A Discussion with Interim Provost Forrest Maltzman

February 24, 2016

On Tuesday, February 9th the PAFs had the pleasure of participating in a discussion with Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Forrest Maltzman. We discussed efforts to achieve the University’s academic goals, learned about the importance of focus when executing strategic plans and budgets, and engaged in a dialogue concerning the role PAFs play in advancing GW’s strategic plan.

The Interim Provost discussed the university’s efforts to make all students, especially underrepresented populations, feel more at home on campus while also seeking to improve graduation and retention rates. He pointed to a significant increase in applications following GW’s decision to go “test optional,” a first step to encourage minority students to apply. The Interim Provost also pointed to creating more affinity housing in the new District House as another promising effort to foster a more supportive educational environment. Affinity housing is valuable because it helps to provide students with a “home away from home.” Existing models, such as affinity housing and the offerings of the University Honors Program, have proven to be successful at creating strong feelings of community for GW students, according to the Interim Provost. We all recognized the value such community ties play in getting a student from freshman year to Commencement on the National Mall.

Interim Provost Maltzman also shared with us the high priority GW places on meeting its students’ demonstrated financial need, highlighting the fact that GW already meets a higher percentage of need than most of our market basket schools. In a climate of conservative university-wide budgets, he re-emphasized GW’s goal of trying to meet more of a students’ demonstrated need, a concept that was well-received by the PAFs.

In response to a question about maintaining financial aid and vital academic programming for students in the face of making budget cuts, the Interim Provost stressed the need to remain open with stakeholders about the challenges facing the university and making targeted decisions about which programs are the most vital to the university’s values and goals.

Overall, the discussion with Interim Provost Maltzman was quite productive, informative, and instructive for the PAFs. We appreciate the Interim Provost’s time and look forward to continuing our efforts in assisting with the achievement of university goals. 

Alec Nadeau

PAF Class of 2017
BA '15
MPA '17