Mason Ranks High in Student Success (Sept. 1, 2005)

Posted: September 1, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Research shows that student involvement is an integral part of academic success, and George Mason has been recognized again for fostering that involvement. Earlier this year, Mason was named as one of 20 schools extremely successful at fostering student success. According to an Aug. 28 USA Today article, Mason is a diverse institution that does “an especially good job of educating students.”

Chosen out of more than 700 schools across the nation, Mason and the other 19 schools are set apart by several factors, according to a book published by the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), “Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter.” The institutions have above-average graduation rates and do an outstanding job of involving students in their education.

Educators and researchers made campus visits to George Mason in 2002 and 2003, interviewing students, faculty and administrators to learn what the university does to engage students in educationally effective practices and support student persistence and graduation.

“Student Success in College” praises Mason for not only promoting student engagement and involvement, but also taking measures to retain students. It highlights Mason as involving commuter students in campus programming and recognizing the value and experience nontraditional students bring to the classroom.

Many of Mason’s programs were highlighted in the book, including Writing Across the Curriculum, the STAR Center, and the Technology Assistants Program. The surveyors also discussed Mason’s Robinson scholars program, which, thanks to a bequest from the late Clarence J. Robinson more than 20 years ago, has allowed the university to appoint to the faculty distinguished professors in the liberal arts and sciences who are dedicated to teaching undergraduates.

The book also praises New Century College for its Living and Learning Programs, which provide students with opportunities to integrate their academic studies and social life. New Century College, the book proclaims, encourages “frequent and meaningful interaction between students and faculty, team teaching within interdisciplinary learning communities and experiential learning requirements, including writing-intensive projects.”

Diversity was another aspect of Mason that was emphasized as a principle for promoting student success. “The diverse student body plays a significant role in creating an enriching educational environment,” said the editors. They added, “According to several student leaders, Mason’s diverse student population was a huge influence on their choice of—and satisfaction with—the institution.”

Other universities on the list, in alphabetical order:

Alverno College (Wis.)

California State University at Monterey Bay

The Evergreen State College (Wash.)

Fayetteville State University (N.C.)

Gonzaga University (Wash.)

Longwood University (Va.)

Macalester College (Minn.)

Miami University (Ohio)

Sewanee — University of the South (Tenn.)

Sweet Briar College (Va.)

University of Kansas (Kan.)

University of Maine-Farmington

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

University of Texas-El Paso

Ursinus College (Pa.)

Wabash College (Ind.)

Wheaton College (Mass.)

Winston-Salem State University (N.C.)

Wofford College (S.C.)

Posted Aug. 31, 2005

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