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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Editorial: Steady Leadership

On the campaign trail, “Steady Leadership In Times of Change” is the Bush/Cheney campaign’s motto. While the slogan now seems questionable given the mistakes made in Iraq and numerous intelligence gaffes, it seems more appropriate to be applied to the University of Massachusetts.

At UMass, each school year redefines transition, marked by the hopes of a revitalized system, paper shuffling, policy and procedure. However, this year especially students and faculty will witness UMass leadership turning a new corner. An enthusiastic president, a new chancellor, and a recently appointed chair to the Board of Trustees make up a composition of great expectations for the university system.

Last July UMass President Jack Wilson, who himself was just installed last March, upgraded Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Keith Motley to chancellor on the interim. Having been Northeastern University’s dean of student services, associate dean and director of the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, and assistant dean and director of the office of minority affairs before joining UMass, Motley brims with qualifications.

Wilson, who is nationally renowned for his contributions to higher education, correctly saw that Motley was not only fit for the interim chancellorship, but had a drive and passion for the school and his new position, as well as ties to the community. Along with his accomplishments at Northeastern, Motley founded the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School and chairs on the Board of Trustees at Newbury College.

In addition to a new chancellor UMass Dartmouth alum James Karam was selected as chair of the Board of Trustees on August 4. As UMass President Jack Wilson noted in a press release, “Jim Karam brings so many assets to the chairmanship as a dedicated and involved alumnus, as an astute business leader and as someone whose strength and wisdom were quickly noted by his colleagues on the Board of Trustees and by the rest of the UMass community. Chairman Karam will be an invaluable asset as we seek to bring UMass to new levels of educational and research excellence.”

Karam replaces Grace Fey, who stepped down after four years as head of the board. While her life story may be inspiring (she rose from secretary to vice president of a six billion dollar investment firm), her recent leadership is not. One of her more egregious acts was her handling of Wilson’s appointment. Though Wilson has proved to be more than a solid choice, many justifiably criticized the process, in which several trustees felt they did not have enough information on Wilson and the other candidate to make a choice. Fey’s response, “I need to move this meeting along,” to one trustee who requested to see the other candidate’s resume was outrageous and unforgivable.

As President Wilson, Chancellor Motley, and Chairman Karam take center stage with their positions, UMass is destined for change. In hopes of a new vision and a newly revised administration, Wilson, Karam and Motley’s leadership will prove quintessential to a better and more fruitful future for UMass. Last year was marked by many changes, and under a new administration, we hope this year encompasses a prosperous transition. With their platforms, they can mold a community and revitalize our system to greater heights.

Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Mass Media Editorial Board.