Only at Mason.

Creative Services/George Mason University

Many institutions across the nation cancelled classes early last week. They notified students and staff through various outlets with text alerts, emails, impersonal social media updates and web postings among the most prominent.

Not at Mason.

Only as Patriots can students and staff tune in to the Twitter feed of the university president to obtain such valuable information. Only as Patriots can we interact and inquire about certain decisions directly with those responsible for making decisions.

Last Sunday evening, Dr. Ángel Cabrera took to the Twitter-verse to update students on the operating status of the university. He kept students informed by announcing the times during which the Emergency Operations group would be meeting to make decisions. He passed along hurricane survival tips and reminded his followers to charge their cell phones to prepare for a power outage. And, perhaps most importantly, Cabrera made himself available to students and answered questions regarding operating status.

In addressing the Twitter-verse, Cabrera gave students instant, up-to-the-minute access to the decision-making process. His announcement came before the Mason website carried the information, and it came before the university social media accounts presented the information.

Former president Dr. Alan Merten instilled a desire for innovative learning and inventive progression. Cabrera has picked up right where Merten left off, and he has continued to raise the bar.

While making announcements via Twitter may be all too common to, on the surface, consider groundbreaking, it exemplifies Mason’s commitment to the tradition of innovation in even the most minute forms.

During this week’s Forum on the Future of Higher Education, Cabrera called this “both an exciting and challenging time for higher education.” This forum, whose attendees spent much of last Thursday and Friday tweeting about the event, provided Cabrera with an opportunity to engage in critical conversations that aimed to lead Mason’s new president toward a new vision for Mason.

But perhaps, you could say, the future of higher education may only be in the future for students outside of the Mason community. Mason’s reputation for pioneering a new form of education is, perhaps, the future of education; a future where every institutions adopts a tradition of innovation.