From a note I wrote to GW’s VP of Research
Through its alliance with the Folger Shakespeare Library, the best archive of Shakespeare and Renaissance materials in the US, and one of the best in the world, GW is uniquely positioned to train researchers in early modern and medieval studies. Even Ivy League schools do not have these resources. Here is what we have already:
(2) the Director of the Folger is a former GW English faculty member (Gail Paster)
(3) the Folger is the go-to destination to conduct research on early modern topics, so scholars from around the world are constantly in town to use its archives.
The GW Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute has been thriving in part because we’ve been able to take advantage of this alliance. The doctoral program in English, though — the research enterprise on which our national reputation rests — has not been consistently able to recruit and retain the stellar students who apply because we don’t have the funding to support them. These students end up at places like U Penn, NYU, Columbia, Emory, the UC system because they get full funding at those places — but not the access to a research archive and leading specialists from around the world that we can offer.
Our faculty are doing our best to raise the research profile of the humanities at GW via our books, our international talks, our peer reviewed articles. But lacking the support to fund the graduate students who want to do their advanced research here has been crippling. Our PhD program moved up eight spaces last year in the US News ranking. We won’t be satisfied until we are in the top TEN, and we can’t do that until we have the grad student support that will propel us there.