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2010 "State of the University" Faculty Assembly
October 05, 2010
Well, let me start by saying that this academic year has gotten off, I think, to a great start and it’s really, I think, an extraordinary achievement to watch something that really began before my arrival here, which was the university’s progress toward becoming a more and more selective institution. I think that trend has borne out, this year in particular, with a number of record-setting milestones in the institution’s selectivity for both our undergraduate programs and other programs so that we had just short of 22,000 applications for our undergraduate -- our freshman class this year. And our lowest admit rate ever which is one criterion of selectivity, we admitted 31 percent of our applicants and we also had the highest yield rate in the institution’s history; 38 percent of those whom we offered admission chose to come to the George Washington University.
Their average SAT score was 1,960 out of 2,400 and again those are all record numbers. When it comes to our graduate programs, we have the highest number of applicants for graduate programs, 15,700, and the lowest admit rate, 42 percent. Again, that’s a record in the institution’s history.
In the case of the school of medicine, more than 10,500 applications - the highest ever. By the way, we have about 170 medical students. That tells you that’s a pretty striking ratio. We admitted three percent of those students so it’s still pretty competitive to get into medical school. And that’s steady with the previous years but we had a higher number of applications and we preserved the same admit rate.
In the case of the law school, we had a yield rate of 32 percent - that’s the highest ever. And academically, going by the numbers, the entering class, the strongest ever with a median LSAT of 167 out of 180, that’s the 95th percentile, and a median undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.79.
So I’m just giving a few illustrations here of the fact that we continue to become a more and more selective university when it comes to recruiting our students. I think that the future of the university, and its ability to achieve the level of greatness for which I do believe it is destined, is to continue to raise the stature of our scholarly contributions and the visibility of our faculty as we continue to increase our selectivity. And so I have to tell you that I’ve gone now four years in a row to the reception for our new faculty and that took place this year on the Mount Vernon Campus at the Provost’s house right at the edge of the campus there. Each year I’ve gone, and I’ve been more and more impressed by the caliber of faculty that we’re recruiting - bringing into this institution.
For those who haven’t been here for some of the previous discussions, I’d remind you that unlike many of our peers who at the time of the financial crash found themselves really strapped because of the nature of their investments and their dependence on endowment and the fact that they were locked into these multiyear commitments for some of the private equity funds that they had bought their way into, we did not suffer from those problems. Part of this is not all good news because part of it is a result of the fact that we have a fairly small endowment that only contributes six percent to the operation of the university - that only six percent is covered by the payoff from our endowment. So if you lose a certain percent of six percent, it’s not a drastic problem.
And as the result of all that, we also have a lot of reserves, we had a good deal of liquidity so we have been able to continue hiring and growing during an era in which many other institutions have had to either freeze or reduce their programs and that has meant that we had an opportunity to continue recruiting, but I think it’s really the growing attractiveness of the institution and of course the draw of Washington, particularly for faculty in certain fields, has continued to attract a stronger and stronger entering class and faculty each year. I was really struck because I have an opportunity at that reception to talk to our faculty at all stages of their careers, junior as well as senior faculty, about what they’ve been up to, where they’re coming from, what drew them to the institution and I’ve been increasingly impressed, again, by the results. I think I talked to faculty member after faculty member who was from either an Ivy League institution or one of the top public institutions and it often involved the very fascinating courses of scholarship that I think will greatly enrich our campus.
I’ll just give you a few examples of new faculty arriving and obviously this is highly selective. We’re going to be meeting a number of new faculty later in the program today, but just a few examples. Melissa Perry is joining the School of Public Health and Health Services as chair and professor of environmental and occupational health this coming January 2011. She’s coming to George Washington from Harvard University where her research focuses on mutagenic and hormonal effects of pesticides, on agricultural injuries and exposures, and on the role of engineering and behavioral interventions in preventing occupational injury and disease.
Anthony-Samuel LaMantia is leading the new Institute for Neuroscience in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences which will coordinate efforts among faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students across the university and at the Children’s National Medical Center, our partner in pediatrics at this institution. He joins us from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a leading researcher in neuroscience.
And Charles Glaser is a professor of political science and international affairs and the director of the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies in the Elliott School of International Affairs. His research focuses on international relations theory and international security policy. He came to George Washington from the University of Chicago where he was a professor and deputy dean of the School of Public Policy.
Now these are just three examples. As I’ve met other new faculty, I’ve been impressed by them similarly and we could multiply those examples many times. I think it’s very encouraging as a sign of where this institution is moving and our prospects of really achieving our aspirations to become the premier research university not only in the nation’s capital but in the broader capital region.
And of course together with recruiting faculty, we’ve been looking for ways to increase the visibility of our scholarship across the institution. As most of you know - and some of the new faculty may not be familiar with this -- but a couple of years ago, I created a new position in my administration, vice president for research, and recruited Dr. Leo Chalupa from the University of California, Davis. He’s a neuroscientist there and I made him the first vice president of research for George Washington. I actually understand we had that position in some years that have passed but we did not have it in recent years until just the last couple of years.
One of the things he’s been involved in, in addition to increasing support for faculty in areas like grant-writing and other kinds of support for research and efforts, has been to identify some cross-disciplinary initiatives. We’ve gone through a process of setting up taskforces, committees that look at our strengths across the institution and some key areas and then end up producing a report which we then present to a group of outside experts to get their advice on: first of all, whether it makes sense for us to invest in this area; second, whether we have real opportunities to create something distinctive here. Our interest always is in doing what makes sense in terms of the existing strengths of our faculty, existing interests of our students but also opportunities that are presented to us by this extraordinary location that we have in the nation’s capital and beyond, including our Virginia Science and Technology Campus and our Mount Vernon Campus on Foxhall Road. In putting all that together, we look at our opportunities with the help of outside advisors and then proceed to see if there’s a way that we can implement the recommendations of our committees and taskforces in these areas.
I’ll just mention that so far, we’ve had 10 of these that we focused on and several of them are really ready to go right now. We have a computational biology institute that we’ll be creating. It will be focused partly on this campus or probably the Virginia campus. That’s going to involve partnership with industry. The point of computational biology is that it involves using genomics, which will ultimately - we think - have the potential to develop medical treatments that address the genetic particularities of individuals and tailor treatments to them. As many of you may know if you’re getting chemotherapy for cancer, there’s a good chance that whatever you’re being given is not going to work because of your own genetic makeup and you may have to go through several experiments with different drugs and with all the discomfort and cost that entails, and so the question is whether we can use the newly available genomic information and new computational methodologies to be able to tailor those treatments to the particularities of individual patients. So that’s one of the things we’re working on.
We had a university-wide taskforce on global women’s issues. This was based on the understanding that if you're looking for a lever to pull anywhere in the world that would simultaneously improve public health, economic development, and reduce violence that lever would probably be the empowerment and education of women around the world. It turns out that we just have extraordinary strengths in that area and are located just about everywhere you look in the institution, certainly in the Elliott School of International Affairs, in the law school where we have people working on protection, trafficking issues, in public health with our focus on global health, in medicine certainly, and in business and education. Everywhere you look and certainly in a number of disciplines in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
We can draw all those strengths together - we believe - and I have to say that this was just a terrific taskforce that worked on this that involved faculty as well as students. We actually had the students present their findings to the Board of Trustees in its May meeting and I think you would have been sort of blown away by how articulate and comprehensive they were in their presentation of the report of the taskforce. And as a result of that, we do plan to create an institute and to do a national search for its first director.
Finally, I’ll mention the subject of autism. This is an opportunity that presents itself to us because of our partnership with the Children’s National Medical Center, a very - I think - distinguished research organization as well as clinical organization just across town where a number of their investigators have joint appointments here on our faculty. We’ve had a healthy kind of partnership with them for a long time but this gives an opportunity to raise that to a new level. We also have strengths in autism ranging from the basic sciences where we have investigators working on the fundamental genetic mechanisms that feels like anthropology where we have scholars studying cross-cultural perspectives on autism.
Autism is a growing source of attention either because of increased incidence or because it’s becoming increasingly well recognized as actually a spectrum of disorders, but we presented the report that came out of the autism committee to a group of outside experts who said we had opportunities to do things that no other institution was focusing on and that’s again what we’re looking for; unique opportunities that will help us in effect to leapfrog - not just to try to emulate -- other institutions but look for areas where we can move beyond them in ways that I think benefit a number of disciplines across the institution ranging from the sciences to the social sciences to the humanities in the case of something like the global women’s initiative.
To support this work, we are actually establishing some new academic facilities. There is a plan to create a new law learning center on G Street just south of the law school’s campus on the University Yard and that will be proceeding shortly. I think we’ve been updating the board on plans to do that and that will also by the way give us a space where we can put some underground parking which will help us move parking for other locations on campus as part of the overall campus plan that was approved by the District of Columbia just a couple of years ago and shortly after I arrived.
And then we are going to be building a new home for the School of Public Health and Health Services, which is long overdue. Right now, I think I have this, but somebody correct me if I’m wrong about this, but I believe it’s the case that the School of Public Health and Health Services can’t teach until something like four o’clock in the afternoon because of shared space with the School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Ross Hall, and so we really need to get that growing. I think it’s a very important part of the university, and to give it its own space we’re taking this site of the Warwick building and putting a high-rise there which will house the School of Public Health and Health Services. That’s a project that’s already been approved by the Board of Trustees.
I also want to mention the renovation of the Ames Building on Mount Vernon Campus that houses a number of academic programs; it will give us an opportunity to expand the presence of the academic programs on what is still largely a residential campus but has some important academic pieces there and we can develop that and this will help us integrate that campus more strongly with the academic mission of the university as a whole. And of course, one you’ve heard a lot about recently and then the trustees will be acting upon in just a little over a week from now and that is the proposal to create a Science and Engineering Complex on the site of the above-ground parking garage opposite Square 54 - the site of the former hospital.
Again, for those who may not have been part of this discussion before, we now have a cost estimate on this, a $275 million project. We have a special committee of the Board of Trustees that has approved a resolution to proceed with this project; it’ll be going before the board. It will also be discussed by the Faculty Senate this coming Friday afternoon but again, the trustees will be considering it a week from that Friday discussion.
The point of this is not only to create standardized space for our School of Engineering and Applied Science departments and for the departments within Columbian College that are focused on the sciences but also we’ll have some collaborative research space, some of which will be left in its just shelled out condition until we have the programs that can move in to that space. But its aim will be to foster the kind of cross-disciplinary research that is the real way in which you have to address these kinds of complex problems that sciences and engineering are confronting nowadays and that can be responsive to the new emphasis of science policy on building collaborative research programs to address the most urgent scientific and technological problems.
By the way, we’ve identified the three sources of funding for this project. There is a philanthropic fundraising goal of $100 million but then there are assumptions about a revenue stream coming from the ground lease for the old site of the hospital; that’s Square 54, the city block between I Street and Washington Circle and between 23rd and 22nd where you see all the construction. I’m saying this for those who are new to the campus because we have some new faculty here. That project will generate revenue for the university over a 60-year period and then the whole thing reverts to the university. So I hope you’re around to celebrate its return to the university and we’ll figure out what to do with that square block at that point, but that would help us fund the Science and Engineering Complex. And then the third piece will be federal reimbursement for the research conducted within that facility, the so-called F&A or indirect cost mechanism by which the Federal Government reimburses institutions that invest in research facilities.
So those are a number of new academic buildings and of course, they’re adding to - I think - the really finest facilities that we’ve put up in a number of places. I mentioned the law school already. I think that that whole project of tying together the townhouses on University Yard was extremely successful, although it left the school with a little less space than it ultimately needs, which is why we need to build across the street. Of course, we have a place I just came from, the Elliott School of International Affairs, located at 1957 E Street. And then Duquès Hall, the new home of our School of Business which I think is really helping to raise the stature of that institution.
By the way, as was the vision of the campus plans over a carefully planned out - in consultation with -- negotiation with the city, our first commitment in building out the university’s 20-year campus plan was to complete the residence hall construction that we needed to house a certain percentage of our students on campus and we have this understanding that we will house three-quarters of our undergraduates right here on campus. And so with the building of South Hall here in Foggy Bottom, which is a gold LEED-certified building, a really beautiful residence hall on F Street facing south and then just this fall, we opened West Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus, another gold -- we were targeting that for gold. We’re confident that will also be a gold LEED-certified building, which also houses some student art space, a black box theater, dance studio, recording studio, really, again, another very welcome addition to the university. We are now proceeding from the residence hall building phase to the academic facility phase of the building out of our 20-year campus plan.
Well, again, the question of how you pay for all this, and by this I mean not just the plan to build facilities but also our ongoing recruitment of top faculty from around the country and around the world, we have been discussing for - since my arrival - the possibility of launching a capital campaign, a comprehensive campaign for the university as a whole and we are continuing that process with the trustees. We have a new vice president for development and alumni relations, Mike Morsberger, who joined us from Duke University just last spring. And we have a consultant who is doing very careful work of preparing for such a campaign by talking to prospective donors and trying to get a sense of what the capacity of the institution might be to raise the kinds of funds that would warrant the launching of such a campaign.
We have a campaign already underway which is our Power and Promise campaign. That is aimed at addressing what I believe is our single greatest competitive disadvantage as an institution, which is that we have less of our student aid undergirded by philanthropy than our peer institutions. In other words, we get most of our student aid whether at the graduate or undergraduate level directly out of tuition. It’s a recycling of tuition revenues, the so-called high-priced/high-aid model. The reason this is a challenge is it means that we can’t spend as much tuition on our academic programs, faculty salaries, faculty support, academic infrastructure, whatever it might be, as we want to because we have to recycle so much of it to enable students to attend. So you have this kind of paradoxical structure in which we keep raising our price to help people pay our price and that’s something from which we have to work our way out.
We’ve taken a number of steps to work out of that, one of which is that we’re moderating the rate of our tuition increase to make our education here more affordable. We have a program that - again for new faculty this may be news to you -- we have what we call the no-surprises tuition policy which holds tuition steady for students up to five years. So when you come in, whatever tuition you pay your first year as an undergraduate, you never pay more for up to five years if you’re in a good standing and also you retain the same level of student aid, scholarship aid for that period. So that I think has made a great difference to families who are considering sending their children here because I think there’s really no other institution that provides that level of stability to families considering sending their children to a university like ours. So that’s one component of it.
The most important piece is to bring in more philanthropic support for scholarships and so we have a pretty ambitious goal which is to quadruple the amount of philanthropy coming in to support student aid of what it was when I arrived here and that means both contributions to endowment but also gifts for current use. The idea is that we can dramatically increase student aid. We will first of all make tuition more affordable. We will also not have to draw so much on tuition revenues to cover student aid.
We’re also doing something else that I’m actually pretty convinced is unique among universities, certainly private universities like ours. Last year, we launched something called the Innovation Task Force and the point of the innovation taskforce is to identify new recurring sources of funding, new recurring money, not one time but recurring money that will amount over five years to what we are drawing from our endowment so we’ll have the effect of doubling the impact of our endowment over a five-year period even apart from the capital campaign that I was talking about. So if we do that plus the campaign, we could rapidly accelerate the support that we’re bringing in for our academic programs, for funding our academic priorities at this university.
The way the Innovation Task Force works is, well, first of all, last year, we set up two working groups; one focused on business practices and the other one focused on our academic programs. By the way, each of those had a mixture of faculty and staff so we had faculty on the business process side and we had staff on the academic side so we can have a real cross-fertilization of ideas reaching out to the wider university community, looking at best practices at other institutions. The key thing to say about this is we did it, not because we needed to do it to solve the deficit problem, we did it so that we could generate more resources for moving forward by continuing to invest in improving our academic programs. This was led by -- the general leader of this was Jeff Lenn and David Lawlor.
There’s Jeff, and Dave Lawlor was his sort of partner as the co-chairs of the Innovation Task Force last year. I think in a single year, the first year of operation of the Innovation Task Force, they really did make extraordinary progress and certainly to say about this is the emphasis is really on innovation not just efficiency. There have been state institutions - one of them our neighbor, the University of Maryland – they were required by budget problems. The governor came in and froze tuition at the University of Maryland and the University of Maryland system responded by launching an efficiency initiative, the point of which was to make up for the loss of revenue. That’s not what we’re doing. What we’re doing is looking for innovations that will simultaneously improve what we’re doing, the quality of what we’re doing but do it in a way that will free up from savings that we can invest in programs.
And we’re actually -- just so you’re clear about this, $60 million will come from three different sources; one, new philanthropy that when it takes the form of endowment gifts that generate a certain payout that we can count year after year so one-time gifts won’t count in this. And the principal of endowment, suppose somebody gives $100 million that spins out $5 million a year, we’d like to get that but that $5 million would contribute -- if somebody gives $100,000 that spins out $5,000, we wouldn’t count $100,000 – we’d count the $5,000 because it’s recurring; it’s something that happens year after year. So that’s one component.
Research reimbursements, not just research funding that pays direct cost but the reimbursements we get from the federal government that help us pay for expenses we’re already incurring so we have some space that already exists. When we get new research funding coming into it, what the government pays, that’s basically, otherwise, we’ve been paying for ourselves; it’s really new money that we can invest in other areas because we’ve already incurred the expense.
And then, savings or new revenues from operations, and when I say savings and new revenues, savings would be -- I’ll give you some examples of these but we also are talking about productivity gains which would give us new revenues that we’re not currently enjoying. Well, when the Innovation Task Force went through this process last year, there were more than 400 ideas that were received and vetted by the task force. The top 15 of those ideas were discussed at town hall style meetings. Actually, we sort of moved away from the phrase town hall for some reason last year, it became kind of an unpopular concept -- showcase meetings and not town hall. We’re going to commend that to the Obama administration; next time around just call it showcases and see if that works.
We’re now in the implementation phase of the ones that were selected. This is something that came out of the task force. It certainly wasn’t my idea but I think it’s a great idea, which is to develop six initiatives and implement six initiatives every six months. They’re calling it the "6 x 6" strategy. And I’ll just tell you briefly what the first six are.
First is the increasing use of hybrid courses; those are courses that combine face-to-face and online instruction and free up space on campus. Second, enhancing the strategic sourcing and procurement, just being more intentional about how we go about procuring things that we need for the operation of the university. Third, reducing the use of leased space. We’ve noticed that we have programs that we’re paying for off campus or paying for space when we have space we could have occupied here that we had already paid for. So if we can take a program that's off campus and move it back on to campus, just to give one simple example, you can get recurring savings from what you would have otherwise been spending on that lease.
Expanding study-abroad opportunities - the way that works is that we have a cap on enrollment here on our campus and we’re already at that cap so we cannot bring new students in and therefore we cannot increase our source of tuition rather than on this campus, which is fine because we already have a large number of students on this campus. As you know, what we’re trying to do is catch up with investments in faculty that will help bridge the gap between -- because we have our student population has grown faster than our faculty over a certain period of time, and we're trying to rightsize those numbers. But by expanding study-abroad opportunities, we can have students off campus and we can fill then behind them; in that way, we do get a productivity gain without exceeding our cap on enrollment that we’ve agreed to with the District of Columbia. Creating a GW Temp Agency was another thought that we thought would generate revenue; and, finally, initiating an employee telecommuting program.
These are just six ideas, again, out of some 400 that were initially introduced; they're the ones that seemed the simplest to start with. When we add up the total that we expect to be saved if we successfully initiate those six steps, a total of $17.5 million identified thus far. Remember that’s toward a total target over five years of $60 million, so what I’m saying is at the first year, we’ve already hit $17.5 million of the $60 million that we’re aiming for. I will tell you because this is something I insisted on from the start -- I’ve talked to Louis Katz about this right from the start. We need to be very careful that this is real money, that we’re counting it carefully that we’re auditing this, that we’re banking it and that we make sure these really are recurring savings and not just reallocations so we’re not actually getting any new money to invest.
And as you know, we’ve already invested a little bit of what we’ve discovered in the first year to enhance advising in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences where we felt there was a shortage of advisers and so we made an initial investment of the revenues from the Innovation Task Force, but the Provost will be in charge of determining funding priorities working with faculty and others on figuring what those are. So again, I’d like to thank Jeff Lenn and Dave Lawlor and also thank the steering committee and all the working groups who put a tremendous amount of effort in this. I think people have actually found that they enjoy this process once they got into it. They may have been a little skeptical at the start, but once they really got those ideas rolling in and the energy was evident in that process, I think it’s been something that people have really enjoyed, which hasn’t prevented some of them from deciding to go on sabbatical this year but we’re very grateful for their efforts.
Meanwhile, we continue to engage the world from this nation’s capital in a variety of ways. I’ve talked about what I saw as a tremendous opportunity here when I first arrived, there are all the opportunities for partnership that we have with the institutions that surround us. I’ll tell you a great example that is happening right now while we’re here. There are 1,400 people on our campus, 65 percent of whom are leaders of Federal Government agencies for what’s called a GreenGov Symposium. This is something we are cosponsoring and co-hosting with the White House. This morning in Lisner Auditorium, we had Secretary of Energy Chu here, we had Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack here, and we had Nancy Sutley, who is President Obama’s top adviser on environmental policy, and Michelle Moore, who has the title of federal environment executive. They have brought together, as I said, a group of 1,400 people and we had plenary sessions, breakout sessions in the three-day conference, and I think it’s a great example of what we can do.
And remember that we also have a strong focus, of course, on sustainability here. The idea is to find ways of greening the government because given the scale and the resources of the Federal Government, if you could try out a new energy-saving technology or system in the Federal Government that could become a demonstration project for the nation as a whole from which institutions like ours can benefit, private industry can benefit, and of course would help develop a clean energy economy and enhance the economic competitiveness of the country at the same time. So that’s the goal of this GreenGov Symposium but of course, we are a natural partner for that kind of activity because we have more than a dozen degree and certificate programs and I won’t take you through all the schools once again but they’re all over the university. And we have increased our focus on sustainability in recent years and so I think this will help to get us even more visibly on the map when it comes to that effort.
This summer - and I see Dean Barratt is here and Provost Lerman was with me when this occurred - we went over to the Smithsonian Institution’s headquarters where we met with Wayne Clough, the Smithsonian secretary and former president of Georgia Tech and with him signed a new memorandum of understanding under which the Smithsonian and George Washington will pool some research seed money to support programs. By the way, we've had a 100-year partnership with Smithsonian. You’ve seen some of the fruits of that in the present areas like human paleobiology and other areas but there’s a lot more that we can do. It’s a tremendously rich institution, not financially, but in terms of just the millions of objects that it owns and the opportunities for scholarship that that presents.
We entered into a partnership with POLITICO, the online political publication to support our Battleground Poll. I’m sure you’ve seen press coverage of the results of Battleground Poll. It’s a very well-respected scientific political opinion poll that has recently been following closely the -- lead up to the midterm elections and I think, again, a great source of visibility for something that makes a lot of sense at George Washington, which is to be a student of American politics as we are in many of our departments.
We established a new partnership with Korea University, thanks for the support of a School of Engineering Applied Sciences alumnus, Simon Lee, who gave us funding to support an exchange program between his two alma maters, one of them being George Washington and the other Korea University.
Last week, right here in this same auditorium, we honored Thad Allen with the Colin Powell Public Service Award. This is the second time we conferred that award and I mention that because Thad Allen is an alumnus of ours who just stepped down from his role as commandant of the Coast Guard and you saw that while he was still serving as commandant of the Coast Guard, he was also named the incident commander for the Deep Horizon oil spill and really quite an amazing leader, I think, and someone we’re very proud to call an alumnus.
And as part of the Homeland Security Department, which is another strong potential partner with us, a very large and growing operation here in the district, last year we gave the first Colin Powell Public Service Award to one of our alumnae, Tammy Duckworth, who is assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs and a wounded combat veteran pilot from the Iraq War. Thad Allen was here - this time he gave I thought a really quite insightful and scholarly speech, actually about what it means to be involved in an incident like the oil spill and all the conflicting legal considerations and social considerations of going to leadership in a situation like that.
And so, I'm just giving you a sample of some of the things that we benefit from. And by the way, on that occasion, again because of our location, we had the EPA administrator here, Lisa Jackson who spoke at that event in which we conferred the Colin Powell Award.
Well, I’ll just close or certainly approach closing at this point by saying that we’re very glad that we can bring in new leaders. I told you already about the students and faculty we've been recruiting, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that we have new leaders for our institutions, one of them you're going to be hearing from shortly and I’ll say a little bit about him in a moment when I introduce him. But I also want to mention our new deans we’ve recruited from a number of distinguished institutions and I see some of them. I’m not sure if they’re all here today but I do see out there Michael Feuer. He's the new dean of our Graduate School of Education and Human Development. He joins us from the National Research Council of the National Academies.
Lynn Goldman is our new dean of the School of Public Health and Health Services and came to us from Johns Hopkins University. And Doug Guthrie, the new dean of business, who comes to us from the Stern School at New York University and has the interesting background of being a China scholar as well as a member of business faculty.
I would add that through an action taken by the Board of Trustees last spring - we’ve always had a nursing education program here -- but we have now launched a School of Nursing which will be going through a kind of period of incubation this year but will become a freestanding school this spring. The founding dean, Dr. Jean Johnson, of the School of Nursing, is here today.
Now, I know there are other deans here but there are no new deans that I've forgotten, right? I think I see Dean Barratt out there, Dean Barratt is there of the Columbian College; Dean Dolling is here of SEAS; Dean Mike Brown of the Elliott School of International Affairs. We have just been joined by these new colleagues.
I think it is an exciting time. In 2021, we will have the bicentenary of the founding of our university and in fact, in 2012, it will be the centenary of our arrival at this location, when we started here at Foggy Bottom. We were originally created as the Columbian College just up Meridian Hill and then in the latter part of the 19th century moved down to the other side of the White House, 15th and H Streets and now we are here at Foggy Bottom and have been since 1912. But in 2021, we’ll have our bicentennial celebration.
I think we’re approaching a decade of transformation leading up to that event in which you’ll continue to see the university grow in stature. There are risks out there; most of them have to do with state of the economy. We do have an ongoing concern about family wealth of those who send their daughters and sons here as our students and we’ve seen that is a challenge because we had to increase - I think over a five-year period between 2004-2005 and last academic year -- we increased our scholarship support just for undergraduates by 47 percent. And in fact, this year we’re budgeting something close to $150 million for student aid. That’s something we’ve been able to do because we have reserves to back that up but we can’t keep doing that forever without facing some difficulties. So we do watch with some anxiety, as everyone does, the state of the economy, there are signs that that’s turning around.
What is certainly the case is that Washington is a magnet for interest around the world in ways that have probably never been more so, and I think that will reinforce the benefit of our university but above all, it’s the effort of our faculty and it’s what you do every day in the classroom, in the library and the laboratory that makes everything else we do possible.
On that note, with that final note about our academic mission, I’m pleased to introduce our new chief academic officer who joined us from MIT and has started this past July. He was the graduate dean at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he joins us both as the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and also joins us as the A. James Clark professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Steve Lerman.