List of Announcements (details below):


·         This Week at the Volgenau School

·         VSE in the News

·         Photo of the Week

·         Upcoming Events at the Volgenau School

·         Vote: BOV Faculty Representatives (VSE Candidate)

·         Autonomous Vehicle Event (May 3)

·         NSF Proposals: New Requirement




This Week at the Volgenau School


Last week Mason announced a partnership with the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) to assist students as they transfer from a two-year program to earn a four-year undergraduate degree.  The Washington Post wrote a feature article on the partnership, one indication of its significance.


Volgenau’s undergraduate Mechanical Engineering program served as a model. Our School has long had a strong relationship with NOVA, with articulation agreements in place to guide students in preparing for the transfer.  This arrangement has fueled enrollments in our undergraduate Information Technology and Cyber Security Engineering programs.


The Mechanical Engineering program went further.  For example, our faculty worked directly with faculty at NOVA to ensure that the transfer would be as seamless as possible.


The new Mason/NOVA agreement has ambitious goals.  We want to simplify many administrative systems so that students don’t need to re-apply for admission, and so they don’t need to be evaluated twice to determine their in-state status.  We want consistent advising between the institutions.  And we want to integrate the NOVA students into the Mason community.  Mason is already doing better than its peers in these areas, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.  (Too often, transfer students discover that some of their credits will not apply to their four-year degree at Mason, increasing the time, cost, and frustration of getting an education.)


Mason and NOVA are important partners, and together they enroll over 100,000 students each year.  Students who start at NOVA and continue at Mason can lower their tuition costs by about 25%, making this an important part of Mason’s mission to be accessible.  It’s essential to serve this population the best way we can.


In a coincidence of timing, a blog I follow had a post about the “MicroMaster” program at MIT.  MIT launched this in 2015, “which enables online learners to take a semester’s worth of master’s-level courses on the edX platform, then complete a master’s degree in a single full semester on campus at MIT.”


Quoting from Aurelie Thiele’s blog post:


… the program is an innovative way to help students get a taste of Masters' level courses as well as reducing the tuition cost, for students willing to forgo the campus experience for one semester. Making graduate education more affordable also helps create a more skilled workforce. Interestingly, MIT's MicroMaster in supply chain management offers a path to a degree not only at MIT but also at several other participating universities. 


… I like the idea of blended learning to make degrees more affordable and help students get a credential even if they decide not to go for the full Master, but I feel it will always be hard for online courses to hold their own against on-campus courses if students don't have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with their classmates the way they do in an on-campus setting. So the value is purely going to be cost-based, and if students make it to campus, they may find that some students who have pursued their Master on-campus all along might view them as “second-tier” and might question their accomplishments in passing the course.


I recommend you check out the entire blog post.


We haven’t considered such an approach to MS programs at the Volgenau School.  But Mason’s desire for accessibility may push us in that direction.  Given the challenges, it will take more than just setting up the rules and requirements.  The Mason/NOVA partnership should provide valuable experience.



VSE in the News

Here is a list of news stories about VSE that have been posted:


Beyond Mason

·         The Pulitzer Prizes: SEOR part-time professor Larrie D. Ferreiro is a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in history.

·         Capital (Maryland) Gazette: Mason's George Donohue, professor emeritus of systems engineering, urges scientists and engineers to speak up about the facts


On the Volgenau site (

·         Associate Dean Sharon Caraballo solves problems on stage and in class. Caraballo stars in local theatre production.

·         Vehicle Lean Recovery System protects property and people. Because motorcycle crashes are so dangerous, Mechanical Engineering senior design project aims to protect motorcyclists. The project was one of two keynote presentations at the Undergraduate Research Celebration.

·         Student-focused Volgenau advisors know what it takes to be nominated for Advisor of the Year. Three Volgenau School of Engineering Advisors earned runner up honors as Advisor of the Year.

·         Two Volgenau professors win Mason’s Teaching Excellence Award. Yotam Gingold, and Christopher Kaufman, both from the Computer Science Department, are two of the winners of Mason’s Teaching Excellence Award.


If you have suggestions for other stories, please submit them to Martha Bushong, [log in to unmask].


Photo of the Week


Prakruthi Karuna, a PhD student at Volgenau is part of a team of researchers whose interests lie at the intersection of computing and social sciences.




Upcoming Events at the Volgenau School


Whether you're looking for a specific event or browsing, our calendar lets you know what’s happening at Volgenau. Here is a sample of what’s coming in the next several weeks. For more information visit our calendar on the web. From this page you can share the event on social media, get updates, forward to friends, or save it to your own calendar.


April 17, 1 p.m. – Empirical Support for C2 Agility Theory

April 18, 7:00 p.m. – Cybersecurity Innovation Forum

April 21, 2:30 p.m. – Dr. Cook’s Retirement Party

April 21, 11:00 a.m. – R. Clifton Bailey Statistics Seminar Series


For information on getting your event posted via 25Live, please visit




Vote: BOV Faculty Representatives (VSE Candidate)


On April 12 members of the General Faculty were sent an email message with the subject line

    Election:  BOV Faculty Representatives

I encourage you to vote in this election.  The deadline is Thursday, April 27.


There are four positions up for election.  Amarda Shehu of the Computer Science Department is a candidate for the Representative to the Research Committee.




Autonomous Vehicle Event (May 3)


[This is taken from an email message that I received.]


May 3rd 2017, at 12:00 pm. @ Fairfax County Govt. Center


Fairfax County is the test ground for self-driving cars and connected infrastructure in Virginia. The state’s intelligent roads are all located in Fairfax, and top autonomous vehicle researchers come here to road test their technology.


We’re bringing together AV experts, policy makers, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs to present ongoing research, showcase technology—including offering demonstration rides—and discuss the future impacts.


We’re looking to the future—so join us for this free event, the first in a series on this topic, if you want to be part of what’s to come in Fairfax.


Due to limited space, registration is required.






NSF Proposals: New Requirement


On April 24, 2017, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will initiate a new pilot requiring the use of a spreadsheet template for identifying Collaborators and Other Affiliations information for Principal Investigators (PIs), co-PIs, and other senior project personnel identified on proposals.


The NSF Proposal and Award Policies & Procedures Guide ( (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1) requires PIs, co-PIs, and other senior project personnel identified on NSF proposals to individually upload Collaborators and Other Affiliations information as a Single Copy Document (see PAPPG Chapter II.C.1.e).


NSF uses this information during the merit review process to help manage reviewer selection. To expedite identification of potential reviewers, having a standard, searchable format for this information is essential. The new pilot will standardize Collaborators and Other Affiliations information across the Foundation and will ensure that the information is submitted in a searchable format. Results from the pilot will be assessed and will determine how to proceed with this section of the proposal in the future.


Effective April 24, 2017, NSF will require the submission of a spreadsheet template to identify collaborators and other affiliations. Please note that the spreadsheet template:

·         Has been developed to be fillable. However, the content and format requirements must not be altered by submitters.

·         Must be saved in .xlsx or .xls formats and directly uploaded into FastLane as a Collaborators and Other Affiliations Single Copy Document.

·         Will be converted by FastLane from an .xlsx or .xls file to a PDF file.

·         Has been tested in Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and LibreOffice.

·         Will enable preservation of searchable text that otherwise would be lost. Must be uploaded in .xlsx or .xls formats only. Uploading a Collaborators and Other Affiliations Single Copy. Document in any other format may delay the timely processing and review of your proposal.

·         Will be directly linked in FastLane. The template and associated instructions may also be accessed directly at:


In addition to the merit review process benefits, the Collaborators and Other Affiliations template will reduce administrative burden and improve efficiencies by providing submitters with a compliant and reusable format to maintain this information for use in subsequent proposal submissions to NSF.


Please be advised that the new Collaborators and Other Affiliations pilot beginning on April 24 will only be for FastLane proposal submissions. proposal submissions will continue to follow the instructions in NSF Application Guide Chapter VI.2.4 (


We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues. For system-related questions, please contact FastLane User Support at 1-800-673-6188 or [log in to unmask].  Policy-related questions should be directed to [log in to unmask].






Stephen G. Nash

Senior Associate Dean

Volgenau School of Engineering

George Mason University

Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 2500

Mailstop 5C8

Fairfax, VA 22030


[log in to unmask]

Phone: (703) 993-1505

Fax: (703) 993-1633