Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Patriot Green Fund

The Students as Scholars initiative is excited to be collaborating with the Patriot Green Fund (PGF) to offer opportunities for undergraduate and graduate student to conduct research and pilot projects related to sustainability.

The PGF is an innovative student-led initiative to accelerate George Mason University’s sustainability transformation and commitment to climate neutrality via the Presidents’ Climate Commitment. The fund was established to foster an environment where Mason can flourish academically through the practice of environmental, social, and economic stewardship. Beginning in the fall of 2011, the PGF will provide $100,000 annually to finance both infrastructure and research projects that have a high value in all three of these areas of sustainability. The fund will also work to raise awareness of and support for building a culture of sustainability on campus and in our communities. The PGF will empower students by providing them with an unprecedented opportunity to lead and direct projects that will create positive change.

Update: Read this great Gazette article, University Invests in Patriot Green Fund, to learn more about the PGF!

Deadlines: The deadline for preliminary applications is October 31, 2011.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Virginia Academy of Science Undergraduate Research Meeting

The Virginia Academy of Sciences Fall Undergraduate Research Meeting is an opportunity for our Mason students to display a poster of their research. At the conclusion of the meeting, five $500 research grants will be awarded to undergraduate students to support their research during the 2011-12 academic year.

Deadline for applications: October 3, 2011, submitted to
Meeting date: October 15, 2011, from 9:00 until 3:00 (includes lunch, invited speaker, and announcement of grant recipients)
Location: Parham Road Campus of J. Sargent Reynolds Community College

Assistant Director of OSCAR

George Mason University is extending our search for an Assistant Director of our new Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) to help support our new Students as Scholars initiative. We seek an Assistant Director of OSCAR to coordinate and lead the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, along with other programs related to advancing student scholarship and research. The candidate should have broad understanding of the value of undergraduate research and creative activities and possess strong interpersonal and organizational skills. Master’s degree required, doctoral degree preferred. For complete description, visit and search for FA12Bz. Review of applications will begin October 3 , 2011 and will continue until the position is filled.

Please feel free to contact us at if you have any questions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Junior Scientist Training Program from FAES/NIH

The goal of the Junior Scientist Training Program is to provide quality training program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that bridges the gap between the level of laboratory skills biology graduates have acquired, to the proficiency level needed to effectively compete for a laboratory technician position. Ideal candidates are fourth year biology majors, recent college graduates or those in the sciences who need to strengthen their laboratory skills.

Program Description:
Using the FAES's Bio-Trac training resources at the NIH, selected students will attend a nine month workshop encompassing fifteen hands-on laboratory sessions (seventy-five contact hours) covering the latest relevant laboratory techniques in molecular biology. These selected methods have been identified by NIH scientists and private industry representatives to be techniques that research technicians would implement on a day-to-day basis.

Participants would also be required to view online, selected lectures (approximately thirty hours) that are part of the current FAES Bio-Trac curriculum offered at the NIH. These lectures, which are taught at a graduate level by local researchers, will cover many areas of biotechnology that will introduce and reinforce the subject matter given in the laboratory.

Participating researchers will be available to serve as mentors for interns who participate in the program.

Students will gain extensive experience in laboratory techniques that are necessary to excel in the sciences once completed. Upon conclusion of the program, participants would receive six graduate credits from the FAES, have increased their competitive value for positions such as a research technician and strengthened their graduate school or internship application if persuing graduate studies.

Deadline: The program starts in September 2011, and registration is currently open.

Job Announcement: Director of Institutional Assessment at Mason

Please feel free to share this announcement with interested colleagues.

George Mason University, a large public institution located in Fairfax, VA in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, seeks a Director of Institutional Assessment. The director reports to the Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and assists the associate provost in providing leadership and expertise on assessment-related issues.

The Office of Institutional Assessment currently has 7 full-time employees as well as graduate student workers. The office has responsibility for the assessment of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP); general education assessment, including specific state-required competencies; management and leadership of the Academic Program Review process; numerous local and national student surveys; accreditation-related assessment activities; and overall assessment for the entire university.

Along with the associate provost, the director has the responsibility of providing leadership and management for the Office of Institutional Assessment and collaborating with faculty and administrative offices throughout the University. Along with the associate provost and the QEP Leadership Team, the director has primary responsibility for planning and implementing the QEP assessment. The director oversees all survey administration processes, including survey development, design, sampling, data collection, data analysis, reporting and results dissemination; provides support/consultation for academic program review and other program evaluation; directly supervises the work of the assessment analyst; and provides oversight of day-to-day office operations. The director works with office professionals, administrators, faculty committees and individuals to promote assessment policies, practices and activities that support an effective university environment for students and the university community.

The successful candidate will have:
A PhD in a related field
A minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible academic assessment experience
The ability to advise academic and administrative units on outcome and program assessment methodology and practice
The ability to develop and present workshops and training on assessment-related initiatives
Excellent written and oral communication skills
Experience providing written and oral reports on assessment plans, strategies and results
Proficiency with quantitative and qualitative research methods
Competence with statistical analysis packages, particularly SPSS
The skill to adapt sound assessment principles to a variety of settings
A sense of humor

Review of applications will begin on September 15. For full consideration, please complete the online application and attach a cover letter, resume and a list of three professional references with contact information. George Mason University is an equal opportunity employer encouraging diversity.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Student Learning Outcomes and Course Descriptions

We have refined our student learning outcomes and used them to define courses at each level of the pyramid, as shown below. The Student Learning Outcomes are further described in the Students as Scholars Master Rubric, (link to be added).

Student Learning Outcomes
Creation of Scholarship
Students will create an original scholarly or creative project.
Students will communicate knowledge from an original scholarly or creative project.

Scholarly Inquiry
Students will articulate a scholarly question, engage in key elements of the scholarly process, and situate the concepts, practices, or results of scholarship within a broader context.

Discovery of Scholarship
Students will understand how knowledge is generated and disseminated through scholarship.
Discover how they can engage in the practice of scholarship.

Course Level Descriptions

Specific information about the expectations of each course level related to the student learning outcomes is available here.

In Research and Scholarship intensive (RS) courses at the Creation of Scholarship level, students actively participate in the process of scholarship and make a significant contribution to the creation of a disciplinary-appropriate product for evaluation. Approved courses will be awarded an RS designation that will appear on the student’s transcript. RS courses will be upper-division.

In Scholarly Inquiry courses, students learn about the recursive process of scholarly inquiry either through studying previous scholarship or as preparation for participating in an original project. A scholarly inquiry class may be a research methods course in a discipline or a course that uses inquiry-guided learning to explore a topic.

Discovery of Scholarship courses introduce students to scholarship. The Discovery-level material will be covered in introductory courses in a major, general education courses, basic Introductory Composition (ENGL100/101), and First-Year Seminar (UNIV100/300) courses. These courses should include some active or inquiry-based learning techniques.

Students as Scholars Scholarship Development Grants

The goal of curriculum revision supported by the Students as Scholars initiative is for programs to create courses and other experiences for undergraduate students to learn about scholarship and its role at Mason, actively engage in scholarship, and participate in the generation of knowledge. Scholarship Development Grants (SDG) will be awarded in four tracks. OSCAR will hold informational meetings about the SDGs starting in early fall. I'll update with deadlines soon!

Track A: Research and Scholarship Intensive Course SDGs support the redesign of courses in which students participate in the creation of original scholarly or creative projects. These courses will address the Research & Scholarship student learning outcomes and, as such, are eligible to be designated Research and Scholarship intensive (RS). The deadline for the first Track A proposals will be October 21, 2011 [UPDATED].

Track B: Curriculum Development SDGs support the creation of a scaffolded learning experience for students as they progress through an academic program and develop an understanding of the scholarly work in the discipline or field. This curriculum development and revision will engage students in at least two of the three curriculum levels: Discovery of Scholarship, Scholarly Inquiry, and Research & Scholarship. The deadline for the first Track B proposals will be February 3, 2012 [UPDATED].

Track C: Collaborative Project SDGs will support interdisciplinary and co-curricular projects that have a substantial undergraduate student scholarship component. The deadline for the first Track C proposals will be February 3, 2012 [UPDATED].

Track D: Pedagogical Research SDGs will support faculty and programs who want to further investigate the impact of their curricular changes on student learning; to enhance and expand these programs based on evidence of student learning; and to share the results of their innovative methods with other faculty. Track D proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis.

UPDATED 11/18 to include a link to the Track A description and link to application
UPDATE 12/20 to includes links to Tracks B and C descriptions

Students as Scholars Updates

The regularly updated version of this post is available here. What follows is the original post. What an exciting time to be at Mason, and supporting undergraduate student scholarship, creative activities, and research! We are moving beyond writing a Quality Enhancement Plan into making the Students as Scholars initiative an integral part of the Mason experience.

As we have met with faculty, staff, students, and talked with colleagues at other institutions, we have refined many of the details of the Students as Scholars initiative. In this and the next few posts, I will outline some of new and expanded opportunities available to the Mason community during this first year of implementation.
  • All faculty will soon receive the 2011 Update to the Faculty Guide, which will cover much of the same information as is outlined here.
  • A Student Guide to the Students as Scholars Initiative will be available in the fall.
  • The Students as Scholars initiative will be administered from the newly created Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR). We are designing a space for the OSCAR in the Johnson Center, which will hopefully be open by the end of the fall semester (look for an open house invitation!).
  • We will be introducing the Students as Scholars website at (currently that address re-routes readers to our QEP website, which has links back to this blog) in early fall.
  • The Students as Scholars QEP Leadership Council, and three associated subcommittees, will start meeting in the fall to help guide our efforts. The Leadership Council will build on work of the QEP Planning Committee whose members devoted so much time and energy to helping us launch this initiative.
  • Mason is now an Enhanced Institutional Member of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), which includes unlimited memberships for any interested faculty, staff, and students (direction for signing up are here).
  • Over the summer, we have refined our student learning objectives and created a new rubric to help faculty design courses, activities, and assignments that align with the student learning objects.
  • Scholarship Development Grants are designed for departments to create courses and other experiences for undergraduate students to learn about scholarship and its role at Mason, actively engage in scholarship, and participate in the generation of knowledge.
  • The Research and Scholarship Intensive courses will engage students in the process of scholarship and creation of disciplinary-appropriate products. Courses at the Discovery of Scholarship and Scholarly Inquiry levels will also be supported by the Scholarship Development Grants.
  • The Undergraduate Research Scholars Program is currently evolving out of the Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program, and will support students and faculty in individualized scholarship experiences. The fall program is currently accepting applications, and we encourage students and faculty to apply!
  • The Students as Scholars project database, being created in HireMason with the help of University Career Services, is currently being tested and should be available to faculty and student in the fall semester.
  • OSCAR Fellows, experienced undergraduate scholars, will be the student outreach group of OSCAR.
  • Celebration of Student Scholarship will be held at the end of the academic year.
Please contact Dr. Bethany M. Usher, Director of the Students as Scholars initiative, with questions or comments.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship

The 13th Annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship (MARCUS) Conference will be held at Sweet Briar College on Saturday, October 8, 2011.

MARCUS is devoted exclusively to the research and scholarly endeavors of undergraduate students. Students from all academic disciplines are invited to participate and to submit abstracts. Students may choose to present their work in a poster session or an oral presentation session.

NOTE: The Students as Scholars program can support a limited number of student presenters. Please contact us at by August 26, 2011 if you are interested in submitting an abstract.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

20th Annual Women's Studies Conference

The 20th Annual Women's Studies Conference, "Women and Labor: At Home, At Work, Around the Globe" will be held on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University on Friday and Satursday, April 20 and 21, 2012.

Faculty, students, staff, administrators, and community activists from all disciplines and fields are invited to submit proposals for individual papers, complete sessions, panels, or round tables. Poster sessions, performance pieces, video recordings, and other creative works are also encouraged.

NOTE: This is an exciting opportunity for Mason undergraduate students to present the results of their research to a national conference.

Proposal deadline: December 1, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

NEH Enduring Question grants

The National Endowment for the Humanities invites applications for grants of up to $25,000 to support the development of an undergraduate course on an “enduring question,” and encourages proposals that address the theme, "Bridging Cultures." This course will encourage undergraduates and educators to grapple with a fundamental question addressed by the humanities and to join together in a sustained program of reading in order to encounter influential thinkers over the centuries and into the present day. Up to four faculty members in any discipline may develop the course, but each co-director must teach it separately.

The NEH Enduring Questions grant program supports the development of a new course that will foster intellectual community through the study of an enduring question. This course will encourage undergraduates and teachers to grapple with a fundamental question addressed by the humanities, and to join together in a deep and sustained program of reading in order to encounter influential thinkers over the centuries and into the present day.

NOTE: A course developed with this program could be a model for a Research and Scholarship Intensive course.

Application due date: September 15, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (formerly UAP)

The Fall 2011 Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP), formerly known as the Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program (UAP) is open. The URSP is Mason's signature opportunity to support undergraduate scholarship, creative activities, and research. Students and faculty work collaboratively to develop a project that can be completed in the course of a semester (although many students continue to work with their mentor beyond the semester scope of the URSP project). Projects from all academic areas are encouraged.

URSP students are expected to work at least 1o hours per week on their projects, participate in regular meetings, and present the results of their scholarly work at the completion of their projects. Students will receive $1000 to support their scholarly work, as well as mentoring support and eligibility to get travel funds to present their projects.

To be eligible, you must:

1.Have completed at least 12 credits in the past 12 months at Mason
2. Have identified a project and a mentor
3. Have a 3.0 GPA or higher
4. Legal eligibility to work in the United States

Mason is expanding undergraduate research opportunities through its Students as Scholars Initiative. For more information about this effort, please visit

Please use the online application to apply:
Deadline: Monday, August 22, at 5:00pm
Please contact Dr. LaNitra Berger, program director, with questions.