on June 22 to accept his title as an Extraordinary International Academic Member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Medicine.

Brady currently serves as the Director of Medical Research at Philadelphia CyberKnife, an oncology radiation therapy center that he founded.  He is also a faculty member in the department of radiation oncology at the Drexel University College of Medicine.

The Spanish Royal Academy of Medicine is just the latest to honor Brady, who has received more than 30 medals throughout his career, according to BusinessWire.

Brady has contributed to the University’s art collection, donating several pieces to campus, and the second floor art gallery in the Media and Public Affairs building is named for him.

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Mark Shenkman is one of seven members of GW's Board of Trustees who is stepping down. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Mark Shenkman is one of seven members of GW’s Board of Trustees who is stepping down. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Updated: May 13, 2016 at 4:45 p.m.

Seven Board of Trustees members are leaving the University’s highest governing body.

Mark Shenkman, Richard Blackburn, Allan From, George Coelho, Heather Foley, Titilola Harley and Randy Levine have completed their terms and will be stepping down, officials announced at the board’s meeting Friday. Former trustees Mark Hughes, Lydia Thomas and Linda Rabbitt were given the title trustee emeritus.

Two new members were also elected at the Board’s meeting Friday.

Gabbi Baker, a digital marketing supervisor and Judith Rodgers, an education and leadership expert, will join the Board on July 1.

Rodgers, who attended Mount Vernon College, a former women’s college at the site of the Mount Vernon Campus, currently serves on the Mount Vernon National Advisory Council, a committee that promotes of the legacy of the school. She also co-chairs the mentoring program for the Elizabeth Somers Women’s Leadership Program on the Mount Vernon Campus, according to a release.

Baker, a 2013 business school alumna, will be one of the youngest members on the Board. She is an account supervisor at OgilvyOne Worldwide, a digital marketing agency that focuses on combing data and creativity to help business grow and better understand their behaviors, according to a release.

The departing trustees include some of the longest-serving and most influential members of the board in recent history. They were recognized for their service at Friday’s meeting.

“Here’s opportunity for us to take a minute to acknowledge their great service and give them a thank you,” Blackburn, a departing trustee and chair of the Board’s Committee on Nominations and Governance, said.

Shenkman, an alumnus and founder of Shenkman Capital , donated $5 million to University-wide and business school career services. The University renamed Ivory Tower residence hall to Shenkman Hall in 2014.

From served as chair of the Board’s student life committee, and was a former member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. He received an outstanding service award from the alumni association last year.

“Most of you know the day after Allan was born he became chairman of the student affairs committee and has distinguished himself in that role ever since,” Blackburn said.

A 2013 gift from Blackburn, funded the business school’s annual lecture on civility and integrity in business, which serves as a capstone event for the school’s the required first year development course.

“Dick is truly the best counsel you could ever have,” Board Chairmen Nelson Carbonell said.

Levine, president of the New York Yankees, was recognized for his role in GW’s recent athletic successes. He chaired the committee that selected Patrick Nero as athletic director in 2011.

Harley was honored for her work with the graduate school of education, Coelho for his efforts in sustainability and Foley for her 25 years providing advise and counsel to the Board.

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The Board of Trustees approved three resolutions that will change how faculty can participate in governance at GW, according to a University release Monday.

The changes include allowing more professors — including specialized and contract faculty who are considered associate professors — to participate in the Faculty Senate, updating how faculty members are awarded tenure and streamlining how deans of each school are chosen.

Board of Trustees Chairman Nelson Carbonell said in the release that the changes will help the University be “more in line” with peer schools.

“There has been broad consensus that the goal of the GW community is to move the university into the ranks of the most respected and admired institutions in the world,” Carbonell said in the statement. “The changes to the Faculty Code will help us achieve our aspirations by enhancing the university’s ability to attract and retain top faculty and deans, strengthening tenure at George Washington and expanding participation in shared governance.”

It is unclear from the release whether or not the wording of the resolutions passed by the Board of Trustees differed from that approved by the Faculty Senate last month, a concern many faculty members raised in April. Carbonell and the chair of the board’s academic affairs committee, Madeleine Jacobs, said at a Faculty Senate meeting later that month that trustees would be sure to include faculty input when finalizing the resolutions.

The resolution for promoting professors calls for “written criteria” to outline how promotions will be granted and requires that professor’s department to verify that those criteria have been met, according to the release. A University-wide committee for appointment, promotion and tenure, which has been widely discussed in the past, will not be created.

In May, the Faculty Senate passed three resolutions that would revise the Faculty Code to update how faculty participated in dean searches and individual school by-laws. The senate decided to table one resolution on extending governance rights and participation in the Faculty Senate to specialized faculty, but the board chose to adopt a similar measure. University President Steven Knapp will present that resolution to the Faculty Assembly for approval in October.

The Faculty Senate also approved a proposal that would change the percentage of tenured faculty in each school, but the Board of Trustees requested “further study” on the proposal, according to the release.

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University President Steve Knapp shared his views college affordability and student debt in an interview with Yahoo Finance at the Milken Institute Global Conference this week.

Knapp said in the interview that colleges nationwide are facing pressure to be “innovative” to cut costs and combat rising tuition, especially for state schools and community colleges which receive less less money from the government.

“You still need to grade papers, you still need a number of teachers and facility members. Nevertheless, we are looking at ways to be innovative to reduce costs,” he said in the interview.

Tuition at public universities rose about 3 percent for in-state students and about 3.3 percent for out-of-state students. Tuition rose nearly 4 percent at private universities, according to The College Board.

At GW, next fall’s freshman class will see a 3.4 percent tuition increase and a 3.5 percent cost of attendance increase, the eight straight year of about 3 percent bumps in sticker price.

Knapp added that GW has been “aggressively” raising money for the University’s student aid pool from “private philanthropic funding” to make up for rising tuition. GW’s financial aid pool grew by 3.6 percent this year, an about $6 million increase for undergraduate aid.

In the interview, Knapp said college costs are rising because universities are providing more amenities like mental health resources for students and parent services. Part of GW’s 3.4 percent tuition increase for next fall will go toward funding mental health services on campus. Five clinicians have joined the University Counseling Center since December.

“We are constantly having to hire people because we are being asked to take on burdens in the communities that colleges did not used to be asked to take on,” Knapp said.

He added that many in higher education are worried about how student debt could impact the career choices a student makes after graduation. GW has revamped its career services, offering more specialized advisers and opportunities for students to connect with potential employers. Trustee Mark Shenkman donated $5 million for career services last May.

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