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Observations  // Browsing posts in Observations

22 Jun Posted by in Observations | 12 comments

Mason Goals

Mason Goals

This is the last blog I’ll write as Provost. I hope to continue blogging more occasionally, on various topics that reflect an appropriate distance from central administration. My thanks to those who’ve followed my blogs over these several years (both of you? Are there more?). I’ve appreciated the interest and reaction. I am actually turning […]

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08 Jun Posted by in Observations | Comments

Politics

Politics

One of the interesting aspects of serving in higher administration, in a public university, involves the obvious need to seem, and be, fairly even-handed politically. I may not have done this as well as I should, having fairly pronounced and obvious liberal views (if not worse), but at least I don’t seem to have gotten […]

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01 Jun Posted by in Administration, Observations | 1 comment

BOV

BOV

Unless something goes radically awry, I’ve now experienced my last meeting of Mason’s Board of Visitors. Not surprisingly, preparing for, encountering and recovering from BOV meetings is a key aspect of upper administration work. I won’t deny that there is usually some tension involved. Even when issues are fairly simple – and that’s been largely […]

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21 May Posted by in Academics, Observations | 4 comments

Lyrics

Lyrics

I performed the following takeoff on Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Am I Alone” and “Anxious for to Shine” (from Patience) at the School of Music’s Young Masters Concert on May 4, and then as an encore at the celebration on May 12: Am I alone and unobserved? I am. Then let me confess, I am an […]

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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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