Talker: Holub and the search committee

By Sam Hayes

As an 18-member search committee works to find a replacement for resigned University of Massachusetts Chancellor Robert Holub, students discuss the attributes they would like to see in his replacement.

Holub, who announced his resignation after a committee charged with evaluating his performance gave him a negative review and recommended that his contract not be renewed, will serve through July 31, 2012.

Despite Holub’s four years at the helm of the state’s flagship university, most students interviewed said they knew little about him, his contributions to the campus or the circumstances surrounding his resignation. Many of these students said they want the next chancellor to have a more recognizable face in the UMass community.

“The new chancellor should be more present in daily life,” said communications and nutrition major Madeline Pizzuto, 20. “I never really saw Chancellor Holub around at all … I’m pretty active on campus. I’m always around, but I didn’t see him much.”

Pizzuto, a member of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group [MassPIRG] and a New Student Orientation counselor, said she hopes the chancellor’s replacement will be in attendance at more registered student organization [RSO] and student events.

Senior marketing major Katherine Marriott, 21, agrees with Pizzuto’s thought that the new chancellor should be more involved with student events on campus.

“He or she should be more in touch in what’s going on. When you are in a head position like that you can miss what’s going on beneath you. If he could experience these problems on a daily basis he would understand why people are so frustrated.”

Marriott suggested that small groups of students meet with the next chancellor to discuss classes, events and the campus in general.

Sophomore Steve Darcy is more upset with the chancellor’s upcoming absence than a lack of presence.

Darcy, a 19-year-old political science major, said the frequent cycling of chancellors could hurt the school.

“It’s tough, it really hurts not having the continuity in the program,” he said. Holub’s successor will be the University’s fifth chancellor since 2001.

Darcy wants the new chancellor to work on improving the school’s image and quality of student life.

“I want someone who is objective but can deal with adversity and get things running efficiently.” He continued to say the new chancellor should focus on “improving the quality of (UMass), rather than the quantity.” Darcy said the campus’ new building projects and the Baby Berk food truck were examples of the current administration’s focus on “quantity.”

Fellow sophomore Amy Pettigrew wants a chancellor that will have an impact on developing a greener campus.

“I think for a going green school there are still a lot of problems,” said Pettigrew, a 19-year-old natural conservation major. She said UMass did not have enough individuals participating in paper recycling around campus.

Junior Mickey Horan, 20, said he wants the new chancellor to work on improving the athletic programs.

“UMass is one of the biggest state schools in the northeast; they should try to follow other state school’s athletic programs,” he said referring to schools such as UConn or Penn State. Next season UMass will join the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly 1-A), a positive move, according to Horan, in the direction Horan envisions for the University athletically.

Astrophysics graduate student Zhankui Lu, 24, said he would like the new chancellor to increase funding for graduate students, but also said he does not think the hiring of a new chancellor would affect him in any other way.

Sam Hayes can be reached at sd[email protected].