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Observations  // Browsing posts in Observations

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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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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20 Oct Posted by in Observations, Students | 2 comments

Family Weekend

Family Weekend

This weekend was Mason’s family weekend, and I was asked to make a few welcoming remarks. It’s always a nice occasion. I think the parents involved really do enjoy the chance to look around the school, enjoy various activities.  Like many schools we try to provide a mixture of opportunities, including some designed-to-please academic sessions, […]

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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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Quality

Quality

I had a great discussion recently with Deans about aspects of our strategic planning. They, and some of their faculty, grew legitimately concerned that in our enthusiasm for growth and innovation we did not place enough emphasis on the quality of our outcomes. I do think the reminder is salutary, though I don’t think it […]

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Administrative Bloat

Administrative Bloat

Among the various critiques of higher education, and particularly of the policies of administrators like me, you can imagine that the phrase “administrative bloat” is my favorite. It’s been tossed around by concerned faculty for quite a while, and now periodically enters into the more contemporary discussions of college costs. In my comments on this […]

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28 Jul Posted by in Observations, Policies | 1 comment

In Praise of (a certain amount of) Messiness

In Praise of (a certain amount of) Messiness

A big university like Mason inevitably has accumulated, even in our case of a relatively short life, a number of organizational peculiarities and anomalies. Not everything is located in tidy boxes. It’s certainly appropriate recurrently to look at the resultant anomalies. If, particularly in the current fiscal climate, organizational untidiness costs unnecessary money, or results […]

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Higher Ed Framework Revisited

Higher Ed Framework Revisited

A recent Washington Post business section comment on higher education (Sunday, July 14), based loosely on Jay Selingo’s challenging new book, College Unbound, prompts some comment. It covers ground familiar to devoted readers, but given its obvious currency the repetition is warranted. The column blasts higher ed on two grounds, one essentially inaccurate at least […]

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Changed My Mind

Changed My Mind

As we discuss strategies for Mason’s future, I’ve been thinking about some assumptions I brought to my job 13 and a half years ago, and how I’ve rethought them. Some of the issues surface actively in discussing new goals, mainly in terms of our stance toward conventional (outdated?) status symbols. When I came to Mason, […]

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