It was terrific to see the hashtag for the Future of Higher Ed forum, #masonfuture, atop the global twittersphere totem pole Friday evening (it trended worldwide for at least one hour!). On Saturday it just couldn’t compete with European soccer, American college football, Formula 1 or the U.S. presidential campaign. But it still topped the Washington Twitter world for most of the day. Good news not only for the much appreciated bump in brand recognition, but because it signals a growing interest in the future of higher education. Considering what’s at stake, these are great news.
My congratulations to all the people who made this unique gathering possible: faculty, administration, event managers, support staff. My appreciation to the visiting speakers who challenged us to re-think our ways (world-class, really!). Thank you to the sponsors: Kaplan, Blackboard and Learning House. And very special recognition to our provost Peter Stearns (his blog here), who led the team and made it happen.
It is one thing to send emissaries to conferences to find out what the world outside may be up to. A different, more powerful experience is to bring the conversation in. To sit around the table with colleagues across the university and have a focused, in-depth conversation about how the evolving world can create new opportunities to deliver on our mission.
If you weren’t able to be there, I hope you can join the conversation anyway. A good place to start is by watching portions of the videos (already made available by our GMU-TV colleagues), or by reading the insightful accounts by some of the faculty who participated in the panel, including Mark Sample and Mills Kelly.
Thank you to all my colleagues who joined the event. The widespread participation in an event like this over almost two days is a good indication of just how committed George Mason University is to its tagline: innovation is indeed our tradition.