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President Caret joins state leaders in new push to improve higher education

University of Massachusetts President Robert L. Caret joined Governor Deval Patrick and state higher education officials today for the release of a new report on the changing role of public higher education in Massachusetts, and said that UMass ``makes an enormous contribution to all facets of life in the Commonwealth, but we are committed to getting better.''

The first annual Vision Project report, entitled ``Time to Lead: The Need for Excellence in Higher Education'' offers the first comprehensive view of where the Commonwealth's public higher education system stands, in comparison to other states, on a number of key indicators, including graduation rates, student learning, and workforce development.

``When you look at our performance and view it in the context of the many challenges we face in terms of operational funding and capital funding, I think what we have been able to achieve at UMass could rightly be described as heroic,'' President Caret said.

``Are there places where we could improve? Absolutely.  Are we committed to continuous improvement? Completely.''

President Caret noted that UMass is a national leader in attracting research funding and in generating licensing income from faculty discoveries with $35 million reported in Fiscal Year 2011. He also said that student applications and enrollment are at record levels and that this year's incoming class at UMass Amherst arrived with high school GPAs of 3.66 and SAT scores of nearly 1200.  At Commonwealth Honors College, the average high school GPA is in excess of 4.0, with SAT scores around 1400. He said the University's faculty are members of top professional associations in their fields and win top awards, including the Nobel Prize.

Even so, President Caret said UMass is focused on ramping up its performance in some key areas, including student retention and graduation rates. He also said the University was taking steps to augment its already robust Performance Management System with a new report on performance that would make it easier for the public to assess the University's progress.

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


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Communications Staff Directory

Robert P. Connolly
Vice President for Strategic Communications and University Spokesperson
617.548.0238 (cell)
617.287.7073 (office)

Ann Scales
Director of Communications
617.838.3963 (cell)
617.287.4084 (office)

JoAnn Conley
Communications Coordinator/Writer
617.287.5538 (Office)

Jan Brogen
Senior Writer
617.287.4027 (Office)

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