Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Prospective chancellor Andrews talks about aspirations

From Oregon to Massachusetts, Sona Andrews has experience working at universities.

Justin Surgent/Collegian

Andrews is also one of four University of Massachusetts chancellor candidates to replace current Chancellor Robert Holub.

She spoke yesterday afternoon during an open question-and-answer session about how she intends to accomplish goals and move the University forward.

“I really like to get things done,” Andrews said during a brief introductory speech. “I think at this time at the University of Massachusetts, you need a chancellor who is a doer, who will do things and accomplish things.”

A native of Providence, R.I., Andrews has held the position of vice chancellor for academic strategies for the Oregon University system since 2010.

She discussed taking “visions” and making them real, that is, understanding and demonstrating what specific ideas “look like.”

“What does it look like when the University of Massachusetts Amherst becomes a top 20 research University?” she said.  “What does that look like … for students, what does that look like for staff?”

The prospective chancellor attempted to answer the question of what makes a good chancellor during the discussion by saying a chancellor should take “careful risks, but risks nonetheless.”

Andrews also explained that a chancellor needs to be someone who is not easily discouraged or who does not stay discouraged for long. She said that many jobs at UMass may become discouraging some days, because though people know what they intend to accomplish, they do not have the resources to get it done.

“I somehow manage to wake up every day excited about going to work,” she said.  “I am not someone who gets discouraged easily.”

Andrews addressed the importance of a chancellor having a “sense of urgency.” A chancellor, she said, needs to be someone who knows what needs to be done and make it happen quickly.

She said that the more ground lost, the more difficult it becomes to achieve aspiration and goals that the institution has.

“I think I can bring the discipline of being strategic,” said Andrews. “And innovation. Not that I’m the most innovative person, but I believe in innovation.”

Issues facing public, higher education, according to Andrews, are affordability and access.

Andrews also focused on the importance of getting things done as well as being productive and utilizing resources.

“You all know what to do,” Andrews said, addressing the audience. “As chancellor I’m going to presume to know as much as you know. You just need someone who can get the resources and provide the infrastructure and move things out of the way so that you can accomplish them … in a strategic fashion.”

According to Andrews, she has spent her life learning how universities work as systems, as she has spent her entire career working on college campuses, either as a student, faculty member or administrator.

“The system-wide perspective has been really interesting for me,” said Andrews. “How it can work and how it can change to reach goals.”

Andrews frequently referenced a campus as being a community students are engaged in.

“One of the most effective means of engaging a community is to make sure that the students are active in service learning and internships,” she said.  “Getting students engaged in the community from service learning to internships to volunteerism and such [is very important].”

She said being engaged on campus is key to having a productive college experience. The college experience, she said, when done the right way with extracurricular activities as well as healthy learning environments, leads to friendships and a happy, fulfilling

experience in college.

In order to “develop friendships and bonds” which can work as “support systems,” students benefit greatly from becoming involved in groups and organizations on campus, said Andrews.

She said she values diversity and inclusion as well as students graduating with the ability to innovate and be creative and believes universities should as well.

Andrews has also worked as the provost and vice president for academic affairs and professor of geosciences at Boise State University, vice provost of academic affairs Milwaukee and the assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin.

Steffi Porter can be reached at [email protected].

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