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Dr. Stearns  // Posts published by Dr. Stearns

23 Mar Posted by in Observations, Students | 7 comments

First Generation

First Generation

Amid the various criticisms of higher education, some of them warranted, others off the mark, one development may not have received the attention it deserves: the expansion of the numbers of college students whose parents had not themselves attended college. At institutions such as George Mason, the changes are genuinely interesting, and arguably encouraging. I […]

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16 Mar Posted by in International | 7 comments

Going More Global

Going More Global

This academic year should chart as a milestone in Mason’s continuing efforts to expand and diversify its programs in global education. The new Strategic Plan sets truly ambitious goals in the global arena – and we’re far from meeting all of them. I confess some concern that, given the sheer number of strategic targets, global […]

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Mason Korea

Mason Korea

I had the great pleasure of participating earlier this week in the official opening of Mason Korea, in Incheon. I have written about the project before, but it’s terrific to see it become reality – hence a special, off-cycle blog. The operation is part of the Songdo Global University campus. It sits in a truly […]

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09 Mar Posted by in Academics, Students | Comments

Honors College in an Accessible University

Honors College in an Accessible University

Here’s an issue I admit I hadn’t thought of but should have; and it’s quite interesting. How should we consider an Honors College in a University that proudly proclaims its desire to be as accessible as possible to qualified students, to seek to include rather than exclude? Our Honors College, which predates our new Strategic […]

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02 Mar Posted by in Academics, Research | 3 comments

Public Intellectuals and “Significant” Research

Public Intellectuals and “Significant” Research

A recent (Feb. 15) New York Times op-ed on the increasing public irrelevance of much social science research, by Nicholas Kristof, has legitimately won wide attention. Kristof argues that academics themselves must bear much of the blame for the fact that so many really intelligent academic thinkers have little or no role in the crucial […]

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23 Feb Posted by in International, Region | 5 comments

The Civil War in International Perspective

The Civil War in International Perspective

In May, Mason will host a one-day conference on the international context and impact of the American Civil War, as part of the Commonwealth’s impressive series of gatherings to commemorate the conflict’s sesquicentennial. I offered to organize the conference some time ago, and it’s great to see it nearing fruition. My qualifications for my role […]

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16 Feb Posted by in International | 3 comments

Mason Korea

Mason Korea

It is always good to report a collective achievement: after years of planning and preparation, and a lot of work by many faculty and staff both in Virginia and in Incheon, Mason’s Korea campus will open in just a couple of weeks. Students move into the dorms right at the end of February, classes start […]

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Wellbeing

Wellbeing

This offering features some musings about wellbeing, and specifically the commitment in our Strategic Plan to make Mason a “wellbeing university”, possibly the first ever (though discussions of wellbeing in colleges are gaining ground elsewhere). The musings go in several directions, all reflecting my relative unfamiliarity with this goal (in contrast to our other strategic […]

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Transitions

Transitions

This will be my last semester as Provost.  At the end of June I will return to faculty (I’m not retiring at this point, just changing roles).  Presumably my successor will be selected by March, and I’m told that the search pool is very good.  So for me and in some ways for the University, […]

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22 Dec Posted by in Observations | 14 comments

2013: A Year for Debate (Like Every Year)

2013: A Year for Debate (Like Every Year)

The opportunity to be on a year-end TV show gave me a prompt to think about the year now almost past in some historical perspective. It’s an interesting, inherently speculative venture, and I would welcome your thoughts. I wish I’d considered the exercise for my last world history class, but I’ll try it next year. […]

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