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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

News Briefs 12.16.2004

Statuses of Chancellor Search, Law School Unchanged

The status of the UMass Boston chancellor search and plans for a controversial merger between UMass Dartmouth and Southern New England School of Law (SNESL) remain largely unchanged.

The 21-member chancellor search committee meets at the end of this week, where professional search consultant Shelly Storbeck of A.T. Kearney, will start going over resumes and applications of those looking to be the next chancellor of UMass Boston.

The search committee is expected to meet and interview candidates over the next several months, with recommendations for finalists to be handed to UMass President Jack Wilson and the UMass Board of Trustees for approval in early spring.

Meanwhile, the UMass Board of Trustees may still meet before the holidays to finally make a decision on the proposal to merge their Dartmouth campus and an unaccredited law school. Strong support for the proposal remains amongst trustees, said Robert Connolly, university spokesperson, in a short phone call earlier this week. University officials are trying to see if it’s still possible, but may run into problems with trustees’ schedules as the holidays draw closer. Several trustees live out of state, like former Tufts president John DiBiaggio and basketball star/UMass Amherst alumnus Julius “Dr J.” Erving.

Support amongst trustees remains strong despite fierce opposition to the proposal from Boston-area private law schools; one law expert, originally cited by SNESL as agreeing to work with them, now saying he did no such thing; and several former students claiming they were mislead by the law school on whether it would be accredited.

Connolly noted that the incident with the expert, the dean of the Barry University law school in Florida, was a miscommunication, and a judge has dismissed the cases of the former students.

Gora Watch: President Fires Student Affairs Head

Jo Ann Gora, UMass Boston’s ex-chancellor and current president of Ball State University, fired her top student affairs official early last week, according to the student newspaper, the Ball State Daily News.

Douglas McConkey, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, is expected to officially step down January 28 at Gora’s request.

“I was disappointed that we’re moving in that direction,” McConkey, at Ball State since 1988, told the student newspaper.

University spokesperson Heather Shupp told the Muncie Star Press the decision stemmed from Gora wanting to make some administrative changes.

“I believe she is wanting to take the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management in a new direction,” Shupp said.

The new direction includes changing the position to oversee marketing and enrollment, the student newspaper reported the next day, as the head of student affairs continues to report to her. The ex-chancellor, who left UMass in August, hopes to raise the academic standards for admission as well. “I think the more effectively we tell our story, the more effectively we compete with institutions inside the state and outside the state,” Gora told the Daily News.

During her three-year tenure here, Gora raised admissions standards, as well as handling several resignations. Upon arrival in 2001, Gora immediately forced out then-provost Charles Cnudde. She would later butt heads with Stephanie Janey, dean of student affairs, which led to Janey’s dismissal in 2002. In contrast to her changing a similar position at Ball State, at UMass Gora upped the position of dean of students to a vice chancellorship, bringing in Keith Motley from Northeastern University after a national search.