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Money Isn’t…

19 May Posted by in Business | Comments Off on Money Isn’t…

Had a discussion yesterday with a bevy of university administrators from the UK, who were in the United States to discuss higher education leadership. It’s the second time we’ve hosted such a group — they visit a number of institutions — and the exchange has been both pleasant and interesting. Lots of shared issues.

After a panel presentation but before my own remarks, the group commented that Mason was the first institution they’d visited on their trip where laments over budget woes did not predominate, where the focus was on issues and opportunities that can be addressed even in current circumstances, and where excitement and enthusiasm are not excluded. This isn’t the first such comment I’ve heard, and I take it as a significant institutional compliment for the University.

Caution rushes in, of course. We do face pressing budget concerns, and we must balance our clear ability to carry on with continued statements about the need both for more funds and for reducing the pressures on tuition. The stagnation of salaries is serious business, as both deans and many faculty members will quickly remind me. We will continue to do everything we can to improve our budget condition, which was not quite right even before the current downturn.

Yet the dynamism of many Mason faculty and administrators is not in fact entirely dependent on state largesse. Lots of interesting and promising initiatives continue — also yesterday, SCHEV approved seven new degree programs, to take one example. Our ability to continue forward motion, and to project this to visitors, is I think a good thing, and if it’s another way we’re a little bit different, that’s good too.