Strategic Plan

Themes of the Strategic Plan

Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration graphic

Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration

Trends in higher education and research have demonstrated the substantial advantages that come from collaboration across disciplinary boundaries. Recognizing that cross-disciplinary work rests upon a foundation of strong departments and disciplines, we need to base our educational and research programs on a model that both draws upon and transcends the historical discipline-oriented fields.

As a modern research university, GW fosters collaborative, cross-disciplinary scholarship that facilitates newer, potentially transformative research and educational programs. By breaking down existing boundaries, we enhance learning opportunities by exposing our students to modes of cross-disciplinary thinking that will prepare them to synthesize and apply ideas from multiple areas of knowledge throughout their lives.

We believe that working across disciplines is also closely linked with creativity and entrepreneurship. The ability to bring different perspectives to bear on problems often opens up new options that might not fit within disciplinary boundaries. For some, this may create ways of thinking about artistic creativity; for others, it may lead to ways of translating ideas into products or services that become engines of economic growth or into fresh approaches to problems of public policy. Creativity and entrepreneurship both thrive in an environment where disciplinary boundaries are porous.

Globalization graphic


The flow of people, ideas, and beliefs across borders has increased the cultural and religious heterogeneity of many nations and has made interactions among diverse peoples commonplace. Growing economic interconnectedness is offering unprecedented opportunities for individuals and organizations to work collaboratively across national boundaries.

GW prepares students for this increasingly interconnected world, teaching them to work effectively with people from diverse countries and cultures. Our students need to understand and appreciate diverse belief systems. They need to learn even more than they currently do about governmental systems other than our own. They need to gain greater perspective on how technology, knowledge, history, culture, and language shape national identities and aspirations. And they need opportunities to expand their own creative thinking through significant exposure to other cultures’ forms of artistic expression that reveal different values, beliefs, and ideas.

Our diverse faculty has expanded our scholarship on international development, global business, and the history and cultures of the world beyond the United States. Building on this foundation, we have intensified our focus on regions that will play increasingly important roles in the world economy and global politics.

Governance & Policy graphic

Governance & Policy

National economic development and security depend on policies in areas such as health care, corporate governance, energy, global warming, cybersecurity, international security, human rights, income inequality, obesity, hunger, and sustainable infrastructure.

GW’s location in the heart of the nation’s capital and deep engagement in many areas of governance and policy empower us to enhance research and education in this realm. We seek to attract scholars and students from around the globe who are dedicated to thoughtful, effective, nonpartisan policymaking and who undertake research indispensable to good policymaking.

We have taken advantage of our location to develop extensive partnerships with the vast array of governmental and nongovernmental institutions that operate in the nation’s capital. Our goal is to expand these partnerships so that our students’ educational experiences and the university’s research efforts are even more closely linked to the challenges society confronts. Student and faculty involvement in the world beyond the campus reflects a deep commitment to service and citizenship. At the same time, this commitment provides rich opportunities for members of the GW community to interact with institutional leaders and, where appropriate, to make valuable contributions to national policy.

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Citizenship & Leadership

Democracy requires an informed population capable of understanding the complex and evolving issues confronting society. Citizenship demands committed service to local, national, and global communities.

Through GW’s academic and cocurricular programs, we reinforce the idea that success is measured not solely in terms of economic wellbeing but also in terms of how each person, community, or country contributes to the greater good. The service opportunities we offer students are learning experiences that link to the other curricular and cocurricular elements of a GW education.

Our university, inspired by the vision of our nation’s first president and with deep roots in American democracy, can be a focal point for teaching about, discussing, and modeling citizenship and leadership. Advancing new paradigms and inquiring about old ones are central to our mission of preparing students to be engaged citizens and creative leaders. To further this role, we need to develop courses that promote critical thinking about how ethical decisions are made, what citizenship means, and how to lead effectively and imaginatively. We also need to expand our role in the larger community as a forum for thought and debate about citizenship and leadership.