Board of Visitors Approves Vision

Posted: March 21, 2013 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: March 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm

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By Robin Herron

seal.1jpgThe George Mason University Board of Visitors (BOV) unanimously approved a new strategic vision for the university at its meeting on March 20, paving the way for a new strategic plan.

Mason President Ángel Cabrera presented to the BOV the final draft of the vision, which includes the mission, values and commitments of the university, as well as a description of the “Mason graduate.” He explained that the vision is “an inspirational and aspirational picture of the type of university we want to build.”

Sarah Nutter, presidential fellow and professor of accounting who guided the vision process, highlighted some of the changes that were incorporated into the vision as a result of the feedback received on the draft since it was first made public on Feb.5. For example, “respect differences” was added to the diversity value, and a value of “honor freedom of thought and expression” was added. Added to the description of the Mason graduate was being “knowledgeable of important issues affecting the world” and “skilled as a communicator.”

Nutter also reported on the results of a survey sampling the Mason community on the values and commitments. The results indicated that the concepts resonated with people but confirmed their aspirational nature — “there’s room to grow,” Nutter said. Response to the Mason Idea, which encompasses the university’s characteristics of innovative, diverse, entrepreneurial and accessible, was positive. She added that the survey results showed that the vision “captured the heart of Mason — who we are and what we aspire to be.”

The final vision documents are posted at

Michelle Marks, vice provost for academic affairs, provided an overview of the strategic planning process that will use the vision as a foundation. Phase I will run from March to August 2013 and phase II will run from September to December 2013, with a BOV vote on the plan scheduled for Dec. 11, Marks said.

In other action, the BOV approved

  • Proposed revisions to the Faculty Handbook involving promotion and tenure.
  • A new bachelor of arts in human development and family studies sponsored by both the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Room and board rates for fiscal year 2014. The Fairfax Campus annual room rate increase ranges from 3.2 percent to 3.5 percent. The rate increase for the Prince William Campus is 3 percent, and the increase for the Smithsonian-Mason Front Royal campus is 3.26 percent.
  • An affiliation agreement between George Mason University and the George Mason Research Foundation Inc.

The BOV also approved emeritus status for Philip Buchanan as Professor Emeritus of Accounting; Ann Butler as Professor Emerita of Molecular Neuroscience; Julianne Mahler as Professor Emerita of Public and International Affairs; Margaret Moss as Professor Emerita of Nursing; and C. Alan Turner as Professor Emeritus of Criminology, Law and Society.

Some BOV actions, such as the commitments outlined in the strategic vision and proposed new degree, are subject to approval by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

For more information on these actions, see the BOV website.

Write to Robin Herron at

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