Fall Planning

Last updated May 22, 2020

As announced in May, GW will be open and operating to the fullest extent that is safely possible this fall, with the goal of in-person instruction and a residential academic experience. Staff and faculty have been working tirelessly to prepare for our planned August 31 fall start while also developing contingency plans for all possibilities.

These planning efforts, collectively our Back to Campus Initiative, are a massive undertaking, and they are being guided foremost by our priorities of safety and care. The planning efforts are thorough, examining the detailed modifications necessary to our on-campus lives in the context of our new COVID-19 reality. They are inclusive, considering the needs of all of our students, faculty and staff. And they are comprehensive, accounting for the many unknowns through multiple scenarios. While our primary scenario remains an on-campus fall, we are also planning for an online fall and a hybrid fall, which would include a mixture of online and in-person learning.

Given the preparations necessary for these contingencies, academic and administrative leaders with functional responsibility and faculty and staff with relevant expertise are coordinating on an unprecedented level to identify all of the issues and needs we must consider and address before we can safely bring our community back to campus. All of these efforts are informed by the expertise of our medical and public health faculty, led by Vice President for Health Affairs, Dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Chief Executive Officer of the GW Medical Faculty Associates Barbara Bass as well as Dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health Lynn Goldman, and by our Division for Student Affairs, led by Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Cissy Petty. They are coordinating closely with colleagues in the Office of the Provost; Division of Safety and Security; Human Resource Management and Development; External Relations; and Finance and Operations, with project management support from Continuous Improvement and Business Advisory Services.

The efforts include two primary dimensions: academic planning and operations. Below are the key leads and focus areas.

Academic Planning  

Charge: Prepare the university’s academic and research enterprises for a return to in-person operations for the fall semester and propose plans for necessary adjustments to instruction, research and student support based on stakeholder outreach to faculty and students. Additionally, prepare for contingencies in the academic enterprise should it not be safe to return, in part or in full, to on-campus operations in the fall.

Lead: Terry Murphy, Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs

Focus Areas:

  • Academic Instruction
    Leads: Dr. Murphy and Geneva Henry, Dean of Libraries and Academic Innovation
  • Enrollment, Retention and Student Success
    Leads: M. Brian Blake, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Ed Gillis, Interim Vice Provost for Enrollment Management
  • Research
    Leads: Bob Miller, Vice President for Research, and Gina Lohr, Senior Associate Vice Provost for Research
  • Faculty
    Lead: Chris Bracey, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

Faculty and other GW community members can provide feedback on planning below. 


Charge: Prepare campus operations for a return to in-person instruction and a residential academic experience for the fall semester, focusing specifically on health and well-being, support services, campus events and activities, and campus spaces. Additionally, prepare for contingencies in operations should it not be safe to return, in part or in full, to on-campus operations in the fall.

Lead: Scott Burnotes, Associate Vice President for Safety and Security

Functional Areas:

  • Community Health and Well-being
    Leads: Gene Migliaccio, Associate Dean for Applied Public Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health; Karen Drenkard, Associate Dean, Clinical Practice and Community Engagement, School of Nursing; Caroline Laguerre-Brown, Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement
  • Support Services
    Leads: Greg Rheault, Assistant Dean of Students, and Jonathan Fozard, Associate Vice President for the Office of the Chief Information Officer
  • Campus Events and Activities
    Leads: Colette Coleman, Senior Associate Dean of Students, and Ben Toll, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions
  • Campus Spaces
    Leads: Seth Weinshel, Assistant Dean of Housing and Financial Services, and John Square, Associate Athletics Director for Internal Operations


As the university's response to COVID-19 continues to evolve, we want to hear from the GW community. Please provide your input on GW's planning for fall operations.



Fall 2020 Updates