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Academics  // Browsing posts in Academics

A Meaningful Global Experience

A Meaningful Global Experience

We’re still refining our strategic plan, so what I’m writing about now may change a bit. But one concise goal that seems to resonate well involves pledging a “meaningful global experience” for every undergraduate. Even though we have a decent start on this goal already, it’s a major innovation, writ large in this fashion, and […]

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Changed My Mind

Changed My Mind

As we discuss strategies for Mason’s future, I’ve been thinking about some assumptions I brought to my job 13 and a half years ago, and how I’ve rethought them. Some of the issues surface actively in discussing new goals, mainly in terms of our stance toward conventional (outdated?) status symbols. When I came to Mason, […]

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China Connections

China Connections

As I embark on my fifth trip to China, a few thoughts on Mason’s links to this vital global player. In the first place, Mason’s Chinese activities vividly illustrate the fruitful combination of planning and serendipity. We have long identified China as one of our clear partner areas—and we’ve built faculty, curricular and linguistic capacity […]

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09 Jun Posted by in Academics, Faculty, Students | 1 comment

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

One of the most challenging aspects of higher education, particularly in the current skeptical climate, is figuring out what value we add. The pressure to improve assessment, now at least two decades old, is actually quite justifiable, but hard to satisfy without resorting to the kind of testing we don’t want in colleges—testing that would […]

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When It’s Time to Leave Academic Administration

When It’s Time to Leave Academic Administration

What follows involves a delicate topic, probably insufficiently discussed because of its delicacy.  But this issue deserves airing, and ultimately some wider discussion toward informal guidelines. I’ve had occasion, as a dean and now provost, at two different institutions, to watch the complex dance of administrator departure. The phenomenon is complicated enough to warrant some […]

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Inclusiveness

Inclusiveness

As many of my readers know, we have a new strategic vision for the University that includes a number of interesting elements. One feature, which I’ve written about before, implies a commitment to growth which we’re now trying to translate into more specific strategic planning. A related feature involves inclusiveness. Our President notes publicly that […]

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Teaching Oversight

Teaching Oversight

A talented colleague has raised an interesting issue, and since he did it publicly I don’t think it’s inappropriate to comment. Mills Kelly, in our History Department, has twice offered a course that involves students preparing a plausible public hoax and disseminating it (Wikipedia, etc.) for 10 days, after which it is explicitly disavowed. The […]

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Multiplicity University

Multiplicity University

One of the odd aspects of many current discussions of American university futures involves a certain all-or-nothing quality—either everything is going to change, as the existing model is fully outmoded—or nothing much should. What’s often missing, though there are exceptions, is an understanding that our most likely near future, and possibly even long-term future, will […]

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Big Mason or Bigger Mason

Big Mason or Bigger Mason

As a University, we’re about to turn from the process of crafting a new strategic vision, to an actual planning process based on that vision. One of the most interesting planning targets has to be size of student body. The President’s Vision statement clearly implies growth, but there are no specifics attached. It’s time to […]

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17 Feb Posted by in Academics, Faculty | 2 comments

Law Schools in Crisis

Law Schools in Crisis

It’s probably fairly widely known, and not just in law schools, that most law schools have been facing, now for several years, a serious decline in applications. The result is particularly important for the schools themselves, but the results impinge on the wider academic enterprise as well. Again, the crisis is widespread, and I’m not […]

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