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13 May Posted by in Academics | 3 comments

As almost everyone at Mason knows, our accreditation process requires that we develop a Quality Enhancement Plan, and a faculty committee has been hard at work in selecting a focus over the past 14 months. The committee itself, headed by Kim Eby, has displayed remarkable energy and imagination, and the university community is in their debt. Faculty, staff and students have also responded in impressive number, in proposing themes and contributing to evaluations of proposals. We have a good case to make about wide engagement.

Now of course the theme has been selected, focusing on student research and creativity. It builds on some very good things already happening. We have active student research programs in a variety of units, with some very high quality results thanks to bright students and dedicated mentors. I hope I’ve helped the process along by establishing an undergraduate research program soon after I got to Mason. But the opportunities have never been systematized. We have too many programs without obvious channels for undergraduate research, and collectively we have not kept pace with the talents of our students. Now we have a chance both to assess what is in place, and get greater visibility for it, and to do more. I really look forward to the further mobilization of talent, to turn something of a current deficiency into an active opportunity — not only for students, but for the faculty who work with them.