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Graduate Students Living at Georgetown

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With the new organization of the Graduate School, there are ongoing initiatives to build important new graduate degree programs, spanning disciplines and motivated by the important world problems that governments, NGO’s, the private sector, and academia are tackling. We’re adding graduate students to the Hilltop.

This increase fits into a larger strategy of continued improvement at Georgetown. First, we have recommitted to the formation of young minds as a key component to our mission; we’ve concluded that for the 21st century formation, we need to enrich the possibilities of learning through original research. We’re getting repeated input that students more effectively acquire life-long learning skills when they learn material through the rigor of original research. Through the Designing the Future(s) Initiative, we’re trying to invent new ways to create project-based and research-based learning opportunities.

Second, we realize that we need more research activities at Georgetown in order to provide the opportunities for large numbers of students to engage in those experiences. Our goal is that every undergraduate have exposure to alternative ways of scholarship and research before they exit. To increase the volume, more graduate programs are necessary in order to increase the potential linkages between graduate and undergradudate students in the same research activities.

Third, many Georgetown students are supplementing the traditional liberal arts undergraduate degree with Master’s and/or professional graduate degrees, to acquire occupationally relevant knowledge and skills. We want to create new forms of graduate education, more fully integrated with undergraduate experiences.

These moves have focused attention on life as a graduate student at Georgetown. What’s is like to be a graduate student at Georgetown? We’ve learned a lot from the strong leadership of the Graduate Student Organization (GSO). In addition to informal talks and presence of graduate students on the Provost Student Advisory Committee, we’re helping the GSO mount a survey of graduate students to learn more about joys and pains of being a Georgetown graduate student.

One weakness of Georgetown is that we have no graduate living arrangements on the Hilltop. This weakness is especially telling for students who come to our graduate programs from outside the U.S., but it also means that we have no residential space that might foster a stronger graduate student community.

We’ve had a breakthrough over the past few days, thanks the diligence of our facilities and student affairs staff, with an agreement reached with an apartment building in Rosslyn, just across the Key Bridge, to offer a set of apartments for Georgetown graduate students. The units are a mix of studios and one bedroom apartments, fully furnished. A minimum rental volume is backed by financial guarantee from the university. The building is walking-distance from the Rosslyn Metro, and we assessing the possibility of a GU bus stop at the building for convenient transportation to the campus.

If the units prove popular we have the option of expanding the number available to graduate students. As we expand our graduate program offerings, this might indeed become important.

The leadership of the new Georgetown Graduate School is working diligently to construct an environment attractive to the best graduate students in the world. This is built first on strong graduate programs led by the most productive faculty. But it also needs to include all the extracurricular enhancements that will make Georgetown the best place to do one’s post-baccalaureate education.

We have more work to do in this domain, but we’re making progress.

Interdisciplinary, Collaborative

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In a survey last year, the Georgetown faculty expressed the belief that they felt inadequate support for interdisciplinary work. We’re trying to do better on this score, and I’ve talked with several faculty about related issues over the past few months.

Interdisciplinary work is difficult at all universities because the traditional organization of a university follows disciplinary boundaries. Disciplines are powerful organizing devices because they validate which research questions are the most important, which research methods are most valued, and what constitutes a real contribution to knowledge.

Disciplines vary on these features, and, hence, working across disciplines requires inventing ways to navigate multiple approaches to scholarship.

At the same time, there has been a sea of change among those institutions that fund scholarly research activities. Most foundations and government research agencies increasingly underscore the value of interdisciplinary work. The unsolved problems and gaps in knowledge are disproportionately on the edges of disciplines. The solutions do not appear to lie within a single field. For example, while the chemistry and biology of environmental harm to land and water is now better understood, the solutions to such problems cannot be found without deep understanding of the social, economic, and cultural influences on human behavior. Countless other examples exist.

We’re trying to facilitate more interdisciplinary research and education, in search for more robust approaches to the major problems facing the world. We have created a stronger framework for joint appointments between two disciplines and between schools. We have empowered the Graduate School to identify coalitions of faculty who want to work together in new interdisciplinary graduate programs.

However, there are two interesting challenges in moving ahead in this domain. First, we need to have wise evaluation of interdisciplinary scholarship. Second, we need to value the role of faculty who are collaborative magnets across fields.

At time of promotion it is typical for evaluations to be sought from those in the field of the primary appointment of the faculty member. The reviewers are promised that their reviews will be seen only by those involved in the review process, in an attempt to elicit frank assessments. When the faculty being reviewed works across fields, it’s more difficult to identify competent reviewers. The typical problem is that a reviewer embedded in only one field tends not to value that fieldwork that partially lies in another field. In some fundamental sense, such interdisciplinary work is not central to the field in question. The best evaluators for such faculty are those working in the same interdisciplinary space. Often that is a smaller set of scholars. Extra care is needed to identify competent reviewers.

The second problem is related to interdisciplinary work, but not limited to it. New studies of scholarly productivity have identified some scholars who are collaborators to many other scholars. These scholars often possess a deep knowledge of a theory or a set of research tools that are valuable to many other disciplines. They become “collaboration magnets” in a scholarly community. I have known many such colleagues in my career. In my opinion, they are often not sufficiently valued. Their publications tend to have more co-authors; they tend not to be the primary author on larger sets of publications; they tend not to be rated as the most prominent scholars in a community. On the other hand, in a real sense their activities make their colleagues better. They are multipliers of research productivity; they are disproportionately valuable to a community.

As we increase support for interdisciplinary work, we need to tackle the issues of assessment of the quality of that work and the valuation of those whose contributions are heavily collaborative. This requires deliberate effort to adapt existing procedures to fit our interdisciplinary goals.

STEM, Liberal Arts, and the 21st Century Leader

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As a liberal arts university, Georgetown is committed to the formation of our undergraduate students in philosophy, theology, literature, art, classical studies, and related fields. We value critical thinking and writing skills. These will forever be a cornerstone of the undergraduate curriculum.

Studies of the outcomes of graduates from liberal arts schools show that by mid-career the knowledge and skills developed in such curricula serve them well. Even if we limit our attention to the criteria of income and occupation, graduates achieve more than their fair share of leadership positions. Liberal arts graduates find themselves contributing to all sectors of society.

We take pride in those findings, especially because the education and formation possible through those fields are not directly linked to job skills and occupational application.

Recent studies of those students who focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) seem to show an interesting parallel. We have all read and heard the arguments that with the advances of technology, 21st century citizens need to be literate with a set of concepts, tools, etc. The definitions of STEM skills are not uniformly stated but include complex problem solving, technology design, programming, deductive and inductive reasoning, mathematical reasoning, and number facility. Knowledge of mathematics, chemistry, physics, and biology are related to those skills.

Of the roughly 130 million workers in the US, about 20% require significant STEM knowledge and skill (Rothwell/O*NET 2011). But an interesting fact is that over half of those with a highest degree in an STEM field are employed in a non-STEM occupation. Just as graduates specializing in the humanities pursue a variety of degrees, so too do STEM graduates. The graphic below from the Census Bureau site illustrates the allocation of graduates to occupation by STEM classification (go to Where Do College Graduates Work? for an interactive version of the graphic). It seems clear that, just as a humanities or arts background can lead to mid-career leadership positions in a variety of sectors, so too can a STEM background lead to diverse outcomes.

Blog graphic for 18 FEB 2015

So what do I make of all of this information? First, it’s clear that the level of knowledge related to STEM fields required for leadership in the 21st century will be greater than that required in the last century. But that could also be said of many non-STEM fields. Human knowledge is expanding at increasing rates. We all need to know much more, and crafting curricula to meet those needs is ever more complex. But a 21st century liberal arts graduate needs both the arts and the sciences.

Second, the relationship between one’s college major and one’s life work is complicated and attenuated by experiences. University studies need to provide students with all the basic knowledge and skills that allow them to maximize the benefit to themselves and others of their life experiences. The career choices and job opportunities will come to those with that background.

Third, the original foundation of the liberal arts education — including literature, languages, art, music, philosophy, history, mathematics, psychology, other social sciences, and science — still has deep relevance in a world of rapidly increasing technology.

The world needs leaders who can learn how newly created knowledge combines with existing knowledge to help solve important problems. Literacy in multiple domains is important for such combining, but facility with different methods of knowing, critiquing, and adapting is equally valuable. All the components of a liberal arts education can contribute to those skills, regardless in what occupational grouping the graduates find themselves.

Building a Committee

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This week, I worked with a set of dedicated students. Our joint task was identifying a set of candidates for the new Provost’s Committee for Diversity, each of which would be forwarded to the next step of the selection process.

We received expressions of interest from scores of people throughout the university — undergraduate students, graduate students, and staff members. The purpose of the committee is to identify and address the variety of issues that are present in all organizations in the US and in many other parts of the world. They are issues of intergroup activities. How does each of us learn about those different from us? How do we act with respect to others? How can we learn to avoid tendencies for automatic prejudgment and stereotyping? How do we see another as a complex mix of attributes, both visible and invisible?

At Georgetown, we seek to build an environment that looks like the world our students must be skilled in leading. Since many of us grew up in environments much more homogeneous on race, socioeconomic status, language, and culture, we all are constantly learning about other groups. How do we build an environment that nurtures that learning without fear?

The committee’s work grew out of a committed group of students who raised my consciousness, and that of others, about interpersonal problems that are interpreted as lack of respect or rudeness. The group already accomplished much — sketching out a way forward to build academic courses that might educate about issues of race, power, intergroup relations; building more ties between alumni of color and current students; and addressing student life issues that merit attention.

Reviewing the applications for committee membership gave me optimism about the prospects of assembling a strong group. The students provided short essays about their perceptions of key issues that were relevant to the committee. Many discussed the complications of navigating Georgetown as a student of color. Several discussed identity issues that are unique to those coming from mixed heritage. Others described feelings of not being heard or understood in classroom discussions. Some reflected on the campus scene, noting that separation by race, culture, and language groups seemed disproportionate. Others noted students of color tended not to occupy positions of leadership in many student organizations. Many noted that diversity has dimensions that go far beyond traditional notions, and that Georgetown needs to bring those dimensions into focus. Others noted that feelings of isolation hurt academic performance and were distractions from the chief responsibilities of being a student at Georgetown. Some international students, new to the American culture, noted that they experienced treatment by others that was new to them. They didn’t fully understand it.

Reviewing the mass of applications, I became confident that the final candidates we choose will serve Georgetown well in identifying and addressing the pressing issues the university. I can’t wait to see the group assembled.

Measuring versus Harvesting Data: Implications for Quality

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One of the wonderful features of modern life is that we are surrounded by data. Data come at us from various internet-related sources, from transaction files in service industries, and from devices increasingly serving our homes.

This wealth of data has become an increasing focus of social and economic scientists. “Big data” is a phrase that seems to be everywhere.

Researchers who invent measurements in order to advance understanding in their fields have developed sophisticated frameworks that describe quality or error properties of measures. Although the terminology varies over disciplines, all measurements are seen to have properties of undesired variability (“noise,” “unreliability,” or “imprecision”) and properties of systematic bias.

As studies of error properties of data have matured, most fields have become attracted to a notion of “fitness for use.” This phrase means that the impact of data error sources on the analytic conclusions is a function of the use itself. You and I could use the same data for two different purposes; your use could be unaffected by various error properties; and mine could be devastated by them. For example, simple arithmetic means may be sensitive to some errors in data that do not affect correlation coefficients. Economists speak of the “concept-measurement” gap. Depending on what concept you wish a given datum to reflect, different mistakes can be made.

How does all this relate to our new world of ubiquitous data?

When your job is to invent the measurement or to design the instrument, you cannot avoid thinking about how the design of the measurement may be fallible. When you’re harvesting existing data, you’re often unaware of the processes that produced the measurements. There is nothing to force you to attend to these data properties when you analyze the data.

These days, uses of the data without sensitivity to error properties are commonplace. Google Flu depends on the relationship between search terms (e.g., “achy shoulders” or “runny nose”) and diagnosed influenza. When the relationship between the two attributes changes, for example, because of heavy media reports about influenza, then Google Flu’s ability to predict change in real flu cases itself is altered. Not being sensitive to these error properties of the indicator can lead to mistakes.

For uses of “big data” to describe large human populations attributes well, we all have to ask whether all members of the population are covered by the data system being analyzed. For example, if Twitter data are used, what kinds of people are and are not active on Twitter? Further, what types of Twitter subscribers choose to use tweets to record a given attribute (e.g., job loss) and which don’t?

In addition, we have to ask the question of whether the data harvested from the data system are exactly equivalent to the phenomenon we wish to measure. For example, if my tweet has the words “fired” and “job,” I could have said “I just got fired from my job” or “I’m fired up about my job,” or “I fired her from the job,” or “I never want to get fired from my job.” Transforming words into quantitative indicators always entails some slippage of measurement. Whether the slippage hurts one’s analysis depends on the purpose of the analysis.

An extreme statement of “fitness for use” implies that there is no such thing as data quality without a specific use. Data without a user have no quality attributes. I’m happy with that formulation as long as each data user accepts the burden of critical review of the mismatch between the data and his/her analytic use of the data.

“Big data” without careful attention to properties of the data can produce big mistakes. As more and more researchers analyze data that they had no role in producing, we need more care, not less.

A New Era of Georgetown Educational Innovation

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In the fall of 2012, President DeGioia launched the Initiative on Technology-Enhanced Learning, at a time when MOOC-madness was at its height. Georgetown used internal funds to beef up the IT infrastructure, enter EdX as a member, and support faculty to innovate in their classrooms. We wanted to make sure a) that we would mount a faculty-led process of innovation and b) that Georgetown education innovation was part of a larger multi-university, high-quality platform in EdX.

In many ways, through the enthusiasm of faculty and students, and the leadership of Vice Provost Bass, Georgetown now is at a very different point in the developmental lifecycle than in fall 2012.

We have innovated in many classes in many different ways. Large numbers of faculty are involved. We’ve learned what it takes to bring into production new technologies adapted to Georgetown pedagogical goals. We’ve introduced blended classes of various types, some using content we had built for MOOCs. We now have new online programs.

We are now finishing up a year of the Designing the Future(s) initiative, the second era of active experimentation. We’ve jumped from the class, as the unit of innovation, to the program. We’re developing new minors, certificates, majors, and degree programs. We’ve done it by engaging hundreds of alumni throughout the country, faculty in DC and Doha, staff throughout the university, and students. There were receptions, gatherings, and Webinars reaching 100’s more alumni and parents. A common tool was the “design lab,” in which participants were actively engaged in imagining the key ingredients of the 21st century Georgetown. This Georgetown is what the participant identified as the essential benefits of the current experience, modified by knowledge of how to increase the depth, breadth, and impact of the education. All of these efforts were the focus of the past few months.

In the incubator space of the small red house on 37th Street all of this input was synthesized. At this point, 30-40 faculty, students, and project managers are developing 15-20 different projects, all aimed at testing new modes of delivering high quality education.

President DeGioia has articulated student formation, scholarly inquiry, and support of the common good as three key roles of the modern university. The future designs were asked to use new ways, unencumbered by current structures to achieve maximum success on all three of those goals.

We viewed the 2012 initiative as a seed capital investment. We quietly hoped that other sources of funding would be forthcoming if we offered a proof of concept. Deep down we knew that, if there were no external support for this line of work, we could not achieve the goals that Georgetown had articulated.

The last few months have seen an unquestioned success in seeking external funds to support this work — now amounting to over $4 million in gifts and grants. This is the sign for which we were waiting. Alumni, parents, and foundations have decided that what we are doing at Georgetown deserves nurturance and support. We have seen the fruits of the seed funding of 2012.

The many people who made this possible deserve our praise and thanks. Their long hours paid off. Future generations of Georgetown faculty and students will reap the benefits of these pioneers.

If You Build Experiential Learning, Will They Come?

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Recently, the Main Campus Executive Faculty approved a framework to mount experimental courses that would serve all students. I wrote about energy among students, parents, and alumni urging Georgetown to offer such courses in the past (see: Hacking Georgetown-Provided Skills).

Deans of our various schools have returned from visits to potential employers of our graduates with requests for new courses. From the Law School, the visit conveyed the importance of new lawyers needing more financial literacy. From other visits, knowledge of web analytics and basic webpage construction was mentioned. Others brought home the message that understanding the processes of startup organizations, the phases of organizational development, and the group dynamics of growing an organization was vital. Still others mentioned a set of rhetorical skills — the pitch, the autobiographical sketch, the negotiation, the debate — that all work organizations exhibit. There were other mentions that concerned alternative forms of writing in a work organization (e.g., the briefing of the boss, a memorandum for a work group, or a proposal for an initiative).

As we were collecting this input over the past months, I ran ideas by student advisory groups. They were supportive. Their support prompted us to move forward.

Following work with faculty and students in the Red House incubator on campus led by Vice Provost Randy Bass, the Designing the Future(s) initiative crafted a proposal for a set of courses that were not currently part of degree curricula. The faculty agree that we should experiment with such courses.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation sent out a late announcement of a course in which students could enroll during this term. The course is built around a real world problem. Students working in teams will identify effective ways to expand an existing program in the Philippines designed to provide healthy meals to children in need. The students are tasked with addressing questions of how to make the program scalable and how to make it sustainable.

To do this, they will study the latest models, technologies, and methods of collaboration across the traditional sectors of government, academia, and business. Students will meet with the client, rapidly prototype different solutions, conduct quick data analysis, iterate to identify the best ways forward, and present the recommendations to the client. In short, the students have an opportunity to contribute to an organization’s success and improve the impact of the organization.

With this as a description, the Beeck Center announced a meeting for interested students. Scores of students went to the meeting, many more than could be accepted into the course. The students were told that the course would offer them absolutely no academic credit that would count toward their degree. Even without academic credit, the Center had more applicants for the course than they could accommodate.

The course is off and running with 23 active students working the problem.

While we had faith that such courses would be attractive, until this experience, we couldn’t present evidence that students would choose to pursue them. This one experimental course has emboldened us to move ahead.

Georgetown built an experiential learning opportunity for our students, and they jumped at the chance to be part of it.

Seeking Better Mentoring for Faculty

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As I wrote last year (See: Faculty Thoughts about Their Careers at Georgetown), our survey measuring satisfaction levels of being a faculty member at Georgetown formed the basis of the agenda of the provost’s office this year.

One of the central massages of the survey was that assistant and associate professors felt that the processes and expectations regarding tenure and promotion were too vague. The associates also reported that they felt a lack of effective mentoring as they progressed in the career following the tenure step. We felt these two issues might be related to one another.

While answers to simple survey questions can be used effectively to identify areas needing improvement, I’ve found that they rarely often crisp information about the causes of the problem. Without knowing the causes, we might start activities that don’t really address the problem or might even make matters worse.

In such cases, adding some thoughtful conversation and group deliberation is often a wise move. The provost’s office, under the leadership of Vice Provost Adriana Kugler, is beginning to address how we might create such deliberations and group dialogue.

In doing so, we have to be careful to acknowledge that activities that the provost’s office itself conducts may be part of the problem. We want to create an environment in which honest, frank reports of issues of mentoring and clarity of promotion processes might be raised without any fear that statements might be attributed to those proffering them.

We are engaging an outside group to conduct multiple focus groups of about 10 faculty members each, facilitated by a non-Georgetown moderator. The discussions will be structured about the possible sources of need for mentoring and clarity of promotion processes.

We want groups containing faculty that vary in their length of service at Georgetown, the nature of scholarship in their discipline, the unit of appointment, and other demographic features that may affect their experiences at Georgetown.

Good focus groups provide insight into the set of alternative viewpoints that exist and how they might inform a richer understanding of a given phenomenon. They are not good vehicles to measure what percentage of the faculty hold such views, but they should be useful in identifying solutions that best fit alternative concerns.

On the mentoring front, reports from faculty in different units suggest that there are some units with robust mentoring procedures for associate professors, but others lack such activities. We’re hopeful that some of the effective procedures in one unit can be transported to another.

I suspect that the focus groups will yield their outcomes this term and that we will seek faculty input on building better mentoring activities soon thereafter.

I hope those faculty who are asked to be focus group members are able to participate in the groups. I know that such participation will be a great service to building a better Georgetown.

A New Day for the Graduate School

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I note with great pleasure that this week Dr. Norberto Grzywacz has joined the Georgetown community as Dean of the Graduate School. Before arriving on the Hilltop, Norberto was the Dwight C. and Hildagarde E. Baum Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering; he was director of the USC Neuroscience Graduate Program for 5 years; he was the director of both the USC Center for Vision Science and Technology (CVST) and the Visual Processing Laboratory (VPL).

For several years he has led a research program in developing a framework of understanding how the brain “sees.” This requires using knowledge from neuroscience, physics, cognitive science, cellular biology, biomedical engineering, and mathematical and computational modeling. He is the author and co-author of scores of peer-reviewed scholarly articles and principal investigator on large research grants. At Georgetown he will be a Professor of Neuroscience and an Affiliate Professor of Physics. He will continue some of his computationally-oriented research during his term as dean.

He received his Bachelors degrees in Physics and Mathematics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1980. In 1984, he received his Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the same institution. From 1984 to 1991, he was first a postdoctoral fellow and then a Research Scientist at the Center for Biological Information Processing of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That year, he moved to the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco, where he became a Senior Scientist in 1994. In September of 2001, he joined the USC Department of Biomedical Engineering as a Professor.

Consistent with the new Graduate School’s vision, Dean Grzywacz will coordinate and lead faculty in building new interdisciplinary graduate programs that build on the current strengths of Georgetown. These are consistent with the strategic goal of serving the large numbers of post-BA/BS who arrive in Washington each year to working in Federal, nonprofit, and private sector organizations. He’ll continue the work of Interim Dean Rebeck in mounting a review protocol of graduate programs that assures that graduate students are best served by Georgetown. He will collaborate with Todd Olson and others in Student Affairs to improve the extracurricular lives of graduate students when possible. He’ll work to rationalize and, when possible, improve the financial support for graduate students.

I’ve found Norberto filled with energy and imagination. He is very widely read and appreciates intellectual thought from a variety of perspectives. He is anxious to meet with chairs and unit heads throughout the university. I hope I join all my colleagues in pledging him the best of what the Georgetown community can offer in supporting his success.

Welcome to Georgetown, Norberto!


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Now that I’ve read countless retrospectives on the year that was 2014, I’m prompted to reflect on Georgetown’s year. It seems like a lot happened in 12 months at the provost’s office.

There were several things that were completed in 2014, and several that were launched.

In response to concerns raised by several students, especially those active in the Black House, we began a series of meetings of students, faculty, and staff organized with three different aims: a) to enhance the education of Georgetown undergraduates regarding race/ethnicity and intergroup relations, b) to discover ways to form stronger ties between alumni and students of color, and c) to increase the transparency of data on minority students and to form a lasting advisory committee to the provost. We worked throughout the year, developed a proposal for a set of courses that would fulfill requirements of the curriculum, made some progress on constructing a list of alumni of color, and designed a new provost advisory committee to be launched in the spring semester. The events of Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, etc., have heightened attention on campus to issues of intergroup relations and the US legacy of race relations. The formal support of education and dialogue on these issues seem ever more important.

Vice-Provost Adriana Kugler, working with a faculty group, completed a new framework for non-tenure-line faculty on the main campus. This removed one of the oddities of Georgetown — the existence of faculty with “visiting professor” titles held continuously for decades. It also established review, salary setting, and promotion procedures that are explicit and permanent. At the same time, the provost office assisted, through Cynthia Chance, in a process that led to a successful first union contract with the adjunct faculty on the main campus. Both of these recognize what an important role is played by faculty outside the traditional tenure track.

We completed a new set of policies, with faculty support, that give faculty greater options for retirement. One is a phased retirement procedure that allows a faculty member to reduce their workload to 50% time for the last two years of their tenure. Another, a one-time offer for this year, is a buyout plan that offers an incentive package to retire next summer, 2015. These are new tools to manage the refreshment of the faculty over time.

The year 2014 saw real progress on Designing the Future(s) of Georgetown, led by Vice-Provost Randall Bass and Director Catherine Armour. This program was the next step after the Initiative on Technology-Enhanced Learning (ITEL), in which faculty launched new uses of technology in their existing courses. While ITEL focused on courses, Designing the Future(s) focused on complete degree programs. For Designing the Future(s), we had external speakers to alert us to the external challenges to US universities. We distributed a set of “pump-priming” ideas, sought faculty input on new experimental educational programs, and set-up an incubator, “the Red House,” where faculty, students, and staff work on designing the experimental programs. The Main Campus Executive Faculty are reviewing proposals over the coming weeks, and 2015 will see the implementation of some of these experimental programs. I’m happy to note that philanthropy from parents and alumni are funding these activities.

We implemented the reorganization of the Graduate School, refocusing it solely on graduate education and asking it to lead the development of new interdisciplinary graduate programs. Simultaneously, we established a new heightened focus on support for external research, located under the Vice-Provost for Research, Janet Mann. Deborah Marshall, Senior Director of Research, has begun the reorganization, has moved the support offices to Reiss (to be closer to the faculty), and has begun the outreach to associated offices to improve services of the faculty.

On the bad side, we faced real budget problems, forcing some painful belt-tightening. Our solution going forward is to increase revenues through new graduate programs, for which we could add as many as 2,000 students under the current campus plan agreement with the city. Our new dean of the Graduate School, Norberto Grzywacz, will join us on January 5 and begin that effort with the support of the other deans.

Much of my personal time involved assisting Dean Montgomery and his faculty in building the new McCourt School of Public Policy. This involves new faculty recruiting, identifying partners for the new Massive Data Institute, and designing the Institute for Politics and Public Service.

There were many “firsts” this year. The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation is a new source of high energy; the McDonough School of Business launched an online MS in Finance; there were new MPS programs at School for Continuing Studies; there is a new joint program between the School of Foreign Service and McDonough.

We had a rough start of the fall term, with a death from meningitis, the memorial service for Dean Carol Lancaster, the impact of the Ferguson tragedy, renewed concerns regarding sexual assault, and preparation for a possible Ebola outbreak. As we worked through these issues, one by one, I learned again about what wonderful colleagues I have. But I’m hoping for a quieter spring on those fronts.

It is unlikely to be quieter on other fronts. Last year’s faculty survey taught us that we need to have more clarity on tenure and promotion procedures, more effective mentoring of faculty, more support for faculty research, more effective use of space, and more support for interdisciplinary work. Undergraduate students want more freedom to take courses across different schools without bureaucratic impediments. Graduate students seek university-supported housing options. Balancing the need to control tuition growth while increasing Georgetown’s educational prowess is a never-ending challenge.

The provost’s office has work to do in 2015.

Office of the ProvostBox 571014 650 ICC37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057Phone: (202) 687.6400Fax: (202)

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