RIT provost named president of the George Washington University

Ellen Granberg begins new post in nation’s capital July 1

Ellen Granberg is stepping down as provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Granberg, RIT’s provost since 2018, will become president of the George Washington University, and the first woman to serve in this role at GW, when she begins her tenure July 1.

“I offer my heartiest congratulations to Dr. Granberg, who will quickly become an outstanding president for George Washington University,” said RIT President David Munson. “Ellen has played a major role in building the people, programs, and profile of RIT, a national leader in technology, the arts, and design. 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.”

Throughout her career, 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.

At RIT, Granberg, who is the first woman to serve as provost, oversees nine colleges, two degree-granting units, and international campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo. She has worked diligently to increase undergraduate student success, including leading efforts to improve retention and graduation of all students, and significantly reduced achievement gaps between Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and non-BIPOC students.

She was influential in expanding the university’s doctoral degree portfolio, while enhancing interdisciplinary research and funding awards. She has made great strides to improve faculty recruitment and retention and improve facilities for instruction and research, including innovative learning spaces that will soon be in use in RIT’s Student Hall for Exploration and Development (SHED). She co-led the creation of RIT Certified, which will offer a portfolio of workforce development and professional training courses and programs to provide educational pathways to work and help close the talent gap for employers.

In addition, Granberg has been instrumental in assisting the RIT community in implementing its strategic plan, Greatness Through Difference.

Developing a positive faculty and staff environment and engaging with the university’s many constituencies on and off campus also has been a priority throughout Granberg’s career, including by listening, communicating transparently, and forging relationships with government and community partners, friends, and alumni. Granberg also has partnered closely with philanthropy colleagues to directly generate millions of dollars to fund academic priorities, including endowed chairs.

She also spearheaded RIT’s academic instruction through the COVID-19 pandemic—at its height, adeptly transitioning the university to offer fully remote instruction, and then pivoting to a hybrid instructional model before returning to in-person instruction.

“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 ’75 (photographic sciences), 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 will remain at RIT through this academic year. RIT will immediately launch a national search for a new provost, whom the university hopes to have in place this fall for the 2023-2024 academic year.

“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,” said Granberg. “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.”

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