This guide aims to strengthen the image of our school and to bring a new level of impact to our communications. And the key to doing that is consistency: speaking with one voice and using every opportunity for outreach to send the same set of key messages.
This is particularly true when we are making a first impression and introducing Mason Engineering as a whole—the focus of this guide. On the other hand, when you are communicating with a particular audience and know their specific concerns (whether it’s enrolling in a master’s program or funding a research project), you should feel free to adapt the message to the context.
Expanding the universe of people who know and think highly of our school will fuel enrollment and inspire greater philanthropic investment. Doing so will also strengthen our self-image—the bonds of pride and shared identity that unite and energize this community. In short, telling our story more effectively can be a powerful step to fulfilling our mission more effectively as well.
On the Name of the School and University
The official name of our school is the "Volgenau School of Engineering," and that name should be included in our official communications. However, because the name of our university enjoys broader recognition than the name of our school, it can be advantageous for us to use another form of reference—our official nickname:
This phrase works well in headlines, for example:
Providing a Young Violinist with the Power to Play—That’s Mason Engineering.
It can also weave well into running copy:
At Mason Engineering, we believe the best way to learn about technology is to apply technology….
In either case, we should also include the official name “Volgenau School of Engineering.” This can be accomplished by displaying the name along with the university logo.
Or, in an article or essay where the logo is not appropriate, the full name of the school can be used in one reference (typically the first or last in the document), with all other mentions taking the form “Mason Engineering,” for instance:
Students at George Mason’s Volgenau School of Engineering have scored another impressive win in regional systems engineering competitions. For the third time in as many years, Mason Engineering placed….
In contexts like this, it is also fine to use “the school” or “engineering at Mason” on repeated references. These forms are preferable to using the word “Volgenau” alone to stand in for the name of the school.
Positioning Our School
The message map presents the point at the heart of our story, displaying and connecting some of the most important ideas we want to express.
5 Key Messages – Our Most Important Points of Strength and Difference
There are many answers to the question “What sets Mason engineering apart?” The following set of closely related messages, however, stand out as those with the clearest appeal to the diverse audiences we need to reach.
• Our school is young and forward-looking, always ready to invent and evolve.
• With our earliest roots in the digital world, we apply exceptional strength in computing and modeling to challenges in every field of engineering.
• We offer many first-of-their kind programs created to meet pressing industry needs.
• We are always seeking imaginative new ways to educate future engineers more effectively.
• Strong relationships between our students and faculty make for a personal, interactive learning experience.
• We have a wonderful habit of breaking down the barriers between disciplines to frame problems in new ways and collaborate on solutions.
• Our students and faculty team up with industry and government on real-world projects.
• Corporate leaders know and respect us and join with us as industry partners.
• Students have access to an unsurpassed range of internships and research opportunities.
• Faculty—including adjuncts currently working in industry—bring real-world experience into the classroom.
• The proximity of Washington DC means unique opportunities related to government agencies and national security.
• We are the only school of engineering headquartered in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor.
• Campus locations in Fairfax, Arlington, and Manassas put a Mason engineering degree within reach for people across the region.
• One of the world’s great cities, Washington offers a wealth of cultural and entertainment options.
• Employers are hungry to hire Mason Engineering graduates.
• Starting salaries for our graduates consistently rank above those of our peer schools’ graduates.
• Our alumni go on to impressive careers—from climbing the corporate ranks to launching new enterprises.
• Our enrollment growth sets us apart as a leader among other schools at Mason and engineering schools across the country.
• We regularly introduce new programs anticipating emerging industry needs.
• Our externally funded research keeps growing.
• We are expanding our physical infrastructure to support our curricular growth.
• Now, we are building a reputation to match the strength and stature of the school.
5 Supporting Messages – Presenting Added Advantages
At George Mason and within the engineering school, students encounter the whole world at one university—people representing virtually every background imaginable. They prepare for life and work in a 21st century multicultural world in an educational setting just as vibrant and diverse.
Our goal is to provide the opportunity of an outstanding engineering education to every student willing to put in the work it takes. Furthermore, whenever possible, we admit students directly into their programs of choice rather than raising barriers to entry. We measure our success by the number of future engineers we educate, not the number we turn away or weed out.
Through robust support programs, one-on-one guidance from individual faculty members, and a school-wide commitment to the mission of teaching, we are determined to help our students achieve success. If they commit to meeting the challenges of a rigorous engineering program, we will work with them to see them through to graduation.
Mason engineering faculty measure up impressively by all the standard criteria—as well educated experts in their fields and productive researchers. They also stand apart in important ways: as educators dedicated to their students and to teaching, and as experienced professionals, many of whom bring directly relevant real-world experience into the classroom.
As part of an R-1 research university, Mason Engineering is committed not only to sharing state-of-the-art knowledge but also to creating it. In recent years, the school has conducted more than $20 million in externally funded work. From biomedical explorations of innovative prosthetics to strategies for optimizing traffic flow through airports, these projects have a direct impact in solving real-world problems.
Useful Tools – Elements of the Messaging Program
The Future of Engineering Is Here.
The tagline is our marketing motto, announcing Mason Engineering to the world. To build recognition, we should use it prominently and consistently, especially while it’s still new. The tagline can run as a headline on an ad, poster, or web page or, when the situation calls for a different sort of headline, the tagline can be part of the “sign-off” supporting the name of the school.
Our Positioning Line
A Force for Innovation in the Heart of Northern Virginia’s Global Technology Corridor
The positioning line offers us the chance to tell the world something additional about our school—something informative and impressive to complement the tagline. In some cases, there may not be room to fit the positioning line, and that’s fine. Where space permits, though—at the bottom of the page, on the back cover of a brochure, or in the last line of a radio spot—it’s an effective addition.
• Mason Engineering developed the first cybersecurity engineering program in the nation. (evidence of innovation)
• On average, our graduates earn the highest starting salaries in Virginia. (evidence of outcomes)
• Thousands companies have headquarters or locations in Northern Virginia. (evidence of the advantages of our location)
• Our school’s enrollment has grown more than 40 percent over the past four years. (evidence of momentum)
Because facts and stats change, it’s not possible to pin down a definitive set on the pages of this guide. Supplying up-to-date proof points is part of the ongoing work of bringing our messages to life. As we do so, it can be useful to draw on the school’s website, on communications such as the school’s annual report, and also on personal experience. In your communications, facts and anecdotes from your own experience can be the most compelling evidence of all.
A Standard Description of Our School
The Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University is a fast-growing force for innovation in technology and education. The school boasts more than 8,000 students in 37 undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degree programs, including several first-in-the-nation offerings. As part of a nationally ranked research university, its research teams earned more than $73 million in sponsored research awards in the last 12 months. Located in the heart of Northern Virginia's technology corridor, Mason Engineering stands out for its focus on emerging areas including big data, cybersecurity, healthcare technology, robotics and autonomous systems, signals and communications, and sustainable infrastructure.