It's been a pleasure serving as Dean

Featured in the CNS Newsletter: Issue 15 - August 2017

Since 2002, I’ve had the pleasure to serve both the College of Natural Resources and the Environment and the College of Natural Sciences. One of the best things about being Dean is having the opportunity to work with all of our talented, innovative, and capable faculty, staff, students, and alumni. It’s been a privilege to work with you to strengthen the mission, impact, and stature of the college and the campus. Even as we look ahead to new goals and ideas, we should all be proud of everything we’ve achieved.

As a college, we have expanded our educational and research resources. The Stockbridge School of Agriculture cultivated its Mass Aggie roots to add five undergraduate majors, while the reintroduction of the Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment fulfills the outreach and research growth of our land grant mission. More recently, we launched the School of Earth and Sustainability, a cross-disciplinary partnership that joins diverse academic programs, research, and outreach that share a common focus on earth, sustainability, and environmental sciences. The first director of the Institute of Neurosciences has just recently arrived on campus.

We’ve built lasting connections to communities throughout the Commonwealth. Our Eureka! at UMass program, a partnership with Girls Inc. of Holyoke, focuses on motivating girls to pursue post-secondary education and careers in STEM fields.

Our faculty are the foundation of our success, and we’ve developed a range of faculty development resources, which have included workshops, trainings, and grant writing support. We established the CNS Women in Science and the Equity and Inclusion initiatives to reinforce support for underrepresented groups in the college.

Undergraduate enrollment increases steadily each year. We’ve developed a range of resources to help them succeed, through enhanced advising resources and student success initiatives. The iCons program is a national model for producing the next generation of leaders in science and technology.

Perhaps the most striking change has been the addition of multiple state-of-the art buildings that further our educational and research goals: the Integrated Sciences Building; the Life Sciences Laboratory; the Design Building; as well as renovations in Paige, Lederle, and Morrill. The Physical Sciences building will open its doors in 2018.

It’s been an honor to meet with so many alumni and hear how UMass had a positive impact on their lives. Our alumni are changing the world for the better and many generously support the college by donating their time to mentor students, creating scholarships, and endowing faculty positions. So much of what we have accomplished was made possible because of this generosity.  

It’s been a pleasure to play a role in these accomplishments and the many others that have flourished during my time at the CNS helm. And I say sincerely to our incoming Dean Tricia Serio—full speed ahead with your own CNS adventure!