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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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Nelson Carbonell, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, and his wife have a son with autism. They donated $2.5 million to fund the director position. Hatchet file photo.

Nelson Carbonell, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, and his wife have a son with autism. They donated $2.5 million to fund the director position. Hatchet file photo.

A researcher with 15 years of experience will lead GW’s autism institute, the University announced today.

Kevin Pelphrey was named the inaugural director of the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, according to a press release. Pelphrey, who specializes in cognitive neuroscience and developmental disorders, will start at GW April 1.

The Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute was created in 2010 and is one of five new research institutes that have launched since 2009. The institute will be housed on GW’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus.

Pelphrey was the founding director of Yale University’s Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience. He will bring $20 million in seven active grants that he currently holds with the National Institutes of Health and the Simons Foundation according to the release.

The institute will work with the Children’s National Medical Center and focus on adults with autism.

“Autism is a lifelong diagnosis but is so rarely researched past childhood,” Pelphrey said in the release. “The Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute provides the opportunity for us to take a lifespan perspective and consider the disorder from molecules to minds, looking at everything from the chemical makeup of the disorder to how it manifests in people’s behaviors.”

GW is investing more than $5 million to establish the institute as a leader in autism research. Pelphrey will soon be tasked with hiring five new faculty members and administrative staff, according to the release.

The institute began their search for a director in 2014. Leo Chalupa, the vice president for research, said they were looking for a candidate who is a leader in the field and would bring established research funding.

“Dr. Pelphrey’s experience as a psychologist, neuroscientist and parent of a child with autism makes him the ideal person to lead the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute,” Chalupa said in the release. “I am confident that he will build the institute into a top-tier resource for individuals with autism and their families.”

Nelson Carbonell, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, and his wife have a son with autism and donated $2.5 million to help fund the director’s position. He said that they hope expanded research at GW will help the cause.

“Dr. Pelphrey will be a catalyst to bring in more resources to help autistic children and adults,” Carbonell said in the release. “Right now, there aren’t enough programs, policies or strategies for adults and teens with autism transitioning to adulthood, but the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, under the leadership of Dr. Pelphrey, has the real potential to change that.”

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Faculty voted to not extend governance to non-tenured faculty during an all-faculty assembly. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Faculty voted to not extend governance to non-tenured faculty during an all-faculty assembly. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Faculty voted to not allow some non-tenured faculty to serve in the Faculty Senate during an annual all-faculty meeting Tuesday.

The resolution, which was presented to the Faculty Assembly, would have allowed all full-time faculty, including specialized and research faculty, to be eligible to serve on the Faculty Senate, which has traditionally been limited to tenured and tenure-track faculty. All members will still be required to have tenure or be tenure-track.

In the final vote, 169 faculty voted in favor of the resolution and 159 against, falling short of the two-thirds of votes the resolution needed to pass.

Nelson Carbonell, the chair of the Board of Trustees, called for a task force to investigate faculty governance two years ago and said the group found that in over half of their meetings with faculty that faculty wanted to extend participation in the senate.

“It’s important to tell you that we didn’t revise the resolution in just the way the board saw fit,” Carbonell said. “This has been an experience which has reinforced my belief that GW can be among the top and most respected institutions in the world in teaching, research and service.”

Charles Garris, the chair of the Faculty Senate’s executive committee, proposed an amendment to the resolution that would allow regular but not specialized faculty to participate in governance. The amendment did not pass.

“We have no direct input that there is a desire among specialized faculty to belong to the Faculty Senate
and the people I have talked to said joining the senate is the last thing they want to do,” Garris said.

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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 Steven Knapp announced a partnership with Siemens that will provide new software for student use. Samuel Klein | Senior Photo Editor

University President Steven Knapp announced a partnership with Siemens that will provide new software for student use. Samuel Klein | Senior Photo Editor

GW’s engineering students will now have access to some of the best software in the field, thanks to a collaboration with Siemens.

The partnership will allow students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science to use $30 million worth of software and is the first of multiple phases in an agreement between the company and GW.

“Obviously, a lot of the work that’s done these days requires sophisticated software,” University President Steven Knapp said in an interview. “Siemens is really at the forefront of a lot of advanced manufacturing technology.”

The product lifecycle management software, which is already available to universities across the country, will allow students to work with programs they wouldn’t otherwise use until after graduation.

Matt Bruce, an academic director of Americas Velocity Program for Siemens’ product lifecycle management, said students will be able to use the software for projects like creating 3-D, state-of-the-art models.

Students, administrators, faculty and staff gathered on the main floor of the Science and Engineering Hall to celebrate the building's grand opening Wednesday. Samuel Klein | Senior Photo Editor

Students, administrators, faculty and staff gathered on the main floor of the Science and Engineering Hall to celebrate the building’s grand opening Wednesday. Samuel Klein | Senior Photo Editor

He added that students enrolled in programs at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences will be able to use the software for collaborative projects with students in SEAS.

“Delivering the industry’s most advanced product lifecycle management technology, Siemens product lifecycle management software provides students with the skills, knowledge and experience required to stand out in today’s highly competitive economy, and better prepare them for entering the workforce,” he said.

The announcement was made during the grand opening of the Science and Engineering Hall. The $275 million complex, which has been in the works for more than a decade, opened for classes in January and houses 118 faculty from GW’s engineering and science departments.

Funding for the building shifted after officials revealed earlier this year that the plans to pay for the space using government subsidies and donations fell through. The University is now depending entirely on rent from its commercial properties at The Avenue to pay for the complex.

Board of Trustees Chairman Nelson Carbonell thanked all those who helped open the Science and Engineering Hall, but asked them to continue to support the building through the years.

“All of us here collectively feel responsible for making this a success, but I wanted to call on each and every one of you as individuals to do your part,” he said. “If each of us take on that responsibility, then each of our efforts to get here will be worth while.”

Colleen Murphy contributed reporting.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly referred to Siemens as the Siemens Foundation. We regret this error.

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Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 6:09 p.m.

Shenkman Hall dedication honors trustee

Trustee Mark Shenkman gave $5 million to the University last spring, renaming Ivory Tower. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

GW renamed Ivory Tower after Mark Shenkman, a member of the Board of Trustees who gave $5 million to the University. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Henry Klapper.

The University dedicated the former Ivory Tower residence hall to Mark Shenkman on Friday, four months after he made a $5 million donation and GW renamed the hall after him.

Dozens attended the ceremony in the building’s courtyard, where University President Steven Knapp, Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell and Residence Hall Association President Ari Massefski all spoke.

Knapp also gave Shenkman a framed Shenkman Hall banner, a smaller version of the flag that hangs outside the residence hall, as a “small addition” to Shenkman’s flag collection.

Here are some of the highlights from the event:

1. Completing a “lifelong dream”

Shenkman said at the ceremony that he has always dreamed of having a building at GW named in his honor. He graduated in 1967 with a master of business administration degree from the GW School of Business.

“One of my lifelong objectives was repaying GW for accepting me and giving me my opportunity at my Wall Street career,” Shenkman said. He went on to start Shenkman Capital Management, a Wall Street wealth management firm, in 1985.

Mark Shenkman got his master's degree from GW in 1967. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Mark Shenkman earned his master’s degree from GW in 1967. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

“I can now check a box in my life accomplishments,” he said at the end of his speech.

Shenkman’s gift will go to the Career Services Center and career services in the business school.

2. An “inspiring example” to our students

Knapp said Shenkman’s ongoing commitment to the University serves as an “example of what it means to be an alumus to our students.”

His $5 million donation is the largest-ever gift from a sitting trustee. Shenkman also played a role in connecting billionaire philanthropist Michael Milken to GW. Milken and Sumner Redstone gave a combined $80 million to the public health school last spring, which prompted GW to name it the Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Carbonell said Shenkman is “quite a confidant,” who has given him advice about overseeing the Board of Trustees.

“He has a tremendous sense of pride in GW, in its history and connection to George Washington,” Carbonell said.

3. Making students proud

“Students will be proud to be able to say that they lived in Shenkman Hall,” Massefski said at the ceremony.

“Future generations will eat dinner, hang out in the lounges and probably meet their future husbands and wives in Shenkman Hall,” he said.

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The University’s highest governing body elected three new members last week, including a recent graduate.

Three alumni will join the Board of Trustees in July, GW announced in a release Monday.

Sally Nuamah, a race, education and public policy researcher, will become one of the board’s youngest members just three years after earning her bachelor’s degree from GW. She was awarded the University’s Manatt-Trachtenberg Prize before graduating magna cum laude in 2011.

A Ph.D. student at Northwestern University, Nuamah has conducted research across the U.S., Ghana and South Africa for several groups including the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Triple alumnus Kyle Farmbry will also join the board. The acting dean of Rutgers University’s Graduate School-Newark and an associate professor of public affairs and administration, Farmbry is also the vice president of communications for GW’s alumni association.

In 2009, he was named as one of about three dozen Fulbright New Century scholars and previously earned a grant to study nongovernmental organizations combating HIV/AIDS in Japan.

The third trustee elected last week, Art Wong, is a physician and co-founder of the the Emergency Physicians Medical Group. He is a member of the board of San Francisco’s YMCA and has served on the School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Dean’s Council for the last decade.

Trustees are expected to help the University attract future donors, a key role as GW embarks on a $1 billion fundraising campaign.

They have also been some of the University’s most notable donors. In April, chair Nelson Carbonell gave $2.5 million to create an autism research hub at GW, and the following month trustee Mark Shenkman donated $5 million to rename Ivory Tower – the largest-ever gift from a sitting trustee.

Earlier this year, Michael Milken donated $50 million to rename the public health school after Shenkman spent years encouraging the billionaire philanthropist to give to GW.

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Faculty in the Milken Institute School of Public Health cut ribbons to officially open the school's new building on Washington Circle Thursday. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Faculty in the Milken Institute School of Public Health and top administrators cut ribbons Thursday to open the new building on Washington Circle. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Philanthropist Michael Milken joined GW’s top administrators and trustees to formally open the Milken Institute School of Public Health on Thursday, cutting thick, colorful ribbons in the atrium of the new building on Washington Circle.

About 100 faculty, administrators, donors and trustees filled the floors of the school’s new $75 million building to celebrate the opening of the luxurious space.

Michael and Lori Milken, the namesakes of the school, used gold scissors to cut the tape. It was their first time on campus since announcing that the Milken Institute and the Milken Family Foundation would donate a combined $50 million to the school to fund scholarships, faculty hires and research.

Michael Milken stressed in a speech that the school’s faculty should not leave public health problems like obesity and diabetes to students to solve. Milken is a survivor of prostate cancer and has donated millions of dollars to medical research at institutions across the nation.

“They’ll have plenty of other problems to worry about if we can solve the problems of health and medical research,” Milken said.

They visited more than 200 universities around the world before trustee Mark Shenkman convinced them that “the talent that was leading George Washington University was world class,” Milken said. Another $30 million of the three-part gift to name the school came from the Sumner M. Redstone Foundation. Media mogul Sumner Redstone, whose family owns Viacom, did not attend the event.

The seven-floor building houses two atriums and is surrounded by windows to let in natural light. University President Steven Knapp lauded the design for embodying “the values of public health,” pointing to the offices equipped with standing desks for faculty to use. The stairs are also more visible than the elevators to encourage people to walk, Knapp said.

Other attendees included the school’s former dean Richard Southby, as well as Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Penn.

The building unites the school’s seven departments under one roof for the first time in its fourteen-year history. Dean Lynn Goldman has said she hopes that the building will encourage more research collaboration among faculty members.

Like Milken and Knapp, Goldman stressed that the new building encourages faculty to conduct more research and resolve public health crises.

“We’re leaving the next generation with a lot of serious problems to solve, and we also need to leave them with the knowledge and skills and capacity to do that,” she said.

Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell said he hadn’t anticipated how much the school would succeed when the University broke ground on the project two years ago.

“It’s an important event for the University because it brings together the community,” he said. “I’m pleased that we have the Milken Institute as our partner in this endeavor.”

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