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University of Massachusetts reorganizes federal research money

FeatureWEB

Matthew Harrison/Collegian

In an attempt to acquire additional federal research revenue, representatives for the University of Massachusetts Michael Malone, the vice chancellor for Research and Engagement, and Tom Milligan, executive vice chancellor for University Relations, have announced a reorganization plan which also seeks to strengthen University Relations in Boston and with local community leaders.

The recently approved proposal was first introduced in March 2009 and is geared towards interdisciplinary programs.

The goal is to centralize the large proposals such programs receive, as well as to collaborate with other universities and colleges, something Malone said will help UMass build stronger relationships with other institutions. Malone said that the reorganization will help coordinate the different schools under one umbrella subject.

In an effort to reassure UMass students, Malone said that the reorganization of research money will not affect tuition or fees in any way. Malone said it is a plan which will help integrate UMass with other schools by building relationships, as well as improving research activities and relations in the Boston area.

Malone said that he wants to add the capability in the University Relations office to work with big proposals, mostly ones over $1 million. Malone added that the reorganization will help make dealing with these proposals run more efficiently and said he hopes this will help the faculty work more efficiently. He also wishes to entice faculty members to stay at the University, rather than accepting outside offers.

According to Malone, improving the way the faculty works will ultimately improve the atmosphere in which they are working, and will also benefit the students of UMass. Malone said that thanks to this reorganization, students will be able to receive high quality scholarships to help finance the rising costs of higher education.

According to UMass student Nelly Adamietz, “It’s a great and efficient way to better our college. I think that the fact that it will help students with scholarships as well makes it even more appealing.”

Sharon Kennaugh, director of state government relations for UMass’ University Relations, said she will be working towards achieving the goals set forth by the reorganization plan with the Constituent Relations, a new office located in downtown Boston.

Ed Blaguszewski, director of news and information for the UMass News and Media Relations office, also discussed the importance of having representatives in Boston.

“It will be helpful to have a spot in Boston to articulate what the campus is working on and what our needs are,” Blaguszewski said. “One of the goals of having relations in Boston is to establish federal relations and help make the University become more competitive. It is an effective way of getting out there and putting our best foot forward.” Blaguszewski also added that reorganizing the University’s research revenue will help identify UMass with new funding opportunities, which he stated was the main goal of the reorganization as making an impact in Boston will help UMass become a top research university.

Patricia Phelan, a UMass student said “Establishing a place in Boston will be crucial in helping the University generate ties with business owners and federal offices. I’m interested to see the effects of the reorganization.”

Tom Milligan, executive vice chancellor for University Relations, further expressed the importance of having a presence in Boston. Milligan stressed that besides having relations with federal offices, UMass will, more importantly, build relationships with local businesses, and the Boston community. Milligan added that in the Boston offices there will be fundraisers and a public affairs department, which will be involved in the state legislature.

Many alumni live and work in the local communities in and around Boston, making visibility there crucial to the success of this reorganization.

Alex Roche can be reached at aroche@student.umass.edu.

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