President’s Report

Georgetown University Association of Retired Faculty and Staff (GUARFS) Annual Report

June 2022-June 2023

In June, 2022 the Executive Council of GUARFS met to develop a set of goals to advance the organization over the next two years. In this annual report I share the progress towards these goals.

Goal 1. Continue to increase membership and engagement of retirees

  • Create a membership committee to think about it strategically.

Currently, there is an active membership committee working on issues including how to better welcome new members and how to retain existing members.

  • Implement a survey to provide data to guide future activities and events that would be attractive to retirees.

In January and early February 2023, GUARFS put out a survey, the second survey in our history, to retirees to accomplish the following:

  • Get a better understanding of the demographics of our retirees;
  • Find out if and how they valued engagement with GUARFS and why they might not participate;
  • Learn what kinds of activities they would like GUARFS to provide; and
  • Determine how to best communicate with them.

GUARFS is grateful to the 126 retirees who took the time to respond to the survey. What we learned will help us better serve our retirees and improve the way we operate. Click here to read the report of the survey findings.

  • Develop approaches to expand the connection to medical center and law center retirees. Make decisions about programming that would attract them.
  • Expand our activities to other campuses hosting something downtown when things open up.

GUARFS held a range of special events designed to appeal to a broad array of retirees. These were both in person and virtual. They included:

  • A luncheon and lecture at the Law Center. Dr. Thomas Kellogg, Center for Asia Law and Policy, discussed “US-Asia Challenges in the Biden Era”.
  • A series of programs on healthy aging to include:
    • The Aging Brain presented by Dr. Ken Keller and
    • The Role of Cholesterol and Triglycerides in Aging presented by Dr. Moshe Levi, both from the GU Center for Healthy Aging
    • A presentation developed by the Alzheimer’s Association on “Healthy Living for your Brain and Body: Tips from the Latest Research” presented by Michael Smith, a GU Retiree, and Laura Byer of the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Annual holiday party in partnership with the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits
  • A Georgetown Basketball Game at Capitol One Arena
  • Conversations with Georgetown Leaders: Challenges to the Admissions and Financial Aid Landscape at Georgetown with: Charles Deacon, Dean of Admissions and Patricia McWade, Dean of Student Financial Services
  • The challenges, hazards and opportunities involved with ChatGPT in higher education presented by Professor Nick Lovegrove, Professor of Practice in the McDonough School of Business,, Professor Eddie Maloney, the Executive Director of the Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship (CNDLS), and a Professor in the Department of English, Professor Nathan Schneider, Associate Professor of Linguistics and Computer Science and Ali Whitmer, Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Provost and Executive Director of the Honor Council
  • Annual Spring Luncheon and Mass of Thanksgiving
  • GUARFS 2023 Annual Meeting
  • Philippines on the Potomac – A Walking Tour led by Dr. Erwin Tiongson, Deputy Director of the Global Human Development Program, School of Foreign Service

Goal 2. Increase engagement of and relevance to staff retirees

  • Talk to the Provost about diversifying the grant program so staff can participate.

The Georgetown University ethos favors continued growth and development for all retirees. At retirement, each of us is encouraged to use the talents and knowledge that we have created over a working lifetime in the service of others.

It is in this spirit that GUARFS announces a new grants program for its members: Grants for Personal Development for Community Service. GUARFS will award up to three $500 grants for the 2023-24 academic year to its members to support their individual growth and development in activities for the good of the community. The new grants program is in addition to the existing and ongoing research grants program. More details to follow.

  • Pursue the issue of staff losing their GU email addresses which cuts them off from the University.

Conversations in progress as to how to remedy the challenge of keeping lines of communication open with retirees who are not eligible to maintain a GU email address upon retirement.

Goal 3. Increase the visibility of needs and contributions to the university community at large of retirees

  • Collaborate with the Benefits Office more closely on the holiday party, advising on needs etc. of retirees.

Jointly held this year’s holiday party with the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits. Naming of new GUARFS representative to the Benefits Advisory Committee to fill the vacancy following the death of long-time representative, Dr. Richard Bates. Edward Quinn, a GU Retiree and former Secretary of the University, has agreed to accept this role on the Executive Council.

  • Identify ways to contribute to the university and assure those are publicized.
  • Ask law center and medical center to consider adding funds to the grants program to support their retirees.
  • Enhance our partnership with the Alumni Association—the learning community, the Faculty Ambassadors program, monthly events, travel opportunities, etc.

Connected with and publicized the Alumni Association Faculty Ambassadors program. Pursuing a potential partnership related to group travel.

  • Enhance our partnership with the Development Office

Goal 4. Increase involvement in the running of GUARFS

  • Set up an ad hoc committee to develop an approach to recruiting new volunteers.

Due to multiple responses to the survey, several retirees have been added to the standing committees of the Executive Council.

  • Address the constitutional issues related to replacing the officers.

At the 2023 annual meeting attendees voted on several changes in the constitution (and by-laws) that were recommended by the Executive Council. The major changes were:

  1. the election of new officers (which occurs every other year) be conducted in such a manner as to include all the active members in attendance at the meeting. At present that responsibility is vested solely in the Executive Council.
  2. that members be provided each year with up-to-date information about the operating budget of the organization, as approved by the Executive Council.

Click here to read the final amended constitution and bylaws.

In addition to activities to address our current new goals, we had another highly successful year with the GU Learning Community courses which included:

  • The Presidency and Illness: Should the Health of Candidates for High Office Be an Issue?
  • Religious Pluralism
  • International Migration
  • The Bible and Racism: Uses, Misuses, and Divergent Interpretations of the Bible over Race
  • Indispensable Nation: America’s World Role; Past, Present, and Future
  • Into the Woods: Reconsidering fairy tales through sociological and psychological lenses
  • Novelizing Frida Kahlo and Dolores del Rio, Two Stars of Post-Revolutionary Mexico
  • Philosophy, Religion, and the Meaning of Life
  • The Current Crisis of Democracy: A New Interpretation
  • Creating Social Impact
  • Shakespeare’s Hamlet

All in all, it has been a very busy and productive year for GUARFS. We are looking forward to even more progress toward our goals in the coming year.

Respectfully submitted,
Suzanne Bronheim

To Read Last Year’s Report: Click Here