College Dean Chester Gillis pushing to allow cross-school minors

Interviews of University administrators by official Georgetown publications are generally pretty fluffy, but the question and answer session Georgetown Alumni Online recently had with Chester Gillis, the newly permanent Dean of the College, is surprisingly meaty.

Gillis starts off the interview by talking about how Georgetown has changed since he started working here 21 years ago.  He says the quality of the faculty has improved and that the students, while consistently excellent, have increasingly adopted a disconcerting pre-professional mindset.

He also talks about what his big plans are as Dean, both in the short and long-term.  Over the summer, he and the rest of the dean’s office will be discussing how to improve the advising system and give it more of a mentoring dimension.  A big long-term focus is going to be improving the sciences, with the goal of securing funding for the long-awaited new Science Center and adding 35 scientists to the Georgetown faculty over the next few years.

Possibly the most interesting part of the article, though, is when he talks about the need for allowing College students to do work through the SFS, MSB and NHS:

A second goal I have, (and I don’t mean this to contradict my comments about liberal arts), is to see the lines between the schools a bit more porous. If a student in the College wants to minor in a business discipline, I think that’s perfectly legitimate. I think it’s perfectly fine to have a history degree and a minor in finance.

I’ve had discussions with Dean Daly at the business school and he’s open and enthusiastic about this idea. The same is true for the School of Foreign Service and Nursing and Health Sciences, though that may be something to entertain down the road, as we should work with school at a time.

2 Comments on “College Dean Chester Gillis pushing to allow cross-school minors

  1. I had a conversation with Dean Daly two years ago or so and asked him why College students can only take two classes in the MSB (intros to accounting and finance for non-MSBers). He told me that the way the university allocates most tuition funding between the schools is based on how many students are enrolled in each school, not where they take classes. Most universities, from what he said, have at least some funding follow actual enrollment, so that if I took 6 credits in MSB departments and 9 credits in COL departments, some of my tuition dollars would flow to the MSB.

    Georgetown, of course, never adopted this system, and so the MSB doesn’t get paid for non-MSB students to take their classes. At the time, Dean Daly said that he favored allowing non-MSB students to take more classes, but that in order to swing it he’d need cooperation on changing the financing system to follow a, shall we say, post-medieval ethic. When he brought that idea up at a meeting of the various deans (small-d deans, I don’t know if bigwigs like McA and Gall. were there) there was a lot of resistance, I supposed because the COL would stand to lose tons of money if it started sending tuition dollars to the MSB. He cited the very heavy resistance on financial grounds as the reason he hadn’t pursued the idea further.

    Very interesting problem (and yet another example of financial accounting being the “real issue” at Gtown). I tried to work on it around the edges before graduating and didn’t get too far other than telling as many people as I could about the problem, but I’m THRILLED that the new Dean seems to be on board with making the reforms that previous administrators allegedly opposed.

    Based on that interview, we have great things to expect from Dean Gillis.

  2. Pingback: Vox Populi » On the record with John DeGioia: The extended edition

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>