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[Herald Interview] George Mason University's Korea campus to expand student quota

New Dean Robert Matz maps out plans, commitments for Korea campus

The new dean of George Mason University’s Korea campus, Robert Matz, said he seeks to advance the school’s mission and to fuel its growth momentum by expanding the student quota and boosting collaboration with the US campus.

During a press conference Wednesday at the Incheon Global Campus, Matz introduced his plans as the new dean of the Korean campus of the US university. Matz was appointed in February.

Dean of George Mason University Korea Robert Matz (George Mason University Korea)
Dean of George Mason University Korea Robert Matz (George Mason University Korea)

“I am delighted and honored to begin my tenure as the leader of George Mason Korea’s campus, which I have been involved with since planning stages for the campus in 2013, when I worked on our plans for the majors and curricula offered as Mason Korea, and on setting up structure for faculty and adviser collaboration across the campuses,” Matz said.

During the speech, he welcomed the largest incoming class of 118 new students from 15 countries, who had just started their spring semester. They were joined by 40 students from George Mason’s US campus, who have come to study for a semester or a year.

According to Matz, GMUK will make efforts to further increase student enrollment numbers and diversify the student body. Accordingly, it will work to increase course offerings on the campus.

“We are currently in a process of evaluating the best new courses to add to regular rotation in our curriculum, and have already identified several in business, communication, psychology, and Korean language and literature,” Matz said. 

(George Mason University Korea)
(George Mason University Korea)

Drawing on his long experience at the US campus, he will seek further connections between the two campuses to provide his colleagues and students with a doorway to East Asia, consequently expanding collaboration between the two countries.

In May, the Korean branch of George Mason’s Center for Security and Policy Studies will be officially launched, along with an annual symposium on the topic of international security focused on the Asian context.

“We will develop similar kinds of collaborations in other areas we focus on here, including conflict analysis and resolution, business and serious game design,” he said.

Matz plans to continue cultivating George Mason’s particular capacity to provide in Korea some of the hallmarks of a US-style education.

“As on Mason’s US campuses, we follow an approach to education founded on the twin pillars of student engagement and student support,” he said. “My goal as campus dean is to make sure that we are infusing that ethos of engagement and support throughout our students’ education.”

George Mason is an independent university located in Fairfax, Virginia, where 37,000 students are currently enrolled. It is a “very high research productivity” classified university. Just last year, Mason’s annual research expenditures reached an all-time high of $149 million, a 32 percent on-year increase.

The Korea campus, located at Songdo’s Incheon Global Campus, opened its doors in 2014 and graduated its first students in 2017. Students at Mason Korea have identical course requirements as their fellow students on the US campus -- whom they join in the States for a year over the course of a bachelor’s degree program.

“We have a drive toward continuous growth and a commitment to creativity. We also share an ethos of collaboration and care, a view of diversity and gloalization as strength,” Matz said. “My commitment as campus dean is to support these same values that I have seen in action at George Mason University in the US on our campus in Songdo.”

By Choi Ji-won and Lee Hong-seok (