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Observations  // Browsing posts in Observations

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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23 Mar Posted by in Observations, Students | 7 comments

First Generation

First Generation

Amid the various criticisms of higher education, some of them warranted, others off the mark, one development may not have received the attention it deserves: the expansion of the numbers of college students whose parents had not themselves attended college. At institutions such as George Mason, the changes are genuinely interesting, and arguably encouraging. I […]

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Wellbeing

Wellbeing

This offering features some musings about wellbeing, and specifically the commitment in our Strategic Plan to make Mason a “wellbeing university”, possibly the first ever (though discussions of wellbeing in colleges are gaining ground elsewhere). The musings go in several directions, all reflecting my relative unfamiliarity with this goal (in contrast to our other strategic […]

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Transitions

Transitions

This will be my last semester as Provost.  At the end of June I will return to faculty (I’m not retiring at this point, just changing roles).  Presumably my successor will be selected by March, and I’m told that the search pool is very good.  So for me and in some ways for the University, […]

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22 Dec Posted by in Observations | 14 comments

2013: A Year for Debate (Like Every Year)

2013: A Year for Debate (Like Every Year)

The opportunity to be on a year-end TV show gave me a prompt to think about the year now almost past in some historical perspective. It’s an interesting, inherently speculative venture, and I would welcome your thoughts. I wish I’d considered the exercise for my last world history class, but I’ll try it next year. […]

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15 Dec Posted by in Academics, Observations | 1 comment

Teaching Social Problems: Do We Measure Up?

Teaching Social Problems: Do We Measure Up?

As some of my readers know, Mason has taken a lead in organizing several international universities around key global problems. We’re also participating in the United Nations compact, which calls attention to issues in the environment, corruption, labor rights, and human rights. While we’re still working on our agendas in these arenas, we can take […]

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01 Dec Posted by in Observations, Policies | 5 comments

An Entrepreneurial University

An Entrepreneurial University

Mason has long prided itself on being entrepreneurial, and this remains a strength. The new Vision statement and its Mason “IDEA” highlight the characteristic. For what it’s worth, I have always relished the notion, and have always hoped that I could both support and capitalize on the entrepreneurial spirit. So, a few thoughts about being […]

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03 Nov Posted by in Business, Observations | 1 comment

Partnering with For-Profits

Partnering with For-Profits

It’s no secret that Mason, like a number of public universities, is actively partnering, or considering partnerships with, various for-profit organizations. Of course educational institutions have long done this in some nonacademic sectors, like food service, where commercial firms can arguably do a more efficient job, with more economies of scale, than the universities themselves. […]

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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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The Charms and Perils of STEM-H

The Charms and Perils of STEM-H

The current pressure on universities to produce more STEM-H grads is well known.  I did have the pleasure of a recent public presentation in which an audience member did not know what STEM stood for, and I wanted to hug him.  But the enthusiasm for Science Technology Engineering Math (and Health) is familiar enough.  It’s […]

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