Academic Vision

Approved by Provost Peter Stearns on December 7th, 2011:


Mason will rank among the top 50 US universities in sustainability studies, leading strategic research, education and service to promote a more sustainable campus, community and world.


I. Mason faculty are thought leaders and scholars in sustainability assessment and innovation, addressing and solving complex challenges of realizing sustainability at local to global scales.

II. Mason alumni are prepared to be sustainability leaders. They are:

A. Chief Sustainability Officers (CSOs) for private and public sector organizations in the region, nation and world.

B. Creating and managing “green” social enterprises and creative endeavors.

C. Seeking, obtaining and creating myriad positions at organizations committed to sustainability values and triple-bottom line practices.

D. Ensuring the integration of sustainability into policies across organizational levels and geographic scales.

E. Participating actively in, and benefiting from, Mason’s sustainability research networks and scholarship (via social media, collaborative projects, alumni communications, etc.).

III.  Communities around Mason’s campuses benefit from Patriots’ scholarship and action through improved operational efficiency, environmental quality, social safety nets, and participation in Mason activities (such as Earth Week).

IV. A more sustainable society results from Mason’s contributions.

These outcomes will be realized through a set of education, scholarship and service initiatives, such as…


1. Green Leaf (GL) sustainability courses offered in all 11 academic units & most academic departments, fostered by peer-to-peer faculty capacity building.

2. All pertinent academic programs include concentrations w/GL courses as requirements or electives. New cross-unit GL academic programs enhance opportunities to pursue sustainability within their interdisciplinary fields of interest.

3. General Education incorporates sustainability into learning outcomes (e.g., natural science); GL courses offered that fulfill other Gen. Ed. requirements.

4. Sustainability-focused immersive learning experiences provided regularly each year, with support from LLCs, CGE, CFS, CSE, CLCE, MCCS, OoS, etc.

5. Students participate in co-curricular sustainability opportunities related to signature Mason events — e.g., Fall for the Book, Earth Week.

6. Students participate in peer-to-peer sustainability skills-building activities and scholarship.


7. An Action Research &/or Sustainability community of practice provides faculty and student scholars with guidance and support for developing sustainability-related action research projects.

8. Multi-year research projects and networks concurrently unite diverse Mason scholars and centers to address big sustainability challenges, share discoveries.

9. Commitment and mechanisms in place to open Mason operations related to sustainability (e.g., energy, water, land-use and planning, etc.) to minimally intrusive examination, analysis and related scholarship by Mason researchers (both students & faculty).

10. A plethora of practical, sustainability research opportunities are provided to researchers, including PGF and OSCAR-supported undergraduate and Graduate Research Assistants serving or embedded in local governments and enterprises.


11. Mason’s Institute for a Sustainable Earth ensures communities beyond our campuses benefit from Mason’s sustainability education, research and scholarship.

12. Sustainability Research Assistants work in/for the community for credit and/or funding.