46°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

3-4-24 PDF
March 4, 2024
2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Student Affairs’ New Vice Chancellor: Gail DiSabatino

Vice+Chancellor+for+Student+Affairs+Gail+DiSabatino
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gail DiSabatino

Starting this fall semester, the University of Massachusetts Boston community welcomes a new Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Gail DiSabatino. She will be replacing interim Co-Vice Chancellors Lisa Buenaventura and James Overton, who shared this duty for the past three years. Chancellor J. Keith Motley explained that he wanted to wait until the process for UMass Boston’s accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges was completed to hire a new person to fill this position.
DiSabatino, a Delaware native, has more than 30 years of experience in higher education and has held significant positions related to students affairs at mostly public colleges, including most recently Clemson University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
In an interview with The Mass Media, DiSabatino emphasized the importance that public universities have in society. “The public higher education in this country was created to serve the greater good and to establish economic development within the areas in which they served, as well as being able to educate a workforce.”
However, since the beginnings public universities have grown in their work for society and now offer an “educated citizenry for the country,” as DiSabatino stated. Furthermore, public higher education is important because it is “meant to be accessible to a wide diversity,” including ethnic, economic, and political.
Recalling her time as a student herself, DiSabatino said that she originally wanted to become a teacher. However, during her time in college she discovered that she became very interested in teaching outside of the traditional classroom setting. “Over the years, I’ve gotten more into the administration and policy work, as well as trying to be a good teacher because I want to impact the opportunities for everyone to be able to get a great education.”
DiSabatino continued, “As an administrator, I feel like my work to lead in higher education is to provide opportunity for everyone who wants to have a great education to get one.”
For DiSabatino, who relocated from South Carolina for this new position, it will be the second time serving at a university here in Boston. In the 1980s, she was the Assistant Dean of Students at Emerson College. Now, several decades later, she is looking forward to living in Boston once again. “I enjoyed that experience—ever since I left I missed the area.”
At this early stage here at UMass Boston, she states that first and foremost she wants to “learn as much as I can as quickly as I can, so that I can begin to work with people to make an impact.” Later in the school year, she also plans to fill vacancies in the division of Student Affairs so that “we can reach our potential to help students reach their potential.”
Furthermore, she wants to prepare UMass Boston for the transition to a residential campus. The residence halls are scheduled to start construction this year and to open in 2018. “We’re working to be ready to offer not just a place to live, but a true living-learning experience that enhances students’ potential for success.”
Additionally, DiSabatino also wants to look at the division of Student Affairs itself and increase effective collaboration with faculty and partners on the campus “to provide as many opportunities for students to grow and to learn outside of the classroom.”
Lastly, DiSabatino emphasizes that she wants to hear from the students. “I want to hear about your hopes, your dreams, your needs, and what we can do to facilitate you to be as successful as you can be. I think that’s what we’re here for.”