News News & Events Uncategorized

4-VA@Mason Offers Online Academic Assessment Grants

4-VA@Mason is offering ten $4,000 grants to support faculty interested in developing and piloting alternative assessment strategies for online learning.  The goal of the effort is to examine student evaluation practices and help bolster student engagement, encourage academic integrity, and reduce tendencies toward academic outsourcing.  To ensure broad representation from all disciplines, proposals for the grants are encouraged from all ten colleges within the university. 

The grants are being offered under the direction of The Stearns Center, which will provide 1:1 instructional design support for the accepted proposals.

“When we pivoted to remote learning in March, through the Instructional Continuity Working Group, we quickly heard that faculty were struggling with academic outsourcing and other integrity challenges,” said Charles Kreitzer, Executive Director of Online Operations.  “Through these grants, we want to work together to develop strong, tested models for assessment.”

The proposals are due November 20. The planned timeline builds out the assessments in the spring, with pilot programs running in the summer and fall.  From there, each program will go through data analysis to closely examine impact before they are introduced for use. 

“One of the pillars of our mission at 4-VA@Mason is to identify and grow innovative ideas in teaching and learning,” explains 4-VA Campus Coordinator and Associate Provost Janette Muir.  “This effort to reimagine online assessment practices clearly supports that goal.”

For more information, contact your school’s Instructional Continuity Working Group representative.


4-VA@Mason Awards 20-21 Collaborative Research Grants

Nine Mason faculty members were recently awarded 4-VA funding for research projects spanning colleges throughout the university.  Each of the lead researchers plan to collaborate with at least one of the other partner 4-VA schools. 

“The 4-VA@Mason Collaborative Research Grants provide opportunities for our faculty to work in conjunction with colleagues at other schools to advance their study of a particular issue,” said Janette Muir, Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives and Services and the 4-VA@Mason Campus Coordinator. “These grants capitalize on the importance of partnerships and avoids researching in ‘silos’.  What’s more, 4-VA collaborative efforts offer the ability to leverage the strengths of each partner university in order to accomplish more than any individual university could achieve alone.”

Recipients of the 20-21 4-VA@Mason Collaborative Research Grants are:

  • Sabine Doebel – College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Applied Developmental Sciences              

Does Social Understanding Support the Development of Executive Function in Early Childhood?

(with UVA)

This project will examine ‘executive function’ in children — the ability to regulate thoughts and actions in the service of various goals. Because much remains unknown about how the change in executive function occurs, this team will test the hypothesis that as children become aware that others evaluate them (a form of self-awareness), they become increasingly capable of engaging executive function to accomplish goals. The team plans to identify promising ways to support executive function in preschoolers.

  • Pei Dong – Volgenau School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering              

A study on the ultrahigh salt adsorption capacity of an energy-efficiency water desalination technology

(with UVA)

To relieve a growing water crisis worldwide, much emphasis has been placed on the effective desalination of salt water, as 97% of the earth’s water is held by the oceans. The goal of this collaborative research grant is to design next-generation electrode materials to advance the energy-efficient capacitive deionization technology.

  • Olga Gkountouna – College of Science, Department of Computational and Data Sciences

Is AI capable of identifying meaningful patterns in the temporal behavior of solvated macromolecules?

(with JMU)

This team will investigate Artificial Intelligence (AI) methodologies that enhance the analysis of solvated macromolecules time evolution. They plan to implement a convergence system bridging the temporal and spatial evolution of molecules and macromolecules in liquid environments to visible patterns of behavior, aggregation, and networking evidenced by data analysis. The resulting information will be fundamental for finding solutions for drug delivery at the nanoscale, environmental pollution, skin and nerve remediation, among other applications of nanoscience.

  • Wenying Ji – Volgenau School of Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering   

Modeling of Stakeholder Communication Network in Disaster Response

(with UVA and VT)

Effective communication among stakeholders is necessary to facilitate efficient coordination and targeted planning following disasters, thereby enhancing community resilience.  The research objective of this proposal is to derive a quantitative model to represent stakeholder communication networks and evaluate communication efficiency among all parties.

  • Laura Lukes – Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning                

Energizing Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Production in Virginia through the Development of a Regional Community of Practice for SoTL Faculty Developers

(with UVA, JMU, VT and VCU)

Through this grant, a Community of Practice model of support for faculty developers engaging faculty in Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) will be established and produce open access planning resources for faculty developers. The goal is to ultimately improve the research competitiveness and dissemination success of faculty at Virginia institutions in the area of SoTL research projects.

  • Kelly Schrum – College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Higher Education Program

Reimagining the History of Higher Education in The Digital Age

(with VT)

The objective of this collaborative research grant is to redesign a core course on the history of higher education in the United States to include a focus on historical thinking, digital literacy, and research skills.  The team will also create an open educational resource (OER) on the history of higher education.

  • Xiaoyan Tan – College of Science, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Accelerating the Discovery of Novel Polar Thermoelectric Materials with Density Functional Theory Calculations

(with UVA and JMU)

This project will study polar thermoelectric materials, which transform heat into electricity. Because the fundamental mechanisms that govern the thermoelectric properties are not fully understood, the team hopes to identify a series of materials to better predict novel polar thermoelectrics with tailored properties. This could lead to turning large sources of waste — released by spacecraft, motor vehicles and industrial plants – into electricity.

  • Girum Urgessa – Volgenau School of Engineering , Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering

Scaled Testing of Projectile Penetration in Conventional and High-Performance Concrete Targets

(with VT)

This 4-VA team will design and conduct small-scale testing of projectiles penetrating high-performance concrete targets.  The outcomes of the experiments will allow the ability to model/predict projectile penetration depths across a variety of concrete strengths and types, and address questions surrounding the underlying penetration mechanics in next generation cementitious materials.  This information will be valuable for military analysts and decision makers responsible for infrastructure vulnerability assessment.

  • Monique van Hoek – College of Science, National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases

Computationally designed antimicrobial peptides against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

(with UVA)

Through years of excessive use or misuse of antibiotics in humans and livestock, bacteria have developed many resistance mechanisms. There is an urgent need to identify new compounds to kill these antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial peptides are small strings of protein that target bacteria by binding to the bacterial membranes, and then kill the bacteria. The objective of this research is to computationally design and then test novel antimicrobial peptides for antibacterial activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Each of the 4-VA@Mason Advisory Board members which reviewed and approved the grants noted the breadth and depth of the timely proposals.  “Our Board was clearly impressed with the value of the research being put forth,” said Muir.  “Thanks to 4-VA, we’re advancing some important research in a thoughtful and efficient manner.”

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 grants are offered in four broad areas—collaborative research, course redesign, shared courses and degree completion.


4-VA@Mason Grant Provides Rich Research Opportunity

Expectations for 4-VA@Mason’s grants include thoughtful, impactful research; statewide collaboration with partner universities; and experiential learning opportunities for students.  However, the 4-VA@Mason story grows stronger when that learning opportunity gets elevated to supporting post graduate work.

Over the past two years, students in Haw Chuan Lim’s lab at Mason’s Science and Technology campus have contributed to the work done on Dr. Lim’s 4-VA grant “High-throughput bee pathogen survey: Combining expertise in pollinator biology, bioinformatics and genomics to yield insight into pollinator health.”  They looked deeply at whether the presence of managed or feral honeybees, with their large colony sizes, influences pathogen populations of native bees (bumble and mason bees).

To do this, Lim’s students — including master’s candidate David Lambrecht — collected bees across 10 sites around Northern Virginia and analyzed pathogen strains – viruses/fungi — using high-resolution genotyping techniques.  They partnered with UVA’s T’ai Roulston, who is appointed to Blandy Experimental Farm, along with landowners and farmers of the Virginia Working Landscape project.  The resulting research will be important as beekeepers and farmers navigate the continuing loss of bee colonies.

That research was the foundation of Lambrecht’s master’s thesis “Prevalence and Cross Infection of Eukaryotic and RNA Pathogens of Honeybees, Bumble Bees, and Mason Bees” which he recently defended via Webex during the Coronavirus shutdown.  “This 4-VA opportunity gave me a chance to research honeybees and other pollinators important to our ecosystem,” explains Lambrecht.  “The results provide some guidance for successfully supporting their populations.”

Armed with his new MS, Lambrecht is off to join the ranks of the Environmental Protection Agency, where he will intern and help with gene editing regulations.

“At 4-VA, we’re always proud of the research opportunities and resulting outcomes we have to show,” noted 4-VA@Mason Campus Coordinator Janette Muir, “but when we get to combine research and collaboration with these types of prospects for our students — that’s a great success!”


A Circuitous Route in Materials Development for ECE 385

While interest in Open Educational Resources is expanding exponentially, sometimes the search results come up short.  This was clearly evidenced by the OER research undertaken by Dr. Nathalia Peixoto for her ECE 385 course. Electric Circuit Analysis I is a complex course with many different attributes, covering the first half of electric circuit theory and practice.  Topics include analyses of circuits with resistors, capacitors, inductors, and operational amplifiers; all supplemented with lab experiments to reinforce the subject matter.  As Peixoto looked for suitable written resources, she found they did not meet the needs of her course.

Peixoto’s research then took a hard turn.  While she couldn’t identify any written sources, she did find videos of lectures and presentations – primarily on YouTube – that more directly addressed the subject topics.  So, she began down the video road, compiling four pages of links to 66 different videos of nodal and mesh analysis, operational amplifiers, capacitors and inductors as well as first order and second order circuits, and more.  In the end, the free video series she curated served as an adaptable substitute for the textbook, which sold for $300.  With 100 students taking the course each year, it resulted in a total savings of $30,000.

Although Peixoto’s proposal to provide free, engaging and enlightening written materials for her students in ECE 385 did come to fruition, the mode employed was not what she had anticipated.  She offers some perspective on her journey, noting that the 4-VA grant, “helped me move forward helping out students.”  Peixoto plans to develop her course notes to share with the wider Mason faculty and more fully test the course materials.



Calls for Collaborative Research Grant Proposals Held Open

Due to the current Coronavirus health crisis, the deadline for calls for Collaborative Research Grants has been extended to April 24.

As 4-VA@Mason continues to steadfastly move forward in support the Mason community with the development of meaningful education and research projects, we do recognize the potential for future funding uncertainties. Consequently, while we are still accepting calls for proposals for 20-21 Collaborative Research Grants, we do want to note the possibility of budget cuts in the next fiscal year.

Faculty  considering applying for a grant to develop research and design education projects with collaborators at Mason and at the 4-VA partner schools should contact 4-VA@Mason Faculty and Community Outreach Coordinator Elizabeth Gillooly for more information.

About the Grant:

“The 4-VA program provides our Mason faculty the opportunity to bring a research idea to life that can benefit our students, higher education, and Virginia citizens statewide,” explains 4-VA@ Mason Campus Coordinator Janette Muir.  “We are especially interested in research collaborations that leverage the strengths of each partner university and improve efficiencies in higher education.”

In addition to encouraging cross-collaboration between institutions, 4-VA seeks to engage undergraduate and graduate student researchers. “Our goal is to afford our students substantive and meaningful research opportunities,” continues Muir.  “4-VA student researchers leave our schools with important and real-world experience that will help them transcend from ‘just’ a job applicant to a standout candidate.”

Now in its 10th year at Mason, the 4-VA program has grown to include William and Mary, James Madison, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia.

Currently, eight 2019-2020 grant awards are underway at Mason covering a range of topics including these collaborations with other institutions:

  • “Communication Across the Curriculum: Creating Faculty Resources for Building Communication Skills in the Discipline” Partner Institutions: VT, JMU
  • “Developing a Blood Test to Support Treatment of Surgically Induced Type I Diabetes” Partner Institution: VCU
  • “Species Richness Resilience to Habitat Fragmentation and Restoration in Tropical Rainforests” Partner Institutions: JMU, UVA

Faculty interested in applying for a 2020 – 2021 grant can learn more by visiting the Research Grants tab on this website.


4-VA Grant Supports State STEM Summit

More than 140 leaders from Virginia’s K-12 and higher education institutions, out-of-school providers, the private and business sectors, and state officials and institutions joined together recently to begin the work of developing a blueprint for a statewide STEM network.  This structure will be the basis for creating cross sector pedagogies providing Virginia’s youth access to a learning environment which will allow them to grow important skills to engage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from PreK – 16.  “Virginia’s STEM Summit” was hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University and sponsored through a grant from 4-VA.  The project was developed by a group 4-VA schools – VCU, Virginia Tech, George Mason, James Madison, and University of Virginia in coordination with the Virginia Department of Education and the Office of the Governor.

Governor Ralph Northam has charged Virginia’s STEM leaders with the job of creating an infrastructure, with input from all stakeholders, for the newly-appointed Virginia STEM Education Commission.  The strategic plan is due next year.

As 4-VA grant team member and Associate Director of the Center for Educational Networks and Impacts at Virginia Tech Susan Magliaro, explained, “Our goal today is to provide a well woven tapestry of information from our STEM leaders.”

Left to Right, Padhu Seshaiyer (Mason), Leland Melvin and Kelly Knight (Mason)

The day-long conference began with a keynote address from retired NASA astronaut, materials science engineer, educator, and former NFL wide receiver Leland Melvin.  Melvin shared with the audience how STEM education necessitates an open mind, perseverance, and personal support in order to be successful.  George Mason University’s PI on the project, Dr. Padmanabhan Seshaiyer noted, “Leland was the perfect kick-off for our conference.  He clearly illustrated that STEM doesn’t have to be stuffy or difficult to understand, it’s a hands-on experiential learning opportunity which can open doors for all of our students, and especially our minority or underserved students.  It can bring projects and process to life.”

Other Mason participants in this 4-VA summit included members with diverse backgrounds and expertise in STEM including Dr. Rebecca Jones, Ms. Kelly Knight, Dr. Karen Lee, Dr. Kammy Sanghera and Ms. Kerin Hilker-Balkissoon.

The conference also included a panel discussion addressing some of the more difficult obstacles to overcome while implementing STEM programs, presented by a range of leaders from the business, education and policy arenas.  Each highlighted best practices developed by state or local school boards from around the country.  The consensus was that successful existing ecosystems in STEM were developed by building a culture which welcomed all stakeholders, and where the resulting guidelines represented a convergence of values and practices.

Following the panel discussions, attendees joined together to hammer out the framework for such ecosystems based on their professional backgrounds.

Longtime STEM proponent Amy Sabarre, Director of STEM Education for the Harrisonburg City Schools, observed, “I’ve been involved with the development of a core curriculum for STEM in the Commonwealth for years, and this Summit has been a long time coming.  But, we’re here now, and we’re making great strides.”

Concurrently, newer stakeholders see the same bright future.  Says Makerspace coordinator at William and Mary, Jonathan Frey, “Makerspaces have been growing and evolving at a dramatic pace throughout the world.  What was once a location for tinkerers to play with technology has now become an impactful community engineering center both in academia and the private sector.  Here in the Commonwealth there are dozens of makerspaces and it’s time to coordinate collaboration throughout Virginia.  The 4-VA STEM Summit offers an opportunity for introduction and collaboration between such efforts from the peaks of Appalachia to the sands of the eastern shore.”

The day concluded with a group effort to integrate the work created at each roundtable into a viable framework for the Commonwealth.  The conclusions will provide the basis for the STEM ecosystem build out and will be forwarded to the Virginia’s STEM Education Commission.




Here We Grow Again!

4-VA started the 19-20 academic year off right, welcoming two new partners into the collaborative – the College of William and Mary and Virginia Military Institute.  With these great institutions now in the fold, our 4-VA  goals are given a boost.

“We are delighted to bring William and Mary and VMI into our 4-VA collaborative,” said 4-VA Mason Campus Coordinator Janette Muir.  “The very strength of 4-VA is collaboration.  With our additional partners, our students and faculty have more opportunities — that’s great for higher education in the Commonwealth.”

In their request to join 4-VA, William and Mary President Katherine A. Rowe, noted that William and Mary “will be a useful and productive partner in 4-VA.”  J.H. Binford Peay, III, VMI     Superintendent stated, “VMI can offer distinctive perspectives and opportunities in engineering, natural science, social science, and the humanities that we welcome sharing in a spirit of collaboration with our sister institutions.”

The addition of CWM and VMI brings the number of 4-VA schools to eight.  We look forward to our future collaborations together.


(Research + Collaboration) = (Important Results in the Lab + Successful Career Outcomes)

The science would not be easy.  There were going to be long days and nights in the lab, countless tests to run and techniques to be tweaked.  But the end game was intriguing; identify opportunities to affect modifications in the Francisella proteome, a bacterium categorized as a class “A” bioterrorism agent.  Unlike its cousin, the more well-researched E. coli bacteria, many aspects of the Francisella proteome are not fully understood. Due to its potentially virulent nature, it is important to research and document the biochemistry of this organism in order to develop new therapies or vaccines.

While the van Hoek lab at the Mason Sci-Tech campus has been studying Francisella since 2005, they were interested to learn more about post-translational modifications (PTMs) – changes undergone by the protein when certain chemical groups are added. Specifically, Dr. Monique van Hoek, a professor in the School of Systems Biology, with a joint appointment to the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases at Mason, was interested in how the Francisella bacterium changes the activity of its proteins with the addition of the acetyl chemical group.  Although van Hoek had years of experience in Francisella research, for this particular project she recognized that while her lab could make the protein/peptide samples, it was necessary to run a thorough molecular analysis of the samples to measure acetylation.  That, she saw, could be done through a collaboration with another 4-VA partner university – Virginia Commonwealth, in their Chemical and Proteomics Mass Spectrometry Core Facility.   It was that connection which paved the way for yet another groundbreaking 4-VA research project – “Critical post-translational modifications of the Francisella proteome.”

Monique van Hoek, Alex Ii

As van Hoek explains, not only did the research produce results, the grant also had a positive effect on students in her lab and faculty at VCU.  “Real lives were changed — two great students graduated and went on to get good jobs,” notes van Hoek.  The first student, Ekaterina (Kate) Marakosova, was a Ph.D. student at Mason who began the project with van Hoek working with the more virulent forms of Francisella.  “Kate started on this project with me and developed techniques to identify protein acetylation.  Kate has since gotten her doctorate and gone on to get a great job at the Food and Drug Administration,” says van Hoek.  “Alex Ii is now working as a laboratory technician with me,” adds van Hoek.  “In May, Alex defended her Master’s on another aspect of this project ‘Acetylation as a regulatory mechanism of chitinase activity in Francisella tularensis subsp. novidica.’”

Ii came to the van Hoek lab after starting her degree at VCU in Bioinformatics.  “Once I got into this lab, I realized I really liked the work,” says Ii.  “When I first started here, I was working with Kate and immediately jumped into the project.  We were coming in at 5:00 am and often didn’t leave until 8:00 pm.  The sample preparation was difficult, and we had to do a lot of troubleshooting, but it was worth it!” Ii was not only all in for the lab work, but with anything else that needed to be done, even driving samples to the lab in Richmond late at night.

van Hoek also notes that her collaborator at VCU, Dr. Kristina Nelson, points to the project in furthering her own research.  Nelson received a 4-VA Complementary Grant for her part in the project.  “With the complementary funding, we were able to purchase standards and columns in order to ensure that the instrument was operating at peak performance, to give the best data possible,” explains Nelson.  “It was fascinating to be able to visualize the changes in the protein acetylation profile.”

“The new collaboration with Kristina was certainly another positive outcome of the 4-VA grant,” says van Hoek.

In addition to furthering the education and professional tracks of those on the project, the research was fruitful.  The team has identified multiple Francisella proteins that are acetylated and look to be important in Francisella’s ability to infect hosts.  To share the research, a poster was presented at the American Society for Microbiology meeting on biofilms and the manuscript has been submitted for potential publication.

While van Hoek notes there is still much more to be investigated with regard to the Francisella bacterium, which causes human disease in the US and in Europe, she credits the 4-VA@Mason grant for delivering these important results, and making such positive effects on the people and the science.  van Hoek continues to study important questions of Francisella biology, such as which proteins are secreted by this bacterium and how they are exported. In fact, van Hoek and Nelson are now at work on another 4-VA collaborative research project on this very subject “Secreted Proteins of Francisella – a new understanding.”  Stay tuned!






4-VA at Mason Collaborative Research Grants Awarded

Eight Collaborative Research Grants were recently awarded by 4-VA at Mason, providing faculty and their teams of student researchers, as well as their colleagues at other Virginia partner schools, the opportunity to further important research concepts – from utilizing student ambassadors to support dementia patients, to privacy controls for smart home devices, to species resilience in tropical rain forests.

“These research grants are a key element of our 4-VA mission,” explains Janette Kenner Muir, Campus Coordinator for 4-VA at Mason.  “Through this program, we identify vital promising research possibilities and provide the seed money to get them off the ground.  From there, many of our awardees go on to receive further funding from the likes of National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation.  We’re proud of the role that 4-VA has played in advancing research of consequence.”

One critical component of the Collaborative Research projects is a focus on the partnerships formed between Mason faculty and the other 4-VA partner institutions – James Madison, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia.  This aligns with the 4-VA mission “To promote collaborations that leverage the strengths of each partner university and improve efficiencies in higher education across the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The  Mason grant recipients and project titles awarded for the 19-20 cycle are:

  • Broeckelman-Post, Melissa (College Of Humanities And Social Sciences)
    • Communication Across the Curriculum: Creating Faculty Resources for Building Communication Skills in the Discipline
  • Couch, Robin (College of Science)
    • Developing a Blood Test to Support Treatment of Surgically Induced Type I Diabetes
  • Luther, David (College of Science)
    • Species richness resilience to habitat fragmentation and restoration in tropical rainforests
  • Moran, Jeffrey (Volgenau School of Engineering)
    • Toward T Shaped Graduates A Joint Capstone Program at the Nexus of Mechanical Engineering
  • Motti, Vivian G  (Volgenau School of Engineering)
    • Human-Centric Privacy-Preserving Controls for Smart Home Devices
  • Tompkins, Catherine J (College of Health and Human Services)
    • The Implementation and Evaluation of a Student Ambassador Program for a Music & Memory Intervention
  • Van Aken, Benoit (College of Science)
    • Molecular Biology Methods for Understanding Aerobic Granulation in Wastewater Treatment Systems
  • Van Hoek, Monique (College of Science)
    • Secreted Proteins of Francisella – a new understanding

Mason/NOVA Teacher Education: Public/Private School Representatives Invited to Join the Discussion

While George Mason University produces hundreds of candidates each year in the field of education, academic leaders at Mason recognized the need to work closely with area educational institutions – both public and private – to ensure that those candidates meet and surpass the expectations in today’s educational environment.

To do so, armed with a grant from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), Mason recently held a roundtable of academic leaders as well as a host of representatives from private and public schools from the greater Washington, DC area to look closely at the needs of area teaching institutions.  The event also prominently included educators and faculty from Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Mason’s community college partner in the ADVANCE program, a nationally recognized program which supports the seamless transfer of students from the two-year school to Mason.

The roundtable included presentations and focused examinations of various aspects of the educational curriculum, as well as breakout sessions that delved directly into the qualifications of the ideal teacher.  The roundtable host, Mason’s Associate Provost for Academic Iniatives and Services Janette Muir, noted, “It’s time to talk about education in a more organized way.”  Specific goals for the day included future job demands, student preparation, knowledge gaps and work based experiential learning.  Muir told the assembled audience, “Today, we need to learn from you.”

Participants then rolled up their sleeves and dissected a variety of elements and experiences that representatives identified as critical for successful teachers.  Not surprisingly, many groups arrived at the same conclusions, including the need for significant ‘ground level’ experience with groups of students, providing background for how to handle classroom situations; the ability to work in a team environment; and the ‘soft skills’ necessary to handle a variety of audiences — students, fellow teachers and parents.

Attendee Zachary Shelton, Director of STEM exCel which offers STEM classes and programs said, “The best programmer is not necessarily the best instructor.  Very important:  They need to have classroom and behavior management skills.”   Shelton then reflected on the roundtable meeting, “I’m inspired by the Education focus here, though.  You are having this meeting and you want to listen.”

At the conclusion of the event, each table shared their findings with the room and a list of targeted skill sets were noted.  Muir recalled the energy and environment throughout the day, “We were able to connect a group of passionate, motivated leaders in education – they were enthusiastic about the idea of building better teachers and I know we’ve begun to construct stronger pathways for our students from NOVA to Mason and beyond.”