To remain fully engaged with strategic initiatives and other aspects of university governance, the George Washington Board of Trustees has established a series of operating and strategic committees whose members dedicate their time and expertise to specific focuses. These committees, which are guided by individual mission statements and charges, are convened on the occasions of full board meetings and throughout the year as necessary.
The Executive Committee is empowered to act on behalf of the Board of Trustees between meetings except for the limitations set out in the bylaws. This includes:
- serving as a resource for the Board chair and president;
- approving namings in alignment with the Naming Policy as approved by the Board of Trustees; and
- undertaking other tasks as needed and appropriate.
The committee, excluding the president, shall convene periodically as the Compensation Committee. This includes:
- establishing compensation practices and maintaining written guidelines with respect to senior executives of the university, including the president;
- reviewing and approving the compensation and employment terms of senior executives of the university, including the president;
- regularly assessing presidential performance and working with the president to set the Board’s performance expectations for presidential performance; and
- addressing conflicts of interest and commitment for those individuals whose compensation it reviews.
The Compensation Committee members shall not have a conflict of interest with respect to the compensation arrangement they participate in approving and shall be independent based on the IRS Form 990 Independence test. Additionally, committee members shall be free of conflicts that would require such frequent recusals that the member's ability to perform as an independent committee member would be impaired.
Approved by the Executive Committee on September 7, 2021 and approved by the Board of Trustees on October 5, 2021.
Grace E. Speights, Chair
Ellen Zane, Vice Chair
Ave Tucker, Secretary
Donna Hill Staton
Mark S. Wrighton, President (ex officio)
The Committee on Academic Affairs is responsible for oversight of the university’s academic mission and for fostering the academic excellence and integrity of the university including strategic academic planning, academic budgeting, academic personnel policies and actions, academic program policies, including research and enrollment, and academic facilities. This includes:
- maintaining clear standards of academic excellence;
- supporting and overseeing GW’s schools, institutes, and research;
- establishing strategic and aggressive but realistic goals to further academic excellence, and measuring the progress toward those goals;
- focusing institutional resources toward achieving the objectives set out in the university’s strategic plan;
- reviewing the Dashboard Core Indicators;
- monitoring overall academic performance and reporting progress to the Board of Trustees;
- engaging in the budget process to assure academic excellence is a priority focus, including multi-year commitments as necessary;
- verifying that faculty evaluation, development, workload, and retirements are assessed on a regular basis;
- guiding the establishment of new academic programs and schools;
- ensuring enrollment strategies are consistent with the university’s goals of academic excellence and accessibility, as well;
- as meeting its financial responsibilities;
- collaborating with the provost to continually evaluate existing programs and schools to assess their efficacy; and
- compliance with applicable external accreditation standards.
Approved by the Committee on Academic Affairs on September 22, 2021, and approved by the Board of Trustees on October 5, 2021.
Madeleine Jacobs, Chair
Judy Rogers, Vice Chair
Donna Hill Staton
The Committee on Audit and Compliance is responsible for oversight of the university’s system of internal controls, sound business practices and ethical conduct, with the goal of protecting and mitigating risk to the university. This includes:
- Approving the selection, independence, and performance of the firm of Certified Public Accountants that performs the annual external audit of the university;
- Reviewing the selection, independence, performance, and audit plans of the internal audit function;
- Overseeing external and internal audits, including reviewing summaries of key items in planned audits and ad hoc audits, and receiving and reviewing full audit reports and management responses;
- Overseeing financial performance against annual approved operating and capital budgets and reviewing the university’s audited financial statements and internal controls;
Risk and Compliance
- Reviewing the university’s enterprise risk management program; overseeing financial, operational, strategic risks and top enterprise risk assessments, including evaluation of risk trends and mitigation actions
- Overseeing the conflicts of interest process and policies;
- Overseeing the university’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements and risks;
- Reviewing risk exposure of disputes, claims, and litigation with counsel;
- Fostering free and open communication between and among the committee, internal and external auditors and compliance officers, and management of the university;
- Reviewing the IRS Form 990 and related disclosures;
- Reviewing and approving implementation of ethical principles; and
- Providing oversight and guidance related to the policy process and approving institutional policies, as appropriate.
The committee members shall be independent based on the IRS Form 990 Independence test. Additionally, committee members shall be free of conflicts that would require such frequent recusals that the member's ability to perform as an independent committee member would be impaired.
Revised and approved by the Committee on Audit and Compliance on September 28, 2021 and approved by the Board of Trustees on October 5, 2021.
Amr ElSawy, Chair
The Committee on Finance and Investments is responsible for general oversight of the financial and business affairs of the university, as well as the operations and investments of the university. This includes:
- Reviewing and making recommendations to the Board regarding major financial and business matters, including the operating and capital budgets of the university;
- Discussing, reviewing, and assessing the annual audited financial statements;
- Focusing institutional resources toward achieving the objectives set out in the university’s strategic plan;
- Exercising oversight and governance over the university’s endowment with the goal of enhancing returns and purchasing power from investments while preserving resources for future generations;
- Reviewing and evaluating business plans/cases, including lookback analysis; and
- Overseeing the university’s infrastructure and maintenance of its physical and technological assets.
The committee should include financial experts and other members experienced in financial and business matters, to the extent possible.
Approved by the Committee on Finance and Investments on September 30, 2021 and approved by the Board of Trustees on October 5, 2021.
Ellen Zane, Chair
Ave Tucker, Vice Chair
A. Michael Hoffman
The Committee on Governance and Nominations is responsible for contributing to and furthering the Board’s ability to govern the affairs of the university, through a process that recognizes the importance of transparent and direct communication with the university’s officers and administration.
In the area of governance, this includes:
- reviewing, and making recommendations on, matters of Board governance;
- reviewing the university governing documents, including bylaws of the university and university mission statement periodically, and considering revisions as appropriate;
- establishing and reviewing procedures for trustee training, including educating trustees about the university and their responsibilities as trustees;
- assisting the Chair of the Board in developing trustee stewardship;
- evaluating trustee performance;
- addressing trustee conflicts of interest;
- evaluating Board effectiveness;
- making recommendations regarding the conduct of Board meetings;
- planning a succession process for presidential transition; and
- planning a succession process for the Board Chair and other Board officers.
In the area of nominations, this includes:
- reviewing and nominating trustee candidates for consideration by the Board, guided by the Criteria for Selection of Members of the Board of Trustees of the George Washington University;
- reviewing and nominating Board officers;
- making sure that the university has the minimum number of trustees required by the bylaws; and
- recommending candidates for university officer positions for consideration by the Board.
Criteria for Selection of Members of the Board of Trustees
of the George Washington University
The Board of Trustees of the George Washington University seeks as trustees individuals of the highest integrity who demonstrate a strong commitment to devote their knowledge, time, and financial resources to the benefit of the university. In identifying and selecting persons to be nominated or renominated to the Board to serve as trustees, the Board’s Committee on Governance and Nominations will consider the following criteria:
- experience to participate fully in the deliberations of the Board that will promote policies and procedures safeguard and enhance the long-term welfare and mission of the university, including its people and physical and financial assets;
- commitment to prepare and attend Board meetings and committee meetings, regularly and engage responsibly in the meetings;
- ability to select the president and support and evaluate university leadership;
- experience to review and approve the operating and capital budget of the university using a process that reflects strategic and academic priorities;
- ability to keep informed about the university and the issues affecting higher education, and determine the major goals of the university and approve the policies and procedures for implementation of such goals;
- commitment to assist in the recruitment of new trustees;
- reputation in the community as a person of intelligence, integrity, skill, experience, and good judgment; and
- commitment to make the university one of your most significant philanthropic priorities.
In addition, the committee will assess the impact of:
- any conflicts of interest (or potential conflicts of interest); and
- in connection with renominations, the nominee’s past effectiveness and participation as a member of the Board.
Approved by Committee on Governance and Nominations on September 29, 2021, and approved by the Board of Trustees on October 5, 2021.
Donna Hill Staton, Chair
The Committee on External Relations and Engagement is responsible for the oversight of key university functions which communicate and engage with external constituents, including alumni, families, donors, friends, students (as alumni-in-training), government officials, volunteers, and members of the broader George Washington community.
Communications and Marketing
- amplifying the university’s strengths through coordinated, proactive, and strategic communications, public relations, and marketing strategies in support of GW’s priorities;
- building and distinguishing GW’s brand identity through all internal and external communications and marketing (i.e., media coverage, management of digital platforms and social media channels, etc.); and
- contributing to efforts to build a strong sense of affiliation to the university and to foster greater connections both within the GW community and between the GW community and external constituents.
Development and Alumni Relations
- aligning GW philanthropic priorities with the mission-driven priorities of the university and the schools;
- educating GW’s external community about these priorities and their impact on GW and the world;
- creating and cultivating a culture of pride and loyalty with GW alumni, donors, and families; and
- advancing the goals of the university’s philanthropic enterprise, including philanthropic campaigns and advising on policies and procedures affecting philanthropic and engagement activities.
Government and Community Relations
- advising and assisting the university in developing a proactive strategy to maintain favorable relationships on the university’s campuses, in the neighborhood, with the District of Columbia, the adjoining states, the federal government, and global partners; and
- promoting and stewarding the relationships with these constituents to advance the university’s goals.
These three functions should be highly integrated and serve as the vehicle by which the university communicates with internal and external relationships locally, nationally, and internationally.
Approved by the Committee on External Relations and Engagement on September 23, 2021 and approved by the Board of Trustees on October 5, 2021.
Mark Chichester, Chair
The Committee on Strategic Planning and Enrollment is responsible for overseeing and providing input on the enrollment priorities that support the educational and research mission of the university and the strategic planning process of the university.
- the scope and timing of the strategic planning process and providing input and feedback throughout;
- critical elements, trade-offs, and priorities of GW’s enrollment, including pricing, composition of student population (graduate/undergraduate, total size, first-year vs. transfer), and student body makeup, etc.;
- the trends, practices, challenges and opportunities in higher education and particularly within GW’s peer group;
- the state of undergraduate and graduate enrollment management at GW;
- the intersection of the university’s enrollment plan with longer-term strategic objectives to enhance the distinctiveness of the GW undergraduate and graduate education value proposition;
- the progress towards achieving enrollment priorities and strategic priorities recommended by the GW leadership team and adopted by the Board of Trustees.
Approved by the Committee on Strategic Planning and Enrollment on September 21, 2021 and approved by the Board of Trustees on October 5, 2021.
Christine Barth, Co-Chair
Ave Tucker, Co-Chair
A. Michael Hoffman
825 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052