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

Background Checks

Background Checks

I know I opined on this recently but thought an update would be in order, and I welcome further reactions. It’s not necessarily a huge issue, but a tough one. We are under increasing pressure to administer background checks to all newly-hired faculty (currently we only do selected, as in fields involving younger children or […]

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Death in the Family

Death in the Family

I write today about a problem I hadn’t pondered before, not common, but potentially quite important to those involved when it does surface: A student recently raised an interesting issue. Last semester he suffered a death in his family and missed a test in one class. The professor involved insisted on seeing a death certificate […]

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Global Competencies

Global Competencies

It was both interesting and embarrassing a couple of weeks ago to learn that assessments of learning outcomes in our Global Understanding general education category were the lowest of any segment examined. I was delighted, as I arrived 12 years ago, that the faculty general education committee had made a commitment to a global category […]

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Obamaschool

Obamaschool

The President’s appeal for accessible higher education at the University of Michigan (a higher cost school than Mason), deserves a reasoned response and discussion. The goals are splendid, but without being defensive, there are also problems attached. I hope we can give the issues wide airing. I was pleased that the President acknowledged that the […]

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Regulatory Excess

Regulatory Excess

Last year we faced a crescendo of faculty concerns about excessive, unnecessary or unexplained regulations. Focus was particularly on human subjects review, which has since been substantially modified. But there was a general sense that things were spinning out of control. So we came up with a statement about proper procedures: try, whenever possible, to […]

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Administrative Juggernaut?

Administrative Juggernaut?

I had the pleasure this week of listening to a talk by Ben Ginsberg, whose book on the decline of the faculty is legitimately creating some stir. Professor Ginsberg highlights the fact that in American higher education, the number of academic administrators, and the budgets attached, have grown more rapidly than those of students or […]

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Collaborations

Collaborations

Collaborations are hardly an innovation on the education front, but it does seem to me their importance is expanding. Certainly for a self-professed up-and-comer like Mason, collaborations are a vital means of expansion and improvement. We’re pleased, of course, at the growth of dual degree collaborations with various international partners. The China 1-2-1 program is […]

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Background Checks

Background Checks

Discussion of further moves toward background checks for faculty and others is once again on active agenda at various institutions including George Mason. Any campus crisis now escalates attention, and there’s no easy way to avoid response. A few years ago when the discussion last actively surfaced, we generated a compromise approach with background checks […]

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Adjuncts

Adjuncts

It doesn’t seem inappropriate, I hope, to launch the new year with a fairly specific topic. This weekend I have the pleasure of helping to greet our new adjunct instructional staff. For several years, thanks particularly to Human Resources and the Center for Teaching Excellence, we’ve been meeting formally with new adjuncts and providing them […]

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Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth

I hope you’ll tolerate a seasonal blog rather than one that’s specifically university focused, though I hope universities can be involved in the process I briefly outline.  It’s the last blog of the year, so time to stretch one’s self. The theme is peace.  I’ve been intrigued – and disappointed – that the withdrawal of […]

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