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13 Aug Posted by in Academics, Students | Comments

Fall ’14

Fall ’14

The imminence of the start of classes and return of students has me doing my annual self-evaluation, as to whether I’m basically excited or not. When I stop looking forward to the challenge it will clearly be time to quit – but not so far. I confess to being a bit more nervous than usual, […]

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PR

PR

I’m surprised that University public relations efforts haven’t received wider assessment, though as always of course I may have missed something. I know that many faculty roll their eyes a bit when big PR campaigns are presented, but that doesn’t necessarily lead to broader discussion. So I thought aspects of the topic might usefully be […]

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Introducing US Higher Ed

Introducing US Higher Ed

I have occasions still to help with presentations to visiting foreign groups, most commonly Chinese, and it occurs to me that the results raise some interesting topics. First, of course, is the question of what aspects of higher education to pick, when this is the subject requested. I’ll offer my recent choices, but I am […]

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Public Grief: History and Emotion

Public Grief: History and Emotion

A month or so before my service as provost ended we had a “shooter” exercise for our safety folks and upper administration. The idea of course is that some realistic scenarios would help us all deal with the real thing should it ever occur, and while I always disliked the simulation I can’t argue that […]

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22 Jun Posted by in Observations | 12 comments

Mason Goals

Mason Goals

This is the last blog I’ll write as Provost. I hope to continue blogging more occasionally, on various topics that reflect an appropriate distance from central administration. My thanks to those who’ve followed my blogs over these several years (both of you? Are there more?). I’ve appreciated the interest and reaction. I am actually turning […]

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15 Jun Posted by in Administration, Faculty | Comments

Penultimate: Going Back to Faculty

Penultimate: Going Back to Faculty

My last blog as provost shows up next week (as will be noted then, I intend to keep blogging more occasionally, on my new History Department website), but I thought it would be interesting to muse briefly about going back to faculty. I have intensely enjoyed being Provost (much of the time), but it is […]

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08 Jun Posted by in Observations | Comments

Politics

Politics

One of the interesting aspects of serving in higher administration, in a public university, involves the obvious need to seem, and be, fairly even-handed politically. I may not have done this as well as I should, having fairly pronounced and obvious liberal views (if not worse), but at least I don’t seem to have gotten […]

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BOV

BOV

Unless something goes radically awry, I’ve now experienced my last meeting of Mason’s Board of Visitors. Not surprisingly, preparing for, encountering and recovering from BOV meetings is a key aspect of upper administration work. I won’t deny that there is usually some tension involved. Even when issues are fairly simple – and that’s been largely […]

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25 May Posted by in Academics | 2 comments

Liberal Education

Liberal Education

Know what I haven’t heard much about this year? liberal educational values, that’s what. I don’t mean they’ve been abandoned, even by academic leaders whose main focus seems elsewhere. But they sure have dropped out of most of the headlines. And this could be a problem. I am entirely in favor of reevaluating our delivery […]

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21 May Posted by in Academics, Observations | 4 comments

Lyrics

Lyrics

I performed the following takeoff on Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Am I Alone” and “Anxious for to Shine” (from Patience) at the School of Music’s Young Masters Concert on May 4, and then as an encore at the celebration on May 12: Am I alone and unobserved? I am. Then let me confess, I am an […]

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