Input sought on changes to Mason Core


Since 2000, the Mason Core has served as a pathway for George Mason University students to strengthen their foundation in key content areas and skills needed for academic success, to explore and broaden their perspectives through learning across the university, and to integrate their knowledge and skills learned in their majors.

The 42 credits in the Core meet or exceed the general educational expectations for accreditation at the state and regional levels.

For Mason to successfully prepare graduates to act in the increasingly diverse and interconnected world, the Mason Core needs to be appropriately updated. The Mason Core Committee has proposed three models that provide the opportunity to include courses, such as Justice and Equity in Diverse Societies (from the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force [ARIE] initiative), into the curriculum.

Individuals are encouraged to visit the Mason Core website to view the recent town hall and download a copy of the presentation to learn more about the proposed enhancement. The community is invited, and encouraged, to share what they value about the undergraduate experience and tell the committee their preferences regarding the presented models. All comments and suggested alternative models will be considered by the committee. Comments are due by Friday, Feb. 18.

“Enhancing the Mason Core will help us better serve our students,” committee member and Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Debra Stroiney said. “It will demonstrate that Mason is a leader in being innovative, changing with the times, and still providing a quality liberal arts education while also addressing the needs of its students.”

Bethany Usher, associate provost of undergraduate education, noted that Mason is uniquely positioned “to confront the past and teach students how to create a more equitable future.” The goal of these enhancements is to integrate diverse and global perspectives in our shared educational experience,” Usher said.

Faculty and staff input is critical to ensuring the curriculum is an “integrated product,” committee member and Associate Professor of Management Matthew Cronin said.

“Students know what they like and want, but that is not necessarily what educates them. Faculty know how people learn and their own discipline, but that may not be easily absorbed by students. Integrating the different kinds of knowledge—student and faculty—requires that each group bring their knowledge to the table,” Cronin said.

These past few years have clearly demonstrated the need for a society well-versed in many aspects of education such as health, science, policy, economics, and so on,” said Jason Kinser, committee member and chair of Computational and Data Sciences. “Exciting opportunities await the Mason faculty, ripe for pursuing new ideas, to resolve critical conflicts, and to improve our society. The enhancement of the Mason Core is designed to strengthen faculty’s ability to pursue these opportunities.”

The enhanced Mason Core will begin a phased-in approach in the Fall 2023 semester. Students who enroll in Mason starting then will use the new curriculum while current students continue under the existing Core.