Apply to Become a Host Department

Dear Colleagues:

Are you seeking a flexible and affordable staffing solution that aligns with GW’s mission of educating the next generation of citizen-leaders?

Have you been exploring how to support key initiatives in the most effective and fiscally efficient way possible?

Do you need a proven and time-tested way to facilitate innovation and interdisciplinary and cross-divisional collaboration?

Are you looking for access to high-quality talent without having to coordinate a recruitment and selection process?

Especially if you answered yes to any of these questions, please consider hosting a Presidential Administrative Fellow (PAF) during the 2017-18 academic year, continuing the legacy of the countless GW academic and administrative departments that have done so throughout the 27 years of the PAF program.

To date 140 GW undergraduate alumni have served or are serving as PAFs while also pursuing master’s degrees at GW. PAFs contribute to advancing the university in substantive ways, such as guiding the establishment of new offices and initiatives, expanding opportunities for students to engage with the university’s senior leadership, and facilitating critical planning, assessment, and project management during times of transition.

Please see below for additional information on next steps for hosting a PAF in your office. There are more resources on the PAF website, such as a program overview, the departments that are currently hosting PAFs and have hosted PAFs in the past, and biographies of current and alumni PAFs. You can also view quotes from current PAF preceptors about their experience working with PAFs.

The host department application is now open and we would appreciate receiving your completed application by Monday, March 6 to ensure full consideration by those seeking PAF placements. Please contact me at or 202-994-6710 or other members of the PAF Advising Team (Mae Cooper, Toby Davidow, Peter Konwerski, and Kathy Newcomer) with any questions or to discuss ideas you have for potential placement opportunities.


Robert Snyder

PAF Program Director
Executive Director of Planning and Outreach

Division of Student Affairs

For the 2017-18 academic year, up to six new first-year PAFs will be seeking placements. Additionally, some rising second-year PAFs may also be seeking new placements. The PAF spends 20 hours a week between mid-August and mid-May working in the host department, with the possibility of additional work during the summer.

HOST DEPARTMENT EXPECTATIONS: Host departments should assign substantive projects to the PAF, which could include, but not limited to, project management, research on best practice and stakeholder perspectives, and writing and editing.  Host departments should also integrate the PAF into the ongoing activities of the office, which is most often guided by one or more “Preceptors.” Preceptors should be experienced managers who can provide ongoing coaching, guidance, support, and connections with other university offices to facilitate the PAF’s professional development.  The Preceptor role can be shared across individuals within the host department and/or across departments or divisions in the case of interdisciplinary and cross-functional projects in order to maximize the work of the PAF and spread the cost across departments or divisions.


FUNDING/COMPENSATION: The university funds the full-time tuition and required fees for the PAFs’ respective master’s degree programs, which vary across many schools and departments. Host departments are responsible for funding from their operating (non-compensation) budgets the PAF’s graduate stipend and salary (including fringe), which totals $25,622.50 for work during the academic year from mid-August through mid-May. The host department transfers this funding, which may be split across multiple offices or divisions to support cross-functional and interdisciplinary initiatives, to the Office of Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships at the beginning of the fiscal year. Additionally, the host department is expected to provide appropriate workspace, equipment, and supplies. There is also the possibility of the academic year placement extending into the summer months (or a summer-only placement to supplement an academic year placement), although this is optional and by mutual agreement of the PAF and host department, with compensation for the summer to be determined.


PROFESSIONAL AND ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT: The PAF Advising Team, comprised of Mae Cooper, Toby Davidow, Peter Konwerski, Kathy Newcomer, and Robert Snyder, provide all PAFs with a comprehensive training and development program focusing on the three main pillars of the PAFmission: professional development, academic enrichment, and service and ambassadorship. This program parallels and compliments the substantial mentorship and guidance provided by placement offices and Preceptors. For PAFs, it includes summer training and retreat in August, weekly meetings throughout the academic year, a spring training day in January, and ongoing opportunities to support university events and initiatives. Preceptors are invited to participate in many portions of the professional development program at no cost to them or their departments, providing an important developmental opportunity for learning among all involved with the PAF program.


APPLICATION TIMELINE: The host department application is now open and we would appreciate receiving your completed application by Monday, March 6 to ensure full consideration by those seeking PAF placements. Please contact Robert Snyder at or 202-994-6710 with any questions or to discuss ideas you have for potential placement opportunities.  After receiving your application the PAF Advising Team will review it with the PAFs as we begin the process of matching them with possible placements. The matching process is ongoing during the late spring and early summer, and we and/or the PAFs will contact you to discuss any possible matches for you to consider and interview.



PAF Preceptors Say...


“I have had at least one PAF working in my office every year I have been here, almost 6 years now. Every PAF has demonstrated exceptional ability, knowledge and commitment. Perhaps even more important, PAFs have a strong and deep understanding of GW and they know how to connect the work of the Nashman Center with the mission and vision of GW as an institution. The PAF program provides more than just a single student serving, PAFs are connected to a strong community linking across the whole university, and they bring that community to our office.” 

- Amy Cohen, Executive Director, Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service

"The Presidential Administrative Fellowship (PAF) program has been far more than a source of student labor: it has offered me a chance to develop future colleagues.  PAFs have served our museum as vital links to the student community and have earned the respect of our entire professional staff.  Our PAFs have gone on to launch promising museum careers and we expect to work with them as colleagues -- wherever their fortunes take them -- for many years to come."


- John Wetenhall, Director, The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum