Happy Holidays from Advanced Studies…

It’s Christmas Day here in Washington. After an early morning fog, it’s fairly balmy outside–the perfect weather for a nice long walk through the woods.

In the meantime, consider the trials of Chicago’s wonderful Field Museum here. This story is being repeated at other institutions across the US, it’s not pretty and it doesn’t bode well for American competitiveness.

Managing the economic cycle

Here in Virginia, the business cycle has turned “south” again….it does this fairly regularly, this time the culprit is the sub-prime mortgage fall-out. In Michigan, this same financial stress, shut down the state government for several hours early this morning. Here in the Commonwealth, Governor Kaine announced a series of cuts and the use of “rainy-day” fund dollars to balance his budget.

For public universities, like Mason, these downturns are always challenging. For an institute for advanced study, where the revenue-side is more sponsored research (as opposed to tuition increases), this puts enormous pressure on the science faculty to succeed in what is clearly already a very tough federal funding environment.

For this reason, private sector gifts and grants are ever more important. As our Advisory Board comes together this month for its regular meeting, I’ll be asking them all to step up their level of support for the Krasnow Institute so that in these budget-cutting times, the science continues unabated.