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Dean's Blog: Why partner with Mason Science?

In my recent State of the College Address, I shared how Mason Science is coming off a strong year of research performance, submitting 454 proposals, Mason's largest share, and receiving 319 awards for $37 million in funding from various partners and organizations. We account for approximately 20 percent of Mason's research funding and generate the most indirect revenues for the university. 

The college is eager to engage in large scale interdisciplinary and international academic and research collaborations with other colleges, other institutions and organizations. A collection of creative, entrepreneurial, and successful scientists pursuing exciting and consequential research, many of us at Mason have already needed to overcome obstacles to realize success, so we embrace the challenges and demands of the future to drive change. With three campuses in the Washington D.C., area and a fourth in South Korea, along with a thriving online presence, Mason is a fast-growing research university that is connected to the country’s source of government, industry, and global opportunities.

Consider where Mason stands…we are All Together Different

Since our founding in 1972, we’ve embraced access, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (AJEDI) as core principles. The decades have proven that our ethos of standing together despite our differences is what sets us apart from other universities. Mason students represent 130 countries and all 50 states. We proudly accept nearly 90 percent of undergraduate applicants, because we believe in inclusivity over exclusivity. Our graduation rate exceeds the national average, and there are no disparities in academic success rates among the differing ethnic groups or socio-economic status of our students. We’re also pivotal to those looking to re-skill or move ahead in their careers, and we’ve proven to be good at it—Mason is ranked best in Virginia and second among public institutions nationally by College Factual for nontraditional students.

Mason enrolls and graduates the Mid-Atlantic region’s largest population of Hispanic and Asian students. Campus Pride Index, which is dedicated to creating safer environments for members of the LGBTQ+ community, ranks Mason five out of five stars. Mason is one of only 29 universities nationally to gain that distinction and the only one in Virginia.There is also a component in collaborating with Mason Science which may not be as obvious because of regional and national averages when it comes to the STEM workforce. 

The percentage of Mason Science undergraduate students who identify as female are 62% and that group represents over 51% at the graduate level. To put this in perspective, based on data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) recently cited in Forbes Magazine, “women represented 45% of students majoring in STEM fields in 2020, up from 40% in 2010 and 34% in 1994. (IPEDS has tracked fall enrollment by major field of study and gender since 1994).” And our student gender diversity has been so dramatically higher than the national average since even before I came to Mason over two years ago. But recruiting women and under-represented groups into Mason’s STEM pipeline is not enough; we are also launching programs and support networks to develop leadership skills of those within these groups and seek partners to help fuel this student, faculty, and staff success.

When it comes down to it, Mason thinks All Together Different. We work intentionally to create an atmosphere that encourages taking risks and freely sharing ideas that will spark cutting-edge exploration and research. U.S. News and World Report ranks Mason No. 1 in Virginia and No. 9 nationally among public institutions for innovation. We offer economic development assistance that no other university does, including start-up assistance, and an entire lab-to-market startup ecosystem in-house to speed growth of research innovations to market and scale.

We involve students in all aspects of research at each stage of their academic journey.  We know the future holds boundless opportunity and that seizing those opportunities takes bold action. We ask tough questions and act with confidence and dare to be the first to try something different that counters the status quo.

Our graduation rates remain above the national average and are rising. Our students buck the norm by maintaining the same high percentage graduation rates across all demographics.

Collaborating with different groups can be a critical component of the research enterprise at Mason. And we've been fortunate, as its College of Science, to connect and collaborate with some of the very best in their field. For example, the Forensic Science Research and Training Laboratory is one of just eight “body farms” in the world that teach students firsthand about human decomposition for outdoor crime scene investigations. We partnered with FARO Technologies to establish the world’s first FARO-certified lab, and work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement to train students.

Mason’s Biomedical Research Laboratory is a partnership between Mason and the U.S. Center for Infectious Disease Research. The lab is one of a national network of 12 regional high-security biocontainment laboratories, where scientists are studying emerging and potential biothreats.

Mason is leading research in infectious diseases and biohealth, space exploration, climate impacts and species survival, materials and data science, sustainability efforts, and more.

Government and community leaders look to leading research universities like Mason for the workforce and economic development opportunities that will improve the conditions for their regions/constituencies, for today and tomorrow. Our bold, inclusive, and diverse approach is exactly what the future needs.

George Mason University is the largest, most innovative, most diverse public research university in Virginia, and those are just the broad strokes of who we are. Our faculty, staff, students and their families, alumni, donors, and community supporters tell the full story of what makes us special and caused Times Higher Ed to rank Mason as a top-50 public university and the nation’s top young university.

Looking for a strong collaboration partner? Let’s get started

Visit the dean's blog for more insights from Dean Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm.