University Scholars have the opportunity to participate in a unique four-year co-curricular program that supplements their individual courses of study. This includes strong peer mentoring from other University Scholars, unique guidance and mentoring from University staff, and opportunities to engage in serious discussions with policy makers, prominent researchers, and business and thought leaders from the Mason faculty and throughout the National Capital Region.
The University Scholars Summer Institutes are among the most exciting and unique opportunities available to any student at Mason. During the course of their first year, University Scholars work together to identify a topic or theme they wish to investigate. Working with the students and their idea, the Director develops a schedule for a concentrated week of presentations, seminars, and other experiences, which takes place annually in the week prior to the start of the fall term and to which all University Scholars are invited to participate. Appropriate and relevant guests are invited from the private and public sectors – public officials, journalists, nonprofit leaders, and faculty and staff from Mason and other area colleges and universities. These Institutes aim to connect University Scholars with faculty, policymakers, and innovators from Mason and beyond; to provide them with opportunities to confront and engage problems of local and global significance; and to foster their abilities to communicate and collaborate across disciplinary and methodological lines.
The conversations and investigations that occur during the Institutes continue throughout the academic year in our monthly Town Halls – evening meetings in which University Scholars invite guests to further develop their understanding of the topics they’ve chosen.
Topics have included “Failure,” “Rethinking Change, Reconsidering Revolutions,” and “Accountability: Individuals, Institutions, and Ethics in an Uncertain Time.”
University Scholars document their achievements, development, and experiences with regularly updated portfolios. These portfolios help Honors College staff guide and mentor Scholars, and they help University Scholars think holistically about their intellectual growth, academic progress, and professional development.