President’s Blog

Nuance, imagination and empathy

Posted: April 21, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Dr. Rick Davis, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), included this paragraph in his “Dean’s Gazette” last August. At the time, you may recall, the United States was experiencing an unusually harsh presidential campaign. The occasion served to remind our community of the essence of our values. I missed this when it was […]

America’s loss of international students is Canada’s gain

Posted: March 30, 2017 at 8:32 am

With Kirk Heffelmire As American universities face a softening of international student demand, Canadian universities are reporting significant increases in undergraduate applications from abroad over the past year. This is obviously not good news for us. As reported here recently, there has been a relative decline in the U.S. share of international students over the past 15 […]

Remembering Robinson Professor Roger Wilkins

Posted: March 28, 2017 at 9:55 am

Dear Colleague, This week, we lost one of our brightest stars. I’m saddened by the news that retired Robinson Professor Roger Wilkins has died. Wilkins’ life was the kind of story you couldn’t possibly imagine. He was a champion of the civil rights movement who served Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. His […]

Why open borders are crucial for innovation

Posted: March 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm

Washington Post op-ed: American innovation has been the envy of the world for the last century. Our ability to discover scientific breakthroughs, invent disruptive technologies and build successful companies that make those advances broadly available has been unparalleled. This creativity is the product of a culture that is uniquely open to new ideas, that encourages […]

Some indication of weakening international student interest

Posted: March 21, 2017 at 3:57 pm

I wrote last week about how the immigration policy changes post 9/11 hurt America’s share of the world pool of international students. I also expressed concern that the message we are sending to students from around the world with the recent executive orders banning travelers from seven (now six) predominantly Muslim countries may unfortunately replay the […]

American universities are less global than you may think

Posted: March 13, 2017 at 6:11 pm

The United States attracts more international students than any other country in the world. Yet, relative to our size, we are far from the lead, and, so far this century, the trend doesn’t look great. Other countries have a higher proportion of international students in their universities and are intentionally and successfully gaining market share. Much […]

Are we “great equalizers”?

Posted: March 6, 2017 at 4:39 pm

With Kirk Heffelmire Horace Mann famously described education as society’s “great equalizer”, our instrument to give people a chance to be successful regardless of their background. To deliver on this promise, universities must ensure equal access and position an increasingly diverse student population with increasingly diverse needs toward success. How well are we doing? Across the country, our scorecard is […]

A new treasure on the National Mall

Posted: February 7, 2017 at 8:05 pm, Last Updated: February 8, 2017 at 11:20 am

On Sunday I visited the newest addition to the National Mall — the National Museum of African American History and Culture — with a group of Mason students and my colleagues Rose Pascarell and Julian Williams. I found the experience emotionally intense, painful at times and, at the same time, deeply inspiring. I also took pride in knowing that Mason students, […]

Plus ça change…

Posted: February 7, 2017 at 9:31 am, Last Updated: February 7, 2017 at 4:47 pm

–Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (The more things change, the more they stay the same) “Among the current faculty are many capable and conscientious teachers, committed to George Mason University and its promise. If the University is to fulfill the obligations placed upon it by statute and by the expectations of the […]

Immigrants play pivotal role in education, innovation

Posted: February 2, 2017 at 9:35 am

On Tuesday evening I appeared on PBS NewsHour to discuss the important role that immigrants play at our universities and in our economy. According to the National Foundation for American Policy, immigrants have been awarded 31 of 78 of the Nobel Prizes won by Americans in chemistry, medicine and physics since 2000. In addition, immigrants […]