group of GW community members with George Washington mascot

Institutional Culture



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. (Completed; See Initiative Accomplishments)
  • Goal 4: Outline a process to address the four themes identified as needing improvement from the assessment. (In Progress; See Work Teams)



Initiative Accomplishments


  • Starting in fall 2020, employees and their families will benefit from an enhanced tuition remission rate, up to 100 percent in many cases.

  • Faculty and staff were invited to attend training sessions on the OUR GW service framework, common purpose, values and service priorities.

  • University Hires Dana Bradley as Chief People Officer
    The new role will help lead a "major reorientation" that focuses on "putting people first."

  • Free Summer Access to Lerner Health and Wellness Center for Faculty and Staff    Through Aug. 15, faculty and staff receive free access to the center's equipment, classes and recreation services, adding to the university's commitment to employees' well-being. 

  • President LeBlanc Shares Common Purpose and Values
    The Culture Leadership Team distilled the feedback from the culture assessment to create two key elements: common purpose and our university values. The common purpose and values will inform the next step for the Culture Leadership Team: the creation of expectations that reflect what we aspire to in the daily interactions we have with each other, with our students, and with our community.


  • 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.



OUR GW Service Ambassadors

The OUR GW Service Ambassador Team comprises faculty and staff members from across the university. The Service Ambassadors support the university's Institutional Culture Initiative by leading training sessions for community members and serving as champions for GW's culture transformation. 


Work Teams 

Cross-functional work teams have been formed to focus on the areas identified in the faculty and staff assessment as needing attention. The focus areas are: 

  • Faculty and Staff Care
  • Faculty and Staff Recognition
  • Global Orientation and Onboarding
  • Leadership Behaviors


These four teams, comprising faculty and staff members who represent all areas of the university, have been charged with soliciting input and ideas from all levels of the university’s stakeholders and bringing that back to the assigned deliverable efforts of the work team. Additionally, team members have been asked to consider how to improve faculty and staff communication and collaboration within the purview of their work teams. We are grateful to these faculty and staff members for their commitment to the university and thank them for the time they are dedicating to make GW a better place to work.

Culture Leadership Team Sponsors 

  • Pam Jeffries, Dean, School of Nursing
  • Dale McLeod, Associate Vice President for Human Resource Management and Development


Work Team Members 

  • Christopher Hennelly, Associate Athletic Director of Student-Athlete Health, Wellbeing & Performance, Athletics & Recreation
  • Evangeline Downie, Associate Professor of Physics, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences 
  • Michelle Stone*, Executive Director of Communications, Division of External Relations 
  • Eric Kramon, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs 
  • Leslie Lee, Assistant Director for Administration, GW Law 
  • Stewart Robinette, Assistant Dean of Residential Engagement, Enrollment and the Student Experience 
  • Shane Seger, Senior Communications and Outreach Associate, Office of the Vice President for Research 
  • Robert Oakley, Assistant Director of Facilities Maintenance, Facilities Planning, Construction and Management
  • Ray Lucas, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Health Affairs, School of Medicine & Health Sciences
  • Jennifer Hayes-Klosteridis*, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs, School of Nursing 


*Denotes Team Champion

Culture Leadership Team Sponsors 

  • Mark Diaz, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Marie Price, Professor of Geography and International Affairs


Work Team Members 

  • Anne Banner, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, School of Medicine & Health Sciences
  • Virginia Bennis, Director of Adminstration, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
  • Jennifer Frey, Associate Professor of Special Education and Disability Studies, Graduate School of Education & Human Development
  • Tamatha Hollingsworth*, Senior Finance Director, Finance 
  • David Iselin, Director of Organizational Operations, Enrollment and Student Success
  • Janet Monaco, Director of Benefits, Total Rewards
  • John Philbeck, Chair of the Department of Psychology and Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences
  • Justin Pohl, Special Assistant to the Dean, School of Nursing
  • Jonathan Post*, Assistant Vice President for Board Relations, Office of the President
  • John Square, Associate Athletics Director for Internal Operations, Athletics & Recreation 


*Denotes Team Champion

Culture Leadership Team Sponsors 

  • Chris Bracey, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Office of the Provost
  • Dale McLeod, Associate Vice President for Human Resource Management and Development


Work Team Members 

  • Monet Ballard, Relocation Project Manager, Facilities Planning, Construction and Management
  • Sandra Davis, Associate Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing 
  • Megan Dieleman, Senior Project Manager, Office of the Vice President for Research 
  • Aileen Miller, Manager, Financial Systems and Solutions, Finance
  • Briana Murray, Recruitment Coordinator, Human Resources
  • Melissa Perry*, Chair, Professor of Environmental & Occupational Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health
  • Gaby Tagle, Service Center Associate, Human Resources
  • Michael Tapscott, Director, Multicultural Student Services Center, Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement 
  • Jonathan Walker, Assistant Dean, Student Services and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Elliott School of International Affairs 
  • Michael Wolf*, Director, Business Intelligence Services, Division of Information Technology 


*Denotes Team Champion

Culture Leadership Team Sponsors 

  • Sylvia Marotta-Walters, Professor, Counseling 
  • Tanya Vogel, Director of Athletics & Recreation 


Work Team Members 

  • Lara Brown*, Director of the Graduate School of Political Management, College of Professional Studies 
  • Margaret Cunningham, Head Coach of Women's Gymnastics, Athletics & Recreation
  • David Dent, Associate Vice President, Facilities Planning, Construction and Management
  • Joshua Fulton, Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions, Elliott School of International Affairs 
  • Natasha Kazeem, Assistant Dean for Strategic Initiatives, Senior Advisor to the Dean, Milken Institute School of Public Health 
  • Charles Pollack, Associate General Council, General Counsel
  • Alexander Pullen*, Director of Human Resources, Human Resources
  • Vanessa Perry, Associate Dean for Faculty; Chair, Department of Marketing; Professor of Marketing, School of Business 
  • Shelley Shearer, Manager, Strategic Services, Finance 
  • Jason Zara, Associate Professor, Associate Chair for Academic Affairs, School of Engineering & Applied Science


*Denotes Team Champion

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


  • Christopher Bracey, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Dana Bradley, Vice President & Chief People Officer
  • Sylvia Marotta-Walters, Professor of Counseling and Human Development
  • Cissy Petty, Vice President of Student Affairs & Dean of Students
  • 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. 


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