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Box 571014

37th & O St, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20057

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Phone: (202) 687.6400



Georgetown Faces

Earlier posts have commented on the occupational stratification in universities, here, here, here, and here. The central theme was that any university community, although centered around faculty and students, cannot function without a large number of staff, professional, skilled, and unskilled, who collectively create the environment that permits faculty and students to do their joint work.

The posts tried to make the point that much of the external attention on universities is disproportionately focused on the experiences of students and faculty. The scientific popular press highlights new discoveries of university laboratories. Economic journalists seek quotes from business and economics faculty on the latest moves of the economy. Sports journalists highlight the performance of intercollegiate athletes. Multiple media channels post stories of individual students, especially those who overcame obstacles or created innovations that could change the world. University web sites clearly communicate that being an undergraduate at the school is one of the greatest opportunities a young person could imagine.

Yet every building on any campus, every sidewalk, every classroom, every restroom needs care. Plumbing breaks. Leaves fall from trees. Flowers need to be replanted. Windows need to be washed. Students need answers to how they navigate the campus rules. Students need guidance on fitness and intramural sports activities. Students and faculty have mental health service demands. Faculty and students generate trash that needs to be removed after the day’s work. Personal computers break; classroom technologies need calibration and fixes. Office supplies run out. Xerox machines break down. Residence halls have thousands of rooms that need cleaning, ovens that need repairs, refrigerators that break down, ovens that fail. The safety of students and faculty needs attention and oversight. Buses move students and faculty to diverse sites.

In short, universities are like small cities. They supply housing, transportation, food, entertainment, exercise facilties, health care delivery, police protections, IT infrastructure, office buildings, and laboratories. Of course, all of these serve students and faculty, but activities are rarely mentioned in the public communication by the university.

Given these observations, it is heartwarming that the Georgetown Office of Communications has re-energized a service to the entire University community. There were short profiles of staff built up over time, labeled “Georgetown Faces.” We should all revisit the site. They posts taught the reader how varied staff’s work was key to the functioning of the university. The COVID years greatly complicated the continuation of this service to the community, but it’s back in action now.

A wonderful feature of its renewal is that each member of the community can nominate someone they interact with, someone who shows consistent high performance and commitment to Georgetown. Any Georgetown community member can forward a nomination, to propose honoring a staff colleague with a “Georgetown Faces” spotlight. Go here to nominate a valued colleague.

I know we have many, many colleagues whose work matters to the fulfillment of the mission of the university. Too few of us know about them. Nominate one that you know.

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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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