President’s Blog

Countries with more top universities are the most economically competitive

Posted: September 12, 2017 at 12:30 pm

With Kirk Heffelmire In keeping with an annual tradition (see here, here, and here), we present the latest comparison between the density of top-ranked universities and economic competitiveness. Again, no surprise, the countries with more of the top universities relative to their population are also the most economically competitive. Each year the ShaghaiRanking Consultancy publishes […]

Statement on the DACA decision

Posted: September 5, 2017 at 4:30 pm

To the Mason community, Today, the Trump administration announced that it will no longer accept applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and that it will phase out previously approved ones over the next six months. I am greatly disappointed with this decision that will have dramatic implications for thousands of college […]

Shattered Dreams

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Published in Public Purpose, The Magazine of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Summer 2017 edition. (Access pdf here) Children who were brought to the United States by undocumented immigrants face major, often insurmountable, barriers to attend college. This reality harms not only them, but all of us. Some states, such as Alabama […]

Aug. 13 message to the Mason community

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 11:49 am, Last Updated: August 18, 2017 at 11:50 am

  My message Sunday to the Mason community following the incidents in Charlottesville. Dear Patriots, Like most of you, I am deeply disturbed by the white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville this weekend. It is heartbreaking that three people ended up losing their lives and others suffered injuries as a consequence of these events. The choice […]

The power of collaboration

Posted: July 18, 2017 at 1:51 pm

We are fortunate in Virginia to have autonomous state universities governed by their own separate boards. Other states govern their universities as a system under one shared board and chief executive. While both structures have their advantages, I’ve always preferred the superior agility, entrepreneurship and responsiveness of Virginia’s decentralized organization. Criticisms of our system tend […]

Global trade matters

Posted: June 22, 2017 at 8:05 am

One of the points that I emphasized last week at The Global Entrepreneurship Export Exchange (E3)  in Washington D.C. is that universities have an integral role to play in educating and developing a new kind of global leader, one who can help build bridges of understanding and partnerships to drive economic prosperity and solve some of […]

Mason’s longest-serving president, George Johnson, passes away

Posted: May 30, 2017 at 5:59 pm, Last Updated: May 31, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Dear Colleague, I am sad to report that George Johnson, our university’s fourth and longest-serving president, died today. It is hard to exaggerate the impact that Dr. Johnson had on this university. As Til Hazel, the rector who recruited him to Mason in 1978, just told me, “George created the foundation for this university. Without him, […]

We’re putting less of our collective money where out mouths are

Posted: May 16, 2017 at 4:40 pm, Last Updated: May 16, 2017 at 4:41 pm

With Kirk Heffelmire When it comes to higher education, we putting less of our collective money where our mouths are. According to a recent report from New America 62% of American adults believe that “a higher education system is good for society” and only 26% believe it is “mostly a private benefit for individual graduates”. The very existence […]

Immigrant Scientists

Posted: May 15, 2017 at 12:47 pm, Last Updated: May 15, 2017 at 12:53 pm

In my latest op-ed in El País (Spain’s leading newspaper) I argue that Spain should celebrate, not lament, the fact that more and more of its scientists go abroad every year. The country’s meager investment in R&D should be cause of great concern (Spain invests 1.2% of its GDP, vs. the OECD average of 2.4% and South […]

Higher ed arithmetic

Posted: May 9, 2017 at 5:35 pm, Last Updated: May 9, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Some aspects of higher education are maddeningly complex, but other aspects are as simple as basic math. Public universities’ expenditures equal roughly what they get from the state plus what they charge students in tuition. If universities get less money from the state, they have to charge students more. You can buffer some of the cuts […]