Board of Visitors Authorizes Korean Campus

Posted: October 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm

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By Robin Herron

At its meeting on Oct. 3, the Board of Visitors authorized the university administration to establish a branch campus in Incheon, South Korea.

The campus will be part of the Songdo Global University Campus. In giving the go-ahead for the campus, the BOV specified that in entering into contracts, the university must ensure that the Korean programs “provide clear and continued benefits to the Commonwealth of Virginia, including substantial opportunities for in-state students to enjoy study-abroad experiences, internships and employment; opportunities for faculty development and research; beneficial partnerships in research; ties with Virginia, Korean and international business, especially those that contribute to economic development.”

The resolution also calls for ensuring that the Korean programs cover both direct costs and “an appropriate share” of the indirect operating costs of the university as a whole; and that the terms of financial arrangements, including all subsidies, interest-free loans, and considerations for free rent and utilities are clearly specified in contracts.

According to the plan, undergraduate programs in management and economics would be offered initially in Korea in spring 2014. Global affairs would follow a year later, and more programs, including graduate programs, would gradually be introduced. Korean students would spend years one, two and four in Songdo; and year three at Mason’s Fairfax Campus. American students will be able to spend a semester or a year in Songdo. If all goes according to plan, the first opportunity for U.S. students to study at the Korean campus would be in spring 2014 for those pursuing a minor in North Pacific Studies.

In other business, the BOV approved two new degrees to be offered as of fall 2013: an MS in Biostatistics, which will be based in the Department of Statistics in the Volgenau School of Engineering; and an MS in Nutrition in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies in the College of Health and Human Services. Both degrees must first be approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

The BOV also took action on the following:

  • Approved changing the name of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering to Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering in recognition of the couple’s generous support to the unit.
  • Agreed to establish a new research institute in the College of Science called the Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES). Headed by University Professor Jagadish Shukla, the institute currently exists as a nonprofit institute registered in Maryland; all of its funding and intellectual resources will now transfer to Mason.
  • Approved finance resolutions that would allow renovations of the Field House and Spuhler Field baseball stadium to move forward; as well as a Public-Private Educational Facilities and Infrastructure Act (PPEA) interim agreement for the Potomac Science Center in Belmont Bay near the mouth of the Occoquan River on the Potomac River.
  • Approved emerita/emeritus status for three faculty members: Sharon deMonsabert, Associate Professor Emerita of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering; Lloyd Griffiths, Dean Emeritus of the Volgenau School of Engineering; and William Sutton, Associate Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • Amended the BOV bylaws to add a new standing committee for research.

More information and background materials for the meeting can be found at

Write to Robin Herron at

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