Mason Turns 50 and 4-VA Celebrates a Dozen Years at the Intersection of Innovation and Education

This year, George Mason University is celebrating 50 years as an independent university, separating from the University of Virginia in April of 1972. A lot has happened in those 50 years. Since our humble beginnings holding classes in the old Fairfax High School, Mason has grown into the largest public university in Virginia operating four campuses in the commonwealth – Fairfax, Arlington, Front Royal, and Prince William, and one in Incheon, Korea.

That’s a lot of education innovation.  But that’s always been the George Mason University way.

Since 4-VA@Mason launched a dozen years ago, we have followed in those same footprints. Moving from humble beginnings in 2010, when we were established upon the recommendation of the Governor’s Higher Education Commission and the Governor’s Commission on Economic Development and Job Creation, we’ve grown from four founding schools — Mason, James Madison University, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia – to eight, including The College of William and Mary, Virginia Military Institute, Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University. Our growth has reaped rewards for students, education, and Virginia.

4-VA Growth Marked with Collaboration and Efficiency

In 2010, we began by offering unique niche classes between the partner schools, via then state-of-the-art Telepresence Rooms, providing more options for students at the schools, while saving other universities the cost of developing and delivering classes with smaller enrollments.  From there, we’ve never stopped innovating.

The core purpose of 4-VA is to find ways to improve efficiencies in higher education institutions, promote cross-institution research and build collaborations that leverage the strengths of each partner university. We know that by working together we can grow that spark of a great idea into bright results and reduce the redundancy that sometimes results from working in separate silos. Our programs support four program areas – Collaborative Research Grants, Course Sharing, Course Redesign, and Degree Completion.  Importantly, 4-VA represents the breadth of higher education backgrounds; monitoring trends in education and learning; and allowing each of our endeavors to evolve and change as necessary.  One overarching tenant of the 4-VA foundation remains constant, however, to embrace emerging technology to achieve our goals.

Happy Big 5-0 George Mason University and here’s to another dozen years of 4-VA@Mason success stories!