RECAP: Board of Visitors meeting (3 Oct. 2013)

The Board of Visitors met for the first time since the semester began on Oct. 2, 2013.
The Board of Visitors met for the first time since the semester began on Oct. 2, 2013.

The Board of Visitors (wait, what’s that?) held its first meeting of the school year on Oct. 2. Fourth Estate live-blogged the full day meeting in its entirety. In case you don’t feel like looking through the notes – here are six big takeaways that you may have missed:

1. Only five percent of Mason alumni give back to the university – and a lot of officials want to change that.

“We’re probably on the low end [of alumni giving.] We are lower than a lot of the universities in the Commonwealth, and that’s a focus of ours to connect with the alums. Part of it is that, as we become a more residential campus there is a different experience ten years out.” – Jim Laychak, Associate Vice President of University Development.

“This alumni system build can build and build. This is something worth investing in over the long term. We have an opportunity for growth in this university that few universities do.” – Visitor Tom Davis 

2. Mason plans on increasing their research expenditures – by a lot.

As part of the Strategic Plan, Mason hopes to be classified as a “very high research activity” institution by the Carnegie Foundation. Currently, Mason is ranked one level below that, as a “high research activity” institution.

The median amount spent on science and engineering research at “very high research” universities is about $255 million. Mason currently spends $78 million.

“The slope from here to $250 million is pretty steep. We’ll have to grow by 10 to 15 percent. The pathway from here is going to be going for big grants…$250 million or more.” – Vikas Chandhoke, Vice President of Research and Economic Development

“It’s going to take too long to build this from the ground up. So we have to go out and find the people. My business is developing real estate. You have to have control of the ground. If you get the commitment first, we’ll get the money. Your job is to find where the grant dollars are.” – Rector Dan Clemente addressing Chandhoke

3. Robinson Hall is being targeted for major renovations in the future.

According to Provost Peter Stearns, classroom shortage is becoming a major problem on Mason’s Fairfax Campus. Currently, Robinson Hall hosts the most classes out of any other on-campus building. According to Cabrera, many classes that take place in Robinson can be held in Academic VII, a new building that will house programs from the College of Health and Human Services.

“It is absolutely essential that we rebuild Robinson Hall.” – President Angel Cabrera

4. The goal of the strategic plan: Finding the balance between accessibility and quality in terms of educational programs.

“The key to our vision statement…is a desire, a commitment to achieving those two objectives at the same time.” – President Angel Cabrera

5. Priority registration approved for active duty military members, reservists, and members of the National Guard

The Board of Visitors approved a motion to allow for active duty military members, reservists, and National Guard members, to have priority registration. This plan is required by the Virginia State legislature, and will come into effect in the spring semester. Mason has taken the plan one step further by including veterans in this plan.

According to Jennifer Connors, Director of Military Services, this plan could help increase retention of military students.

6. And a cool map that shows where Mason alumni are living!

Fourth Estate Weekly News Editor Janelle Germanos helped contribute to this story.

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