Institutional Culture Hero

Institutional Culture Initiative



GW strives to create a positive and rewarding environment for students, faculty, staff and alumni. The university’s institutional culture has a profound effect on the experience of each of these groups. It should foster and maintain a commitment to service, engagement, belonging and respect, improving the experience of every GW community member.




  • Goal 1: Create a team that represents the interests and experiences of the GW community to support the initiative and drive its progress. (Completed; See Initiative Leadership)

  • Goal 2: Perform an assessment of GW institutional culture, using surveys and other research methods. (Completed; See Initiative Accomplishments)

  • Goal 3: Using the assessment information, define GW's common purpose, values and behaviors.
  • Goal 4: Outline a process to address the four themes identified as needing improvement from the assessment.



Initiative Accomplishments



  • Faculty-Staff Culture Assessment Results Announced
    Survey and interviews identified clear themes for improvement.
  • Assessment Survey Concludes with Strong Participation
    Close to 55 percent of faculty and staff completed the culture assessment survey by the time it closed on Oct. 28. The university now enters the second phase of the assessment: in-person interviews with randomly selected faculty and staff.

  • President LeBlanc Announces Details of Culture Assessment
    Among the first steps in assessing the university’s culture, faculty and staff will receive an electronic survey that will provide an opportunity to give anonymous feedback about their experiences at the university. The survey, which will be administered in October 2018 by an independent, third party, will inform the creation of a data-driven plan to improve the university’s culture. Read President LeBlanc's message to the community and our frequently asked questions about the initiative.

  • Staff Performance Management Changes Implemented
    Unified review cycle for all staff, online forms and more frequent check-ins aim to improve process, enhance institutional culture.

  • New Shuttles Debut on Campus
    The university now operates new shuttles that service the Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia Science and Technology campuses—complete with an unmistakable GW look.

  • Longer Winter Break Announced
    In January 2018, GW announced it would implement a longer winter holiday break as an enhancement to its benefits offerings.

  • Group Established to Discuss Principles, Strategy
    A team of university leaders has convened to develop guiding principles and determine an assessment strategy.

  • New Employee Orientation to Be Refreshed
    Over the course of spring 2018, Human Resources is implementing a comprehensive orientation and onboarding program for new employees that will introduce them to the community and ensure that they feel connected to the university and its goals.




Initiative Sponsor

Mark Diaz

"A university's culture is about values and behavior, which means it is about people—all of us. It is critical to first assess, or diagnose, our institutional culture. This goes beyond anecdotes to look at how we work together across the university and how we interact with the broader GW community. This is a big endeavor, and it is key that everyone participates. I'm very excited to join this effort, and to be part of this vibrant community."

Mark Diaz Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Initiative Leadership


  • Chris Bracey, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
  • Pam Jeffries, Dean, School of Nursing
  • Sylvia Marotta-Walters, Chair, Faculty Senate Executive Committee
  • Dale McLeod, Interim Vice President of Human Resource Management and Development
  • Marie Price, Professor of Geography and International Affairs
  • Tanya Vogel, Director of Athletics and Recreation


Culture Leadership Team Charter

Charter of the George Washington University Culture Leadership Team to lead current and future culture-shaping strategies and activities:

  • Steer the culture-shaping effort at GW from diagnosis to implementation.
  • Lead effort to assess a baseline for GW’s culture.
  • Develop a communication and engagement strategy that focuses on culture literacy and awareness.
  • Work with leadership to define desired culture.
  • Lead effort to develop a common purpose, values and behaviors consistent with desired culture.
  • Communicate the common purpose and values.
  • Recommend culture workstream teams and leaders.
  • Identify then integrate the desired culture into programs and initiatives across the institution.
  • Define success measures and key performance drivers.
  • Be the desired change – lead by example.



Get in Touch

If you have a story of progress or suggestion related to this initiative, please submit it below. Your feedback is shared directly with the team charged with managing this initiative's progress.​​​​​​​ We look forward to hearing from you.