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The New Semester Is Upon Us

The New Semester Is Upon Us

A few musings as we gear up for the next round: These last weeks before term actually begins are fairly filled with planning exercises of varying degrees of interest, which clearly mark the end of summer for us administrators. Even before this, of course, we and many others have been involved in the relatively new […]

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Eyes on the Prize

Eyes on the Prize

Summer’s over for us administrative types, with planning exercises looming over the next couple of weeks. It seemed timely to remind myself, and maybe others, of issues we are facing. There will be lots of upcoming issues. We’ll have the confusing noises from the state as budgets are figured out and the new Higher Ed […]

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Civility, the Workplace, and Effectiveness

Civility, the Workplace, and Effectiveness

This little comment is occasioned by no specific incident or individual. But I think the topic is interesting as we think about organizational effectiveness at Mason and elsewhere. Most of us know of occasions where behaviors by colleagues exceed reasonable bounds and must be reacted to. “Bullying” is one of the current designations. Happily, I […]

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Teaching Administrators

Teaching Administrators

One of the nice features of the ad that attracted me to apply for the Provost position at Mason, lo these many years ago, was a stipulation that a successful candidate would continue teaching. I’m sure I could have talked my way out of this, but I didn’t want to and am very glad the […]

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Speedy Students?

Speedy Students?

A while back I wrote on this theme, but I was newly intrigued by a recent Washington Post editorial urging colleges to accelerate their offerings so that students might be able to finish up in three years. Some schools, including George Mason, have indeed identified fast track options. In our case, we emphasize not only […]

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Federal Follies

Federal Follies

I am a deep believer in the need for governmental regulation to help moderate pure market forces. Earlier this year, I was delighted to see new federal interest in, what seemed to me, some clear abuses in higher education, particularly emanating from the for-profit sector.  But, I know, be careful what you wish for. Currently […]

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The Productivity Dilemma

The Productivity Dilemma

It looks like a key issue this year in Virginia will focus on faculty productivity. A few legislators are gearing up to question whether tenured faculty, in particular, work hard enough and whether changes might occur that would cut costs and, of course, relieve pressure on the General Assembly to add funding for higher education. […]

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Distributed Campuses

Distributed Campuses

George Mason has its largest campus in Fairfax, though it eschews the term “main campus.” It also has increasingly thriving campuses in Prince William and Arlington and various other sites. The distributed campus principle is meant to be an alternative to branch campuses. Each of the three main campuses has some distinctive programs not replicated […]

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Doctorals

Doctorals

A key change in George Mason over the past decade has been a real maturation as a doctoral institution. A decade ago we had 12 PhD programs, some of them quite well established. Now we have 36 with a few more in the hopper, and some of the new ones have vaulted into real prominence […]

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Summertime

Summertime

It’s no secret that college campuses are pretty busy places in summer. The tone changes a bit with fewer students around (we handle upwards of 15,000 students in summer, about half our in-term number). The fact that some faculty leave also lessens certain demands. And we administrators do get a bit of time for travel […]

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