RIT provost named president of George Washington University

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Rochester Institute of Technology’s provost will be the first female president of the George Washington University in the nation’s capital. Ellen Granberg begins that role in July.

Granberg, who is also senior vice president of academic affairs, oversees RIT’s nine colleges, two degree-granting units, and international campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai and Kosovo. She was the first woman to become RIT provost in 2018.

“Ellen has played a major role in building the people, programs, and profile of RIT, a national leader in technology, the arts, and design,” says RIT president David Munson. “Ellen is a brilliant and strategic thinker, an accomplished planner, and a committed doer. Her collaborative and engaging personal style will serve her especially well as she leads GW. While this announcement is bittersweet for RIT, it is tremendous news for GW and the higher education community.”

Ellen Granberg (Photo: RIT)

RIT officials say Granberg has focused on supporting student success; educational innovation; research and scholarship; staff and faculty excellence; diversity, equity and inclusion; academic reputation; and financial and operational management. She is credited with leading efforts to improve retention and graduation of all students, increase undergraduate success and significantly reduce achievement gaps between BIPOC and non-BIPOC students.

“As provost, Dr. Ellen Granberg has demonstrated inspired, strategic leadership at Rochester Institute of Technology, driving student success while advancing the multidisciplinary educational outcomes that will help graduates address global needs,” said Jeffrey Harris, chair of RIT’s Board of Trustees. “Her understanding of undergraduate and graduate pedagogy leveraging academic research will make her leadership a strong contributor to GW’s mission.”

Granberg’s influence at RIT extends to faculty as well—augmenting recruitment and retention and improving facilities for instruction and research. Creating innovative learning spaces, soon to be operational in the university’s Student Hall for Exploration and Development, was also part of her work.

“I have absolutely loved my time at RIT and one of the singular highlights has been the wonderful people I’ve had the opportunity to get to know and to work with,” Granberg says. “You have all been amazing colleagues and wonderful leaders. You are smart, strategic, forward thinking, and fun! I will miss each of you very, very much. The decision to take this role was difficult and only the most unique opportunity could have pulled me away.”

In addition to expanding RIT’s doctoral portfolio, Granberg co-led the formation of RIT Certified, which aims to boost the economy and promote professional mobility in the region, nation and worldwide. It has a portfolio of alternative education courses, certificate programs and skill-based learning experiences.

Granberg made positive engagement on campus a priority. Listening and communicating transparency are hallmarks of her tenure at RIT. When COVID-19 hit, she spearheaded academic instruction, transitioning the university to offer fully remote instruction, and then pivoting to a hybrid instructional model before returning to in-person instruction.

RIT expects to immediately launch a national search for a new provost. A leader is likely to take the role in the 2023-2024 academic year.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

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