The University of Massachusetts welcomed over 150 new faculty members to campus at the start of the 2019 fall semester.
The College of Natural Sciences is the college with the most additions with 38 new hires, according to Michelle Budig, vice provost for faculty development and professor of sociology. The College of Humanities and Fine Arts received the second highest number of new faculty with 36 hires. The academic department with the highest number of new faculty was Mathematics and Statistics, with 17 new hires.
“Our new faculty are an impressive group of scholars and teachers,” said Budig in an interview via email. “They were hired in competitive national searches, where frequently hundreds of applicants compete for one tenure-track position.”
There were 148 full-time faculty hired by the University. Of these, 78 are tenure-track employees and 70 are non-tenure, such as lecturers, clinical faculty, visiting faculty and research faculty. A number of adjunct faculty members were also hired.
“[D]epartments hire adjunct faculty to teach one or more courses on an ad hoc basis, and those part-time instructors are not included in the 148 new full-time faculty,” said Budig.
New faculty were officially welcomed to campus with a faculty orientation held in the John W. Olver Design Building, as well as a week of activities hosted by the Office of Faculty Development. Faculty from across the nine UMass colleges and all 62 departments were in attendance.
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs John McCarthy addressed the new faculty members at the orientation.
“You are joining our community at a very exciting time,” said McCarthy in a press release from UMass News and Media Relations. “We are on a steep upward trajectory. We are welcoming the largest first-year class in our history, at a time when many colleges are struggling to maintain enrollment.”
Retention and graduation rates at UMass are on the rise, with first and second-year retention at 91 percent and six-year graduation rates over 82 percent, according to McCarthy. The University is also making strides in research fields, receiving awards from the National Science Foundation.
“We have set a new campus record in sponsored research,” said McCarthy. “We’re third in Massachusetts, after Harvard and MIT, in both NSF CAREER awards to faculty and NSF Graduate Research Fellowships to graduate students.”
New faculty have now been at UMass for about a month and have been getting comfortable with their new positions at the University. Cameron Musco, an assistant professor of computer science, said he is adjusting well to his first teaching position.
“I’ve had a great first few weeks. I’ve been really impressed with how engaged my class and how hard the students have been working,” said Musco. “Students are constantly asking questions to make sure they are learning the material. It makes my job a lot easier and more rewarding.”
Ana Pietrewicz is can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @anapietrewicz.