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Policies  // Browsing posts in Policies

A Little Global Review?

A Little Global Review?

One of the advantages of no longer being Provost, but retaining interest in some of the issues that attracted me before, is that there is an opportunity for additional thinking and reflection. This can be slightly embarrassing, when one realizes that some of the thoughts should have been thought before, when there was more chance […]

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The Nuclear Analogy

The Nuclear Analogy

I have been intrigued, recently, by how often the media (particularly, the print media, who still enjoy the time to think) are turning to history to find some guidelines amid current uncertainties. It’s great to be reminded of how essential the discipline is, and I hope anti-humanists will take note. Thus we are told about […]

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The Challenge of Terror

The Challenge of Terror

In the aftermath of recent attacks, including those in Beirut, in Paris, and apparently against a Russian airliner, and with deep respect to those who have suffered in result, a few thoughts. It is really important to remember several things about terrorism, recently and historically. Terrorists are not able to use conventional military strength OR […]

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My New Book (on higher education)

This blog is only a bit more than a shameless plug for my new book, Guiding the American University: contemporary challenges and choices, which has just been published by Routledge. My flimsy excuse for blogging about it stems from the fact that the book relates strongly to the regular series of blogs I did in […]

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Public Grief: History and Emotion

Public Grief: History and Emotion

A month or so before my service as provost ended we had a “shooter” exercise for our safety folks and upper administration. The idea of course is that some realistic scenarios would help us all deal with the real thing should it ever occur, and while I always disliked the simulation I can’t argue that […]

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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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Quality

Quality

I had a great discussion recently with Deans about aspects of our strategic planning. They, and some of their faculty, grew legitimately concerned that in our enthusiasm for growth and innovation we did not place enough emphasis on the quality of our outcomes. I do think the reminder is salutary, though I don’t think it […]

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25 Aug Posted by in Academics, Faculty, Policies | 8 comments

Tenure, Again

Tenure, Again

Recent developments make it clear that some renewed discussion of tenure is desirable—but the same developments point in dramatically different directions. A challenging Bloomberg View blog (Mark Bauerlein, August 5, 2013) really lays out the case against old fart faculty. Data do suggest that a large number of tenured faculty are continuing to work, and […]

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04 Aug Posted by in Faculty, Policies | 9 comments

Shared Governance

Shared Governance

We’re having a somewhat unexpected (to me) conversation with our governing board (Board of Visitors) about shared governance. It’s no secret that the Board, like most Boards, does not have a lot of academic background, and the strange ways that universities lurch along are not fully familiar to them. In the case of shared governance, […]

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28 Jul Posted by in Observations, Policies | 1 comment

In Praise of (a certain amount of) Messiness

In Praise of (a certain amount of) Messiness

A big university like Mason inevitably has accumulated, even in our case of a relatively short life, a number of organizational peculiarities and anomalies. Not everything is located in tidy boxes. It’s certainly appropriate recurrently to look at the resultant anomalies. If, particularly in the current fiscal climate, organizational untidiness costs unnecessary money, or results […]

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