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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston Graduate School Top in Nation

BestValueSchools.com recently compiled a list of the 50 Most Innovative Public Service Schools in the United States. Ranking in at 29 on the list was the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies of the University of Massachusetts Boston.  

Rank was determined by a myriad of factors. Student-to-faculty ratio, innovative academic features, the number of degree programs and joint public service degrees offered, and quality of internship and career services were included, among other criteria.

Accruing a total 73 out of a possible 165 points, Umass Boston places as the top public university in New England. In Massachusetts it is second only to Harvard, the top-ranked school on the list with 119 points.  

This is big news for the university as a whole. As Dean Jackson states, “it helps to put us on the map. Right alongside other prominent institutions.” Indeed, selecting a college is similar to selecting a prom date: I want to go with the best one I can.

Nothing says “best” to prospective students, or faculty members, than a high national ranking. Name recognition is a powerful thing. It signals that this is an institution that is worth my money as a student and possible investor.

I asked Dean Jackson what it took for the school to be where it is now. “Lots of hard work, by many people, including our talented faculty, committed staff and energetic and ambitious students.” He continued to say, “We received this recognition because of the work of the entire McCormack community, and not just one program or person.”

Prior to being a graduate school, it was the McCormack Institute run by Ed Beard, who set the foundation for the school to be built. The first dean of the college was Steve Crosby. He’s now the Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The momentum of these men is kept going by Chancellor J. Keith Motley, “[embracing] our activities at every turn.”

Students of the program are helping the public not just locally but nationally and internationally as well. Some students work in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Elder Affairs. Others are working to establish and maintain Veterans Courts throughout the state. Others still aim to help women of color enter and flourish in politics.

Internationally, students have set up an English reading program for kids in Kigali, Rwanda. There are environmental projects in Kenya and Ethiopia. Some students seek to mediate conflict between Christians and Muslims in Kaduna, Nigeria.

One striking program the school offers is a four plus one program. This allows students to complete a two-year master’s degree in just one year. “So one message to the thousands of Umass Boston juniors and seniors is that if you want to pursue a career in conflict mediation or international relations or aging services or politics or public administration, we are ready and interested in you.”

Career possibilities for alumni of the John W. McCormack School are plentiful. A graduate of the program is currently in charge of conflict mediation at the United Nations. Work can be found in city or state government, possibly as a statistician or assistant city manager. Teaching or works in the private sector are two paths as well.  

Finally, I asked the dean what prospective students could do to help their chances of getting accepted to the program. Naturally enough, keep one’s nose to the proverbial grindstone. One thing he is looking for, however, I did not see coming. He’s also looking for students who embody the “McCormack difference.”

Students who are bright and sharp but who also have a heart and care deeply about social justice or economic opportunity or improving the responsiveness and professionalism of government or environmental stewardship. Students who want to leave things better than they found them.”