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GSA News

In place of our normal GSA News, the Graduate Student Assembly would like to use this week’s column to share our letter of support for Interim Chancellor Keith Motley. This letter was sent to the Chancellor’s Search Committee on March 30, 2005.

Dear Committee Members,

The Graduate Student Assembly is writing to voice our support for Interim Chancellor Keith Motley’s inclusion in the final list of candidates for Chancellor of UMass Boston.

Although it is difficult to quantify exactly what the position of chancellor entails, several important qualities and characteristics come to mind. Primarily, we believe that when a chancellor interacts with students, he makes it obvious that he and the University value the student. Chancellor Motley has always made a point of supporting events planned and sponsored by the Graduate Student Assembly. He has made himself available to students and welcomes student input and initiative. Both his Student Luncheons and the S.T.A.R.S. mini- grant program speak to his interest in student life. While the Student Luncheons give students an opportunity to offer input on campus affairs, the S.T.A.R.S. program rewards student innovation and creativity. Finally, the fact that student-sponsored events and activities are frequently listed under the ‘Chancellor’s Corner’ on the UMass website shows the importance Chancellor Motley places on student ideas and leadership.

Secondly, we believe that the chancellor is the voice and face of the University. From the television ads talking about the University’s accomplishments to the billboards showing the faces of students and faculty, we believe in the importance of marketing the University. Chancellor Motley’s pride in UMass Boston is evident in his efforts at making this campus respected in relation to its sister campuses within UMass, and among the many other colleges and universities in Massachusetts. Support and fundraising from the community and legislature are important aspects of building our reputation. Chancellor Motley’s tenure in Boston and relationship with the Boston community gives him an understanding of the changing culture of the city and allows him to fulfill this mission.

Graduate students are not ‘typical’ college students. We tend to work odd hours and many of us juggle the competing obligations of school, work, and family. Despite these things the reputation of our academic program and the University in general are important to us. The ability of our academic programs to recruit students nationally and be viewed as competitive in relation to similar graduate programs throughout the country depends, in large part, on the University’s reputation. A chancellor who values, supports and channels funding into graduate education is therefore very important to us. During his year as Interim Chancellor, Dr. Motley has facilitated meetings between the Graduate Student Assembly and the Office of Graduate Studies to build collaboration between these units and improve the experience of graduate students. These meetings have certainly improved communication and have brought about changes in several of our joint programs which we feel has been beneficial. Dr. Motley’s interest in graduate education is evident in his dealings with us.

Finally, despite his role as leader of our University, Dr. Motley makes it a point to remain a ‘regular guy.’ For example, during the fall semester’s ‘Welcome Week,’ Chancellor Motley could be seen flipping burgers at the campus barbeque. Similarly, despite the stress and pressure he has likely been under throughout the past several days, Chancellor Motley took the time to personally telephone the GSA in response to a letter we had sent about the Spring Gala. These examples of Dr. Motley taking time out of his busy schedule to interact personally with students show his interest in the students at UMass Boston. His interest in student life and affairs gives a positive energy to the campus.

It is obvious that the Chancellor Search Committee has been given a difficult task and we appreciate last fall’s opportunity to be heard by the Committee during its visit to campus. We would like to reiterate our support for Interim Chancellor Keith Motley. We have had a very positive experience with Dr. Motley and he represents the qualities we feel a strong candidate should possess. We hope that the values outlined above were considered and continue to be considered as the Committee finalizes its recommendations for a new Chancellor for UMass Boston.

We look forward to the opportunity to interview the final candidates.