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SAFE RETURN TO CAMPUS

Spring semester begins Monday, January 25, with a mix of in-person instruction and expanded online classes. Visit Mason’s Safe Return to Campus Plan for COVID-19 updates.

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Patriots Vote

SAM poses with their I Voted sticker

This is a time for courageous decision making, goal setting and taking action.  

When defining 'apathy,' Google offers 'a lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern.' 

The alternative, the definition of 'employee engagement' according to forbes.com is "the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. They don't just work for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization's goals. When employees care, when they are engaged, they use discretionary effort."

It's easy to just talk about what you might do or even to avoid difficult decisions altogether rather than act. But, thanks to the forethought of our university's leadership, we have been given a vacation day, next Tuesday, Election Day so we may exercise our right and privilege offered by the Twenty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution. It’s time to vote.

According to the counts noted on CNN.com, on Tuesday, a week before Election Day, early voters so far are younger and more racially diverse. More than 65.5 million votes have already been cast across the country, surpassing the 58.3 million total pre-election votes cast in 2016. That's almost half of the total presidential votes cast four years ago. Our nation does not appear to be apathetic. We are taking action.

According to a recent twitter post, "Anyone who says young people don't vote haven't met @GeorgeMasonU students. They vote. Nationally, 39.1% of students voted in 2018; Mason students 52.4%. Nationally, 50.4% of students voted in 2016; Mason students, 64.9% Patriots vote.

I've recently asked each department to undertake in-depth strategic planning activities, engaging faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders to think creatively and boldly about their vision for the future, to share their ideas for our college's growth and to set their own aspirational goals. This exercise can be challenging in normal times. But these times are not ordinary.

Life's pressures are high. Learning is either virtual or in a space with mandated mask wearing and social distancing to protect our very lives. Our Mason Science community rose to the occasion, engaging at a high level. In fact, did you know our college has more graduate student classes in a 75-100% Face to Face learning environment at Mason during the Fall 2020 semester than any other unit? Many faculty and staff bravely and safely returned to campus to serve our students, and to support our important research efforts.

On the flip side, our college’s faculty and staff not able to come on campus due to various health concerns have also valiantly undertaken much planning and effort to modify their coursework, support tasks, and research, committed to our goal of providing access to the highest quality science education experience. Thank you. 

If asked for your ideas, to plot our strategic future and goals on a university task force, in a department discussion or even just in a conversation with yourself about what lies ahead…engage. Take these opportunities to set the course for our collective future. When given the choice to actively listen and participate or sit back in your chair and let the conversation happen without you, come prepared. Vote with your voice. Make the most of it; get invested in the discussions. Share your thoughts and ideas freely. We care about what you think.