Both an Institute for Advanced Study and an Academic Unit: redux

As an academic unit of Mason we are slowly maturing. I am learning that I am the one to whom distraught students finally turn when something goes really awry. Similarly, we are learning to factor the teaching load into our faculty evaluations. But mostly, we are learning what it means to architect and then nurture new programs. We have minted our first PhD’s and are well on our way to the same for masters degree recipients. We are part of the multi-year self-evaluation cycle at Mason called Academic Program Review and we are learning to work with rubrics as we evaluate student learning outcomes.

At the same time, an interesting challenge: we have to keep focused, not on incremental research findings, but on the really big discoveries, the ones that change paradigms. Which means, we need to have faculty members who can do both: the teaching intertwined inextricably with the research.