Editor’s Note

August 8, 2010

The First Step

It is always difficult to take the first step. However, as you slowly start walking, those steps become a steady jog. Then, a sudden burst of energy comes.

You start running.

In the distance are the crossroads of opportunity. It is here where you have to make a critical decision.

To the right is the road you came on.

You know that road.

To the left is the path leading into the unknown.

I came to these exact crossroads back in February. With only that in mind, I made the choice of going into the unknown with a vision of establishing the first ever student-run Arlington campus newspaper.

The purpose of The Stylus is twofold: It aims to bring a sense of community to the George Mason University Arlington Campus as well as to engage its students in the School of Public Policy (SPP), the School of Law, the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR), the MBA, MPA and Arts Management programs and others.

This publication represents an Arlington Campus that has not been seen before with discussion of events and initiatives on campus and around the metropolitan area; information on critical resources, such as Career Services, the libraries and the bookstore; opinion pieces; significant interviews with faculty and staff about the various schools and programs at Arlington; and messages from the SPP student government — all in a unified voice to serve you, the community. The Stylus provides an opportunity for you to know what the campus is doing and to help create what it could be doing.

With The Stylus, Arlington Campus students now have the means to write and participate in the campus dialogue and create something extraordinary. Those willing to share and contribute their own talents will help create the community this campus needs to become sustainable.

No matter what you do, always remember it starts with just that first step.

Meet me at the crossroads and, as a community, let us walk together.

Maria Habib

Start Writing.

Editor-in-Chief, The Stylus

Maria Habib graduated in May with her Masters in Public Policy, after starting in fall 2007. Ms. Habib hopes that The Stylus will help students have greater participation in Arlington Campus activities.

George Mocharko
Staff Writer, The Stylus
Friday, October 1, 2010

Washington D.C.— The 2010 Washington Ideas Forum, which took place September 30 to October 1, brought together high level government figures, businesspeople, and the news media for a salon-styled event.

The event, presented by The Atlantic in partnership with the Aspen Institute took place at the Knight Conference Center at Washington, D.C.’s Newseum. It was a veritable who’s who of those shaping the policy debates of today.

The two-day seminar included key Obama administration officials such as U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Secretary
 of Education Arne Duncan, Senior Advisor to the President David Axelrod and Domestic Policy Advisor to
 the President Melody Barnes. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, who was originally scheduled to be in attendance, was noticeably absent as the announcement of his departure was just breaking.

Political and business figures presenting included Senators Lindsay Graham and Jim Webb, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, plus David Rubenstein, co-founder of private equity firm The Carlyle Group, economist N.N. Taleb, attorneys Kenneth Feinberg and Bob Bennett, tech-guru Craig Newmark, and lobbyists Tony and Heather Podesta.

The event followed a Q & A format with the questions posed by prominent news media figures with the conversations and interviews offering insight into today’s important policy topics.

International and national security issues were on the table for much of the event. New York Times reporter David Rohde recounted his kidnapping by the Taliban in harrowing detail. AfPak Envoy Richard Holbrooke spoke to Christiane Amanpour about developments in the region. Dr. Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress spoke about the religious influence on Iraqi society stating “The sectarian divide in Iraq is not about theology; it is about power and about power structure.”

Former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, spoke on the emerging issues in cyber security. “The economy of the United State last year was 14 Trillion dollars,” warned McConnell. “There are 2 banks in New York City that move 7 trillion dollars a day. What backs up that money? There’s no gold. There’s no printed dollars.”

There were plenty of candid moments at the Forum as well. When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked by Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday whether he would run for president, he responded much like Calvin Coolidge would, with two words: “Can’t win.”

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who took the stage less than an hour after Tony and Heather Podesta spoke, reminded the crowd of the information divide outside the beltway by claiming “the American public doesn’t realize how many of the laws are written by lobbyists.”

Director Spike Lee, who directed a new film about Hurricane Katrina called, “If God Is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise,” claimed that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was irresponsible in his duties with Michael Brown of FEMA as the fall guy. “People are dead now because he didn’t do his job,” said Lee.

Brian Williams, anchor of NBC News, grilled David Axelrod about the government’s sluggish response to the BP Oil spill and in particular leveled a charge against the President. “Out there there in the country there are people who saw ‘hope’ on the website and clicked on it. And heard ‘change’ and voted for it, and today want to know what happened to that…”

Williams continued, “The perception is, and this is not breaking news to you, that you’ve gone Washington.”

“The going Washington suggestion implies that you are doing things to perpetuate yourself in power,” said Axelrod, who is leaving the administration next Spring. “If we were focused on our own interests, we wouldn’t have done any of the things that we did,” referring to the administration’s tough stands it took on Wall Street and health care reform.

Yet in the post 9/11 world, “A lot of people are waiting for Barack Obama’s bull horn moment,” said Williams.

If The Washington Ideas Forum continues creating great dialogue and debate like this, it will certainly give other events of its caliber a run for its money—perhaps even trumping its predecessor, the Aspen Ideas Fest.

Mayor Bloomberg participates in the Washington Ideas Forum – One-on-One Conversation with Chris Wallace – hosted by The Atlantic Magazine, the Newseum, and the Aspen Institute.
 September 30, 2010 
(Photo Credit: Spencer T Tucker)
Mayor Bloomberg participates in the Washington Ideas Forum – One-on-One Conversation with Chris Wallace – hosted by The Atlantic Magazine, the Newseum, and the Aspen Institute.
September 30, 2010 
(Photo Credit: Spencer T Tucker)

Videos and coverage from The Atlantic available here.

Dean Haynes.  Stock Photo Courtesy of Andrew Schappert, Web Specialist at SPP

Dean Haynes. Stock Photo Courtesy of Andrew Schappert, Web Specialist at SPP

So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, goodbye…

For twenty years Dean Kingsley E. Haynes has guided George Mason University’s School of Public Policy. Dean Haynes will be retiring from this position in July, and Dr. Edward Rhodes will take his place. In an interview with The Stylus, Dean Haynes discusses how the School of Public Policy started, what makes it stand out and what his legacy as the first and only Dean of this remarkable program is.

The Stylus: Here’s the million-dollar question . . . Why are you leaving?

DH: I am not [leaving]. I am stepping down as dean. I am going to b­­­­­­­e coming back as a faculty member, so I will be here for another few years, anyway. But, I have been the dean here for 20 years, so I think I have done my duty as dean . . . I want to go back and be a regular faculty member.

The Stylus: When you first started with George Mason University, did you ever envision the School of Public Policy to be as it is now?

DH: Yes, the entire purpose was to build it and expand it

The Stylus:  What was the School of Public Policy like when it first started out? It started out as an institute, correct?

DH: It was an institute and what we had was a Ph.D. program for public policy students only. And we built it from there. Normally these kinds of programs are built from the bottom up, [but] we built it from the top down. We have more of a focus on research in this program than you do in a lot of other programs in public policy.

The Stylus: How did creating the School of Public Policy come about?

DH: There was a university group put together in the mid-1980s. And they wrote a set of statements about the desire of the university to put together a public policy program. And then a fellow by the name of Joe Fisher, who had been head of Resources For the Future, had been a congressman, had worked for one of the governors, was on the staff ­­­­­here helping President Johnson (who was the previous president), and what he did was get the people organized for a public policy to execute that program to the faculty and outline.

The Stylus: What do you think makes the School of Public Policy stand out in comparison to the different schools, such as the School of Public Administration or the School of Public Affairs?

DH: I think we have a very strong international component that we always foster. We also have a very strong research component . . . about two-thirds of our budget comes from grant contract activities that we are highly involved in, so a lot of funding comes in that way. And we have executive education and a variety of other things that help support the funding of the school. In fact, the National Science Foundation (NSF) does a ranking every year to look at research activities (R&D activities) by different discipline groups, and we fall in the one in Political Science, and as a consequence, this school ranks number one in the country. So we are pretty proud of that.

The Stylus: Why are there two different campuses for the program? Why is the SPP not in one place?

DH: Well, we started . . . in Fairfax, Va., with the Ph.D. program and then we took over a masters program, which existed in something called the International Institute . . . There was a masters in something called International Transactions and it was having some difficulties. The university was thinking of getting rid of it. So we took it over, re-built it from scratch and focused in the area of international commerce and policy and that’s what kind of grew out of it.

The Stylus:  Do you think the goals during your tenure here have been fulfilled?  What goals do you have for the SPP in the future?

DH: I think our first goals from the beginning have been fulfilled. Right now we have a lot of international activities, but I would like to see them grow. Yet we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin. We have opened up George Mason study centers in New Delhi, India, as well as in China. Yet we are not very developed in the fields of Africa or South Africa.

The SPP needs to be better integrated within [Mason], and the SPP Medical and Health policy should be expanded.

I look forward to the construction of the new SPP building in Arlington. One problem with the SPP program has been that we have been split between two campuses, Fairfax and Arlington Campus.  We have to have headquarters in one place, so by next January we will be moving to the new building in Arlington.

The Stylus: Any advice or thoughts you have for students at SPP?

DH: I want them to be able to provide leadership so they can provide benefit analysis or writing analysis in their jobs; they will need to have these skills in order to be valuable to an organization. About 50 percent of our graduate level students go into the federal government and the rest go into other areas.

The Stylus: What’s your favorite thing about being dean?

DH: Dealing with faculty. We have a great group of faculty here. And they are just so exciting to work with and work in a lot of different areas. They are very active, [which] makes it a lot of fun.

The Stylus: What advice would you leave to the new dean, Dr. Rhodes?

DH: I would say we should continue our focus as a professional campus. At the graduate level, 30 percent of students are full time, and 70 percent are students part-time. We hope to get it to 50/50 because it would utilize faculties better.

Thank you, Dean Haynes, for your leadership and service to the School of Public Policy! You will be greatly missed as dean, but we look forward to having you as a part of the faculty. We wish you the best in your future endeavors in research and in teaching.

Ryan Dunn,  Stylus Correspondent & Maria Habib,  Editor In Chief

Come together – small SPP program has unique “executive cohorts” for students

The Master of Science in Organization Development and Knowledge Management (ODKM) Program is one of the School of Public Policy’s smaller programs, with a unique “executive cohort” format. Students in cohorts begin their studies at the same point and complete courses in sequence in approximately 18 months.

The program focuses on effecting transformation and change in organizations. Program adviser Nancy Dunham said students follow a timeline that starts in the fall and lasts a year and a half. Each year, ODKM welcomes a cohort of about 40 students.

Dunham estimates that an even higher percentage of ODKM students work full-time compared to SPP students overall. Generally, the School of Public Policy strongly emphasizes prior work experience during the application process and rarely admits undergraduate students who have just graduated.

Cohorts take their classes every other week on Friday evenings, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and all day Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Carlos Soles is part of Cohort 14 and expects to graduate at the conclusion of the fall 2010 semester. Like most students at the Arlington Campus, Soles works full-time and attends the school part time. He is a capacity building specialist at the U.S. Office of Minority Health Resource Center in Rockville, Md. and provides training and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations and community-based programs across the country.

Both Dunham and Soles describe ODKM as an intensive experience both inside and outside of the classroom. Part of the intensity is due to the “strong social component of being part of a cohort,” said Dunham.

Day-long classes on Saturdays mean sharing lunch and dinner with other students. For this and other reasons, ODKM students may have the strongest ties to the Arlington Campus and community when compared to other SPP students. Students in other SPP programs “are nice and also shy,” said Soles. “They look like they are here to accomplish their goal without time for much else.”

Soles said many in his ODKM cohort live, work or volunteer in Arlington. In addition, because of the long stretches of time spent at the Arlington Campus, students of the program make ample use of the campus resources and local restaurants.

For example, Soles explained that his cohort has a long-standing relationship with El Pollo Rico, a Peruvian rotisserie chicken restaurant across North Fairfax Drive on North Kenmore Street. Students in his cohort frequent the restaurant and the restaurant in turn has provided catering for ODKM events.

Soles noted that ODKM students make heavy use of the library and classrooms during the week for meetings, and says he would appreciate “more communal spaces and space for students to get together.”

According to Dunham, ODKM students participate enthusiastically in SPP open houses and during orientation events, sharing their experiences with prospective and new students. “They are very willing to talk about the program and how excited they are about it,” she said.

For more information on the Master of Science in Organization Development and Knowledge Management program, visit their website at:


Silvia Villacampa,  Stylus Correspondent

I want to ride my bicyclebike

Do you dream about not having to hunt for parking when arriving at the Arlington campus? Not ending up in Clarendon or a whole other neighborhood before you actually find a parking spot? Not feeding meters, paying for parking or paying for the Metro?

If so, biking to campus is a good option, and one with increasing support from the federal government. In March, the movement toward greener transportation received a boost when Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood outlined a new policy to make biking easier and safer.

LaHood addressed the National Bike Summit, which drew over 1,000 participants. The Department of Transportation policy statement included recommended actions for state and local governments, professional associations, community organizations, public transportation groups and other government agencies.

Among the recommendations: ensuring that walking and bicycling are given equal importance to other transportation modes; providing transportation choices for people of all ages and abilities, especially children; and integrating bicycle and pedestrian accommodations on new, rehabilitated, and limited-access bridges.

Arlington County serves as a national model for transit-oriented development, and students and staff can take advantage of the county’s pedestrian and bicycle-friendly environment. Arlington County provides an online bicycle map available at bikearlington.com showing the 113-mile bicycle network of trails, bike lanes and bike routes. Several local and regional bike trails lead to North Arlington: The Washington & Old Dominion Trail, Custis Trail and Mount Vernon Trail.

North Fairfax Drive has bike lanes near campus. If cycling, riders should make themselves visible with bright, reflective clothing and accessories, especially when it starts to get dark, such as front and back bike lights at night.

A bicycle rack is available next to the entrance of the Arlington Original Building closest to Washington Boulevard.

Silvia Villacampa, Stylus Correspondent

Silvia Villacampa is an MPP student who has been biking 10 miles round trip to campus with increasing frequency via the W&OD and Custis Trails, with some street riding on N. Quincy Street and N. Fairfax Drive.

Up In The Air

August 8, 2010

Students begin making plans to study abroad

Did I pack too much?

Did I pack too much?

The fall semester is rapidly approaching and students have begun considering studying abroad. According to Michal McElwain Malur, director of External Programs for George Mason University’s School of Public Policy, students “typically start planning to attend a year in advance.”  All study abroad courses are 3 credits and all SPP students are eligible to attend.

The first trip offered for the upcoming school year will be to Singapore and India.  The trip will take place during winter break. Students who took part in the program last year studied trade and development.

Students will also have the opportunity to go to Mexico over spring break. Last year’s trip focused on transnational management and trade.

At least three summer trips will also be offered. One to Oxford centered on Britain and its relationship with the European Union, and one to China where students will learn about China’s recent growth as an economic and political power.  There is also a plan  to offer a study abroad next summer to South Africa.

The trips for next year will be confirmed at the start of the summer semester.

The most recently completed program took place in Mexico during spring break. Students experienced the country’s rich history and culture by visiting colonial palaces and the remains of ancient civilizations.

In addition to hearing from business leaders about Mexico’s economic potential, students witnessed pervasive income inequality. Masters in Public Policy student, Kyle Miller described traveling to areas not normally seen by tourists: “Squatter villages stretched as far as the eye can see, and people are living in abject poverty,” he said. “This was very disturbing considering that the U.S. is right next door.”

As part of the activities centered on politics and government, students were also given the unique opportunity to meet Mexican President, Felipe Calderon.

For students considering studying abroad, Miller said, “I would recommend this trip to anyone — with or without a particular interest in Mexico. You will have a new appreciation for their country when you return home.”

This article was written in Spring 2010.  Since then, there have been two successful trips to South Africa and Oxford.

Sean Joyce,  Stylus Correspondent

Q&A with an ODKM Student

August 8, 2010

Now you see inside

Soles also participated in a Q&A with The Stylus about his experiences in the ODKM program.

Q. What do you think are the goals of the ODKM program?

Soles: To develop the professional capacity of students to become better agents of change when they work with organizations. ODKM provides tools, knowledge and experiences that enhance the quality of the work being done by an organization.

Q. What do you think about the community on the Arlington Campus?

Soles: I am happy to find lots of smart people with different multicultural backgrounds actively engaged in changing the world from their organizations.

Q. Do you consider ODKM a leadership program? What about the program makes it noteworthy?

Soles: From my viewpoint, I do see this as a leadership program. You learn to apply new knowledge in order to empower yourself. At one level, the ODKM program has helped me learn more about myself and what motivates me in my current position. I have also learned to see more clearly which aspects of different work environments are motivating for individual work styles.

At another level, ODKM has helped me understand how others interpret my own behavior in the workplace. By participating in the ODKM program, one can realize how easily our actions can be misrepresented or misinterpreted in the workplace, or any other situation for that matter. I learned to recognize that each of us has a unique set of values and filters for interpreting people’s behavior and that by being a bit more reflective and mindful, I was able to appreciate the different ways that our behavior can be interpreted.

I was surprised how my behavior was interpreted in different contexts and with different team members. Throughout the ODKM program, I obtained specific and mindful feedback from our faculty and especially from my peers and cohort participants about our own behaviors in groups, teams or as individuals, and I used this feedback to improve my performance at work, in my social life and at home.

Q: How do you feel the program has prepared you for your future career and professional goals?

Soles: In my opinion, ODKM students are good at recognizing different learning and working styles of people in organizations; by engaging in team group activities, we are able to understand our similarities and respect our differences in workplace environments, which allows us to develop better work practices and increase effectiveness and efficiency in our organizations.

Silvia Villacampa,  Stylus Correspondent

Find A Career

August 8, 2010

Career Services offers many resources for job-seeking students

The George Mason University School of Public Policy offers a large scope of career services. Duane Bradshaw, director for Career Development and Alumni Relations, provides assistance by directing workshops and information sessions each semester.

The SPP Career Center manages an online job search and recruiting tool, SPP JobNet, which provides a listing of job and internship opportunities, employer data and information on other professional development resources.

“All jobs we receive go directly into the job database,” said Bradshaw. “We collaborate with the Fairfax [Mason] campus. I would recommend that students sign up for accounts in both the Fairfax HireMason (formerly PatriotJobWeb) and SPP JobNet.”

The Career Center can be used to gain specialized resources for specific industries and companies. The career section of the SPP website provides listings of professional associations, NGOs, international, state and local governments. JobNet’s search engine can also be tailored to the needs of the students.

“Soon we will be adding a job section or search for Ph.D. students,” said Bradshaw.

In addition to its workshops and JobNet, the Career Center has the advantage of connecting with the SPP Alumni Association network.

“We have 1,400 alumni who have stated they are interested in helping other students and alumni in career search and information interviews,” Bradshaw said.  “We also have a career fair at the Arlington campus once every spring. These job fairs are designed for companies seeking to employ graduate degree students. This year, we had 30 companies come to the Arlington campus for the job fair.”

The main goal of the Career Center is to provide resources and personnel for students to achieve whatever career goal they have for themselves. To promote this, the Career Center of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) and the SPP Career Center share resources and communications.

The Career, Academic & Alumni Services for the School of Law acts separately, as students there seek jobs requiring a legal background. Yet ICAR and SPP collaborate on certain programs. The students’ career counselors can direct them to resources SPP may be more familiar with.

“[Students in] the MPA program at [Mason] and other graduate level students can feel welcome to attend these job fairs and résumé clinics,” said Bradshaw.

Soon Arlington will welcome a new dean for the School of Public Policy, Dr. Edward Rhodes.

Bradshaw is very optimistic about this change in administration: “We had a 45 minute block to speak with Dean Rhodes as a candidate, who said both career and alumni relations will be priorities.”

SPP recently hired a new assistant for their career center, Heather Wright, who serves as the SPP Career Center assistant director. Both the dean and Career Center thought it was necessary to add another person to the office.

“I am looking forward to the upcoming semesters ahead,” said Bradshaw. “I realize the changes in the market are causing difficulties in seeking employment. Yet I think we [the Career Center] will be able to provide new avenues for students and alumni on the job hunt.”

Ryan Dunn,  Stylus Correspondent

Construction Junction, What's your function? Photo by Annabelle Ombac

Construction Junction, What's your function? Photo by Annabelle Ombac

New building to open for classes in January 2011

A giant, shiny building has appeared in the heart of George Mason University’s Arlington Campus, between the Original Building and Hazel Hall. Watching the construction over the past two and a half years has left many students wondering if they will ever actually step foot in this state-of-the-art facility. For students taking classes in the spring of 2011 or after, the answer is yes.

The seven-story building, known as Founders Hall, will open for classes in January 2011 and will be the new home of Mason’s School of Public Policy. The building will also contain space for the School of Law.

In addition to 256,000 square feet of office and classroom space, Founders Hall will provide a garage containing 160,000 square feet of much needed parking space. The building will include a new and improved library, bookstore and auditorium, as well as an Einstein Bros. Bagels.

A large public plaza will be located in front of the building and will link the campus to the local community. Kathleen Q. Johnson, George Mason University’s assistant vice president for Regional Campuses described the space.

“The new plaza will be a wonderful location for university and Arlington County activities; the county and Virginia Square residents have been active in helping the university to develop the plaza and community spaces and I believe that the experience has been highly rewarding for all involved,” said Johnson.

According to Tom Calhoun, vice president of Facilities, the project has now reached a cost of approximately $85 million.

Founders Hall is nearly 85 percent complete and is expected to be ready for occupancy around November. Once complete, some units will begin moving from the various buildings of the Arlington Campus to their new space in Founders Hall, though classes will not be held in the building until Spring 2011.

The occupancy of Founders Hall will impact all of the existing buildings of the Arlington Campus. As units move into the new building, some units in the other buildings will be shifted. Units currently in the Original Building that are not moving into Founders Hall will relocate to the Truland Building on the corner of Washington Boulevard and Kirkwood Road.

The university plans to decommission the Original Building in an effort to move toward the final phase of a three-part plan for developing the Arlington Campus.

The first phase, Hazel Hall, which houses the School of Law, was completed in 1998. Founders Hall is the second phase. The third phase includes the construction of a new 750,000-square-foot building on the site currently occupied by the Original Building.

Sean Joyce,  Stylus Correspondent

Robust program combines policy and administration skills

The Masters of Public Administration (MPA) program is a 36-credit course for individuals who are interested in taking on a leadership role within organizations that promote and implement public policy.  The program offers prospective students both MBA and public policy training. The MPA program teaches students how to implement policy through an environment where turf wars sometimes arise between the federal government and third parties such as private contractors, local governments and nonprofits.

With 10 different concentrations, the diversified program opens doors to a wide range of public management opportunities at the local, state, national and international level.

Classes with 16 to 25 students are offered both at George Mason University’s Fairfax and Arlington Campuses.  The program is also offered as an accelerated weekend program for professionals who seek flexibility in a program that will improve their knowledge and skills.

Annabelle Ombac, a current full-time MPA student, enjoys the best of both worlds by taking courses offered on both the Arlington and Fairfax Campuses.

“There are advantages to both campuses,” said Ombac. “Day classes and administration facilities are all situated at the heart of the Fairfax Campus, while the Arlington Campus offers evening courses, more choices for dining and proximity to the nation’s capital.”

She continued by saying the MPA program helps “sets her apart” from peers and has helped provide her with the confidence to transition easily into public management.

Melissa Gonzalez,  Stylus Correspondent