News and Analysis


Steven Lerman

Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Columbian College, Teresa Murphy, center, will serve as deputy provost starting in January. Hatchet File Photo by Sara Gleysteen, Hatchet Photographer

Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Columbian College, Teresa Murphy, center, will serve as deputy provost starting in January. Hatchet File Photo by Sara Gleysteen, Hatchet Photographer

Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Teresa Murphy will take on the role of deputy provost for academic affairs beginning in January, the University announced Monday.

Murphy will serve as the No. 2 to current Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Planning Forrest Maltzman, who will start as interim provost next semester. Provost Steven Lerman announced in August that he will step down at the end of the calendar year.

Murphy, a professor of American studies, previously served as chair of the department and helped to develop the University’s strategic plan, according to the release.

“Over the years, Terry has emphasized collaboration and transparency in her service to the college,” Maltzman said in the release. “GW is better as a result, and I look forward to partnering with her during this critical transitional period.”

In her new role, Murphy will lead GW’s upcoming reaccreditation process, which takes place once every 10 years, and will also oversee the academic space at the University according to the release.

“Over the past few decades, the university has increased its research profile and its academic standing,” Murphy said in the release. “I look forward to working with each of our schools, and with our central administration, to keep that momentum going.”

For more than two decades, Murphy has taught classes about pre-20th century United States cultural history, as well as women’s history courses. She is currently working with a Smithsonian National Museum of American History curator on a project called “The Material Life of Political Culture,” according to her faculty biography.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Paul Schiff Berman, vice provost for online learning and academic innovation, will return to the GW Law School full-time faculty in January. Hatchet File Photo

Paul Schiff Berman, vice provost for online learning and academic innovation, will return to the GW Law School full-time faculty in January. Hatchet File Photo

Updated: Oct. 23, 2015 at 9:54 a.m.

Paul Schiff Berman, the vice provost for online education and academic innovation, will step down from his post in January to serve as a full-time faculty member of GW Law School, Provost Steven Lerman announced Thursday.

Berman, who led the law school for 18 months, transitioned to the vice provost position from dean in 2012 after facing declining enrollment numbers. Months later, some faculty members said they had planned to oust Berman from the school after disagreeing with his leadership style and poor decision making, and had plans for a vote of no confidence in the leader.

Since leaving the law school, Berman has spearheaded online education initiatives that University leaders have started to lean on more heavily as enrollment numbers in graduate programs dropped and online learning offered a more inexpensive alternative to in-person courses. More than 100 online degree and certificate programs are now offered through GW.

Berman also oversaw the launch of three massive open online courses and the start of an in-house program where faculty and officials can work with animators and technicians to enhance online materials.

Berman said he was looking forward to concentrating on teaching and research full-time. He has maintained a faculty position since taking on the vice provost position.

“I commend President Knapp and Provost Lerman for having the vision to create this important university role, and I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to serve the university in this crucial strategic area,” Berman said in the release.

Lerman said in the release that Berman has done a “tremendous” job in building GW’s online course portfolio.

“I’m extremely grateful for his efforts over the past three years to help develop new and innovative courses, and look forward to his continued contributions to the university community as a member of the GW Law faculty,” Lerman said.

No replacement for the vice provost position was announced in the release, and plans for a search were also not stated.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Planning Forrest Maltzman will serve as the interim provost starting next semester, the University announced Wednesday.

University President Steven Knapp said in the release that he will work closely with Provost Steven Lerman, who will step down in January, and Maltzman throughout the transition this fall before launching a national search to permanently replace Lerman.

“Forrest Maltzman very effectively managed our last university-wide accreditation process and, after joining the Provost’s Office, played a key role in the development of our strategic plan,” Knapp said. “His appointment as interim provost will ensure that our implementation of the plan continues to advance through this interim period.”

In August, Lerman announced he would step down at the end of the calendar year. After a yearlong sabbatical in California, Lerman will return to GW as the A. James Clark Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Maltzman, who has served in his senior vice provost position since 2011, is credited with helping GW to complete major projects like the Science and Engineering Hall and the strategic plan. He helped to weather the University through an admissions data scandal and guided GW through a University-wide accreditation process nearly a decade ago.

Maltzman previously served as chair of the political science department for three years before joining the provost’s office. He arrived at GW as a member of the political science faculty in 1993 and has written at least four books in the field.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

The administrator has been one of the more visible members of the provost’s office on campus, moderating town halls on topics like transitioning students from the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design into the GW community and on benefits for GW employees.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Gelman Library will no longer change its 24/7 availability after students complained of the new restricted hours for the building, according to a statement from Provost Steven Lerman Wednesday afternoon.

The University had initially changed Gelman’s hours according to a posting in the library widely circulated online Tuesday night. The changes, which were to start on Aug. 31, meant that the library would close on Fridays at 11 p.m. before reopening on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m. to open again at noon on Sunday. The 24-hour access would have remained Mondays through Thursdays.

“We continuously try to balance the need to make sure that there is high quality study space available and operational efficiency,” Lerman said in the statement.

Barbra Giorgini, the executive director of GW Libraries, said in a statement that the change in hours was considered as an option when determining how to best use library resources, based on the times when Gelman was used most frequently.

“However, we have heard clearly the need to keep Gelman open and operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Giorgini said.

The initial change in hours caused strong responses from many students, who circulated a petition to keep the 24/7 availability that attracted nearly 2,000 signatures.

Casey Syron, the Student Association executive vice president, thanked SA president Andie Dowd and Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski for their work on the issue in a tweet.

Dowd said in an interview that she had been emailing Lerman about the situation, but while in Rice Hall – where a majority of GW’s top administrators, including University President Steven Knapp, work – ran into Konwerski and Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Planning Forrest Maltzman, and they discussed maintaining Gelman’s availability.

“We just took the necessary steps to reach out to the administration. Luckily, we were able to talk to a lot of them today,” Dowd said. “I think it was exciting – we got to see how everyone banded together and that everyone was very passionate about this.”

Jacqueline Thomsen contributed reporting.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Updated: July 27, 2015 at 10:18 p.m.
Prospective students will no longer need SAT or ACT scores to apply to GW, the University announced Monday.

The announcement comes amid a troubled admissions trend after 45 percent of applicants were accepted for this fall’s freshman class, the highest rate in more than a decade. The shift also makes GW one of the largest and the highest-ranked institutions to drop the testing requirement for applicants, allowing potential students to decide whether or not to include the scores.

The “test-optional” strategy was recommended by a University task force to help low-income students find success at GW, launched by University President Steven Knapp in 2014. Access to college, especially for minority and low-income students, has been a touchstone of Knapp’s administration, as schools nationwide increasingly focus on diversity and accessibility.

Laurie Koehler, senior associate provost for enrollment management and a member of the task force, said no longer requiring test scores will make GW more accessible to “underrepresented” groups of students like minority students, low-income students and first-generation students.

“We hope the test-optional policy sends a message to prospective students that if you are smart, hard-working and have challenged yourself in a demanding high school curriculum, there could be a place for you here,” Koehler said in the release.

Instead of relying on test scores, test-optional schools consider the future success of an applicant using their high school record and GPA. More than 125 schools are considered test-optional, including GW’s peer American University. Other peers like New York University allow students to submit results from Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests instead of the SAT or ACT, the Washington Post reported.

When Virginia Commonwealth University went test-optional this year, just 172 applicants did not send in their scores, the Washington Post reported. The school also saw about 450 to 500 additional applications after the change. A similar spike in applications would be a major boon for GW, because it relies on tuition for the majority of its operating revenue.

Officials have already expanded the freshman class to help make up for two years of missed budget projections. The University saw graduate and professional enrollment drop by about 1,200 students. Provost Steven Lerman said in April that officials expected to add about 150 to 200 students to this fall’s freshman class to boost revenue, explaining the higher acceptance rate.

Two years ago, GW admitted publicly for the first time that it put hundreds of students on the wait list each year if they could not afford to pay full tuition. The decisions impacted about 10 percent of GW’s 22,000 applicants each year, officials said then.

Dean of Admissions Karen Stroud Felton said in the release on Monday that the change will let “outstanding students from all over the world and from all different backgrounds” see that GW could be the right fit for them.

“Although we have long employed a holistic application review process, we had concerns that students who could be successful at GW felt discouraged from applying if their scores were not as strong as their high school performance,” Felton said in the release.

Homeschooled students or students from schools that use narrative evaluations or evaluations that do not include grades are excluded from the new policy. College athletes, and applicants looking to join a seven-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree program are also not included.

Following the announcement, students and alumni took to Twitter to share their reactions.

-Colleen Murphy contributed reporting.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski, partakes in the activities at the Earth Day Fair in Kogan Plaza. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski, partakes in the activities at the Earth Day Fair in Kogan Plaza. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Clara Lishan Ong.

GW’s top officials got some fresh air during Earth Day on Wednesday to speak while students and representatives from sustainability companies mingled under a big white tent in Kogan Plaza.

The Earth Day Fair invited student organization leaders, community leaders and companies to promote their causes. Prominent administrative figures and sustainability leaders on campus each offered more information about sustainability at GW.

“GW wants to teach sustainability and also walk the talk,” said Provost Steven Lerman. “200 faculty self-identify as working on sustainability-related projects.”

Here’s what you missed while you were tending to your compost bin:

1. Prioritizing sustainability

Lerman pointed out economics professor Ram Fishman, who is involved in projects to reduce energy and waste at residence halls.

Lerman added that civil and environmental engineering professor Rumana Riffat takes her students on field trips to wastewater treatment plants to “help them make the actual connection between the theory of waste treatment and its actual practice.”

Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz rounded up the University’s current projects to stay sustainable.

“We have more than 30 buildings under renovation for the Eco-Building Program. We are composting dining hall food, building community gardens and growing edibles,” Katz said. “Sustainability is really a comprehensive effort.”

Katz also mentioned the Capital Partners Solar Project, which provides solar power to GW, American University and GW Hospital. The solar farm in North Carolina will power more than 50 percent of GW’s electricity.

Kathleen Merrigan, the executive director of sustainability, went up to the podium to talk about GW’s academic sustainability programs.

“GW has one of the most politically active student bodies, so you should use your studies and maximize what you know to shake up the world,” Merrigan said.

Students engaged with organizations focused on sustainability from the D.C. area, featured in the annual Earth Day Fair in Kogan Plaza. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Students engaged with organizations focused on sustainability from the D.C. area, featured in the annual Earth Day Fair in Kogan Plaza. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

2. Green Leaf courses

Lerman wants to bring sustainability back into the classroom, too.

“Apart from student organizations, we hope that students can also get involved academically,” Lerman said.

GW has about 400 undergraduate and graduate level courses that have to do with sustainability, he said. GW offers a minor in sustainability, which started in 2012.

3. Student contest winners announced

Meghan Chapple, the director of GW’s sustainability office, announced four winners to the Eco-Equity challenge, which launched in January to encourage students to partner with local community organizations and solve environmental issues.

“Sustainability also has a social equity aspect,” Chapple said. “Often, environmental issues have a higher burden on poor people. There are a plenty of environmental justice issues in the areas of food distribution, trash and toxic pollution for instance.”

One of the four winning projects this year is Project Lily Pad, which is partnering with Living Classrooms and D.C. Public Schools to design and build wetland islands to promote environmental education and preserve the Anacostia River along Kingman Island.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

An interim dean will take the helm of the School of Nursing next month, Provost Steven Lerman announced in an email to the school Monday.

Mary Jean Schumann, the school’s interim senior associate dean for academic affairs, will lead GW’s newest school starting Jan. 1 until the University picks its next leader. Dean Jean Johnson will step down at the end of this month, about a year and a half after she announced plans to take a sabbatical and fall back into a teaching and research role.

Schumann led the creation of a new nursing program for veterans and was the executive director of the Nursing Alliance for Quality Care from 2011 to 2013.

Lerman said in an interview Monday that the dean search was nearing completion, and that the school’s search committee would report to him and University President Steven Knapp soon. The committee has kept details about the search’s timeline under wraps since it formed last year.

Johnson announced she would step down at the end of the last academic year, but agreed to remain in her role until a replacement was found. Knapp announced in October that this semester would be her last as dean.

She plans to travel to South Africa, where she will look to improve working conditions for nurses.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 6:54 p.m.

Staff member of nearly 40 years dies

Judy Arkes, an academic editor for GW and longtime staff member, died Thursday. She was 73 years old.

Provost Steven Lerman said members of the University community would greatly miss Arkes, who had worked at GW for 38 years.

“She is someone who I think made the institution better,” he said at Friday’s Faculty Senate meeting. “For those of you who knew her in your time here, she will be very much missed. Our sympathies go out to her family.”

An administrator found Arkes unconscious in her Rice Hall office on Thursday at about 11:15 a.m. Arkes was having trouble breathing and was transported to GW Hospital, according to a police report.

Lerman said Arkes accomplished a variety of tasks during her time in the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment, such as convincing the University to transfer to electronic workflows and online bulletins.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
At the Faculty Assembly on Tuesday, Provost Steven Lerman told professors that GW hoped to restore about $20 million in expenditures that it was forced to cut this year. Daniel Rich | Hatchet Photographer

At the Faculty Assembly on Tuesday, Provost Steven Lerman told professors that GW hoped to restore about $20 million in expenditures that it was forced to cut this year. Daniel Rich | Hatchet Photographer

The University was forced to make up about $20 million in its budget this year, after a decline in graduate enrollment and overspending put GW below its projections last fiscal year.

Provost Steven Lerman told faculty members at the Faculty Assembly on Tuesday that academic and administrative departments had been forced to cut costs this year after the University had to dip into its reserve funds at the end of the last fiscal year.

GW fell about $10.9 million short of its expected net revenue last year, since enrollment in graduate programs fell across most schools. GW’s total expenses last fiscal year were also about $10.6 million more than planned, Lerman said.

“It is very clear that the issues in the downturn of our graduate revenues has affected us in ways we’d rather not have happened, and the key here is to restore graduate enrollment. Each of the deans is looking at all their programs, and we continue to work with them,” Lerman said.

To make up for its losses, Lerman said GW reduced its number of vice provosts by one, cut costs in schools and brought in about $1 million through a program that brought about 400 Brazilian students to GW this past summer.

The decline in graduate enrollment meant the University spent less on financial aid for graduate students, Lerman said. He also said that GW cut about $6 million in areas that report to University President Steven Knapp and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz.

Lerman said the University would make up for its losses this year, and that he hopes to restore some of the areas where GW has reduced costs.

“Looking at the 2015 numbers, we are meeting the numbers we need to meet. Our undergraduate enrollment is actually a little higher than forecast. Our graduate enrollment is on target, although that may vary by school. In the aggregate, that is a true statement,” he said.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments