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UMass Boston Chancellor Search Committee approved by Board of Trustees

BOSTON – A “distinguished and diverse” committee that mirrors UMass Boston’s “commitment to quality and success” was launched today and charged with conducting the search for a permanent chancellor for the University of Massachusetts Boston.

“This committee is distinguished and diverse, and is determined to provide strong candidates to lead UMass Boston,” said Rob Manning, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. 

“UMass Boston epitomizes public higher education at its best -- providing students and society with a path to a better and more equitable future. This position offers the right person an opportunity to lead an outstanding urban public research university destined for even greater things,” Manning said as UMass trustees approved the creation of the committee.

The 21-member search committee will be chaired by R. Norman Peters, who also serves as vice chair of the UMass Board of Trustees. Jean Rhodes, a UMass Boston faculty member who is the Frank L. Boyden Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring, will serve as vice chair of the committee.

The committee includes five members of the UMass Boston faculty, two deans who also hold faculty positions, three students, alumni and community leaders. In addition to Peters, two other UMass trustees, both of whom are UMass Boston graduates, will serve on the committee.

The university is seeking a permanent successor to former Chancellor J. Keith Motley, who stepped down at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year. Barry Mills served as interim chancellor during 2017-2018, and Katherine Newman became interim chancellor on July 1, 2018.

“Without question, this is one of the most impressive search committees I have seen in my years at the university,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “This committee reflects the excellence, achievement, quality and diversity that define UMass Boston.”

“We believe it is important that all members of the university community have a seat at the table and a voice in the search discussions, understanding that faculty will make a major contribution to the process,” Meehan said. “We are proud to be able to say that this search will be conducted by a committee that truly is representative of the entire UMass Boston community.”

Peters said: “I am honored to have been asked to chair this committee and look forward to conducting a diligent and comprehensive search and to seeing UMass Boston prosper and grow in the years ahead.”

Rhodes said she was pleased to serve as vice chair, adding: “I look forward to working with Chair Peters and the members of the committee on this important process. We are being asked to help select a chancellor and have been given an opportunity to make a contribution to the university and its future.”

The members of the UMass Boston Search Committee are:

  • Chair: R. Norman Peters, vice chair, UMass Board of Trustees
  • Vice Chair: Jean Rhodes, Frank L. Boyden Professor of Psychology and Director, Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring
  • Joseph B. Berger, professor of education and dean of the College of Education and Human Development 
  • Lisa Calise, senior vice president for administration and finance, UMass
  • Richard P. Campbell,* former member, UMass Board of Trustees; member, UMass Boston Board of Visitors 
  • Julie Chen, vice chancellor for research and innovation, UMass Lowell
  • Linda Dorcena Forry, vice president for diversity and inclusion, Suffolk Construction; former member, Massachusetts House and Senate
  • Rafael Jaen, associate professor; chair, Department of Performing Arts
  • Michael Johnson, professor and chair, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, McCormack Graduate School
  • Robert Lewis Jr., founder and president, The Base
  • Joyce Linehan,* Chief of Policy and Planning for Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh
  • Arthur Mabbett,* member, UMass Boston Board of Visitors
  • Jill Macoska, Alton J. Brann Endowed Distinguished Professor in Science & Mathematics & Cancer Biology and Director of the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy
  • Imari K. Paris Jeffries,* member, UMass Board of Trustees, executive director, Parenting Journey
  • Jeffrey Sanchez,* Fellow, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, former member Massachusetts House, former chair, House Committee on Ways & Means
  • C. Eduardo Siqueira, MD, associate professor of Environment and Public Health, School for the Environment, coordinator of Transnational Brazilian Project, Mauricio Gastón Institute of Latino Community Development and Public Policy
  • Sara Tariq, former student member, UMass Board of Trustees
  • Linda Thompson, dean and professor, College of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • Steven A. Tolman,* member, UMass Board of Trustees; president, Massachusetts AFL-CIO; former member Massachusetts House and Senate
  • Kahrim Wade, manager, Quinn Graphics; 2015 Chancellor’s Achievement Award recipient; current UMass Boston student
  • Samantha Zeno, UMass Boston Student Body President
    *UMass Boston graduate

In constructing the committee, formal requests for nominations were made to the UMass Boston student government and the Faculty Council -- and subsequently to the faculty senates and deans. The outreach effort also included emailing all members of the faculty. Consultations with other constituency groups commenced after the search was announced on May 21.

The search committee will develop a pool of candidates and submit finalists to President Meehan, who ultimately recommends a candidate to the Board of Trustees for approval. The Boston-based executive recruitment firm Isaacson, Miller will assist in the search. The search committee is expected to hold its first meeting as soon as schedules permit.

A campus in the University of Massachusetts system, UMass Boston enrolled 16,164 students last year. Its 10 colleges and graduate schools attract students from 113 nations. UMass Boston generated $51.4 million in research funding in Fiscal Year 2018.

More information on the search can be found at: www.massachusetts.edu/chancellorsearch.

Search Committee at a glance:

  • 21 members 
  • 8 members hold academic positions at UMass
  • 5 are UMass Boston faculty members, two are UMass Boston deans holding faculty posts, plus the vice chancellor for research at UMass Lowell
  • 6 UMass Boston graduates
  • 3 UMass Boston students
  • 3 community representatives 
  • 3 members of the UMass Board of Trustees, 2 of whom are UMass Boston graduates