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UMass search yields four finalists for Amherst Chancellor

BOSTON - Four distinguished higher education leaders were selected today as finalists for the position of Chancellor of the University's flagship campus in Amherst, as the Chancellor-selection process took a major step forward.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor Search Committee, which has been conducting a comprehensive national search for more than five months, selected the following educators as finalists:

  • Dr. Sona Karentz Andrews, a geographer, is Vice Chancellor for Academic Strategies for the Oregon University system and a faculty member at Portland State University. Born in Providence, R.I., Dr. Andrews grew up in Massachusetts. From 2004 to 2010, she was Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Boise State University. From 1995-2004, she held various leadership positions in the Provost Office at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
  • Dr. Susan D. Phillips, an internationally recognized scholar in vocational psychology, is Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Albany, State University of New York. She also currently holds an appointment as Professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology. She serves on the National Advisory Council for Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises the US Secretary of Education on higher education accreditation and quality assurance issues.
  • Dr. Carlos E. Santiago, an economist, is chief executive officer of the Hispanic College Fund in Washington, D.C.  From 2004 to 2010, he was Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Previously, Dr. Santiago served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Albany, State University of New York, and functioned as the chief operating officer of the campus. He is formerly a professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
  • Dr. Kumble R. Subbaswamy, a physicist, has been Provost at the University of Kentucky since 2006.  During his first 18 years at the University of Kentucky, he served as Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and as Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He also was Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami from 1997 to 2000, and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University in Bloomington from 2000 to 2006.

``We have put forward the names of four very impressive scholars and leaders who we are confident can build on the already excellent reputation of one of the nation's preeminent public research institutions,'' said Philip W. Johnston, a UMass Trustee and UMass Amherst graduate who chairs the search committee. ``We were heartened by the breadth and depth of the candidate field, but we believe the four candidates we are advancing have the qualities, the experience, and the skills needed to move our great Amherst campus forward.''

The search committee's recommendations are now in the hands of UMass President Robert L. Caret, who will interview each finalist and recommend one of them to the Board of Trustees, which will have the final say in selecting the new Chancellor. The finalists are also expected to spend a day on the Amherst campus meeting with faculty, students, staff, alumni, community leaders and other key groups.

``The search committee has done a remarkable job finding a diverse pool of candidates who represent some of the sharpest minds in higher education,'' President Caret said. ``I commend the members of the committee for working so diligently to present us with candidates of such high caliber. You have delivered outstanding service to the University,'' President Caret said.

The 18-member search committee, established last September, was comprised of UMass students, faculty, graduates, and members of the Board of Trustees. The committee promised an ``open, thorough, and inclusive'' process that would lead to a successor to replace Chancellor Robert C. Holub, who last year announced plans to step down.

Aided by Witt/Kieffer, a national executive search firm specializing in educational institutions and nonprofits, the search committee sought input from the Amherst campus and external groups through a series of public meetings that led to 15 candidates being interviewed over the course of five days.  The position was advertised nationally and Witt/Keiffer contacted 185 prospective candidates to build a candidate pool that was rich in quality and met the University's commitment to excellence and diversity.  The University also established a search web site and created a leadership profile that was circulated nationally.

``The strength of the field of candidates was a reflection of the respect that people across the country have for UMass Amherst and the UMass system'' said James J. Karam, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. ``This nearly 150-year-old institution has a long, proud history, and I am confident that the next Chancellor will continue to move the Amherst campus forward and ensure its rightful place alongside the most venerable public flagships in the nation,'' he said.

S. Paul Reville, the state's secretary of education and a member of the Amherst search committee and the UMass Board of Trustees, said: "We reviewed a remarkably strong pool of candidates. The committee functioned with great efficiency and consistency to select a stellar and diverse group of finalists."

UMass is also conducting a national search for a new Chancellor for the Dartmouth campus, where Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack, who has led the campus since 1999, has announced her retirement at the end of this academic year. Candidate interviews for that search took place in Boston earlier this week.

For the full bios on the Amherst finalists and to read more about the Amherst and Dartmouth searches, visit

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073 or Ann Scales, 671-287-4084




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Robert P. Connolly
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