4-VA at Mason:
Growing Great Ideas in Education and Research
What is 4-VA? Established in 2010 upon the recommendation of the Governor’s Higher Education Commission and the Governor’s Commission on Economic Development and Job Creation, 4-VA is a unique partnership between Mason and seven other Virginia Universities – the College of William and Mary, James Madison, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia. It was designed to promote collaborations that leverage the strengths of each partner university and improve efficiencies in higher education.
Today, 4-VA supports faculty throughout Mason as well as across the Commonwealth with the financial resources necessary to develop programs and pedagogies that improve higher education in Virginia.
Each year, 4-VA grants are offered in these broad areas:
- Collaborative Research – This grant program is intended to improve research competitiveness within the Commonwealth and at Mason by providing funding for faculty to engage in pilot research focused on 4-VA goal areas that could be used as a springboard for subsequent, major federal grants. Collaboration with a researcher at one of the 4-VA partner institutions is strongly desired, as is active dissemination of the research findings. Research proposals could also directly lead to course redesign. Funding amounts range from $5,000 to $20,000 per grant, not including complementary funding that may be supplied by partner institutions.
- Course Redesign – This project is focused on innovative course redesign that integrates Open Educational Resources (OER) into the current curriculum to provide lively, current, digital resources which can reduce textbook costs for students, improve teaching and learning outcomes, and build faculty community as teams work together to create dynamic course material. Of particular interest are courses that count in the Mason Core, have high enrollment numbers, are required courses for majors, or carry high textbook costs.
- Course Sharing – Utilizing the Telepresence rooms throughout the 4-VA system, Mason students are able to take classes offered at other schools while Mason faculty teach classes which are delivered to students enrolled at 4-VA partner universities. This opens up new worlds of academic offerings to students throughout the Commonwealth.
- Degree Completion – Recognizing and nurturing programs that pave the way for students to achieve success in their pursuit of higher education is part and parcel of the 4-VA mission, aligning closely with Mason’s strategic plan and that of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Importantly, 4-VA seeks to support traditionally under-served populations including veterans, adult learners, and first generation college attendees. Another central outreach through 4-VA is working with area business, industry, and government leaders to identify potential jobs of the future and plug gaps in skill sets for area workers. Working together – through our partner schools, our state and local leaders, and area businesses — 4-VA brings life to educational resources for the greater good.