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This post was written by Hatchet reporters Sam Morse and Ally Kowalski.

More than 200 students and faculty gathered Thursday in the Marvin Center to remember the fear that gripped the nation 13 years ago, with speakers focusing on themes of unity and hope as campus commemorated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Provost Steven Lerman spoke about the impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Thursday in the Great Hall. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer

Provost Steven Lerman spoke about the impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Thursday in the Marvin Center. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer

Attendees of the vigil lit nine candles for each of the GW alumni who died in the attacks, and Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders led the gathering in a prayer. Provost Steven Lerman spoke about the legacy of the attacks and the lasting impact the events had on the University and the country.

The lacrosse stick of an alumnus who had graduated from GW that year and died in the attacks is now on display in a memorial at the 9/11 museum in New York City, which opened last spring.

Michael Massaroli, Jr., whose father worked on the 101st floor of the first tower and died that day, spoke about the time that has passed since he lost his 38-year-old father.

“It is up to those of us who remember to keep alive the memory of those who were lost,” Massaroli said.

He said the last 13 years have been “a blip historically, yet quite a long time for those who have lived it.”

Marking 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, a lone US flag stands along side a row of red, white, and blue lights placed by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.  Samuel Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Marking the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, a U.S. flag stands alongside a row of red, white and blue lights placed by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Vice President Joe Biden visited campus Thursday to help Points of Light volunteers prepare care packages for veterans, active military, first responders and wounded warriors.

A small group of administrators, faculty and students met at Veterans Memorial Park in Kogan Plaza for a wreath-laying ceremony Thursday morning. University President Steven Knapp spoke at the ceremony that honored those who died before joining attendees in a minute-long moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., marking when the first plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

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The Corcoran will transfer $43 million to GW to cover building renovations and program costs. Hatchet file photo.

The Corcoran will transfer $43 million to GW to cover building renovations and program costs. Hatchet file photo.

GW is set to receive $43 million in funds from the Corcoran College of Art + Design to cover building renovations and programming costs, the University announced Wednesday.

About $35 million of that pool will cover renovations to the Corcoran’s aging 17th Street building, while the remaining $8 million will fund the Corcoran School of Art + Design’s operations. The fine arts school officially moved under the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences last month.

The first phase of renovations, which will repair the building’s heating, cooling and mechanical systems is expected to cost $25 million – nearly a third of the total GW plans to spend renovating the building.

GW plans to sell the Fillmore building, the Corcoran’s Georgetown property, at the end of this academic year. Profits from that sale will also go toward the $80 million renovations and the school’s operational costs.

University Provost Steven Lerman said in a press release that GW has begun fundraising to support Corcoran renovations and continued programming.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the university to not only preserve the historic legacy of the Corcoran but also enhance and build upon the innovative arts education we provide in the heart of our nation’s capital,” Lerman said.

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GW plans to spend more than $25 million renovating the Corcoran's aging building on 17th Street. File Photo

GW plans to spend more than $25 million renovating the Corcoran’s aging building on 17th Street. Hatchet File Photo

As an advocacy group tries to block GW’s acquisition of the Corcoran, the University’s top academic leader is arguing that a delay in the merger would threaten enrollment and complicate efforts to provide financial aid.

Provost Steven Lerman sent a letter to the D.C. attorney general Monday arguing that if the D.C. Superior Court fails to approve a change to the Corcoran’s charter this week and waits until after the start of the fall semester, “the transition issues become far more challenging.”

“Delaying the transfer could create uncertainty that would discourage prospective students from applying, and thus could have a significant negative effect on enrollment,” Lerman wrote in the letter.

He added that GW would be unable to fully grant financial aid to Corcoran students without the court’s approval at a hearing Friday. Nearly 92 percent of Corcoran students receive need or merit-based financial aid, compared to about 87 percent of GW students.

The Corcoran’s federal charter must be revised, which requires court approval, before the institution’s buildings, art and college can be handed over to GW and the National Gallery of Art.

Earlier this month, the advocacy group Save the Corcoran tried to block the historic agreement. The group’s members, including curators and artists, are demanding the Corcoran provide a financial audit, appoint a committee to review the deal with GW, order all art to stay in D.C. and reject the agreement if officials find that mismanagement led to the Corcoran’s downfall.

GW will keep about 125 part-time and full-time Corcoran faculty after the merger, while about 150 Corcoran employees will face unemployment once it takes place. Lerman wrote that without a favorable court decision, the job offers and transition to GW would become “much more complicated.”

Provost Steven Lerman filed a letter with D.C. Superior Court Monday. Hatchet File Photo

Provost Steven Lerman filed a letter with D.C. Superior Court on Monday. Hatchet File Photo

Lerman also wrote that professors would have to receive their pay from the Corcoran’s dwindling financial resources, which are supposed to help cover the art school building’s restoration. GW plans to spend $25 million in the first phase of renovations to the Corcoran’s aging building on 17th Street.

The groups that accredit the Corcoran College of Art + Design have voiced concerns over the school’s financial state, but Lerman argued that issue would resolve itself once the school joins GW.

“A favorable ruling issued well before the start of the fall semester would help ensure a more stable and predictable transition, which would be in the best interests of the Corcoran College, its students, and its faculty and employees,” he wrote.

The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, the Greater Washington Urban League, Cultural Tourism D.C. and the Federal City Council have also submitted letters backing the merger.

As the University prepares to welcome Corcoran students to campus this fall, it rolled out a website for the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. Students will move into their residence halls on Aug. 20, a few days before other students, and spend the next six days in orientation.

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President Barack Obama addresses college presidents at a summit this spring. Hatchet File Photo

President Barack Obama addresses college leaders at a summit this spring. Hatchet File Photo

A federal college rating system could dictate financial aid allocations based on how well institutions improve affordability and how accessible they are to lower-income applicants – areas GW has pinpointed as priorities this year.

The White House’s idea would link indicators such as a college’s graduation rate over time or number of first generation college students to whether it can receive funding from Pell Grants or other federal loans, several experts said. The idea, introduced last August, has gained steam this summer as the Department of Education pushes for ways to enact the proposal.

The department is expected to release a template of the system by the end of the year, said Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University who studies college rankings and financial aid.

If the government launches a ranking system, colleges that do not reach certain standards on indicators like graduation rates, cost of attendance or percentage of students receiving Pell Grants would lose their eligibility to receive federal funding for financial aid.

But without more details about what the system will look like, it’s hard to tell what sort of effect it would have on universities, Kelchen said.

“There are concerns about whether this is letting the camel’s nose under the tent too much,” Kelchen said. “It could open them up to more regulations in the future.”

If institutions are already focused on improving those metrics, though, the effect could be smaller, he said, adding that a federal system might not replace the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings, considered the gold standard of college rankings.

GW launched two task forces this year that were charged with tackling the issues in higher education that President Barack Obama has highlighted.

University President Steven Knapp created an access and success task force in January, after attending a summit at the White House focused on college affordability. Provost Steven Lerman also launched the University’s largest study into its graduation rate this winter. GW’s rate has hovered around 80 percent for the last five years.

Patrick Kelly, a senior associate at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, said more selective institutions, like GW, would not be strongly impacted by a federal ranking system because fewer students receive Pell Grants. About 14 percent of GW students received the grants this year.

Kelly said less selective institutions are much more likely to be concerned, since their students are typically from the area of their college and receive Pell Grants, and those students are less likely to use ranking materials.

“The majority of students attend colleges that are close to home, so the idea that all of a sudden students are going to shop around doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” he said.

Obama has faced fierce opposition to his administration’s idea. Some university presidents have opposed a national college ranking system, likely because they fear losing control over their institutions’ goals and priorities, Kelcher said. A bipartisan group of congressmen and a group of Republicans in the Senate have also attempted to block such a system.

Paul Hassen, director of communications and marketing at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said many groups have also opposed the system because there are too many questions the government has failed to address.

The government already scores colleges on a scorecard, which is available online, and Hassen said many wonder if an additional system is necessary.

“Do we need another system on top of this?” Hassen asked. “And who’s going to pay for this, who picks up the extra cost of supplying this information to the federal government?”

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Linda Livingstone will serve as dean of the GW School of Business starting in August. Photo courtesy of GW media relations.

Linda Livingstone will serve as dean of the GW School of Business starting in August. Photo courtesy of GW media relations.

Updated: May 27, 2014 at 10:01 p.m.

A dean who has steered Pepperdine University’s business school for a decade will take control of the business school at GW, the University announced Tuesday.

Linda Livingstone, dean of the Graziadio School of Business, will lead GW’s school about a year after her predecessor was suddenly fired for mismanaging a multi-million dollar budget. The long-serving dean has launched four new degrees and a series of online degree programs during her tenure.

A professor who attended Livingstone’s presentation to business school faculty in the spring said her vision for the school includes more collaboration with GW’s other colleges, enhancing its global positioning and focusing on public policy and entrepreneurship.

“Working with the faculty and staff to build on a strong foundation of programs and research to continue to enhance the quality and reputation of the school will be a privilege,” Livingstone said in a release.

Livingstone has overseen a quick rise in rankings, with the Pepperdine school now boasting a No. 76 MBA program. She is also known for championing women in business and will be the GW school’s first female dean since Susan Phillips stepped down in 2010 after 12 years in the school’s top post.

Provost Steven Lerman said in an interview Tuesday that Livingstone’s experience in creating new programs and courting donors set her apart from other candidates.

“When you have that opportunity with someone with such a great track record, and you have a school making the transition with an interim dean, it’s hopeful that a sitting dean – all else equal – can hit the ground running faster,” Lerman said.

When she arrives in Foggy Bottom, Livingstone will enter a dean orientation program that was piloted this year after Ben Vinson took over the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

Livingstone expanded Pepperdine’s business programs across six campuses, an accomplishment that Lerman said she could use as a model at a school that is looking to increase online offerings.

Lerman has pointed to online programs as a way to bring enrollment across GW’s colleges back to historic levels. As the University expects about 2 percent fewer graduate students to enroll this year, he said the programs could attract more working professionals hoping to earn another degree.

Livingstone will lead seven departments that have spent a year waiting for a new leader. Former dean Doug Guthrie was fired last August after top leaders discovered that the school had overspent its budget by $13 million.

Guthrie had invested more than University leaders anticipated in online and executive education programs, which he said could have eventually increased revenues but required larger start-up costs. The plan put him at odds with top administrators, who said they fired him because they and Guthrie failed to compromise over the future of the school.

Guthrie was also the subject of several investigations in the University’s legal office. Scheherazade Rehman, last year’s Faculty Senate executive committee chair, claimed Guthrie had inappropriate sexual relationships with senior officials and was skimming money off the top of GW’s funds to start a campus in China.

One of Livingstone’s first tasks will be to solve the school’s budget woes, and she will meet faculty who are planning to ask for more control over department budgets, several professors on the search committee said.

University President Steven Knapp and Provost Steven Lerman picked her from a short list this month after a 16-person search committee narrowed down the pool in April.

James Bailey, a professor of management and member of the school’s dean search committee, said Livingstone’s experience and commanding, yet calming, persona helped her win over many of the school’s faculty. He said she was the “right person for this moment in time for the school.”

“The last three years have been pretty tumultuous. It’s fightened a lot of people. It’s just taken a toll here,” Bailey said. “Somebody that’s had experience in leadership, that’s moved the place forward but hasn’t created as much stress, is why the sitting dean was especially important.”

When she visited campus in April, Livingstone pitched the idea of finding new niches for online programs, like courses that focus on small business, Bailey said. She also claimed she would be inclusive in decision-making. When Guthrie led the school, professors had complained that the former dean kept them out of major planning.

She beat out three other candidates, including a former Fortune 100 chief executive officer, the dean of the University of Albany – SUNY’s School of Business and a senior associate dean from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. She was the sole female dean candidate to visit campus.

This summer, Livingstone will also become the leader of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, GW’s accrediting organization.

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christopher kayes

Interim business school dean Christopher Kayes led the school through its accreditation process this fall, which culminated with a campus visit this week. Photo courtesy of GW Media Relations.

The accrediting body of the School of Business has met with students, faculty and staff this week, the final leg of the school’s five-year review.

The site visit by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the last step in a years-long accreditation process, which evaluates the school’s status and mission and gives weight to the institution. The visit had been pushed back from November to give the school more preparation time after the unexpected firing former dean Doug Guthrie in August.

As the school prepared over the last few months, Provost Steven Lerman said administrators looked mainly at classroom objectives to “determine the extent to which the students have learned things that we claim are their educational outcomes.”

He said accrediting groups, like the business school association, are increasingly focusing on how well colleges are teaching students, rather than what resources colleges offer.

The school has recently expanded its learning assessments by testing students on material months after they learned it.

“If you said ‘this was the outcome,’ you ought to be able to downstream ask, ‘Are there ways to measure whether you’ve learned that or not?’” he said.

Christopher Kayes, the school’s interim dean, declined a meeting this month to discuss the school’s preparation for accreditation.

The school’s leaders completed a self-study for the business association last fall, which included three years of preparation and reports done by the school. Kayes asked the accrediting body to delay the site visit three weeks after Guthrie was fired so he would have more time to prepare the school.

Faculty said then that they feared the school’s accreditation would be in jeopardy. But after Kayes had been at the helm of the school for a few months, most said their concerns had blown over.

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The Federal Reserve is one of the least understood but most important institutions in the federal government. Students at GW and around the world will learn about it in the University's first massive open online course this year. Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons license

The Federal Reserve is one of the least understood but most important institutions in the federal government. Students at GW and around the world will learn about it in the University’s first massive open online course this year. Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons license

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Zunara Naeem.

GW announced its first massive open online course Friday – a non-credit class on the Federal Reserve that will likely launch next fall to boost the University’s academic brand.

Paul Schiff Berman, vice provost for online education and academic innovation, said GW chose to focus its first MOOC on the Federal Reserve because of the mystery and misconceptions surrounding the institution, which controls the country’s monetary policy with relatively little oversight.

“There really are very few institutions that are simultaneously so important, and so little understood as the Federal Reserve,” Berman said.

The course will draw from material from GW’s seminar series on the Fed, which included courses Fed chairman Ben Bernanke taught in the GW School of Business last year. It will also use an event with former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker and other material from academics and politicians in the course.

GW will begin to offer the course as the Fed reaches 100 years of existence. For much of that history, the central bank has been closed off from the public discourse, though that is beginning to change in the wake of the financial crisis.

The University will partner with Pearson Education, Blackboard and In The Telling, a documentary education information system, to produce the online course. Students will watch documentary film footage, see instructional tools and use interactives in the class, Berman said.

Universities around the world started offering MOOCs about two years ago, usually partnering with companies like Coursera or Udacity. The courses were initially heralded as a way to offer increasingly pricey higher education to the masses, but that frenzy has softened as students fail to finish the classes or meet learning objectives.

Berman has said that GW will offer a series of open online courses in some of GW’s strongest academic subjects, like politics and international affairs.

But the approach appears to take into account national skepticism about the effectiveness of MOOCs. The University will use the courses in a way that Provost Steven Lerman has said would be like a “PBS special.”

He said Friday that administrators do not see the course as the typical classes the University offers.

“It’ll have a feel and texture to it which is less like, ‘I’m going to a class,’ and more like some really good journalists got together and tried to intelligently explain the various aspects of the Fed’s operation,” Lerman said.

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Guthrie

Doug Guthrie told the Financial Times he was surprised at how quickly the University’s top officials fired him as dean of the School of Business. Hatchet File Photo.

GW School of Business students and faculty were not the only people shocked by administrators’ decision to fire Doug Guthrie as dean last week.

Guthrie defended his role in the $13 million of overspending, telling the Financial Times on Tuesday that he was “surprised by the suddenness” of last Thursday’s announcement.

He told the newspaper that it was well-known that the business school would be over its budget last year, and that the college was investing in online technology as part of the school’s long-term plan.

The business school started four online programs last year, partnering with the education company Pearson to provide peer-to-peer technology.

Provost Steven Lerman told The Hatchet last week that online programs and executive MBA programs contributed the most to the $13 million budget gap.

Lerman added that administrators did know that the school was spending more than their budget earlier in the year, but they  discovered $13 million budget gap this summer – much larger than they anticipated. “It was clear in the middle of the year that there was going to be more expenditure, but even additional money was found in closing,” Lerman told The Hatchet.

Guthrie did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Hatchet.

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The reception and help desks will be relocated to the entrance floor, from the basement floor. Sarah Ferris | Hatchet Staff Photographer

GW officially unveiled Gelman Library renovations Monday morning, showing off a glittering new entrance and expansive second-floor study space meant to modernize the 40-year-old building. A grand staircase now leads patrons to the building, instead of an opening that brought students downstairs into a “cave-like” atmosphere, as University President Steven Knapp had put it. As part of the $16-million renovations, students also will be able to find more space to work in groups, and new technology to aid research.

But the renovations are about six years in the making, after administrators, faculty and students pressured GW’s top brass to make Gelman a priority. Here’s a look back at how the Gelman renovations came to be.

Hatchet File Photo

2007: Plans outlined for library’s facelift

Gelman Library, built in 1973 during Lloyd Elliott‘s presidency, was flagged for renovations during GW’s sprawling 2007 Campus Plan. The plan, which also sketched construction for residence halls and the Science and Engineering Hall, put Gelman in a long line of GW priorities.

2009: Chief librarian says GW ignoring Gelman

Jack Siggins, who led Gelman until last summer,

Jack Siggins. Hatchet File Photo

admonished administrators and the Board of Trustees for failing to get specific on when they would begin dealing out funds to upgrade the library. He said library surveys had shown that students were fed up with a lack of study space and electrical outlets – and that Gelman had failed to keep up with GW’s expanded student body. “The senior administration of the University has other priorities,” he said. “This is not one of them.”

Plans for the renovations stalled again later that year because the library fundraising lagged.

The Senior Class Gift celebration. Hatchet File Photo

2010: Students step up to advocate for Gelman funding

Students began pressuring GW to accelerate efforts to refurbish the library – speaking up through student lobbyists, social media and their own wallets. About $31,000 of the money students raised for the Senior Class Gift was doled out to Gelman Library. Students took to Facebook to rally support for new library space, and Student Association leaders declared that advocating for more library funds would be their top priority.

2011: Board of Trustees allocates $16 million for Gelman renovations, blueprints unveiled

Renderings of Gelman renovations sat in the library in 2011. Hatchet File Photo

Gelman’s proposed renovations got an official green light in May 2011 when the Board of Trustees approved $16 million for the project. Administrators said they would pay for half of the project with fundraising dollars, though they would likely borrow and dip into their capital reserve fund to also pay for it.

Provost Steven Lerman said student demand for upgrades helped propel the project forward: “I wasn’t hearing from students or from faculty that we need a vast improvement in the collection. I was hearing the students say ‘We need better study space’ and they’re right. Gelman’s jammed, particularly around finals time.”

In fall 2011, GW revealed that the project would feature a new entrance in Kogan Plaza that would lead students up to the second floor of the building, which then housed administrative offices and event space. The work was done by Cox Graae + Spack Architects.

Gelman Library closed for two days in April due to sweltering heat. Hatchet File Photo by Delaney Walsh | Photo Editor

2013: Library continues to fight off funding issues, old age

As renovations to the new entrance floor of Gelman were winding down, the library still faced money woes in 2013. A pair of librarians from University of Virginia and Columbia University consulted on the library’s funding, telling a faculty committee that the library comes up short. Funding for the library’s collections has stayed at about $4 million for a decade.

“Apparently to objective outside observers, Gelman is in really, very bad shape and is in need of attention for funds for collections, as well as for staff, and so on,” English professor David McAleavey said at a Faculty Senate committee meeting in March.

In April, the library faced two days of shutdown, as temperatures inside soared to 90 degrees due to a failed cooling system.

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Eight top administrators, including University President Steven Knapp, jetted to China this week for talks with higher education and business leaders as GW looks to gain influence in the economic superpower.

The trip will send the GW delegation to the Fortune Global Forum, an elite business conference that will host the Chinese vice premier and top CEOs in the southwestern city Chengdu. The partnership is one of the growing number of ties GW is landing in China, as it has opened up graduate programs, courted students and garnered funds from the country. 

Knapp, along with three deans, three vice presidents and Provost Steven Lerman, will also visit Beijing universities like Renmin University and the University for International Business and Economics – trips that could develop into academic partnerships. The University also works with Renmin to provide a master of science in finance program, which launched two years ago.

Top officials will also participate in discussions on the Chinese economy and higher education system, as Knapp, Lerman, GW School of Business Dean Doug Guthrie and Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Michael Brown discuss U.S.-China relations with Chinese officials at an event in Chengdu.

The University signaled further interest in China by appointing GW School of Business Dean Doug Guthrie as vice president for China operations, bumping the young administrator up to one of the University’s top ranks. GW will also welcome a class of international freshmen that is highly concentrated in Chinese students, with 40 percent of the foreign population coming from the country.

The University pulled in $109 million from international students overall in 2011-2012, by far the most of any D.C. university, according to a report by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Globalizing GW is one of the central tenets of the University’s decade-long strategic plan, as it looks to double the number of international students.

GW has continued to cultivate relationships with China this year through the opening of its Confucius Institute, which teaches language classes mostly to working professionals. The institute, funded by the Chinese government and used as a tool to spread soft power, named Knapp to its 10-member governing body last week.
The University’s global push hasn’t been entirely smooth, however. Administrators put the brakes this spring on an undergraduate program that would have allowed students to study on three continents – in D.C., France and China.
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