Q & A with Stanley Taylor, Vice President, Arlington Campus
Posted: January 15, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
Editor’s note: This weekly question-and-answer column with George Mason administrators appears every Thursday in the Daily Gazette. To view previous articles, visit the Q&A archive page.
Please explain the responsibilities of your position as Arlington Campus vice president.
The primary responsibilities of my position are associated with coordination of the administrative and academic mission of the campus. Also, my role involves representing the university on various boards and commissions in Arlington County, Alexandria, and the District of Columbia.
While the primary focus of the Arlington Campus is law and public policy, we are also working to expand existing programs and initiate new ones associated with the School of Management, Graduate School of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Office of Continuing Professional Education, and the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.
What are some of the most important issues facing your office?
The most important issue is ensuring that the university can respond to the needs of the academic units and students as the campus grows. To help establish the plan for the Arlington Campus to meet the current and future needs associated with the growth, I have formed the Arlington Campus Strategic Planning Task Force. The task force will consist of representatives from the academic units and university support services.
Thus, the task force will begin to establish the list of most important issues facing the campus and make recommendations for the Central Administration and Arlington Campus Administration to consider for the growth and continued development of the campus. This process is very important as the campus grows both physically and with new and expanding academic programs and increasing student enrollment.
Since coming to the Arlington Campus, what are some of the changes you have seen academically and structurally, as well as in the community?
In my four years at the Arlington Campus, I have seen significant growth in academic programs and student enrollment. The campus now has the School of Public Policy, which increased its master’s programs offered and student enrollment. The School of Management has implemented a master in Bioscience Management Program along with its M.B.A. Program. The Arlington Campus is home base for the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, founded by Nobel laureate Vernon Smith. Finally, the Social Work Graduate Program was started at the Arlington Campus in summer 2002.
Also since being here, the university has renovated the Original Building to provide more classrooms and updated the classroom technology and support. The university, because of the growth and the need for more space, has leased space in the Truland Building, which is adjacent to the Arlington Campus. The Truland Building provides space for academic units, student services, research programs, administrative staff, and some classrooms.
From the community involvement perspective, the university has become very active in Arlington, Alexandria, and the District of Columbia. Some of the organizations that we have become very active with include the Chamber of Commerce in both Arlington and Alexandria, Leadership Washington, Agenda: Alexandria, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation, the Fannie Mae Northern Virginia Partnership Advisory Board, and the Alexandria Education Partnership.
What are the plans for the Arlington Campus in the near future?
The plans for the Arlington Campus in the near future are to work with the academic units to expand their programs and to consider offering courses during the mornings and midday. Right now, the majority of the courses are offered during the late afternoon and evenings.
Specifically, some of the initiatives we are working on include: 1) starting weekend programs in February; 2) working with the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution on relocating from the Fairfax Campus to the Arlington Campus in the summer; 3) working with the George Mason University Foundation to start construction of its project along Washington Boulevard, which will soon provide parking for the university; and 4) finalizing the program for Arlington Phase II and beginning the architectural design of the building.
What do you consider to be some of the unique challenges and rewards of an urban campus?
As the Arlington Campus continues to increase its student enrollment and the need for additional faculty and staff for the academic programs and university services, we need to explore ways to provide opportunities for affordable housing. We are currently creating working relationships with Arlington County and Fannie Mae to explore ways to facilitate making housing available. It will not be easy to resolve this problem, but we have started looking at some options.
I will add that this is not just a problem associated with the Arlington Campus. Each campus must address the housing issue. It will be a major concern associated with recruiting faculty and staff with the high cost of housing and apartments in the Washington metropolitan region.
As for the rewards of being an urban campus, our immediate accessibility to the District of Columbia and Maryland has provided many opportunities for the university to create many new relationships with government and not-for-profit and for-profit organizations.
Please tell us about the role of the Arlington Campus student and community advisory boards.
The University Life Student Advisory Board was created to work with the Arlington Campus administration, University Life, and University Services in identifying and addressing the service needs of the students, both currently and as the enrollment increases. Given the fact that the majority of the students at the Arlington Campus are graduate students, it is important that we establish a system that will ensure that the university is sensitive and aware of the type of services needed to support them during their academic enrollment here on the campus.
With regard to community advisory boards, Arlington County government and George Mason created the Joint George Mason University/Arlington County Advisory Board. The original charge for the Advisory Board has been significantly changed to broaden its purpose and include representation from civic groups, non-profit, for-profit, and the Arlington County government.
Thus, with the change in the mission of the Advisory Board, the university is becoming involved with overall county activities, and associated academic units are working with various for-profit and non-profit corporations and organizations.
You recently were elected the 2004 chair-elect and the 2005 chair of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. What do you anticipate as future benefits to the university and the community?
I view this as a means of opening doors for the university to meet new people and also show that the university is committed to supporting the Arlington community. Also, being involved has brought support for the university as we continue to grow at the Arlington Campus.
I must say that we owe Arlington County government and citizens a big thanks for their support. The county has been a big financial contributor to the development of the Arlington Campus, contributing $3 million for the construction of Arlington Phase I and $5 million for Arlington Phase II.
Furthermore, university academic units such as the School of Public Policy, the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and the Graduate School of Education are working with Arlington County government agencies to provide services to support their initiatives and goals.