James V. Staros appointed provost and vice chancellor
Even though the majority of UMass students have spent the summer removed, both physically and mentally, from campus affairs, Whitmore has been the scene of quite a bit of administrative activity; the summer break has seen the appointment of Michael F. Malone as vice chancellor for Research and Engagement, and Mark A. Fuller’s appointment as dean of Isenberg School of Management. Also part of this crop of new faces is James V. Staros, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook University in New York, who was named provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The appointment was announced by Chancellor Robert Holub, and became effective Aug. 2.
The position will involve collaborating with the chancellor while working to advance the academic programs of UMass by focusing on important aspects such as budget cuts, summer programs and enrollment management.
Staros said that while the nation is in an economic crisis, he hopes to maintain the same high level of education even with the decrease in state funding.
His main goals for the budget will focus on preparing for the 2010-2011 academic year, which is when UMass will lose access to the one year federal replacement funds given by the sate this year to replace funds the university has lost.. This means students and faculty are likely to feel the effects of the budget crunch.
However, Staros hopes that by planning ahead he can help create a smoother transition from one year to the next.
“I’m trying to do it in a way that protects the institution and students and still allows us to move forward,” he said.
Staros’ previous work at Stony Brook leaves many, including the chancellor, confident that his background experience will help UMass become a better university.
As Staros explained, the budget crisis hit New York first and he feels what he learned there can be brought to UMass.
As dean at Stony Brook, he contributed to improvements in the college’s undergraduate retention and graduation rates, as well as the rise in their ranking for undergraduate programs in the U.S. and World report, which has improved 21 places in the past five years.
“Staros is a distinguished scholar, teacher, and administrator whose broad range of experience will greatly benefit UMass Amherst,” Holub said in a statement.
Staros also hopes to expand summer programs to offer a broader array of courses for students taking classes in the summer, as well as providing courses for students who have an interest in graduating early.
By aligning UMass admissions with the aspirations of the university, Staros plans to attract a different group of prospective students. Instead of welcoming students who chose the school as a safety choice, he hopes to have people look at UMass as a more attractive first choice.
“[UMass] is a wonderful place, a fabulous institution,” he said. “I want to work on ways of getting that message out.”
Overall, Staros wishes to raise the stature of UMass on both a national and an international scale.
“It will be more challenging in tough budget times but we’re always working on it,” he said.
Jessica Sacco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org