Guilford Wins Award for Sept. 11 Course Program

Posted: December 18, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jessica Johnson

Renate Guilford, director of enrollment planning and summer term, won first place in the credit category of the 2002 Creative and Innovative Awards at the Annual Conference of the North American Association of Summer Sessions (NAASS). NAASS is an association of deans and directors of college and university summer programs located throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The highly competitive Creative and Innovative Award is given in three categories: credit, noncredit, and administrative. George Mason submitted its Seminars and Special Topics in Community and World Affairs Program, which was offered this past summer.

The program was created as a direct result of the events that occurred Sept. 11, 2001, and its ensuing aftermath. An associate dean from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Charlene Douglas, contacted Guilford with an idea for a course that would address the assessment and management of biological, chemical, and natural disasters from a public health care standpoint.

Guilford posed the idea of offering courses related to Sept. 11 from different academic fields and offering a program to the university and surrounding communities. She then received permission from the vice provost of academic affairs to begin developing the program.

The expertise and creativity of the George Mason faculty lead to the establishment of 29 one- to three-credit courses. Fifteen departments in six colleges offered courses on all three campuses; 402 students enrolled.

The majority of funding was provided from the Summer Term instructional budget, though the office coordinated with individual instructors and departments, as well as the Continuing and Professional Education Office, the Registrar’s Office, and University Relations.

“This seemed like a natural place to study Sept. 11 and the changes that have followed,” says Mick Beltz, New Century College, who taught Marketing Tragedy this summer with colleague Tracey McLoone. “The idea was to make sense of what’s happened.”

Chet Chapman, a Naval officer and nurse attending George Mason, enrolled in one course and said of his experience, “These classes will train the leaders of the future. They’ll be a part of everyone’s curriculum when they enter into public service or preparedness. I got in on the ground floor.”

Karen Gentemann, director of institutional assessment, who took The International Relations of the September 11 Crisis course, says, “I personally gained valuable insight into why Sept. 11 happened. The discussions among Muslim, Jewish, and Christian students in the class were particularly revealing and helped all of us in better understanding the importance of a multicultural perspective if we are going to create a more tolerant and peaceful world.”

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