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Change for a Future We Seek

Georgetown has several academic goals that propel the provost’s office activities. One is to increase the impact of research activity at the university, which is compatible with increasing research experiences for undergraduate and graduate students and with strengthening graduate programs. Another is to enhance the academic programs by new forms of collaboration between the provost’s office and other operating units at the University. Finally, we are striving to use program and administrative data at the University to guide decisions. During the fall I observed one other problem, an unnecessary gulf between faculty and academic administrators. While there are always communication challenges between the two groups, I found that to achieve the goals above special attention to the issue was warranted.

To address these issues I am reorganizing the provost’s office. To improve communication with faculty and to enhance opportunities for faculty to gain administrative experience, I am creating three new faculty-based positions – Vice-Provost Faculty, Vice-Provost Education, and Vice-Provost Research. The Vice-Provost Research will act to implement changes that we are now mounting to make it easier for faculty to mount important research projects. The Vice-Provost Education will focus on both undergraduate and graduate programs, with a special attention to integrating the two parts of the educational mission of Georgetown, fostering new interdisciplinary programs, and guiding evaluation of existing programs. The Vice-Provost Faculty will lead efforts to aid schools in recruiting world-class scholars and teachers, with special attention to foster joint appointments with other campuses and other institutions.

These vice-provost positions will be held by full professors from one of the schools at Georgetown. The positions will be .75 fractional appointments, with teaching and research activities continuing for the .25 complementary time. At most a vice-provost will complete two three-year terms. The vice-provosts will be assisted by full-time administrative staff. I hope that over the years these positions will provide administrative experience and skills for senior faculty who aspire to leadership positions in the university. By reflecting the views of the faculty more directly at the provost’s decision table, I hope to provide better leadership to the campus.

To increase the efficiency of the university, two other changes will be made. First, we will unite the financial data with the analysis of students’, faculty’s, courses’ performance data. A new position, Vice-President For Finance and Program Analytics, will oversee both the Main Campus Finance Office as well as the Office of Assessment and Decision Support (OADS). By integrating cost data and program data, we hope to provide schools will better intelligence about the efficiency of their programs. By continuously analyzing the data, we seek to improve the service the provost’s office provides to deans, program directors, faculty, and students. Second, we will appoint a chief operating officer (COO) for the main campus who will report jointly to me and Chris Augostini, the university COO. This new position will assure smooth integration of the university services’ units and the main campus academic units.

I am very conscious of minimizing the administrative costs of the university and will attempt to make other changes to minimize the net costs of these decisions. I’m confident, however, that the new organization can give Georgetown a more effective provost’s office and help it achieve its research and educational aspirations.

One thought on “Change for a Future We Seek

  1. Dr. Groves should be commended for reorganizing his office to improve academic and administrative performance on the Main Campus. Below are some comments and suggestions for his office and associate provosts:

    1. Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs: This is a very important position, as the faculty and students are a university’s most valuable assets, and the Provost should be aware of their views and aspirations. There are a number of priority areas, which the Associate should look into. In collaboration with concerned deans and department heads and the Main Campus Executive Council, he/she should:
    Develop or update a realistic plan for increasing GU faculty salaries and benefits so that they become closer to those of top universities, and estimate how much needs to be raised in endowment funds during capital campaigns to achieve that goal. Advocate giving priority to faculty offices whenever space becomes available on campus (e.g. when the old Jesuit residence is remodeled), come up with creative ideas for resolving the shortage of faculty office space, and make a realistic estimate of future office space requirements. Support schools and departments in their efforts to recruit outstanding faculty, showing flexibility in the level of salaries and benefits offered, etc., within the resources of the University, when departments are very keen to recruit a particular outstanding candidate for a faculty position. Support the departments’ efforts to retain top faculty who have received attractive offers elsewhere by making suitable counter offers. Look into the salary and working conditions of the adjunct faculty and suggest improvements. At present adjunct faculty at GU are said to receive about $6,000 per semester course, and much has been written in recent years about the plight of adjunct faculty nationwide, including in the D.C. area. Often they have to teach four or more courses per semester at three or more different colleges to make ends meet, and this affects the quality of teaching. Top liberal arts colleges offer $8,000 per course to their adjunct faculty, and Harvard is said to pay $11,000 per course. A Catholic university such as Georgetown should try to ensure that all its teaching staff have enough income to live on in an expensive city like Washington, D.C.
    Ensure that a system is in place in all schools and departments for making clear to junior tenure track faculty what the requirements of obtaining tenure are in their field, and for mentoring them so that that they can fully develop their talents over time, and secure tenure and promotion. Strengthen programs aimed at developing the teaching and research skills of faculty members, especially younger ones. Help develop a system for the promotion of non-tenure track faculty, so that those with excellent teaching, notable publications and service to the University are not stuck at the Visiting Assistant Professor level all their careers.
    Encourage collegiality and diversity (not only in race, gender, and ethnicity, but also in viewpoints, approaches and schools of thought) in all schools and departments. As much as possible try to rationalize and standardize the classification of adjunct faculty, which today use various appellations such as Lecturer, Professorial Lecturer, Adjunct Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Adjunct Professor, Adjunct Assistant Professor, etc. depending on schools and departments. Ensure that these categories are clearly defined. Look into and help resolve cases of inequity involving salaries and possibly ranks of full-time (both tenure-track and non tenure-track) and part-time faculty.

    Associate Provost for Education: Some of the important tasks he or she could perform under the supervision of the Provost and in collaboration with concerned deans and department heads are as follows:
    Encourage collaboration, communication and coordination among schools and departments. There are still ample possibilities on the main campus for joint degrees, cross listing of courses, and for departments and programs opening their courses to each others students. He or she should also encourage the formation of “networks” among faculty in priority interdisciplinary areas, along the line of the existing network for African Studies, which would encourage communication, collaboration and cross fertilization among faculty working in such areas.
    Identify and implement new ways to improve the intellectual life on the Main Campus, especially among undergraduates. This issue has been under consideration for a number of years.
    Identify departments, which have received less attention and need to be strengthened, such as Sociology, Anthropology, and Art/Art History. (Perhaps Dr. Groves as a Sociologist could himself do something to help the underprivileged Sociology and Anthropology Departments).
    Identify which departments are understaffed in relation to the workload they are carrying, and suggest the addition of a few faculty positions so that they can better perform their teaching, research, and service functions, and perhaps offer classes in foundation, core and required subjects that are somewhat smaller in size. Help coordinate and move forward efforts at revising the core curriculum, which have been going on for a long time, taking into account the mission and pedagogical philosophy of the University, as well as the views of faculty and students.

    Associate Provost for Research: Under the supervision of the Provost, he or she should strengthen the administrative support capability and the research infrastructure to help faculty obtain and implement external research grants.

    I am glad that Dr. Groves will be careful not to increase administrative costs excessively as a result of his reorganization. Hopefully, it will also not result in an increase in bureaucratic red tape. One major public university was recently criticized in the press for having a far larger administrative staff than faculty. Hopefully, this will not happen at Georgetown.

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

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