Mason Moves to Increase Participation in University Speakers Bureau

Posted: March 7, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Daniel Walsch

George Mason University’s highly-praised speakers bureau is getting a makeover designed to increase faculty participation, expand upon the program’s range of speaking outlets and bring greater attention to key academic areas within the institution.

Headed up by Peter Stearns, provost, Matt Kluger, vice president for research, and Christine LaPaille, vice president of University Relations, this effort is geared to support the overriding goal of establishing the university as a leading research institution.

“Since its beginning in 1993, Mason’s speakers bureau has played a major role in enabling the university to maintain a steady connection with the surrounding communities and region. It is our intention to identify good opportunities for our speakers that support the initiatives of our administration and give Mason’s researchers and their work greater visibility,” says LaPaille.

At the beginning of the 2005-06 academic year, 114 faculty and staff members voluntarily participated in Mason’s speakers bureau. Collectively, they spoke on 363 topics. This is a sizeable increase over the totals of the speakers bureau’s first year in 1993: 28 speakers and 91 topics. Since its inception, the speakers bureau has been the responsibility of the university’s community relations office directed by Traci Claar.

In addition to urging more members of the campus community to participate in this program, Stearns, Kluger and LaPaille are hoping that more research faculty will volunteer to talk about their research efforts.

“The more researchers we can present to the public, the greater will be the awareness that George Mason is making giant strides in very important areas of research,” says LaPaille. “This kind of sustained effort can only result in more significant long-term support for our institution.”

Recently, Stearns, Kluger and LaPaille distributed an e-mail to the campus community soliciting greater participation. Thus far, 40 additional faculty and staff members have stepped forward.

To participate as a volunteer speaker, interested persons should go to the speakers bureau web site. For more information, contact Sarah Gallagher, Mason’s speakers bureau coordinator, at 703-993-8761.

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