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Good Things

12 May Posted by in Observations | 1 comment
Good Things

Ends of semester are always a bit tense, particularly in the spring. People are tired, a subset of students (and others) get weird, it’s obviously past time for a break. This spring, we probably have even more distractions than usual, including a constrained budget situation and some clear challenges in the coming year.

But—and this is the point of this blog—there are also a batch of good things to note, and while confronting problems we must not lose sight of the real positives. Enrollment for next year is, in most categories, extremely strong. Freshmen applications and numbers were up; retention seems very good, which is particularly encouraging; new graduate enrollments are up sharply overall. We had some problems in this area a year ago, but thanks to lots of dedicated effort and a very positive overall profile, things have been turned around. We don’t know the precise figures yet, but the auguries are excellent.

Global news is also good. We’ve had tremendous support from governments and partners in Japan, Turkey and China, providing exciting new study opportunities for our students. A recent visit with India’s ambassador was very positive, and new opportunities will open from this. Plans for opening the new campus in Songdo, South Korea, are now moving ahead rapidly, and again the University’s strongly favorable image has been crucial in the progress here.

And of course, modest as it admittedly is, faculty and staff will get a raise for once.

This season also brings welcome news of student awards and achievements, ranging from admissions to top graduate schools to awards such as the Boren fellowship. The fact that our Honors program once again has overshot its target among new freshmen is another positive talisman for the future.

The big point is that most of the achievements of the sort noted here reflect the dedication and talent of the Mason community as a whole. As we wind down from the semester, and as many of us look forward to some change of pace for a bit, it’s legitimate to self-congratulate as well. And then we’ll try to tackle the next set of challenges.