Chancellor Subbaswamy to get new position with UMass

  • UMass Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy is being appointed as interim senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs and Equity for the entire UMass system when his time as chancellor ends. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Thursday, March 16, 2023

AMHERST — Oversight of the academic program throughout the University of Massachusetts system and establishing a strategic vision for equity at the five campuses and their 74,000 students will be undertaken by retiring UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy when he assumes a new position in Boston this summer.

UMass President Marty Meehan announced last Thursday that Subbaswamy, who is leaving the chancellor role in Amherst after 11 years at the helm, is being appointed as interim senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs and Equity.

Meehan praised Subbaswamy’s leadership, which included enhancing the university’s national statue, increasing enrollment, modernizing facilities and growing real world impact through research, all while confronting the challenges of a pandemic.

“I am grateful that Swamy has accepted this opportunity to contribute his immense talent and experience to the entire UMass system,” Meehan said. “This reconfiguration is designed with the recognition that academic excellence and equity go hand-in-hand.”

As part of the changes in administration, Meehan also announced that Nefertiti Walker, presidential adviser for Equity and Inclusion and vice chancellor for Equity and Inclusion in Amherst, is being elevated to deputy vice president for Academic and Student Affairs and Equity.

“This wasn’t really my retirement plan, but the opportunity to work with both Marty and Nefertiti, both of whom I admire, to advance the academic quality and equity of student experience across the UMass system was too attractive to turn down,” Subbaswamy said in a statement.

Subbaswamy’s tenure in Amherst will conclude June 30. Last month, the board of trustees for UMass approved Javier Reyes, interim chancellor of the University of Illinois Chicago, as his successor.

Subbaswmay’s new job, with a minimum appointment of one year, will include overseeing the academic program approval and faculty tenure and promotion processes, assisting Meehan with setting and implementing academic priorities, and convening campus academic officers to identify priorities and strategies. A long-term strategic vision for the system office in the academic and student affairs and equity area will also get underway.

His appointment follows the departure of Katherine Newman, who had been system chancellor for Academic Programs and senior vice president for Economic Development. Newman was appointed provost of the University of California system late last year.

Meanwhile, in her new role, Walker will focus on having the system’s academic priorities and goals infused with an equity and inclusion imperative.

Meehan said Walker’s position as presidential adviser for the past two years, after previous serving as associate dean for an inclusive organization at the Isenberg School of Management, has enhanced an inclusive climate for students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds at all the campuses.

“Dr. Walker will play a critical role in advancing our mission to welcome, nurture, and catapult to success individuals from all sectors and segments of society,” Meehan said.

Walker said in a statement she expects to do transformational work with Subbaswamy and Meehan.

“Individually and collectively, we are committed to equity, academic excellence and a positive experience for all UMass students,” Walker said.