Mason to Host Conference on Future of Higher Education in Virginia

Posted: March 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm, Last Updated: March 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm

By Catherine Ferraro

Virginia Capitol

The conference will respond to new Virginia legislation that aims to enable state institutions to grant an additional 100,000 degrees over the next 15 years. Photo of Virginia Capitol from Wikipedia

Earlier this month, Virginia’s General Assembly passed new legislation that will enable the commonwealth’s higher education institutions to meet the goal of issuing an additional 100,000 degrees over the next 15 years, thus making Virginia home to one of the most highly educated workforces in the nation.

In response to this new legislation, Mason will host university administrators from across the state for a conference, “Higher Education in Virginia: Looking Toward the Next Decade,” on Tuesday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Johnson Center Cinema on the Fairfax Campus.

The event is free and open to the public. Representatives from Virginia’s colleges and universities, state higher education agencies and national higher education associations and organizations are expected to attend.

“At Mason, we understand the importance of preparing students not only to succeed but to lead in the 21st century and hope to join other Virginia institutions in building a foundation for continued success,” says Mason Provost Peter Stearns.

“As we consider the future of higher education, the conference will provide an opportunity for practitioners and administrators at all levels to discuss some of the most important issues we are facing in our state and across the country.”

The conference will address how to meet the goals of the new legislation, which were identified by the Governor’s Higher Education Commission on Reform, Innovation and Investment.

Panel discussions will address ways to increase student graduation rates and student diversity; the relationship between the public, private and for-profit sectors and their influences on higher education issues; the role of research in higher education in Virginia; and the future of global education at Virginia colleges.

Virginia Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, a member of the House Committee on Education and the governor’s higher education commission, will be the keynote speaker.

Panelists include

“As the demand for a highly educated workforce continues to increase, it is our responsibility to ensure that every student has more accessible and affordable opportunities to earn a college degree,” says John O’Connor, director of Mason’s Higher Education Program.

“Even in Virginia’s well-run educational system there is room for improvement, and this is one of the best investments we can make for our students and the economic future of our state.”

Mason’s Higher Education Program, a conference sponsor, prepares new and midlevel professionals for careers in higher education at community colleges and four-year institutions, as well as in associations, government agencies and industries whose activities relate to or impact higher education.

Other conference sponsors are Mason’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Office of the Provost.

For more information about the higher education conference and a complete schedule of events, visit the website.






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