President Merten Outlines University’s Future Priorities

Posted: September 23, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Daniel Walsch

“We are a success story,” are the words used yesterday by George Mason President Alan Merten to begin his annual fall convocation address to the campus community.

President Alan Merten
President Alan Merten at

convocation yesterday.
Photo by Lisa McCarty

More than 300 students, staff, and faculty members made their way to the Johnson Center’s Dewberry Hall to hear President Merten give a broad outline of the university’s plans for the remainder of this decade. His address was designed largely as a follow-up to last week’s town hall meeting on the university’s 2010 plan conducted by Provost Peter Stearns and Senior Vice President Maurice Scherrens.

The plan, Merten explained, is designed to help the university build on its past and current successes. “We want to continue to be entrepreneurial and innovative,” he said, “and right now we are better disciplined in our preparation for the future.”

According to Merten, major themes of the 2010 plan include looking for ways to grow in terms of existing and new academic programs; identifying new research and educational areas; becoming less dependent on state funding; and becoming more technology-enhanced in teaching and learning.

Additionally, other goals include ensuring that faculty and staff receive greater salary compensation each year, developing more research, and expanding student enrollment to possibly as high as 35,000.

In terms of academic priorities over the next six years, the following areas were identified: law, economics and policy; the sciences; the performing arts; information technology; international and global activities; and innovative undergraduate education.

Merten said he and his administrative team will be working closely with Gov. Mark Warner and the Virginia General Assembly in the coming session to generate as much support from them as possible.

Merten’s PowerPoint presentation from yesterday is available on the web at in the folder labeled “President’s Office.” The PowerPoint presentation from last week’s town hall meeting with Stearns and Scherrens is also posted there.

Write to at