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Dr. Stearns  // Posts published by Dr. Stearns

15 Dec Posted by in Academics, Observations | 2 comments

Teaching Social Problems: Do We Measure Up?

Teaching Social Problems: Do We Measure Up?

As some of my readers know, Mason has taken a lead in organizing several international universities around key global problems. We’re also participating in the United Nations compact, which calls attention to issues in the environment, corruption, labor rights, and human rights. While we’re still working on our agendas in these arenas, we can take […]

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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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International Students

International Students

As we near a decision about a project to increase significantly the number of international students at Mason, at both graduate and undergraduate levels, a word on the most commonly asked, and perfectly appropriate, question. Why do this? Note that my answer applies to our strategic commitment to grow the numbers, regardless of the current […]

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17 Nov Posted by in Academics, Students | 2 comments

Study Time

Study Time

Amid the various discussions of higher education and all sorts of innovative strategic planning (including here at Mason), I wonder what has happened to a concern that surfaced a couple of years ago, about the average out-of-class time that college students put into their studies. The data were worrisome, in suggesting a several-hours-per-week reduction over […]

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03 Nov Posted by in Business, Observations | 1 comment

Partnering with For-Profits

Partnering with For-Profits

It’s no secret that Mason, like a number of public universities, is actively partnering, or considering partnerships with, various for-profit organizations. Of course educational institutions have long done this in some nonacademic sectors, like food service, where commercial firms can arguably do a more efficient job, with more economies of scale, than the universities themselves. […]

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The Charms and Perils of STEM-H

The Charms and Perils of STEM-H

The current pressure on universities to produce more STEM-H grads is well known.  I did have the pleasure of a recent public presentation in which an audience member did not know what STEM stood for, and I wanted to hug him.  But the enthusiasm for Science Technology Engineering Math (and Health) is familiar enough.  It’s […]

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06 Oct Posted by in International | 5 comments

Global Problem-Solving Consortium

Global Problem-Solving Consortium

I’ve written before on this, but there are some upcoming developments that I hope will be interesting to some readers, even to the point of participation. A reminder: Mason launched the Global Problem Solving Consortium in 2012 with partner universities in India, Turkey, Brazil, Kenya, Russia, China, and Korea. We had a really good kickoff […]

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Partially Disrupted Universities

Partially Disrupted Universities

As I look at some key aspects of our current draft strategic plan, and also reread some recent literature on higher ed, I am struck not by the need or desire for total innovation (which is what some of the disrupt language suggests) but on the demanding combination of old and new goals. So a […]

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Mason Songdo

Mason Songdo

We’re moving into a new phase of Mason’s Korea project – at last, an active implementation phase – but the preliminaries were sufficiently complex and prolonged that it’s worth commenting again on key highlights of the project. We’re now committed to opening two programs for freshman in March of next year – in Management and […]

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Teaching Spaces

Teaching Spaces

This is not one of my usual categories, but it may be time for some radical proposals, based on things we already know. To wit, a number of faculty are already usefully combining class sessions with online, in hybrid offerings that, properly arranged (and this is a registrar challenge in part) can relieve pressure on […]

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