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UMass launches chancellor search

  • UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy is seen at the annual UMass Community Breakfast on Aug. 27, 2019. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO



Staff Writer
Monday, August 01, 2022

AMHERST — A search committee began meeting this week to find a successor to University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, who plans to retire at the end of the 2022-23 academic year.

The 20-member committee is made up of faculty members, UMass alumni, staff, board of trustees members and two UMass students.

UMass trustee and Springfield businessman Victor Woolridge, a UMass Amherst alumnus and chair of the UMass Building Authority, will chair the committee, and Laura Haas, dean of the UMass Amherst Manning College of Information & Computer Sciences, will serve as vice chair.

The committee includes Marcellette G. Williams, a former UMass Amherst chancellor, and eight professors, administrators and directors from the UMass campus.

Committee members say they’re launching a nationwide search for Subbaswamy’s replacement and hope to build on the university’s progress during his 10-year tenure in Amherst, during which UMass Amherst has risen to the No. 26 ranking among 209 public universities, according to the U.S. News & World Report Colleges Guide — an improvement from a No. 52 ranking in 2010, UMass officials say.

Subbaswamy, a trained physicist, came to UMass in July 2012.

“UMass Amherst, thanks in large part to Chancellor Subbaswamy’s leadership, is a university that has been on the rise for a decade,” UMass President Marty Meehan said in a statement. “Over the next decade, as shifts in the higher education landscape accelerate, we must identify an innovative and bold leader to build on this success.

“I am confident that UMass Amherst will be among the most attractive leadership opportunities in U.S. higher education,” Meehan added.

According to UMass officials, first-year undergraduate applications to the Amherst campus have increased by 30% over the past 10 years, and 37% of this past year’s entering class identified as students of color, up from 21% a decade ago. Meanwhile, university research expenditures in fiscal 2021 reached $214 million, making UMass Amherst the top recipient of National Science Foundation grants among public universities in New England.

As with past chancellor searches at UMass, the new search committee says it will seek input in the coming months from various stakeholders, including community leaders, students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Anyone interested can weigh in on the effort and find updates at umassp.edu/UMA-chancellor-search.

Committee members say they’ll develop a pool of candidates to submit to Meehan, who will then make a recommendation for the position to the board of trustees. National executive search firm Isaacson Miller has been hired to assist with the recruitment process.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.