Message From the Dean — June 2020

June 23, 2020

Dear GWSB Community,

I feel fortunate and proud to be part of our GWSB community. This has become ever so clear, especially during these trying times as we have come together to process, learn and act in solidarity against racism and bias in the wake of senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and others. In addition to #GWInSolidarity programs, we are committed to working with our Diversity and Inclusion Council and all our constituents to fulfill our aspiration of being a community where everyone feels a sense of belonging and flourishes in learning, teaching and research.

We have also been working through the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic. Our faculty and staff have missed having students on campus, and our students are eager to be back. Last week, GW submitted our plan for re-opening campus to the D.C. Office of Planning and Department of Health. The draft outlines our approach for bringing students, faculty and staff back to campus and is pending approval by the D.C. government. The document will be revised as we continue to receive feedback and develop specific academic and operational plans. Please visit this web page to read the full message from GW President Thomas LeBlanc. Below are few key points and some GWSB news to share:

Fall 2020 Schedule and Instruction

  • Under this plan, for most of our students, the Fall 2020 semester will begin on August 31 and go until November 24, 2020, right before Thanksgiving, with two weeks of continued remote instruction beyond that. We will hold classes on Labor Day and there will be no fall break. Some students, such as the first year GMBA students, will start sooner on August 10, 2020.
  • The school and the university are investing in appropriate technology in the classroom to allow our faculty to offer our classes in the HyFlex mode. This form of hybrid course design will allow flexibility for students to take courses online, face-to-face, or switch between the modalities. Classes will meet during usual university time periods, and students can join the course virtually via live-streaming technology. This short video is an illustration of a HyFlex classroom, with faculty and students simultaneously on campus and online.
  • In addition to investing in the new technology to support HyFlex courses, our instructional design team is working closely with our faculty to focus on different aspects of HyFlex course preparation in weekly workshops and one-on-one sessions throughout the summer. This hard work by our faculty and staff will help us ensure a great learning experience for all our students, and position us well to offer instructional continuity in various scenarios or possible disruptions. 

Safety Protocols

  • A detailed operational plan is being finalized to ensure appropriate safety protocols that include mapping and reconfiguring every area in each building to ensure social distancing. Everyone will be required to wear masks, and signage about social distancing will be placed in all buildings and facilities on all our campuses. 
  • The residence halls are being fitted appropriately to create more spacing for the students. Regular testing will be available to students, faculty and staff to ensure we remain healthy and safe.
  • The school and the university are also developing course attendance rotations, where appropriate, to follow CDC classroom guidelines for how many students should be in a room at a time by square footage. We are carefully measuring each common area and each classroom and re-configuring them to ensure decreased density requirements are realized.
  • We are also developing plans for offering an impactful co-curricular experience for our students. With the priorities of safety and care for our community, we will be working with student leadership and staff to adapt and plan student life activities in the fall.

Dean’s Virtual Town Halls

We will be hosting “Town Hall” virtual meetings for our students and parents in July to share more definitive and detailed information. These meetings will take place in addition to the new student sessions hosted by our Graduate and Undergraduate Programs Offices in the summer. During these live streamed sessions, we will review the Fall 2020 Back to Campus plan and respond to questions about the fall semester in the School of Business:

Dean’s Corporate Council

The Corporate Council completed its first year of regular sessions with the GWSB leadership, faculty and staff. The Council breakfast meetings, in person and recently online, created a platform for discussions with local business leaders and established an engaged network of corporate partners. I want to thank all Council members for their feedback and guidance, and our faculty and staff for sharing expertise and participating in the discussions. We look forward to our continued exchange of ideas to help shape business education curriculum and programs that will be relevant to the local and global business community needs as we work through the implications of COVID-19 as we anticipate and stay prepared to quickly adapt for the post-pandemic world.

GWSB Continued Upward Trajectory

Our faculty continue to make increasingly impactful contributions that have garnered recognitions from the academy and enhanced our scholarly standing. Additionally, our work together has helped GWSB programs continue to experience a significant rise in major rankings. Although COVID-19 will have a significant impact on the finances of GWSB in the near term, there are promising indicators for the long term. One such indicator is the continued growth of interest in our innovative, flexible and customizable set of graduate programs and certificates which saw applications rise by 25 percent, year over year, including domestic applications that doubled this year. With guidance from all our stakeholders including the GWSB Board of Advisors, we expect to continue to innovate and lead business education.

GWBusiness Magazine

I am also pleased to announce that the 2020 issue of GWBusiness Magazine is now available on the GWSB website. This year’s edition of the annual publication features articles on faculty research, the 45th anniversary of the Master of Tourism program, how GWSB is reimagining business education with its flexible, stackable certificate programs, and the F. David Fowler Career Center’s exciting new strategies for delivering world-class career management guidance. The magazine also includes a roundup of news highlights from the 2019-20 academic year, a selection of alumni profiles that showcases the remarkable achievements of GWSB graduates in a wide variety of endeavors, and more.

George Talks Business

I hope you can join us for the next special summer edition in the George Talks Business series on Wednesday, June 24, from 12:00-12:30 p.m., when Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Professor Liesl Riddle welcomes Kenneth Gannetta, Skye Kussman and Carrie Gannetta of People Powered Doors, the winners of the 2020 GW New Venture Competition. Register here for what is certain to be an entertaining and informative session.

Together we must continue to work hard, as one GWSB community, to overcome the present challenges to provide an excellent business education to our students.  

Stay well and stay strong,

image - Dean Anuj Mehrotra signature

Anuj Mehrotra, Ph.D.