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Mason to Host Conference on Future of Higher Education in Virginia

March 29, 2011

Mar. 29, 2011

Media Contact: Daniel Walsch, 703-993-8785

Fairfax, Va.– Earlier this month, Virginia’s General Assembly passed new legislation that will enable the commonwealth’s higher education institutions to meet the goal of issuing an additional 100,000 degrees over the next 15 years, thus making Virginia home to one of the most highly educated workforces in the nation.

In response to this new legislation, George Mason University will host university administrators from across the state for a conference, “Higher Education in Virginia: Looking Toward the Next Decade,” on Tuesday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Johnson Center Cinema on the Fairfax Campus.

The conference will include a series of panel discussions that focus on current and future issues of importance in higher education in Virginia. The event is free and open to the public and welcomes representatives from Virginia’s colleges and universities, state higher education agencies and national higher education associations and organizations.

“At Mason, we understand the importance of preparing students not only to succeed, but to lead, in the 21st century and hope to join other Virginia institutions in building a foundation for continued success,” says Mason Provost Peter Stearns. “As we consider the future of higher education, the conference will provide an opportunity for practitioners and administrators at all levels to discuss some of the most important issues we are facing in our state and across the country.”

The conference will address how to meet the goals of the new legislation, which were identified by the Governor’s Higher Education Commission on Reform, Innovation and Investment on ways to expand opportunities for all Virginians to attain college degrees.

Panel discussions will take place throughout the day on topics such as ways to increase student graduation rates and student diversity; the relationship between the public, private and for-profit sectors and their influences on higher education issues; the role of research in higher education in Virginia; and the future of global education at Virginia colleges.

Virginia Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, a member of the House Committee on Education and the Governor’s Higher Education Commission on Reform, Innovation and Investment, will be the keynote speaker.

Panelists include Robert Templin Jr., president of Northern Virginia Community College; Joseph DeFilippo, director of academic affairs and planning for the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia; Harris Miller, president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities; Larry Atkinson, Eminent Professor at Old Dominion University; Peter Stearns, Mason Provost; Andrew Flagel, associate vice provost for enrollment development at Mason; and Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at Mason.

“As the demand for a highly educated workforce continues to increase, it is our responsibility to ensure that every student has more accessible and affordable opportunities to earn a college degree,” says John O’Connor, director of Mason’s Higher Education Program. “Even in Virginia’s well-run educational system there is room for improvement and this is one of the best investments we can make for our students and the economic future of our state.”

The Higher Education in Virginia conference is presented by Mason’s Higher Education Program. This program prepares new and mid-level professionals for careers in higher education at community colleges and four-year institutions, as well as in associations, government agencies and industries whose activities relate to or impact higher education. Other sponsors include Mason’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Office of the Provost.

For more information about the higher education conference and a complete schedule of events, visit the website.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University—Where Innovation Is Tradition.