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Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professors for 2017

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The life of an academic usually does not offer as many visible steps of successful career navigation as other professions. We wanted to repair such a weakness in a small way by recognizing Associate Professors who were performing at such a high level that their colleagues wanted to single them out for more visible praise. This led to the naming of Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professors.

Each year we start the process of naming Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professors by having departments and similar units nominate deserving colleagues. A team of University and Endowed Chaired Professors, designations recognizing their own academic accomplishments, judge the various nominations. They forward selections to the Provost. These titles are term-limited with a duration of five years, maximum. (When a Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor is promoted to full professor status, the term would also be completed.)

This post announces the Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professors for 2017. As you can see below, their work exemplifies what makes Georgetown strong – a faculty who themselves are pushing the envelope of knowledge in their field and transmitting their passion for such work to their students.

Emanuela Del Gado is an associate professor in the Physics department and an active researcher in the Georgetown Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology. Dr. Del Gado came to Georgetown from ETH in Zurich, one of Europe’s top scientific research institutions, in the spring of 2014. In the short time since she arrived, she has published 15 peer reviewed articles, with one more in press and several currently under review. Dr. Del Gado is an active collaborator in multiple areas of research, many of them with interdisciplinary impact, and some involving teams across the globe. Her work on so-called “green concrete” has widespread practical implications for reducing energy consumption in the production of concrete. Dr. Del Gado’s research excellence extends to her mentorship of students, postdocs, and visitors. She has attracted a stellar team that has really invigorated the soft matter community here. This summer, Emanuela was invited to join the NSF ADVANCE program at Georgetown supported by an NSF grant shared with five other institutions. This program seeks to support and enhance the trajectory of newly tenured STEM women associate professors by providing a multi-layered mentoring network with the goal of helping these scholars to best take advantage of career development opportunities.

Christine Fair is an associate professor in the School of Foreign Service, with a focus on security studies. A leading expert on the Pakistani military, Fair wrote Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War, published by Oxford University Press in 2014. An extraordinarily prolific and impactful scholar, she has published 45 articles in refereed journals in the field. Professor Fair’s research combines her knowledge of language and linguistics and her regional expertise. She is by no means a conventional political scientist. In the classroom, Professor Fair has an extremely engaging style, challenging her students to excel. Indeed, it is instructive to note that her most recent scholarly book, Pakistan’s Enduring Challenges (University of Pennsylvania Press), is co-edited with former student and research assistant, Sarah Watson. She is able to translate her academic studies for a more general audience and is a frequent commentator on National Public Radio and other television and print outlets. She has testified before Congress 13 times and consults with US government agencies. Dr. Fair is part of the Georgetown NSF ADVANCE program cohort.

Cal Newport is an associate professor of computer science and studies algorithms for distributed computing. This part of his work involves the development of new theories, but has important applications in the modern world of powerful but inexpensive smartphones and self-driving cars filled with multiple processors. These devices are often geographically distributed and have indirect or unreliable means for communicating with other devices. Indeed, many of Professor Newport’s contributions involve analysis of and algorithms for communication in unpredictable networks, in which communication among mobile devices is unreliable. Equally impressive as his contributions to computer science are his books on personal achievement, now five in number. His latest, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, was a Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller. Two of his other books are the meat of lessons he has passed on to Georgetown undergraduates in lectures to incoming students (How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less, and How To Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students).

Rebecca Ryan is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology of Georgetown College, with a focus on applied developmental psychology and social policy. Her work addresses the processes that underlie associations between the demographic circumstances of children’s lives and their well being. Her research reflects the systematic, cumulative nature of her efforts to dig down into the proximal processes – psychological, sociological, and economic – that underlie links from family structure to child and adolescent well-being. Dr. Ryan displays a level of methodological nimbleness that is unparalleled among her peers. She has broadened her repertoire from observational methods to highly sophisticated secondary data analysis to genetic modeling. Dr. Ryan is highly sought after as a mentor by both graduate and undergraduate students. Undergraduate students in Dr. Ryan’s laboratory get intensive training in sophisticated statistical and methodological approaches in developmental science, especially longitudinal analysis using large datasets. They are full participants in all phases of her ongoing studies as evidenced by their inclusion on numerous conference posters as well as co-authorship on papers. Dr. Ryan is also part of the Georgetown NSF ADVANCE program.

Daniel Shore is an associate professor in the English department. Professor Shore was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2014. His first book, Milton and the Art of Rhetoric, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012, and his second, Cyberformalism: The Histories of Linguistic Forms in the Digital Archive, will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2017. Garnering external funding support for scholarly work in the humanities is difficult. However, between 2013 and 2016, Professor Shore has quite successfully secured external support for his research from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Mellon Foundation, the Folger Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Some of this research funding built on early research funded by Google. Much of this work is team-based research with faculty at other universities and other fields of study. One digital humanities project is developing novel network analyses to study persons connected to Francis Bacon and his work. In doing some of the digital humanities research, he is building a data resource that students and other scholars can use far in the future, thus contributing to the common good of future generations.

We congratulate them all for their accomplishments thus far and want them to know how much the Georgetown community treasures them as colleagues.

The Global University in an Age of Uncertainty

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Much work at Georgetown (and most other US universities) over the past few days has been focused on ties between the university and the larger world outside the US.

The work has, of course, first been centered on international students from the seven named countries facing new restrictions on entry to the US. Ongoing meetings have taught us that each of the affected students has a unique story and set of issues going forward. They need guidance and updated facts about implementation of new policies. We agreed that ongoing meetings would be needed to stay current with the rapidly changing regulatory environment.

Several things became clear in this meeting:

  • Many of the students face prospects of not being able to return to the US if they left during vacation time, summers, or other breaks.
  • Many of the students were enrolled in programs that had credit-bearing features that take students outside the US for learning experiences.

It became clear we have work to do.

We recently were able to establish an agreement with a local law firm to provide pro bono legal counsel to these students. The guidance was clear to the students that, under current interpretations, current students with statuses supporting their educational activities had the ability to complete their programs when remaining in the US.

Later we had a meeting with admissions’ leaders for Georgetown programs. We are in the heat of reviewing applications right now; we have large numbers of applicants from outside the US. Most seek a start to their programs in fall, 2017. These students can add to the richness of differences so important to the global orientation of Georgetown. In the meeting, we taught each other about the timing of different review processes and the need to interact with international students expeditiously to facilitate visa acquisition. We decided to do all we could to hasten our evaluation and communication processes this year, in order to get our chosen students into the visa application process as soon as possible.

We also have asked all programs to invent accommodations for international students in programs requiring experiences outside the US, so that they can complete the requirements of the program.

Finally, we decided to send a note to all of our current international applicants for next year, noting that Georgetown values them as an integral part of our academic community, and to convey that, once accepted, we will welcome them to Georgetown and do all we can possibly do to ensure their successful completion of their program.

For over 200 years, Georgetown has embraced students from around the world. They have enriched our intellectual and social community; we have learned much from them; they have pursued careers that have contributed to the common good. We will not alter this part of our mission.

Listening and Learning How to Talk to the Other

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Some time ago I wrote (here and here) about the evolving effects of media isolation, exacerbated by residential, educational, and occupational segregation. The cumulative impact of this is that all of us are surrounded by people and information that are rather homogeneous. Our most frequent interactions and our news sources tend to reinforce our prior beliefs. We’re not observing the real differences that exist in the world.

One way forward is to expose ourselves to conversations with those different from us. This can be challenging, especially when large cultural differences might be present. Indeed, it can even be scary. How do we avoid unintentionally offending the other person? How can we really learn about them without appearing to be prying into their private lives?

This challenge faces faculty, students, and staff members at Georgetown. The Provost’s Committee for Diversity wanted to tackle this problem early in the year, and their work is coming to fruition in the next few days.

Instead of merely noting that we all need to be better at inter-group communication, they’ve decided to do something about it. They’ve planned a set of dialogues across the various cultural, racial, and other groups that together form the Georgetown community.

The talented staff at the Center for New Designs and Learning (CNDLS) have completed some of the training for student volunteer facilitators. The students will coordinate discussions among their fellow students on issues of interaction across groups.

On February 16th, there will be 50 to 60 students engaged in “diversity dialogues,” seeking on their own to become more competent in interacting with different cultures.

One feature of the initiative is its embedding in the larger What’s a Hoya? program of the university. By forming small diverse groups, the dialogues will seek to actively engage students to promote understanding and increase empathy across differences, especially racial differences.

If this first effort proves useful, we’re hopeful that it could be rolled out to larger numbers of students over time.

Talking to others as a way of understanding is a never-ending obligation of a member of a diverse society. We’re hopeful, however, that the interpersonal skills necessary to be an effective listener and collocutor can be learned by all of us. If our students assemble those skills while they’re at Georgetown, perhaps they can avoid the fragmentation and balkanization of groups so evident today in the larger society. The Provost’s Committee for Diversity should be congratulated for taking the lead in helping us see the way forward.

Faculty Groups Getting Together

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In my visits around campus, a common refrain I hear is that Georgetown faculty find it difficult to get together to share common research/scholarship interests.

Of particular relevance are faculty who reside in different units (schools, departments, centers) who share interests but don’t have structured ways to interact.

We want to encourage such organic creation of scholarly interest groups. This is part of the larger effort to build an environment that supports original inquiry by our faculty.

We’ve decided to try a new program to facilitate such intellectual exchanges. The provost’s office will support new gatherings of faculty to discuss shared research interests, which might blossom into collaborative work or other ways to advance their scholarship.

We want to make the process simple:

                  1. The provost’s office will support the cost of group lunches or other meals, handle                   the logistics of room reservations, and meeting announcements.

                  2. The faculty involved will have the job of organizing the discussion and probing the                   desirability of continuing collaborative activities.

                  3. A multi-sentence (about 100 words) proposal can be sent in an email to Vice-Provost Janet                   Mann, describing the idea and what payoffs might result from the interchanges and listing the                   faculty.

                  4. The Provost’s Faculty Advisory Committee will act on the proposal within a three-day                   window.

To make sure the support is wisely distributed, the following attributes will be part of the process:

                  1. Groups of faculty not yet working together are eligible for the support; long standing                   collaborative groups or seminar series should be supported through other mechanisms.

                  2. Groups should consist of at least 5 faculty members; the faculty attending should represent                   more than one school, department or unit.

                  3. The lunch conversation sessions should be advertised for other faculty members (not part                   of the original proposal) to attend if their interests coincide with those of the group.

                  4. The provost’s office will support three group lunches/meals over time under the original                   proposal. Extension is possible if there are unusual reasons, but we expect that other support                   systems would be invented after the three lunch sequence.

                  5. After the supported sessions have been completed, the faculty involved will send a short                   summary of the outcome and future plans to Janet Mann, by way of reporting of the value of                   the support.

The program begins immediately. We hope this might, in a small way, help the environment for faculty scholarship.

Formation in the 21st Century

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A couple of years ago I wrote a post that reflected on many conversations with alumni, as well as parents and potential employers of Georgetown students. The gist of the message was their call for Georgetown to continue to produce values-centered, broadly-educated, creative, articulate graduates, but also expose them to skills that equip them well for 21st century leadership.

Since that time, through the work of many faculty and students, especially those taking advantage of the Designing the Future(s) initiative at the Red House incubator, we’ve made progress. Focus groups and design studios were held around the country with young alumni, who provided ideas about what experiences would have been helpful to them while studying at Georgetown. They assessed their courses at Georgetown with different eyes, enriched by their work-life events post-graduation. They expressed their own desires for a continuation of their Georgetown education. In a sense, they were thirsting to revisit aspects of the core liberal education curriculum, perhaps a little wiser about its value to them.

We also analyzed the lifecycle of undergraduates at Georgetown. We discovered that many were accumulating credits over their years that permitted them to graduate at the normal end of their eighth semester, but take a smaller than full course load in their last semester. In focus group discussions with them, some expressed the desire for learning that would be a useful bridge from the courses in their major and associated electives, on one hand, and their career/professional aspirations, on the other. More food for thought.

Conversations with faculty members and curricular designers followed. Gradually the idea of attempting to serve both seniors and young alumni emerged – the “Bridge Courses” were conceptualized.

The first editions of Bridge Courses are being offered this semester. They are all 1-credit courses. They are a mix of offerings – some permit the acquisition of skills valued in the 21st Century workplace; others are structured reflection on key choices that unlock lasting meaning in one’s life.

To get a sense of the latter set—known as Revisiting the Core courses—there is a course that examines how one can discern one’s authentic self, in the context of social norms that influence other outcomes. There is a course addressing how to maintain one’s identity and values in a world of rapidly changing features, where social relations are constantly impinging on traditional ways of doing things.

Regarding more concrete work-related skills, there are courses on techniques of negotiation, data visualization, story-telling, and one for those seniors trying to identify an ideal career in synthesis with their full curricular experiences at Georgetown.

An email announcement was distributed to all seniors about the courses. In a matter of hours most of the courses were filled. Several have waiting lists. So the planners may have hit upon a real need. 

In some sense this is a launch phase, but it could not have taken place without some administrative changes to permit courses spanning all schools and a lot of work by faculty and staff. This semester, most of the attention has been placed on graduating seniors. Our next step is to build out the young alumni piece, piloting a whole range of new ways to sustain Georgetown’s ongoing formational relationship with alumni five years or fewer out. We also hope that the Bridge Course platform will provide a novel new context to help 8th-semester seniors network with recent graduates. 

This semester marks very visible progress on the goal of a fuller preparation of our graduates for effective and fulfilling lives in the modern world. Kudos to all those who worked so diligently to achieve this step!

The Limits of Speed in Human Connection

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It is common, almost trite, to observe that modern life has reduced the amount of time to do many day-to-day tasks. It takes less time to communicate to another because we have instant messaging, texting, email and other near real-time communication devices. We are recipients of news of events around the world within minutes of their occurrence. With the ubiquity of quick electronic communication we can greatly enlarge the number of persons whom we contact at any one time.

We also are increasingly assisted by devices that permit and encourage multi-tasking. We can sit in a meeting listening to a speaker while we simultaneously communicate with someone far away on a different topic, read a passage on an unrelated document, or make a purchase on an e-commerce site. We can capture notes on one issue while other processors in our laptop are scanning for information on some other issue.

These facts lead to, at least in appearance, greater productivity.

Of course, there are costs to this. Sometimes we all feel that we are indeed processing more transactions of one sort or another than we accomplished formerly, but at the same time we’re losing important texture in our lives.

One of the great contributions of the humanities as a collection of fields of scholarship is the use of stories and narratives to convey complex messages effectively. Stories convey fundamental and ubiquitous features of human existence. They can effectively evoke the emotions connected to experiences, which lead to long-lasting memories and rationales for future behavior. Stories defy 140 character limits. Stories told face-to-face seem to add rich texture to our lives.

There are some old social psychological studies of communication that varied the channels of communication from written, to aural-only, to full aural and video (2-dimensional), to face-to-face (audio and 3-dimensional visual). The outcome variables were sometimes effectiveness of collaboration, accuracy of message reception, and interpersonal trust. Face-to-face interactions showed superior performance, especially in matters of emotional content and interpersonal trust building.

So, what’s the connection? One of the great gaps in society today is lack of understanding across groups who do not routinely interact with one another.
Understanding one another requires some time. Personal stories need to be exchanged. The meaning and tone of words need to be understood. The nonverbal behavior needs to be interpreted.

In that context, much electronic communication that allows all of us to “process” large numbers of transactions each day relies on rather “narrow” channels. They are limited to a small number of words or symbols. They’re fast, but they’re lean. The amount of information is often limited. With limited content, the emotional impact is restricted (or worse ambiguous). With restricted channels, interpersonal trust is difficult to build.

It seems likely that jumps in inter-group understanding needs sufficient time, exchange of personal stories, and communication of emotional states that can be really achieved only slowly and in a face-to-face setting.

If true, it feels old fashioned in 2017 to be concluding this. We actually might have to slow down, engage in extended dialogue, to achieve the interpersonal understanding that seems so rare these days. It’s pretty counterculture. But it’s actually something that we can do pretty well at Georgetown.

The Notion of a Sabbatical

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Hanging out with relatives over the holiday reminded me of how little understood is the role of the sabbatical for academics. December was also the time for review of applications for sabbaticals at Georgetown, and the office finds itself discussing the issue. There aren’t too many work organizations that sponsor sabbaticals, and it’s tempting for the uninformed to think of a sabbatical as an extended vacation.

First, maybe we should document the “why” of a sabbatical. The knowledge that is transmitted within universities is ever-changing. Faculty routinely change their syllabi semester-by-semester to reflect ongoing advances in their fields, to incorporate new research findings, and to describe the latest controversies in the area. With the evolution of global communication, and the fact that much scholarship is taking place outside the US, keeping up with developments is challenging.

An individual scholar’s work must be original to have impact. The second scholar to discover or produce something has little impact relative to that of the first. Sabbaticals are a time to solidify one’s scholarly contributions at the forefront of the field.

Some universities call sabbaticals “research leaves.” I like that nomenclature as one way to dispel the notion that relaxation and recreation are the goals of the time. However, even that moniker misses the varied options of work during a sabbatical.

At Georgetown, applications for sabbatical are really a research proposal. Sometimes they describe high-energy focused efforts to synthesize work into a book manuscript; sometimes it’s the collection of new observations to be analyzed fully upon return to Georgetown. Sometimes the proposal involves a retooling of knowledge and skills in order for the faculty member to develop a new line of research. In that sense, the sabbatical propels a new era in their careers. Sometimes the proposal involves activities within a different country, a different research environment, a business, or a nongovernmental organization. In these, there are usually reciprocal benefits, both to the visited organization and to the faculty member.

Based on faculty surveys a few years ago, we realized that more flexibility in sabbatical use could improve Georgetown. Some scholars’ cycles of work needed something other than the every six-year, one semester research leave option. So we now permit the use of partial sabbaticals of more frequent but shorter duration (see here).

The outcomes sought from a sabbatical are new peer-reviewed research products and books, but also new research collaborations outside of Georgetown. An additional outcome is a scholar returning re-energized with new paths of scholarship identified that can be exploited over several future years.

Of course, Georgetown students are often the most direct and immediate beneficiaries of sabbaticals. Sabbaticals can enrich the quality of instruction they experience from the returning faculty member, resulting in new examples, new project foci, new problem sets, and sometimes new internship opportunities.

Georgetown’s future needs faculty at the cutting edge of their fields; sabbaticals are one of the ways the faculty continue their cutting edge contributions.

Universities and Fake News

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It appears that we are entering a new phase of social communication, in which falsehoods will be intentionally disseminated via various media. When nation-states or governments do this, we often label this as propaganda. It’s known to have powerful influence on public opinion when the falsehoods can be simply communicated and are repeated over and over. When one-off false news releases occur on diverse topics, saturating the media space, it yields a skepticism about all information. Both of these are undesirable in democracies.

It occurs to me that much of scholarly inquiry uses skills that are well-equipped to help us survive in an era of fake news. Indeed, one feature of scholarly inquiry that spans all the disciplines is its dispassionate search for truth, often in the midst of irrelevant and/or contradictory information. The ability of scholars to discard the untruths and noise in a set of observations and identify the true attributes is a key criterion for their success. All scholars are skeptical of new information until it has proven itself to be true.

So, in this age of fake news, what questions can we apply to each bit of news we encounter? First, and maybe most importantly, we need to ask whether we, independently, can acquire information that confirms or disproves the news item. If we have the ability to observe the same circumstance or make the same observations as the news report, would we conclude that the news item is correct or incorrect?

Second, does the news item provide some transparency to the method of achieving the knowledge that produced the item? Do we know the source of the knowledge — is this a first-hand report from an original observer or a second/third-hand report? If there is an explicit description of how the information was obtained, could anyone replicate this method? Is it a technique that could generate any other outcome or does the method necessarily produce the outcome reported? If there is no description of how the information was obtained, disbelief is prudent, for the time being.

Third, does the news item comport with other known facts related to the item? If the item is true, what events must have preceded it? What events, if any, must follow it, if it indeed happened? If the item is true, what other things must be true, and do we have any evidence that those things are true? If this logic leads to contradictions between known facts and the news time, suspending belief is prudent.

Fourth, do we find the source of the news credible? Does it have a track record or is it a completely new source? If it has a track record, what do we know about its veracity in the past? If it has no track record, was the same content also disseminated by sources known to have their own vetting? If these questions yield no support, disbelief is prudent.

Fifth and last, how long have we known this news? Has sufficient time passed since the announcement that independent sources might have vetted the news? Truth sometimes stubbornly resists immediate revelation. That’s why scientific ethics require replication and peer review before acceptance of a new finding. A suspension of belief, so common among scholars, seem a useful skill in this age.

These are the processes that are common to critical review of new information within all academic fields. It may be time to promote them in our everyday lives.

Reflections at the End of Fall, 2016

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The life of an academic has more scheduled cycles than most professions. Each fall is a clean slate. New students flock to a class that begins with a fresh start by the instructor. Semesters offer a framework for a beginning, a middle, and an end, all in a short four months. Examinations and final papers are delivered and graded, and grades are submitted to the registrar’s office. The semester is over. A break occurs. The next cycle then begins.

Fall semesters are doubly filled with ends of cycles. The calendar year ends roughly when the semester ends. Such co-occurrence breeds a type of reflection, a looking back on recent events and attempts at synthesis of meaning.

This was a rough year, in our country and on our campuses. We live in a world of widespread conflicts, clashes of beliefs and of economic statuses. Ethnic and racial tensions seem ever-visible. Many people, even those not directly involved in these tensions, seem unsettled. Inequalities on every dimension abound. Across all groups, feelings of disenfranchisement seem more ubiquitous.

Of course, technological change powered by and aiding globalization appear correlated with these issues. It seems clearer now how these two forces, so important to wonderful new benefits to the world, also bring new problems. For example, we now know it is easier to expose ourselves only to information that is compatible with our prior beliefs, given the segmentation of information media.

We at Georgetown are part of this world. It affects us, even while we are attempting to affect it.

But as we reflect on the semester and the year, I think we also possess a set of values that can help us see a way forward. Here at Georgetown we acknowledge that we have been privileged. That privilege brings with it a responsibility.

Many of the world’s problems, complex and large as they seem, are rooted in inter-personal and inter-group conflicts. Georgetown can draw on a 450 year tradition of a search for empathy, understanding of differences, and inculturation of our work within environments quite different from ours. These values seek engagement with the world, especially when aspects of it frighten us. Honesty about our ignorance of others and humility in our approaches serve us well in this engagement.

Reflecting on the year of 2016, it seems urgent for all of us to attempt to understand those who are not in our own group. We need to reidentify what we all share in our worldview. We need dialogue to understand how very different perspectives than ours can be held.

In short, being “women and men for others” cannot succeed when we know too little of the “others.” And so, before we change the world, we might give a little attention to changing ourselves and how we relate to the “others” among us. Indeed, starting with those around us might be a great training ground for our work in the wider world.

What Do the Faculty Think About It?

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In January 2016, the Harvard School of Education sent out a web survey invitation to both tenure-line and non-tenure-line faculty at the main campus, seeking their evaluations of various parts of their jobs. This was a replication of a survey conducted in 2014 and was a Provost’s Office attempt to gauge whether it was serving the needs of the faculty. The survey was attractive to us because it permitted comparisons of Georgetown faculty evaluations with those of faculty from other universities. The data are kept confidential and the office receives statistical summaries.

The findings of the 2014 survey were used to identify strategic initiatives of the Provost’s Office, including: building a career framework for the non-tenure-line faculty; increasing mentoring and other support for associate professors; increasing protections for interdisciplinary activities; improving the research administration process; and inventing more equitable and flexible retirement plans.

Repeating the survey gave us all a chance to evaluate whether these initiatives were achieving their goals and also whether new concerns had arisen since 2014.

This year about 59% of the faculty completed the survey, much higher than the 42% of our peer universities. The lowest response rates came from non-tenure-line faculty and faculty of color; women had higher response rates than men.

Using the new results, there are two questions that can be answered:

  1. What issues underlie the most prevalent dissatisfactions; which are the source of greatest satisfaction?
  2. What issues are less important or more important in 2016 than they were in 2014?

For the first question, we can compare Georgetown with five peer institutions (listed in the January 13 post). The top two issues on which Georgetown faculty are less satisfied than their peers are clarity regarding the promotion from associate to full professor and lack of support for interdisciplinary work. The top two issues on which we are more satisfied than our peers are health and retirement benefits and the quality of departmental leadership.

In terms of what changed between 2014 and 2016, there is one item that received lower ratings: the effectiveness of communication of priorities by me. I’ll be seeking help from faculty on how I might improve my performance on this. The more notable increases between 2014 and 2016 in faculty satisfaction include tenure policies and the clarity of expectations concerning them, as well as faculty mentoring.

The survey asked some specific questions about the initiatives of the Provost’s Office that were motivated by the 2014 survey. Faculty were asked whether they thought a given area had substantially worsened, worsened, stayed the same, improved, or substantially improved since 2014. The issues on which faculty tended to see improvement or substantial improvement were the full-time non-tenure-line framework and the curricular experimentation (e.g., ITEL and Designing the Future(s)). There was somewhat lower recognition of progress for the initiatives to benefit associate professors. Finally, the least notice of improvement was for the phased retirement and buyout initiatives and research administration. We still have work to do on the latter two.

We are examining differences of opinions, reactions, and concerns of different faculty groups now (e.g., men/women, assistant/associate/full professors, non-tenure-line/tenure-line). We can report findings on those over the coming days.

I thank the entire faculty that took the time to complete the web survey. Just as with the 2014 version, we will use this as a report card on performance by Provost’s Office, and will attempt to identify ways to improve Georgetown on the key issues highlighted by the survey. We’ll seek guidance from faculty in small group discussions about how best to achieve such improvements.

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

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