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Provost  // Posts published by Provost

06 Apr Posted by in Observations, Region | 2 comments

Community Outreach

Community Outreach

One of the features of George Mason which has always impressed me, from my first serious encounter during my interview process in fall 1999, has been its tremendous commitment to community service and outreach. This commitment has, I believe, persisted and even increased, even as the University enhances its global links and its research roles. […]

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30 Mar Posted by in Faculty | 2 comments

Faculty and Staff Morale

Faculty and Staff Morale

I’ve been asked to present a conference paper in October at an educational leadership conference, on the subject of academic personnel morale. By then I’ll be back on the faculty, and it will be interesting to see what my morale is; but that’s another and less interesting topic. I want to venture some remarks now, […]

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09 Feb Posted by in Academics | 4 comments

What Are Universities For?

What Are Universities For?

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to give a short talk on the subject of the purpose of universities, to a fairly general audience of people interested in George Mason but not for the most part academics (though some colleagues were there too). I won’t claim my thoughts were terribly profound or original, […]

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02 Feb Posted by in Administration, Faculty | Comments

Enrollment Shifts

Enrollment Shifts

At Mason, and nationally, student choices are changing. The shifts offer both promise and problem, and they deserve some systematic attention. First, of course, there is a steady increase in students interested in science, engineering, and health professions. This is probably a largely good development, though it stresses faculty and facilities that are relatively expensive […]

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26 Jan Posted by in Academics | 3 comments

Innovation in Higher Ed

Innovation in Higher Ed

As many readers know, the tone of innovation discussions in higher education seems to be changing a bit, compared to last year. Whereas the most vigorous voices a year ago were talking boldly of disruption and defending radical departures like MOOCs, today the bloom has faded a bit. Intelligent discussions about realistic uses of MOOCs […]

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08 Dec Posted by in Administration, Business | 3 comments

Consultants

Consultants

I didn’t have much contact with the world of educational consultants before I became Provost. As department chair and then dean, I certainly benefited from outside advice, but this came mainly in the form of external reviewers from other schools who could provide some independent perspective on programs. A bit of money changed hands but […]

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10 Nov Posted by in Facilities, Faculty, Students | Comments

Offices and Faculty Availability

Offices and Faculty Availability

This blog is about an interesting problem, to encourage further discussion. It is NOT the harbinger of some drastic new policy – just an invitation to discuss, think out of the box, etc. (Does anyone think inside boxes anymore?) The issue is a double one: providing offices for faculty and making sure faculty are appropriately […]

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27 Oct Posted by in Academics, Faculty, Students | 3 comments

“Commodity Courses” and the Joys of Teaching Freshmen

“Commodity Courses” and the Joys of Teaching Freshmen

Folks who like to talk about disrupting conventional higher education – and some who offer active alternatives – often focus on the entry-level courses as particular targets for rethinking. They point out that lots of these courses are taught in large lecture formats, with passive learning at best and, not infrequently, high rates of student […]

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20 Oct Posted by in Observations, Students | 2 comments

Family Weekend

Family Weekend

This weekend was Mason’s family weekend, and I was asked to make a few welcoming remarks. It’s always a nice occasion. I think the parents involved really do enjoy the chance to look around the school, enjoy various activities.  Like many schools we try to provide a mixture of opportunities, including some designed-to-please academic sessions, […]

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02 Jun Posted by in Faculty, Policies, Research | Comments

Rewarding Innovative Faculty

Rewarding Innovative Faculty

A faculty member recently wrote to ask how the University rewards “disruptively” innovative faculty whose contributions lay outside formal research. I had to think about this one, among other things because adducing individual examples would not always be appropriate. But it’s a good question, and I think I have elements of an answer. I leave […]

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