GMU site shares space with community college

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Print this page by Joan Tupponce
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GMU’s new site is expected to create “new partnerships”
with Northern Virginia Community College.

George Mason University has a new site in Loudoun County and a closer relationship with Northern Virginia Community College.

The university held a ribbon cutting on the Mason in Loudoun Instructional Site in October, four months after the location opened an office building at Signal Hill Plaza  in Sterling. GMU, which has had a presence in Loudoun since 2006, shares space with the community college at the new Sterling site.  GMU’s previous Loudoun site was on Ridgetop Circle in Sterling.

“It’s a great way to create partnerships and efficiencies,” says Una Murphy, director of outreach for regional campuses at George Mason. “George Mason and Northern Virginia Community College have a great relationship with each other … This is an excellent way to reinforce that connection.”

Signal Hill Plaza offers greater accessibility to students, she says. “There will also be greater availability,” Murphy says of the school’s offerings. “We will have a total of eight classrooms and six breakout rooms. We also have videoconferencing capabilities.”

George Mason is increasing the number of classes it is offering in Loudoun in IT, business, leadership studies, graduate education, executive education, and continuing and professional education. The school has a guaranteed admission agreement with Northern Virginia Community College that grants admission to students pursuing bachelor’s degrees who meet certain criteria.

“Traffic from Northern Virginia Community College students wanting to learn about transfer possibilities has increased since we moved,” Murphy says.

Offerings at Mason also include partnerships with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for adults over 50. “They can take advantage of many of the professors that teach at George Mason,” Murphy says. “Students are mostly retirees, and they are incredibly engaged. They take [courses in] everything from public policy to jewelry making.”

Osher takes advantage of George Mason’s video conferencing equipment. “A lot of the classes originate in Fairfax,” Murphy says.

She feels the new location will be a boost for George Mason. “Loudoun is a growing community,” she says. “There are a lot of people that live there and want to learn there as well. This is a way to serve the community.”

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