Increased research levels, quality and visibility will move the university into the front rank of research institutions. The number of full-time Ph.D. students will triple, expanding the research base, and additional research scientists and post doctoral researchers will increase capacity as well. At least five new Ph.D. programs will be established, particularly in science and computational sciences. Expansion of graduate programs and numbers of Ph.D. students will easily qualify George Mason for the top, doctoral intensive (Carnegie classification), category of institutions nationwide.
External funds for research will more than double from $38 million to approximately $90 million, growing most rapidly in the applied sciences, engineering, information technology and allied health fields. Groundbreaking research will be occurring in such areas as transportation, bioinformatics, computer security, computational science and others. A high percentage of research will be collaborative, with both on-and-off campus partners, and there will be an emphasis on integrating research with instructional activities. Industry funding will grow from two percent in 2000 to six percent of the George Mason total. Improved research space will be available through buildings funded by a combination of partnerships with business and state monies. The university will have at least one new "flagship" center with long-term significant funding by the federal government. Nearly 10 percent of the undergraduate students will be engaged in formally organized research on campus, working with faculty and graduate students on sponsored programs or participating in student research experiences in a stand-alone configuration, while the number and range of Ph.D. students will have expanded considerably. Income from the commercialization of George Mason inventions and creations will have reached several hundred thousand dollars annually.
The libraries perform a unique and indispensable function in the teaching-learning-research-scholarship continuum. By 2007, the libraries will expand the depth and breadth of research materials held in a variety of forms and formats, with increasing emphasis placed on digital resources and technologies. Many services will be provided through information technology, and our education program will be information literacy-focused, interwoven with development of information technology skills. Construction of additional library space will be underway.
Overall, the George Mason libraries will be recognized among peer research institutions for excellence in collections and related digital resources, including special and archival collections, and for innovative services to the multiple constituencies of the university.
The technology infrastructure required for high-level research and sophisticated data management for administrative systems will be in place. Faculty labs and workstations will have reliable and secure access to the NSF grid, a collection of high bandwidth and high quality service networks enabling researchers to share instruments and supercomputers, move huge datasets, and work collaboratively in a video environment. The university will also provide the advanced systems administration support required for this environment. On the administrative side, web based administrative systems, including student, finance, human resources and alumni/development systems, will be in place. The university will have implemented the associated data marts which will enable users at their desktops to get the information they need to do their jobs and manage more effectively. These systems will be accessible from home, which will increase the numbers of staff who can telecommute.
To support faculty, administrative and students needs, the campuses will have a speedy and reliable campus network, access from off-campus, and timely and effective technical support. All new buildings and classrooms will be constructed with the necessary technology infrastructure included, and the personnel required to support each buildings technical requirements will be automatically factored in as part of the cost of the building.
All students will leave George Mason with an understanding and awareness of themselves as citizens of the world and the ability to thrive in the global environment. That global perspective will be taught across the curriculum; all programs will incorporate a worldview into their materials and approach. International connections, such as those existing in nursing, information technology and conflict resolution, will be encouraged in all areas. Students involved in study abroad will increase to 800 plus. International student enrollment will grow to 1,625. The university will build its relationships with the Washington, D.C. international community as well as with the United Nations. Reaching overseas, it will head a George Mason Global Network involving universities from four continents exchanging faculty and students, jointly developing courses, and sharing extensive use of virtual campuses.
George Mason will build strong alliances that bring the know-how of business and the community into the university and take the knowledge of the university into the workplace and the larger society. (Vision Statement 2000).
George Masons integration with its region will be a source of increasing strength as the boundaries between the academy and its environment diminish. Such initiatives as growing research partnerships with business and industry, work/study programs, conferences on regional issues, customized courses delivered to worksites, student and faculty internships, and CEOs in the classroom will facilitate the exchange of knowledge between the university and its surrounding areas.
George Mason will remain innovative, resourceful and responsive, while drawing on the intellectual and cultural heritage of the classical university. (Vision Statement 2000).
September 10, 2001
Alan G. Merten