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Office of the Provost  // Posts published by Office of the Provost

Education and Inequality

Education and Inequality

Let me make it clear in advance: I fully recognize that higher ed will be discussing major changes (though not everything will change), and I’m looking forward to that conversation. We’ll need to think about new uses for technology, some different pricing structures—all sorts of things. I do think some of the current faddish assumptions […]

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Regulating Distance Education

Regulating Distance Education

I’m about to issue some modest new rules about distance education at Mason. I’m always uncomfortable with additional bureaucratic moves, so I take this opportunity to explain a bit. Also, the issues are interesting, and somewhat unexpected. We’re working hard to expand distance offerings. We’ve added a lot of courses, mainly at the Masters level […]

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Student Voice

Student Voice

As we begin to talk more widely about university futures, I hope we’ll figure out a way to get serious student input. I say this not to pander (most students have at best the faintest idea that a Provost exists, much less does anything). I really think we’ll do a better job if we get […]

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Panacea Technology

Panacea Technology

Current discussions of higher ed, including the UVa crisis, reflect both important realities and farfetched assumptions about the role of technology in education’s future. I am no expert, and we will be learning a lot more in coming months, including at the November conference I’ve discussed earlier. But I can’t refrain from some thoughts. First, […]

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Research

Research

This effort is designed to stimulate intelligent discussion around a topic that is more complex than many realize. We’re heading into a strategic planning process, and the subject of research will be central. Mason is a strong and rising research university, though not in the top tier as yet. Funded research has grown by about […]

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The Mason Forum on the Future of Higher Education

The Mason Forum on the Future of Higher Education

  Spurred by our incoming president, Ángel Cabrera, Mason will host a discussion of issues and innovations in higher education on Nov. 2-3 of this year. Most seats will be available for the Mason community — a ticketing system will be announced later. Speakers will combine distinguished visitors with Mason faculty. Topics will include what […]

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Graduation Rates

Graduation Rates

I was intrigued by an article last week on the growing pressure on flagship state universities to increase 4-year graduation rates. Part of my fascination involves flagship envy (see the new DSM on this disease). Flagship schools have resources that I would welcome for Mason, which means they have options, for example in the graduation […]

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Pesky Liberal Education Goals

Pesky Liberal Education Goals

I’ve written before about my concern over the orchestrated emphasis on the STEM or STEM-H fields. Understandable concern for American deficiencies in STEM recruits plus the desire to link education directly with first jobs generates an arguably disproportionate focus on STEM, including, in some cases, favored funding. I actually agree with expanding STEM enrollments, but […]

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Study Time

Study Time

Many will have seen the recent Washington Post article about declining study time at universities, using Mason as a poster child. You can imagine I was not best pleased with our role. It turns out that lots of places feature study time not much different from ours (including Maryland and UVA — both a bit […]

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Morale

Morale

On a conference panel last week, chatting with colleagues from other institutions — one to the north of Mason, one to the south — I asked, of course, about how things were going. The intensity of the responses surprised me: morale was plummeting amid budget cuts, lack of ability to replace departing colleagues, and larger […]

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