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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Interim CPCS Dean Appointed

A professor of human services has been appointed interim dean of the College of Public and Community Service, weeks after the resignation of Dean Ismael Ramirez-Soto escalated already soaring tensions between the college and UMass Boston administration officials.

With a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, Connie Chan is a professor of Human Services for the college (CPCS), a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts, a fellow in the American Psychological Association, and a long-time marathon runner, having been recently featured in a Nike ad campaign. She is also a co-director of the Asian American Studies Institute.

“Chancellor Jo Ann Gora and I look forward to working cooperatively with Dean Chan during the 2003-2004 academic year. We also look forward to supporting the faculty, staff, and students of the College of Public and Community Service during this period of transition and renewal,” wrote Provost Paul Fonteyn, in an e-mail sent to the entire campus.

Given that they couldn’t retain Ramirez-Soto, says Marie Kennedy, associate dean and professor of community planning, CPCS is pleased with the choice of Chan. Chan was one of the two candidates preferred by the college. But the same day Chan’s appointment was announced, CPCS received an e-mail from the provost that there would be no new faculty for the college for the second year in a row, said Kennedy. CPCS had requested five positions. Last year the college lost twenty-two percent of its faculty due to early retirement, she said.

“So it’s hard to evaluate the whole situation,” she said.

Undergraduate chair Terry McLarney agreed. “There’s still widespread disappointment that Ismael was forced to resign,” he said, but noted the positive reaction to Chan’s appointment, saying that a large number of people are looking forward, despite what he called “an ongoing lack of commitment from the provost’s office for the college’s resources.”

UMass Boston administration officials have defended decisions to not hire new faculty for CPCS, citing declining enrollment and a 9:1 faculty-student ratio.

Close to a dozen people, inside and outside the college, were nominated for the position of interim dean. Provost Fonteyn said he asked for input from CPCS’s policy board, curriculum committee, and all faculty.

Four finalists met twice with Provost Fonteyn before he made the final decision.

“I’m happy about [Chan’s appointment] and can’t wait to work with her,” said Fonteyn. Turning to the question of a permanent dean, Fonteyn said that a national search will eventually take place, but the focus right now is on stabilizing the college, and working with Chan and the college to move it forward.

Several searches for deans are ongoing, including one for the recently spun off College of Liberal Arts. A search for a dean for the John W. McCormack School of Graduate Policy Studies, just established, is going on as well. Two searches for deans, for the College of Nursing and the College of Management, respectively, were placed on hold when Fonteyn first came in, since it would have meant five dean searches in his first year.

Dr. Kenneth Sebens of the University of Maryland has recently been appointed as the new dean for the College of Science and Mathematics. Dr. Lester Goodchild, from the University of Denver, was appointed to the Graduate College of Education.

Fonteyn also announced 29 new faculty expected for next year. Twenty-three of those are to be brand-new positions, while the rest are carry-overs from last year’s searches. Fonteyn hailed the number as a sign of Chancellor Gora’s “tremendous commitment” to replenish the faculty.

A bulk of the new hires will go to the College of Liberal Arts, with a total of ten. Seven will go to the College of Science, seven to the graduate collage of education, four to the College of Management, and one to the McCormack graduate school.