Post-COVID Academic Innovation Task Force

Final Report

In October 2021, the Post-COVID Academic Innovation Task Force shared with the GW community its final report:


We are excited to understand and explore the numerous academic innovations that have emerged to us through the pandemic. The higher education landscape will look very different on the other side of COVID-19, and as we strive continuously to improve our academic programs and deliver on our value proposition to students, we must embrace innovations in technology, course instruction, and more, in order to realize our goal of preeminence as a comprehensive, global research university. With promising vaccines seemingly on the way, it is time to think about potential innovations that can strengthen our academic future.  

The faculty-led Post-COVID Academic Innovation Task Force is charged with the goal of considering, and recommending, new and innovative ways of fulfilling our academic mission. It will review previous academic innovation work from the GW community, particularly recommendations from the Strategic Plan’s High-Quality Undergraduate Education Committee and the Distinguished and Distinctive Graduate Education Committee. It also will study emerging literature on the post-pandemic higher education landscape, along with embracing any ideas or opportunities regarding course delivery, short-term academic experiences like certificate programs, our academic calendar, and the research enterprise. To better understand our community’s thoughts and ideas about academic innovation, the task force will seek ideas from faculty, staff, and students.

The task force's charge is to present to the Provost a finalized list of recommendations by late May.


The Post-COVID Academic Innovation Task Force is charged with the goal of considering and recommending new and innovative ways of fulfilling our academic mission. The task force is asked to investigate experiences and lessons learned both within GW and the broader higher education community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The task force will make data-driven recommendations outlining potential innovations that can fulfill our academic mission in May 2021.



Throughout this process, we are committed to keeping the GW community informed. In addition to monthly updates to the Faculty Senate Educational Policy and Technology committee, the task force will share regular communications with the GW community and keep this page updated.


December 2020

  • Dec. 2: Announcement from Provost Blake about the forthcoming task force
  • Request to schools and colleges for nominations to serve on task force

January 2021

  • Finalization of task force membership
  • Jan. 21: Update from Provost Blake and co-chairs announcing task force membership
  • Jan. 22: Formal charge to task force

February 2021

  • Feb. 1: Task force reviews strategic planning recommendations and gathers data on surveys sent to the university community during the pandemic
  • Feb. 8: Task force meets with strategic planning committee chairs to learn more about their committees' recommendations 
  • Feb. 18: The task force has formed four initial working groups to solicit input from key constituencies:  1) undergraduate students; 2) graduate and professional students; 3) faculty; and 4) staff and academic support personnel. These initial working groups will meet over the next four weeks to learn more about the gaps, concerns, innovations, and opportunities these constituencies have experienced during the pandemic. During this month, the four groups will explore information consisting of existing reports, data, surveys, external resources; request potentially new sources of information to inform the exploration; review data identifying themed areas to further explore in order to formulate recommendations requested in the charge.

March 2021

  • Mar. 8: The leaders of the working groups met to plan a survey tool to gather information and ideas from constituents.
  • Mar. 15: The task force met to hear updates from the working groups. Working groups have been meeting with their constituents and reviewing literature and survey data. The survey designed by the task force is live and collecting responses.
  • Mar. 29: The task force met and discussed the working groups' progress. The working groups are identifying emerging themes as they continue to meet with their constituents and review literature and survey data.

April 2021

  • Apr. 12: The task force met with Provost Blake to review the charge and discuss progress to date.
  • Apr. 26: The task force met to discuss challenges and review the timeline for completing their work.
  • Apr. 29: Dean Jeffries hosted a focus group for deans to discuss how the schools and LAI have responded to challenges posed by the pandemic, as well as academic innovations and opportunities that may shape the future.

May 2021

  • May 7: The task force presented a status update to Faculty Senate from the four working groups.
  • May 26: The final report was presented to Provost Blake.

August 2021

  • Aug. 9: The task force met with Interim Provost Bracey to discuss the final report.

October 2021

  • Oct. 13: The Post-COVID Academic Innovation Task Force's final report was shared with the university community.


Task Force Membership

Pamela Jeffries, Dean, SON, 2015-2021 (co-chair)

Jason Zara, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Associate Chair for Academic Affairs for the Department of Biomedical Engineering, SEAS (co-chair)

Donald Braman, Associate Professor of Law, GW Law

Cynthia Dowd, Professor of Chemistry, CCAS

Erica Gralla, Associate Professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, SEAS

Mike Guy, Graduate Student, The Corcoran School, and Studio Technician, The Textile Museum

Tamara Henry, Teaching Associate Professor and Practicum Director of Prevention and Community Health, GWSPH

Lionel C. Howard, Associate Professor of Educational Research, GSEHD

Srinikhila Karri, Undergraduate Student, 7-Year BA/MD Program

Russell Korte, Associate Professor of Human and Organizational Learning, GSEHD

Miro Liwosz, Assistant Dean, Online Learning and Instructional Technology, SON

Michael Moore, Director of International Economic Policy Program and Professor of Economics, ESIA

Guy Lotrecchiano, Associate Professor of Clinical Research and Leadership and of Pediatrics, SMHS and Associate Dean, Innovative and Collaborative Pedagogy, LAI

Billy Mullins, Clinical Assistant Professor, SON

Liesl Riddle, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Associate Professor of International Business and International Affairs, GWSB

Victoria Shanmugam, Director of Division of Rheumatology and Professor of Medicine, SMHS

Sarah Wagner, Associate Professor of Anthropology, CCAS

Gayle Wald, Professor of American Studies, CCAS

John Warren, Director and Associate Professor, MPS in Publishing, CPS