Friday, July 22, 2011


This afternoon, one of my students just dropped by to share the newly published George Mason Review. The on-campus journal was completely re-visioned by students over the past year to provide a forum for exemplary student scholarship from all disciplines (see their mission at

Our undergraduate students designed the journal, updated the mission, publicized the call for submissions, professionally reviewed and selected content, and produced the paper and web versions of the GMReview. We often talk about the scholarly landscape, where students will be guided in their exploration of this environment. This issue is a testament of the abilities of our students to succeed in this environment. I am so proud of their work!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Conference of Research Experiences for Undergraduates Student Scholarship

The Council on Undergraduate Research will be holding a conference on the National Science Foundation's Research Experiencesfor Undergraduates at the Arlington Hilton on October 16-17. The majority of the conference will take place on Monday, October 17th. This conference will feature presentations by students from REU programs in all disciplines, sessions for REU administrators and faculty, and opportunities to meet with representatives from the National Science Foundation and other government agencies.

As a part of the Students as Scholars initiative, we would like to support the development of more REUs through George Mason. If you are a faculty member interested in developing an REU or already holds one, this would be an excellent opportunity to share your knowledge and learn more. Please contact us at if you are interested - we will support a limited number of faculty participants.

Conference Dates: Sunday October 15

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Students as WAC Scholars: A Shared Emphasis on Students’ Learning Processes

In the Spring, Dr. Terry Zawacki, director of the Writing Across the Curriculum program at George Mason, asked me to write a short piece for the Spring 2011 WAC newsletter. After some procrastination, I did, and I focused on how the Students as Scholars initiative and the WAC program focus on the research process, as well as the quality of the student product.
I gave some tips for faculty who want to focus on the inquiry process in their assignments, rather than simply focus on the product:
  • Elucidate for your students that they are taking on the role of “student as scholar.” This will help engage them in the process and take responsibility for their work.
  • Talk about your own research and writing process, including what excites you and what frustrates you.
  • Have students keep research logs (or blogs) that are checked regularly.
  • Encourage students to write on wikis that track versions of documents.
  • Break large assignments into parts that emphasize process, and make evidence of the process part of the overall grade.
  • Ask students to discuss the writing or research being presented in class from a process perspective, e.g. “What did it take for the author to move from an idea or question to this result?”
  • Ask students to write a reflective essay talking about what they have learned and why it matters. Not only is this valuable to the student, it is also helpful to you.
The article can be found at (and the entire newsletter is worth reading!).