Mason named most diverse university in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report

September 12, 2017 / by Damian Cristodero

U.S. News & World Report cited George Mason University as the top-ranked institution in Virginia for campus diversity in its 2018 rankings of colleges and universities that were released Tuesday.

The university also moved up in the publication’s overall national rankings and is ranked as one of the nation’s best schools for creating an environment in which all students can thrive.

The rankings, which are closely followed by prospective students and their families across the country, reinforce George Mason’s commitment to inclusion and access while accentuating its role as a nationally recognized world-class research university.

In evaluating campus diversity, U.S. News looked at the proportion of minority students and the overall mix of groups in each institution’s 2016-17 student body. The formula produced an index of 0.0 to 1.0. The closer a school’s number to 1.0, the more diverse the student population.

Mason’s rating of 0.70 is tied for 22nd nationally.

“We consistently hear from graduating seniors that the opportunity to learn with and about others with different cultural, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds has been a significant part of their deep learning at Mason,” said Rose Pascarell, Mason’s vice president for University Life. “That learning shows up in the richness of classroom discussions, the significant number of culturally based student organizations, and the range of opportunities for engagement, activism and education outside the classroom.”

Mason’s overall national rank rose three spots to 140. And it was listed as one of just 97 institutions in a category U.S. News calls “A+ Schools for B Students,” which identifies universities “where spirit and hard work make all the difference.”

Mason’s undergraduate business programs were tied for 78th nationally. Mason also was among 19 schools noted for stressing writing in all its disciplines. Check back for additional ranking details as they become available.

The university was recently ranked fifth nationally by Washington Monthly magazine as a best four-year college for adult learners. It also awarded more bachelor’s degrees to minority students in the 2016-17 academic year than any other Virginia institution, according to data presented by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Mason signs partnership to provide free coding skills to students, alumni

February 7, 2017   /   by Preston Williams

Fewer than 3 percent of college students earn a degree in computer science, even though computing jobs are among the best-paying for new graduates, Fortune reported last year.

To address that gap, the university is partnering with technology talent development company Revature to provide free online and on-site coding training to George Mason University students and recent graduates. The partnership offers George Mason students of all majors high-demand skills that will give them an edge in the job market and professional development that otherwise would cost thousands of dollars. The career jumpstart at the end of the program is a two-year opportunity with top employers such as Accenture, Capital One, Deloitte, Hewlett Packard and Walmart.

The jobs are available, both in the National Capital Region and nationally. The White House last year said that by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs will be in computer science and related fields, and two-thirds of tech jobs will be outside the tech sector. The Northern Virginia Technology Council said software development is the number one occupation with the largest potential shortfalls between the demand and supply of trained workers within the region’s technology sector. More than 60 percent of employers report difficulty finding applicants experienced in programming and software development.
The Mason students who complete the Revature coding “boot camps,” based at the company’s headquarters in nearby Reston, Va., will have an in-demand computer programming skill set to complement their Mason degree. More information is available at

“We hear from recruiters all of the time that the shortage of tech talent is real; there are simply not enough qualified candidates to fill the available jobs,” said Saskia Clay-Rooks, executive director of University Career Services at Mason. “The partnership with Revature is a futuristic move by Mason, and a win-win for both employers and students.”

Original article published here.

Computer science professor, Danny Menasce, receives Outstanding Faculty Award from the state

December 16, 2016   /   by Damian Cristodero

Danny Menasce is the 20th Mason recipient of an Outstanding Faculty Award from the state.

Danny Menasce, a University Professor of computer science at George Mason University, is a recipient of a 2017 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

Menasce, 65, in the Department of Computer Science in the Volgenau School of Engineering, is one of 12 recipients (out of 97 nominees) and the 20th from George Mason.

“It is very gratifying,” he said. “I’m extremely happy and feel very honored to receive this award.”

Now in its 29th year, the Outstanding Faculty Award recognizes excellence in teaching, research and public service. Nominees, submitted by each institution, must demonstrate a record of superior accomplishment in teaching, research and knowledge integration.

A panel of former winners, chief academic officers and their designees select finalists who are judged by a selection committee of SCHEV members, and education, business and community leaders.

Winners receive $5,000 underwritten by the Dominion Foundation.

Menasce is in his 25th year at Mason and in 2009 received Volgenau’s Outstanding Research Faculty Award.

“Most importantly, what I try to do with my students is tell them they need to learn how to learn,” he said. “You need to keep learning after you graduate. That is what is going to allow you to be a successful professional.”

Original article published here.

Mason continues to lead in innovation, U.S. News rankings show

September 13, 2016

George Mason University’s tradition of innovation puts it on the same footing with Harvard and Cornell, among others, according to the 2017 U.S. News and World Report College rankings released Tuesday.

Mason is in a five-way tie for 14th place on the list of 29 innovative schools, along with University of Texas-Austin and Drexel. The innovation ranking is significant because it is based on nominations from top college officials. Schools are nominated for making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities, the website notes. In last year’s rankings, Mason was tied for 18th place on the list of innovative schools.

“We are a very young institution that has achieved national and international renown in record time,” said Mason President Ángel Cabrera. “We like to say that innovation is our tradition and it is through innovation that we manage to create value for our students and contribute to a vibrant economy in our community.”

Mason’s undergraduate engineering program was ranked 116 in a three-way tie with California State-Long Beach and Boise State out of 205 schools that offer doctorate programs.

Mason also was listed as one of the top 100 colleges for veterans.

On the overall national rankings, Mason ranked 143 out of 310 schools listed.  Mason also tied for 71st  place with Oregon State and Washington State out of 133 public schools ranked.

Get more details about Mason’s rankings here.

Original article published here.

Mason moves up in top 1,000 global university ranking

July 20, 2016/by Buzz McClain

George Mason University continues to climb the list in the Center for World University Rankings, landing at No. 397 in the 2016 survey of 1,000 universities.

In 2014, George Mason was ranked 434 among the 25,000 universities around the world considered for the ranking. In 2015, Mason was ranked 414.

Since 2012 the center, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has “measured the quality of education and training of students as well as the prestige of the faculty members and the quality of their research,” according to its website. The center conducts its own research and does not rely on surveys or data from the universities.

Criteria for the ranking include quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, publications, influence, citations, broad impact and the number of international patent filings.

Story originally published here on July 20, 2016:

Mason’s bachelor’s program in accounting ranked in the top 50 nationally

May 31, 2016/by Damian Cristodero

The bachelor’s program in accounting in George Mason University’s School of Business is ranked in the top 50 nationally by College Choice, a leading college search and rankings network.

“It’s a tremendous honor for Mason’s accounting program to be ranked among the top 50 programs in the U.S.,” said Keith Jones, area chair and associate professor of accounting at George Mason. “It is a recognition of the hard work and excellence of the faculty and students.”

Mason graduated 256 students with bachelor’s degrees in accounting this spring, fifth most among the university’s majors. There also is a growing master’s program, including an online option aimed at working professionals.

“Accounting is one of the largest undergraduate majors [at Mason],” Jones said. “Our students go to work for all the top international public accounting firms and many of the regional and local firms.”

On its website, College Choice says its rankings are based “exclusively on factors actual college freshmen said were most important to their college decision.” Those factors, according to a recent nationwide survey by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, include academic reputation, financial aid offerings, overall cost and success of graduates in the job market. Data was derived, College Choice says, from sources, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics and

Story originally published here on May 31, 2016:

Around the World in Eight Kiosks

Global Kiosk Featuring kiosks for iWeek Sports Tournaments, Cultural Workshops, Language Courses, Study Abroad, On-Campus Events, and More. Photo by: Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University

Mason’s Global Kiosk Day serves as a precursor to International Week and provides information about cultural workshops, language courses, study abroad and more. Photo by Ron Aira.

March 25, 2016   /   by Damian Cristodero

High school senior Vasudah Manikandan toured George Mason University on March 23 to get a feel for the campus she might want to call home. She ended up in the Johnson Center at the Mason Korea kiosk inquiring about studying abroad.

“I had questions about Mason Korea because I learned Korean in high school, so it’s something I really want to pursue,” Manikandan said. “I had questions about how my credits would pass over, if my GPA would change, financial aid and stuff like that.”

It was just the kind of conversation Mary Wells, an assistant director in the Office of International Programs and Services, wanted students to have at Global Kiosk Day, when representatives of eight Mason offices offering global curriculums manned kiosks during peak lunchtime.

“We think global learning is important for every student,” Wells said. “We want to make sure students know about all the majors and minors and language courses, cultural workshops and study-abroad options that are available to them.”

The event also was a precursor to Mason’s 35th International Week, April 8-17, when the university’s international students showcase their countries and cultures.

Participating in Global Kiosk Day were Mason Korea, Mason Study Abroad, China 1+2+1, Global Affairs, the Confucius Institute, Modern and Classical Languages, the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs, and Social Action and Integrative Learning (SAIL).

“One of the benefits is we can work together and show a united front to all students and show them what we have to offer and what we can do for them,” said Sage Janulis, China 1+2+1 project coordinator.

For Roger Dalton, a junior electrical engineering major, that meant getting information from SAIL about international trips for Alternative Spring Break.

“It’s great, “ he said. “You see something and figure out if it’s something you want to do.”

“There’s only so much information online,” Manikandan said. “It was nice to come here and talk to students who have actually been to Korea.”


Story originally published here on March 25, 2016:

Students, Alumni, Staff Benefit from First Mason China 1+2+1 Program Alumni Panel

By Sudha Kamath and Qifei Zhang

From left: Haoxiao Yu, Shimeng Zhang, President Ángel Cabrera, Yichi Xu, and Mason’s China 1+2+1 program administrators Lisa O’Hara and Diane Wang. Photo by Youjin Zhang.

From left: Haoxiao Yu, Shimeng Zhang, President Ángel Cabrera, Yichi Xu, and Mason’s China 1+2+1 program administrators Lisa O’Hara and Diane Wang. Photo by Youjin Zhang.

For the first time, several alumni of George Mason University’s China 1+2+1 Dual Degree Transfer Programreturned to the Fairfax Campus to share their secrets to success with more than 60 other George Mason alumni, students, faculty and staff. Three George Mason graduates, who are now rising to the top of their career fields, came to reunite and network, and perhaps just as importantly, to inspire.

On Oct. 18 at the Johnson Center, the alumni formed a panel sponsored by the Office of Global Strategy and Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, and organized by Qifei Zhang, a current Mason China 1+2+1 program student and Global Strategy intern.

In opening remarks, President Ángel Cabrera lauded the continuing success of Mason’s China 1+2+1 program, and called its students and graduates cultural ambassadors.

Mason’s China 1+2+1 undergraduate program is part of the Sino-American 1+2+1 Dual Degree Program which includes 20 universities in the United States and 89 in China. Students earn dual degrees from a U.S. institution and from a Chinese institution. Mason’s program is welcoming its 10th cohort this fall, and has produced 214 graduates who’ve succeeded academically and helped bridge global gaps.

One of the panelists, alumnus Haoxiao Yu, earned bachelor’s degrees in economics from Mason and Shandong University in Weihai, China in 2012. She went on to earn a master’s degree in public policy at Harvard University. Now she’s an analyst at Promontory Financial Group, LLC in nearby Washington, D.C.

China 1+2+1 program alumni share stories of Mason and beyond. From left: Shimeng Zhang, Yichi Xu, and Haoxiao Yu. Photo by Youjin Zhang.

China 1+2+1 program alumni share stories of Mason and beyond. From left: Shimeng Zhang, Yichi Xu, and Haoxiao Yu. Photo by Youjin Zhang.

“Take advantage of Mason’s proximity to D.C. to enrich your experiences,” she advised the audience. “Do volunteer work, attend seminars, find internships. D.C. is full of resources! Try to jump out of your comfort zone and be open to the unknowns.”

Also on the panel was Yichi Xu, who also works as an analyst at Promontory. He earned finance undergraduate degrees from Mason and Soochow University in Suzhou, China, in 2012, and obtained a master’s degree in mathematics and statistics from Georgetown University. Xu said his experience at Mason had a “profound impact on my success in graduate school application and job hunting. Mason and the School of Business molded me into a person who is conscientious, passionate and professional.”

The event was a special homecoming for panelist Shimeng Zhang, who also met her fiancé at Mason. “This program is like a big family, and I am so happy to meet old friends,” said Zhang, who earned bachelor’s degrees in economics from Mason and Communication University of China in Beijing in 2011. She went on to study mathematics and statistics at Georgetown and is now working at KPMG in Northern Virginia.

The event, conducted mostly in Chinese, made an impression on current students and other alumni in the audience. Kaixuan Wang, a sophomore in finance from Huaqiao University, has just started his Mason journey but has not determined a career path. Wang said he found guidance at the event. “The alumni provided me with a lot of reference in how I should make my own decisions,” he said.

President Ángel Cabrera delivers opening remarks at the China 1+2+1 alumni reunion panel. Photo by Youjin Zhang.

President Ángel Cabrera delivers opening remarks at the China 1+2+1 alumni reunion panel. Photo by Youjin Zhang.

Yang Tang, a junior majoring in global affairs who’s thinking about applying to graduate schools, said she found she shared similar backgrounds with the panelists, and that their advice hit home. “Their valuable suggestions and lasting friendship are crucial to my future,” she said.

Madelyn Ross, director of China Initiatives in Global Strategy, is encouraging more China 1+2+1 alumni in the United States to return to Mason to inspire the next cohorts, and those who’ve returned to China to take part in the China-based activities of the Mason Alumni Club of China.

“We’ve tried to build a sense of community with graduates that will last long after they leave Mason,” Ross said.

Original article posted on Mason NewsDesk

China 1+2+1=10: Dual Degree Program Marks Decade of Global Partnerships

George Mason University’s largest dual degree program is celebrating a special anniversary as it welcomes its 10th cohort this fall semester. Forty-one Chinese students will arrive Aug. 17 on George Mason’s Fairfax Campus to join the China 1+2+1 Program—proving George Mason’s success in building a global presence.

Mason’s China 1+2+1 Program will welcome its 10th cohort in August. Earlier this summer in Beijing, the new class met Madelyn Ross (on left) and Lisa O’Hara (on right) from Mason’s Office of Global Strategy.

Mason’s China 1+2+1 Program will welcome its 10th cohort in August. Earlier this summer in Beijing, the new class met Madelyn Ross (on left) and Lisa O’Hara (on right) from Mason’s Office of Global Strategy.

The undergraduates will attend Mason for two to three years, then attend their home university in China for one-and-a-half to two years. They will work on degrees in art and visual technology, communication, computer science, economics, electrical engineering, finance, global affairs, management, marketing and music. Since the first cohort of the China 1+2+1 Program arrived at Mason in 2005, economics has been the most popular major, followed by finance and then computer science.

Mason’s China 1+2+1 Program has graduated more than 200 students. Forty of those graduated this summer, including 22 who attended the graduation ceremony of the Inner Mongolia University of Technology in Hohhot. On hand to award degrees were Madelyn Ross, director of Mason’s China Initiatives and Mason’s Global Problem Solving Consortium; Sarah Nutter, dean of Mason’s School of Business; and Lisa O’Hara, international programs administrator in Mason’s Office of Global Strategy.

“It was a pleasure meeting the high-achieving group of 41 new students in China this summer, and then attending the graduation ceremony of those from earlier cohorts who had completed the program and earned two degrees—one from Mason and one from their Chinese home university,” says O’Hara. “The continued academic excellence of many of the China 1+2+1 students has earned this program the reputation of being an honors program.”

Diane Wang, Mason’s China 1+2+1 coordinator since it began, says this year’s graduates were honored for excellence in finance, economics, computer science, art and visual technology, global affairs and computational and data science.

Over the years, seven China 1+2+1 graduates have returned to Mason to earn master’s degrees. Others have gone on to attend other top graduate schools in the United States including Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Fordham, George Washington and Johns Hopkins.

Some of the newest graduates of Mason’s China 1+2+1 Program are awarded diplomas by Sarah Nutter, dean of Mason’s School of Business (left), and Jiang Xinghong, Soochow University vice president (right), at a ceremony in Hohhot.

Some of the newest graduates of Mason’s China 1+2+1 Program are awarded diplomas by Sarah Nutter, dean of Mason’s School of Business (left), and Jiang Xinghong, Soochow University vice president (right), at a ceremony in Hohhot.

Xiaoxiao Zhang has been accepted to Johns Hopkins to work on her master’s degree in international relations. She was part of this summer’s China 1+2+1 graduating class. Zhang earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Shandong University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Mason.

“I spent the most unforgettable two years of my life at Mason,” says Zhang, originally from Jinan in Shandong Province. “In addition to the solid academic training, I gained a wonderful cultural experience by immersing myself in all kinds of school events and student activities. China 1+2+1 successfully made me stand out in this year’s graduate school application and is making me more confident to achieve my career goals of consulting work in energy/environmental issues and poverty alleviation.”

Other Mason China 1+2+1 graduates have joined top graduate schools around the world including University of Cambridge, King’s College in London, University of Melbourne, University of Sydney and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Some have earned or are working on PhDs.

Wang says past graduates also have returned to China to work in fields such as—but not limited to— banking, finance and family business.

It’s not all about hitting the books. The program bridges cultural gaps, fosters friendships and even leads to some matches. Two China 1+2+1 graduates got married, while another China 1+2+1 student married a Mason classmate.

Mason’s China 1+2+1 undergraduate program is a part of the Sino-American 1+2+1 Dual Degree Program, under the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the China Center for International Educational Exchange. The program includes 20 universities in the United States and 89 in China. Students earn dual degrees from a U.S. institution and from a Chinese institution.

By Sudha Kamath; Original Article posted on Mason NewsDesk.

Provost Peter Stearns Blogs On China 1+2+1

Quite a few people know about this highly successful program, but a further shout out is appropriate. The program, now in its 9th year at Mason, has brought 264 Chinese students to Mason from a variety of interesting Chinese universities. The students spend their first year in China, come here for two or more years, return for their final year at their Chinese institution, and if successful (as about 150 have already been) graduate with two degrees. A joint research project in their final year is part of the program.

The program is framed by an arrangement between the American Association of State College and Universities and the Chinese Ministry of Education, and Mason has established strong links with both parties in the process. Madelyn Ross and Diane Wang in the Global Office have devoted great effort to the program, along with a host of Mason faculty and staff.

The results have exceeded our original expectations in many ways. The students themselves have been very strong, with only a handful of exceptions. They often find they need a bit of further work on English when they get here, which they pursue quite diligently. They have majored in all sorts of things, with an interesting preference for economics but with interests also in Global Affairs, Music, Computer Science, Management and other areas. Their grade point average has been higher than that of international students in general, which is in turn higher than the overall Mason level. Individual students have won top honors as economics majors, and Mason 1-2-1 students have won a disproportionate share of program awards back in China. The annual graduation ceremony in China has become something of a Mason event.

But it’s more than grades and purely academic performance. Students have been very active in campus organizations and in off-campus opportunities, for example with Habitat for Humanity and Freedom House. They have helped tutor in Chinese courses. Not surprisingly, many of the graduates have done very well in graduate school placements, from Harvard to Hopkins to Mason itself, and in getting good jobs. We now have dozens of Mason grads in promising positions in China, a not insignificant token for the future. And our alumni base is strong and enthusiastic, another platform for further activity.

Wider benefits result also. The program has spurred a number of other China connections, including scholarships for Mason American students in China and, beginning next year, slots for Mason faculty visiting our counterpart universities.

Like many international programs, this one has its complexities, and there was some initial concern about the unknowns involved — as is so often the case with global ventures. But the strengths of the program have persuaded almost all the initial skeptics. The biggest current challenge, which we’re discussing actively, involves the high levels of demand from China, and whether to expand a bit in future. Chalk this one up on the clearly positive side, thanks to lots of good collaborators and, above all, the quality and risk-taking of the students themselves.