George Mason will attract inventive, industrious students of all ages and cultures and produce citizens who are intellectually and technologically literatepeople who lead by the force of their ideas. (Vision Statement 2000).
George Masons student body will grow by 30 percent, from 23,400 to 30,000 at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Numbers at the Fairfax Campus will reach 26,000, while Arlington and Prince William will grow to 1,825 each, with 250 at an emerging center in Loudoun County.
At the graduate level, a number of new programs will be offered, especially in the sciences, while several existing masters, doctoral and professional programs will expand. This growth will serve the expanding professional and high technology workforce in Northern Virginia. At the undergraduate level, growth will respond to the college-age population surge in the region, projected at 25 percent (11 percent statewide). George Mason will play a significant role in helping Virginia respond to the demand for college access.
The university will focus not just on recruiting students who are better qualified by traditional academic measures, but those who are best suited to the particular nature of this very distinctive university. The student mix will be markedly heterogeneous in terms of race, religion, national origin, age, and first-language, but relatively homogeneous in terms of interest in the use of information technology, a global orientation, high occupational aspirations, and eagerness to exploit the benefits of residence in the metropolitan area.
By 2007, the infrastructure necessary to realize this more stable and suitable enrollment will be conceptualized and at least partially realized. That infrastructure will include additional housing with living/learning areas tailored to our student population, an improved ratio of professional staff to students as well as faculty to students, systematic and broad-based collaboration between professional and instructional faculty, improved academic advising, and 24-hour library, computing, and socializing space. The university will build on partnerships with surrounding businesses and jurisdictions to create retail outlets and facilities oriented to a student population. The university will continue to offer 20 top-notch intercollegiate sports for men and women, but growth at the intramural level will be encouraged to give more students the opportunity to participate in recreational athletics. Programming to meet the educational and community building needs of students, plus an improved infrastructure in the way of paths and lighting on the campuses, will create a vibrant, safe atmosphere at all times, building students enjoyment of and ties to the university. This same programming will be flexible enough to accommodate a diverse student body, non-residential and residential alike. In addition, more academic offerings in the evening, on the weekends, and in the summer term, will allow the university to increase its response to the needs of non-traditional and working students.
Learning will remain a core value of the university. The university will establish at least two new communities of learners on campus, based on the successful techniques established by New Century College and the Honors Program. These will be tailored to meet the needs of diverse students and our changing society. The George Mason learning experience will increasingly feature a diversity of teaching formats, undergraduate research opportunities, and exposure to the arts. The Center for Teaching Excellence will promote and educate faculty about new teaching and learning techniques, assist graduate students to develop their teaching capabilities, and lead a process to provide colleges, departments and individual faculty members with tools to help measure learning of all kinds.
The university will continue to be a center of intellectual inspiration for non-student members of the surrounding region, including the Learning in Retirement program. Programs at the Center for the Arts, campus lecture series, conferences, art exhibits, workshops and seminars will contin ue to provide a rich learning environment for the people of Northern Virginia and beyond.
By 2007, George Mason will have instituted and matured a model curriculum in general education. By September 2007, the university will have graduated its first two cohorts of undergraduate students (the classes of 2006 and 2007) who will have participated completely (four years) in the new general education plan. By 2007-08, the percentage of full-time faculty offering lower division general education courses will reach 53 percent compared to the current 38 percent. George Mason graduates will benefit from a more structured and enriched general education experience, including the opportunity to take smaller classes and to have community-building experiences working with peer groups in the required western civilization and U.S. history classes. The technical, as well as written and oral communication skills of our graduates, will be vastly improved on the basis of the new requirements in these areas, and will be regularly assessed. By 2007-08, George Mason will have reviewed the entire general education system at least twice, resulting in a well-considered set of courses to meet these requirements.
George Mason will become a magnet for outstanding faculty who will devise new ways to approach problems, invent new ways to teach, and develop new knowledge for the benefit of the region and the nation. (Vision Statement, 2000).
George Masons faculty members will continue to reach national distinction in their respective fields. The diversity of the faculty will have increased. New research resources will be complemented by a strong emphasis on the evaluation of teaching and of learning results and on the scholarship of teaching. Tenure and tenure track faculty will increase to make up 40 percent of the faculty, with our reliance on part-time faculty reduced to 35 percent. Research scientists will rise to 12 percent of the total, with 13 percent of the faculty being on contracts, most of them long-term and renewable.
An increased percentage of full-time faculty will teach freshman and sophomore courses. Teaching and research faculty members on multi-year contracts will be more fully integrated into the life of the university. The faculty/student ratio will move from 1:16 to 1:14.