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Academics  // Browsing posts in Academics

26 Jan Posted by in Academics | 3 comments

Innovation in Higher Ed

Innovation in Higher Ed

As many readers know, the tone of innovation discussions in higher education seems to be changing a bit, compared to last year. Whereas the most vigorous voices a year ago were talking boldly of disruption and defending radical departures like MOOCs, today the bloom has faded a bit. Intelligent discussions about realistic uses of MOOCs […]

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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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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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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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27 Oct Posted by in Academics, Faculty, Students | 3 comments

“Commodity Courses” and the Joys of Teaching Freshmen

“Commodity Courses” and the Joys of Teaching Freshmen

Folks who like to talk about disrupting conventional higher education – and some who offer active alternatives – often focus on the entry-level courses as particular targets for rethinking. They point out that lots of these courses are taught in large lecture formats, with passive learning at best and, not infrequently, high rates of student […]

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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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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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25 Aug Posted by in Academics, Faculty, Policies | 8 comments

Tenure, Again

Tenure, Again

Recent developments make it clear that some renewed discussion of tenure is desirable—but the same developments point in dramatically different directions. A challenging Bloomberg View blog (Mark Bauerlein, August 5, 2013) really lays out the case against old fart faculty. Data do suggest that a large number of tenured faculty are continuing to work, and […]

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18 Aug Posted by in Academics, Faculty, Students | 8 comments

Student Writing

Student Writing

Here’s a neat way to try to keep ourselves educationally honest, as we deal with the many challenges to America’s university system: continue to pay real attention to student writing. I’ve never been one of the direst lamenters of student writing, which might be a sign of relaxed standards (measurable also by authoring so many […]

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