• (Courtesy of Blackboard Inc.)

    MyMason to update Blackboard for summer 2013

    Featured, News March 24, 2013 at 11:40 pm Comments are Disabled

    As the Class of 2013 walks across the stage at the Patriot Center on May 18, the information technology department will be busy rolling out new changes to Mason’s online learning management system, Blackboard. “We are going to release it right after the spring semester, so actually during graduation. Summer classes start that Monday and we would like to have it available then,” said Joseph Balducci, manager of online learning resources. These changes will dramatically affect the look of Blackboard, while adding and refining the services it provides. The new Blackboard, which can be viewed in a video available on Mason’s courses support website, moves away from the blocky layout full of unused modules and toward a more streamlined website that encourages interconnectedness and sharing between students and teachers. Balducci estimated that 50 percent of classrooms currently use Blackboard. “Obviously, there are distance learning classes that are only online, so they use it more. Then, your traditional classes, many of them, use Blackboard as well, just not as much,” Balducci said.   Blackboard’s new format is intended to increase classroom involvement through a few key improvements. “Right now, you have to go into each individual course to get information,” Balducci […]

  • Students for Life sponsor non-profit A Best Choice

    Students for Life sponsor non-profit A Best Choice

    Featured, News March 24, 2013 at 10:47 pm Comments are Disabled

    Every other Wednesday, an unmarked camper RV is parked out front of Southside with a sign that advertises pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. Inside are two women, Kirsten Ball and Angela Clarke. Clarke is a Mason alumna and executive director of the mobile ultrasound and resource center, and Ball is registered with the state as a geriatric physician who works in a general practice office and performs the ultrasounds. The two say they are affiliated with no organization or program and are offering the services independently. However, Hannah Krandall, scheduling manager for events management, confirmed that the RV was scheduled and reserved through the student organization, Students for Life. In the brochure Ball and Clarke hand out to young women who use their services, there is a strong emphasis on counseling services they offer. “The most important part of our outreach mission is in having the opportunity to talk with these women and girls who have not heard the truth about abortion and be there to listen to them,” the brochure states. Anna Maher, president of Students for Life, said that this truth is that abortion ends the life of a human being and has negative physical, emotional and mental side […]

  • Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

    Editorials, News March 24, 2013 at 9:39 pm Comments are Disabled

    I have never been a big fan of Taylor Swift, despite my often mocked love for country music. I find Swift to be childish and idealistic, even whiney at times, but when I read a recent article that called her the anti-feminist, I was ready to convert to team Swifty to defend her. The article, published on Thought Catalog, said that by purveying the stereotype of the virginal maiden who must kiss a few frogs before she finds her prince, Swift is going against all progress and ideals of feminism. I could not disagree more. The goal of feminism is not to define what the female experience should be for each individual, it is to empower women to be exactly who they want to be and pursue their own dreams and desires. The whole movement is pointless if women are held back in any way, be it shaving their heads and burning their bras or spending their lives pregnant and barefoot. Feminism is not about hating men, shedding your femininity or rejecting societal norms.  In fact, the word feminism itself was poorly chosen- feminism is equality and independence for all genders. For a woman to seek out a relationship with […]

  • (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Former Secret Service agent to share stories from White House

    Featured, News March 7, 2013 at 12:53 am Comments are Disabled

    Nick Trotta to share experiences; hopes to inspire leadership in Phi Kappa Sigma and other students    Even presidents want privacy, but when you are the Special Agent in Charge (SAIC) and the president wants to go on a run, allowing him to have privacy is not an option. “Nicky, can you at least give me the illusion that I’m running by myself,” then President George W. Bush said to Nick Trotta, then SAIC. The retired member of the Secret Service remembers the president saying this to him, while he was on a run in Texas during his term. Trotta was a member of the Secret Service for 31 years, but now after his retirement from the service he wants to give back. His son, economics major at Mason Nick Trotta Jr., had an idea of where to start. On March 5 Phi Kappa Sigma will host Trotta at an event in the HUB Ballroom at 6 p.m. Trotta will be speaking about his experiences in the Secret Service as well as the importance of leadership in being successful. “I think it’s very important for me, and I hope others who have had my experience, to give back,” Trotta said. […]

  • Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

    Editorials, News March 6, 2013 at 3:33 pm Comments are Disabled

    Each week I struggle to balance my schedule as a full- time student, an editor at the paper, a part-time babysitter and a girlfriend. Like everyone else on this campus, I am incredibly busy. Each week is an onslaught of quizzes, papers, interviews, articles, studying and my least favorite of all — the dreaded group project. Unlike Stephen Kline in Editorials, I am vehemently opposed to group work of nearly any sort. While I agree that working together and relying on others is an important life and career skill, I am far from convinced that the reason professors assign group work is because of a desire to teach students how to interact and work as a team. I cannot tell you how many times my professors have stood in front of the class, lamenting the class with the sad tale of how many papers and quizzes they have to grade each week. I am not contesting their hard work and dedication, I understand that being a professor consists of so much more than showing up and lecturing. But my sympathy only extends so far. Often, when professors design their syllabi to lighten their work load, they push the burden off onto […]

  • Fire hazard or health concern? #GMUProblems: Smokers

    News March 6, 2013 at 12:12 am 3 comments

    What is the problem? Despite a Virginia law and university policy banning smoking within 25 feet or inside of campus buildings, smokers often clog the entranceway to the JC and other highly populated areas around campus. Students with sensitivity toward smoke, ranging from annoyance to severe medical symptoms, are often forced to walk through packs of smokers. Smokers, under Virginia law, retain their right to smoke in designated public areas as a personal freedom. What is the university smoking policy? In accordance with the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act, university policy promotes a healthful and safe work environment for students, faculty and staff while still preserving the right to choose to smoke. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas marked by signs. Hallways, classrooms, restrooms and all public areas are smoke-free. Smoking is permitted outside of buildings not designated as hazardous. The policy was last updated in 2004, but currently a student task force is working on updates. Who enforces the policy? Several administrators are responsible for the enforcement of the smoking policy, including the assistant vice president and chief human resources officer, the associate provost for personnel & budget, and the assistant vice president for university services. Duties include implementing […]

  • Student government discusses conduct code grievances

    News March 6, 2013 at 12:09 am Comments are Disabled

    Student government held a round table discussion on the code of conduct on Tuesday, Feb. 26 in which about 30 students shared their opinions, including members of student senate and student body president Alex Williams. “The plan is to compile all of the information into a report. They met beforehand with student conduct administration and said, ‘hey we’ve been hearing some concerns around the code of conduct’,” said Melissa Masone, assistant director for student governance. Members of student government plan to meet with administrators to present themes discussed in the meeting to try and pursue working on those issues. “They gave the impression to some of our members that there might be an opportunity over the summer to implement some changes,” Masone said. Student government believes that because of the new director in the Office of Student Conduct, now is the time to act. Brent E. Ericson, assistant dean/director of office of student conduct, university life and Todd Rose, associate dean of university life, are student government’s two contact points for starting a conversation. “Our overall goal isn’t to go in there and say we need all this change, change change,” said Dilan Wickrema, moderator at the discussion and chairman […]

  • (Stephen Kline/Broadside)

    Mason develops innovation in conservation studies

    Multimedia, News February 26, 2013 at 3:13 pm Comments are Disabled

        Most college graduates find jobs in familiar places, such as near their homes or some- where surrounding their respective school. Not 2012 Mason graduate Kendall Bilbrey. In a few weeks, she will be participating in her first post-college internship at the Chengdu Panda Base in Chengdu, China. While there, she will be conducting behavioral research on red pandas for four months. Bilbrey attributes this opportunity to her experience at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation. “Without my skills and knowledge I received at SMSC, I would not be where I am today,” said Bilbrey, who graduated with a degree in Integrative Studies with concentration in conservation studies from Mason’s New Century College. Mason joined efforts with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology (SCBI) Institute in 2008 to establish the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC). SMSC opened their brand new, eco-friendly facility this past fall. This school is the only one of its kind. This school offers a type of education that regular universities cannot. “This school allows students to be totally immersed in all aspects of education,” said Alonso Aguirre, executive Director of the Smithsonian-Mason school of conservation and associate profes- sor of Environmental Science and Policy. “The school itself provides […]

  • (Graphic by Stephen Kline/Broadside)

    Mason undergraduate alumni’s salaries highest in the state

    News February 26, 2013 at 2:14 pm Comments are Disabled

    Report by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia puts Mason at the top of Virginia schools for the highest average starting salary of students who received a bachelor’s degree.  The Wall Street Journal published a graphic on Feb. 12 that made the conclusion that students who receive a bachelor’s degree from Mason, get the highest starting salary out of the public schools in Virginia. The statistics are from a report from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) from the 2009-2010 reporting year. The information released only includes graduates working in Virginia. Those who work for the U.S. government are self-employed or moved out of Virginia are not included in the statistic. In the same report, SCHEV released other statistics about the students who completed a four-year bachelor’s degree in the degree years between the reporting years 2005-2006 and 2009-2010. Out of 19,391 graduates, 47.7 percent have full-time wages, 11.2 percent enrolled at another institution in Virginia, 11.3 percent have part-time wages. The SCHEV is able to report salary and graduation outcomes due to the Virginia’s Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011. This information also includes the amount of debt students have after attending private and […]

  • Mason in the News

    News February 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm Comments are Disabled

    “The program recruited the human flotsam and jetsam of the discipline and pretended it was recruiting the best. Treating taxpayer money as if it were water, it paid under-qualified 20-something anthropologists more than even Harvard professors. And it treated our ethics code as a nuisance to be ignored.” — Hugh Gusterson, an anthropology professor said to USA Today about the Human Terrain System program which sends in civilian scientists to locations overseas so that soldiers will have better interactions with locals. Gusterson has studied the program and its impact on anthropology.   “They get reminded each and every day anytime their models don’t prove to be correct. For them, the whole notion of projecting what the climate will be 30, 50, a hundred years from now, they’ve got a fairly high degree of skepticism” — Ed Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication said to NPR about meteorologists’ opinions on climate change.   “Clearly, you don’t want to introduce a kindergartner to slaves being shackled on a boat. But you do introduce them to Harriet Tubman [and similar black American icons]…The greatest challenge for our instructors is to know they have to have those difficult conversations and find […]