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Observations  // Browsing posts in Observations

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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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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Undergrad Research

Undergrad Research

I’ve written before about Mason’s major initiative, the Students as Scholars project, focused on undergraduate research and creativity. This was the year that the project shifted from planning to implementation. It’s still soon to judge, of course, but initial results are very encouraging. We had the first celebration of achievement this past week, with a […]

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Will the Real George Mason…

Will the Real George Mason…

The past decade plus has been a dynamic period for George Mason. We’ve grown, added programs, added facilities, etc. There is every reason to take pride in the varied achievements and the basis they provide for the future. It’s also important to note that in many ways we’ve been trying, in this same period, to […]

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The Vision Series

The Vision Series

April 30th is the last in the Visions Series lectures for this year, with a discussion in Fairfax of Obama and presidential powers by Mark Rozell of the School of Public Policy. We’ve been running this series for four years now. The goal is to get Mason faculty, from the whole spectrum of disciplines, to […]

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Reform and Its Limits

Reform and Its Limits

Last weekend, I met with provosts from the other Colonial Academic Alliance schools, around the annual undergraduate research council.  A good meeting.  It’s actually fairly rare for provosts to be able to get together (there are a few useful national organizations, but the meetings tend to be large). SCHEV gets Virginia provosts together, but mainly […]

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Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning

I’m about to start one of my periodic courses with the Osher Lifelong Learning Center (OLLI), based largely on Mason’s Fairfax campus. So it seems fitting to return to the topic of the university’s role in lifelong learning and the strength of the collaboration with OLLI. I should note that Arlington also has a vigorous […]

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Containing Higher Ed Costs: How Much Consumerism

Containing Higher Ed Costs: How Much Consumerism

I find analytical tensions intriguing. Here’s one that I think many of us will have to confront before too long, if it is not already upon us: We all know the mounting concerns about educational cost. We worry about tuition levels that price some sectors out of higher education and debt burdens that risk becoming […]

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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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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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