Aug. 19, 2003

GW On the Move

University Announces Several Organizational and Administrative Changes this Summer

Sometimes the best person for the job is right in front of you. Such was the case this summer as 12 current, and one returning, GW administrators took on new roles at the University as a result of reorganizations in the offices of academic affairs and student and academic support services, coupled with a departure and a shift in responsibility in the Medical Center.

Frederic A. Siegel, whose career in higher education spans more than 30 years, returned to GW on July 1 as associate vice president and dean of freshmen, a newly created position under Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak, with reporting responsibilities to both Chernak and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald R. Lehman.

Siegel’s tasks as associate vice president and dean of freshmen will be divided into three sizable chunks: Mount Vernon Campus administration, enhancing the freshman experience and international student services.

He is the principal administrator for the Mount Vernon Campus. His duties will include efforts to “integrate the Mount Vernon Campus into the mainstream of life in Foggy Bottom,” said Siegel. “We want to make Mount Vernon as attractive as possible so that more and more students see it as their campus of choice.”

Second, as dean of freshmen, Siegel will be taking a larger view of how to make the first-year experience as meaningful as possible both in and out of the classroom. He will oversee the University’s orientation for new students — known as Colonial Inauguration — as well as student life programs and the general advising of freshman students.

Finally, Siegel will guide the development of the International Student Office.

“That could be interpreted either narrowly or quite large, depending upon how you look at it,” said Siegel, referring to the challenges international students face with increased Immigration and Naturalization Service regulation in the post-Sept. 11, 2001 world.

“My larger goal in that role is to increase GW’s marketing and recruitment efforts overseas, coordinating our efforts to improve both undergraduate and graduate enrollment.”

His first order of business on that front will be to hire an executive director for the International Student Office.

“I look forward to making student life even more vibrant than it already is,” said Siegel. “This new position will give me the opportunity to be involved in new aspects of campus life and to grow personally and professionally.”

Previously Siegel served as an assistant vice president for enrollment management and director of admissions from 1991–97.

Jean Folkerts, former interim dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, became associate vice president for special academic initiatives, effective July 1. In this capacity, she will oversee the Office of Special Academic Programs and the University Honors Program. In addition, Folkerts will have fundraising responsibilities associated with the Strategic Plan for Academic Excellence — an initiative that seeks to position GW into the ranks of top-tier institutions. She will report directly to Donald R. Lehman, executive vice president for academic affairs.

“I am extremely pleased to have Jean Folkerts join the academic affairs team with general oversight of the National Fellowships Competitions, the Honors Program and special academic programs,” said Lehman. “Her extensive academic leadership experience will serve her well in her new role at GW.”

Grae Baxter moved from her role as executive dean at the Mount Vernon Campus to interim director of the University Honors Program, succeeding Peter Rollberg, who remains associate professor of Slavic languages and international affairs. In addition to the traditional duties as Honors Program director, Baxter will oversee the newly created Office of National Fellowship Competitions, which will help GW students compete in national fellowship competitions such as Rhodes Scholarships and Marshall Scholarships. A director for the new office will be hired. Meanwhile, the Office of Fellowships and Graduate Student Support will change its name to the Office of Graduate Student Support with Geri Rypkema remaining as director.

Rachelle Heller, professor of engineering and applied science and former SEAS associate dean, has been appointed by Lehman to serve as associate dean for academic affairs at the Mount Vernon Campus. She will be responsible for working with each school on academic planning for the campus. Heller will report to Craig Linebaugh, who will see his title change from associate vice president for academic planning and special projects to associate vice president for academic planning and development. 

Keith Betts moves from executive director of alumni relations to a newly established position as senior executive director of student and academic support services strategic initiatives and special consultant to the Senior Vice President Chernak. Betts will be working on initiatives that will further strengthen the bond among students, alumni and GW.

Helen Cannaday-Saulny is being promoted to assistant vice president for student and academic support services. She comes to this position after 19 years of service to GW in such positions as the assistant to the vice president of student and academic support services, director of the Multicultural Student Services Center and more recently as the guardian of the University’s licensing and trademarks. Cannaday-Saulny will oversee campus activities, greek life and community service.

Peter Konwerski moves from his position as executive director of the Marvin Center to a new leadership role as assistant to the senior vice president and executive director for administrative partnerships. In this capacity, Konwerski’s responsibilities will include developing goals and objectives to greater enhance campus customer service and student satisfaction.

Johnnie Osborne will assume the position of associate vice president and chief financial officer for student and academic support services. In this role he will continue overseeing budgeting, finance and personnel administration of SASS.

Michael Peller is transferring from the auxiliary services area to serve as managing director of the Marvin Center as well and University Conferences.

Laura Taddeucci Downs is the newly appointed executive director of the Student Activities Center.

Michael Walker becomes associate dean of students. One of Walker’s prime focuses will be directing services to accommodate the needs of GW’s graduate and professional students.

Ruth J. Katz was recently appointed dean of GW’s School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) by Provost and Vice President for Health Affairs John F. Williams. Katz also will serve as the school’s Walter G. Ross Professor of Health Policy.

“We see great opportunities for the SPHHS under the leadership of Dean Katz,” said Dr. Williams. “She brings with her a breadth of academic and real-world experience in the healthcare arena, something that can only serve to benefit future collaborations and growth for the school.”

“This is an extraordinary time to be joining SPHHS,” said Katz. “Under the able leadership of founding Dean Richard Riegelman and Interim Dean Richard Southby — and with the unqualified commitment of the faculty as well as the University and the Medical Center — SPHHS is well positioned to become among the top schools of public health in the nation. I am very excited and deeply honored for this opportunity.”

James Scott, will serve as interim dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS). Dr. Scott currently serves as associate dean of SMHS and now assumes all the academic and administrative responsibilities of dean, a position previously held by Provost Williams since 1999.

“Dr. Scott has a proven track record of leadership with the school,” said Williams.
Scott became associate dean of SMHS in 2000 and was named professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine in 1998. Previously, he served as residency director, assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education and assistant dean for Student Affairs in SMHS. He was named the outstanding clinical teacher by the SMHS’s Class of 2003, and he has received the Golden Apple award for outstanding teaching 10 times since coming to GW in 1986. In 1998, Scott received a National Teaching Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Dr. Williams will continue to provide oversight for administrative and academic matters in both the SMHS and SPHHS. He is stepping down as dean to focus on the administrative duties of his new appointment as GW Provost.

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