Massachusetts Daily Collegian

WMUA site visit scheduled for next week as part of review

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(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

WMUA is set to undergo the site visit portion of its program review – a process intended to assess the health and effectiveness of the department – next week, as the organization eyes structural change and community members’ concerns with student leadership at the University of Massachusetts’ radio station remain.

The site visit is part of a five-phase program review led by the department of student affairs and campus life aimed at providing a “formal and meaningful assessment of how well a program achieves its stated mission, goals and outcomes, and the identification of ways to sustain and create program excellence,” according to an email sent by associate vice chancellor of student affairs and campus life Annemarie Seifert to station members.

The visit, which is scheduled to last from November 8 to November 10, will provide an external site review team the opportunity to gain input on how the station functions and to create and submit an external review report.

Gregory Adamo, an associate professor in the school of global journalism and communications at Morgan State University; Warren Kozireski, general manager and instructor at the student radio station at the College at Brockport, New York; Becca Herman, University of Connecticut radio adviser; Annie Dooley, a WMUA student member; and Heather Milkiewicz, a WMUA community member, make up the team, according to UMass spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski.

WMUA general body members will be able to provide input on Monday, November 9, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Campus Center room 904.

In her email, Seifert wrote that the purpose of the review would be to “assess how well WMUA performs in relation to its mission, goals, objectives and university priorities;

“Encourage strategic thinking about WMUA’s plans for the future; discover ways that WMUA can continue to improve upon the quality of its programs, services, activities, and operations; provide evidence of the excellence and effectiveness of WMUA’s programs, activities, services, and operations; determine the extent WMUA has managed its resources in an efficient and effective manner; evaluate the extent to which WMUA has successfully addressed student learning and development outcomes; and identify obstacles that inhibit WMUA from achieving its desired goals and develop ways in which these obstacles can be managed.”

Station manager Andrew DesRochers said he hoped an external review could provide recommendations to WMUA based on best practices of other similar college media outlets, specifically radio stations.

“WMUA is in a process of change right now,” DesRochers said.

However, community members at the station, including Louise Dunphy, have expressed frustration with student leadership, as well as with the removal of long-time program host Max Shea and former station adviser Glenn Siegel in April. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported that two community members recently resigned from their roles as program hosts at WMUA, citing issues they had with management.

“It is a great idea for WMUA to go under any review possible,” Dunphy, a community member who hosts Celtic Crossings, wrote in an email. “In fact we wonder why we have not had this review in the past.”

An investigation of personnel and workplace conduct at the station, led by the University Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, was launched in the spring following the removal of Siegel and Shea. The investigation, according to Blaguszewski, was expected to be completed in early fall.

Blaguszewski told the Daily Collegian in August that he expected the investigation to result in “an evaluation overall on where (the station) is heading and how it can best serve the students and the community.”

“Given all the concern and debate and controversy surrounding WMUA, this is clearly a good time to step back and assess the essence of how the station should vision itself and proceed in the future,” Blaguszewski said of the program review.

The review appears to be in response to some of these issues. DesRochers said Seifert, the station’s interim adviser, recommended that WMUA undergo the program review, which led station leadership to request it. According to the University’s website, the station was up for a regularly scheduled review in the 2016-2017 academic year.

As of 2012, all programs under SACL have been placed on a five-year departmental review cycle, according to the University’s website.

DesRochers said was first informed that the review would indeed be happening between a month and a month and a half ago. He said he expected it to be concluded in a month or two.

Anthony Rentsch can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Anthony_Rentsch.

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