By Michele McDonald
George Mason University is transforming how business and the government use continuing education for employees.
The region’s top employers want a multidisciplinary approach that doesn’t stop at the door of one college, but includes the best of several, said Brad Dawson, executive director of Learning Solutions, formerly known as the Office of Continuing Professional Education. The university is drawing from expertise across George Mason to create new programs that address today’s top issues such as security, gaming, critical infrastructure and leadership.
Plus, the course work isn’t the last stop for employees because, in many cases, they can apply the credits to earn Mason degrees or certificates, Dawson said. In addition to using existing for-credit and noncredit classes to create programs, Mason, as a leading research university, will be able to incorporate groundbreaking research into the course work, he said.
Learning Solutions is working with a well-known technology company to build a curriculum around national security issues. Mason experts are looking at a combination of security-related factors, from technology and policy to human behavior. The security course work will draw from the School of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Volgenau School of Engineering, and the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs.
Gaming also is a popular pursuit that has practical implications for corporations and the defense industry. It’s an effective tool to tackle threats on a national security level as well as deploy internal training programs for corporate universities, Dawson said.
The College of Visual and Performing Arts, the School of Business and the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution will contribute to the gaming program, Dawson said.
Learning Solutions also is boosting leadership course work by adding Mason’s expertise in performing arts and conflict resolution. For example, the College of Visual and Performing Arts has a class on presentation skills for actors, which can easily translate to lawyers and consulting executives. In addition, Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and College of Humanities and Social Sciences add key pieces to a leader’s skill set, Dawson said.
It’s all designed to give employees and employers more than training seminars.
“Traditional continuing professional education is a one-shot program,” said Dawson, adding that building a dynamic professional development program is part of Mason’s strategic plan. “We want to make sure employees are on a pathway to a Mason certificate or degree and, at the same time, companies are better equipped to achieve their strategic objectives.”
For more information, call 703-993-2109 or visit the Learning Solutions website at ls.gmu.edu.