Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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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

How is UMass utilizing the Mount Ida campus?

The classes and coursework of the Mount Ida campus
Courtesy of the UMass Amherst website

When the University of Massachusetts purchased Mount Ida College in May of 2018, students on both campuses were unsure of what this meant for their futures. Now, almost two years since the acquisition, the flagship campus’ new satellite location is being used by dozens of students, both undergraduates and graduates, to enhance their collegiate experience.

All of the students living on campus this semester are located in New Hall, the only dormitory currently in use. It houses 45 students in total: 24 from the veterinary technology program and 21 others from the Amherst campus. Jenny Reynolds, the internship coordinator on the Mount Ida campus, explained that there was significant room to grow the use of the campus.

“We have beds right now for about 800 students. We have a long way to go before we reach capacity,” she said.

The newest addition to UMass’ list of majors, a bachelor of science degree in veterinary technology, will become available to incoming and current UMass students in the academic year of 2020-21, according to the UMass website.

“The vet tech program was a Mount Ida College program that UMass Amherst took on to ‘teach out’ the students who were currently there and will now be a program that UMass Amherst runs,” explained Reynolds. “The idea is that students will start on the Amherst campus, and spend their first two years in Amherst and their second two years here.”

Courtesy of the UMass Amherst website

The current veterinary technology students are taking classes on campus, and some participate in internships around the area as well.

The Amherst campus students come from a variety of majors and fields. Most of the students are either from the college of social and behavioral sciences or the school of public health and health sciences.

“There’s [also] a number of Isenberg students who are here who are doing internships in accounting, and they’ll be here only part of the semester,” added Reynolds.

Last but not least, a few students from UMass’ Arts Extension program are living on the Newton campus while interning as well. Most of the students from SBS and Public Health are completing a professional development class while on campus, but students had the opportunity to also enroll in online classes in order to fulfill major requirements.

The spring of 2019, which was the first year of UMass’s ownership of the Mount Ida campus, did not yield as much success as this one. According to Reynolds, “It’s exciting because last year we had SBS and Public Health here with about half the number of students living on campus that we have this year, so we’re growing, which is great. This is exactly what we want to keep doing.”

Courtesy of the UMass Amherst website

Graduate students also have a presence on the Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst in the form of various master’s degree programs. These include statistics and business and analytics, as well as courses in geographic information science and technology and building and construction technology. Although these are the only current graduate level programs available, Reynolds says “lots of discussion about future programs” are taking place in the current planning process.

“We have a long way to go, but I think we’re going to get there,” she said. “The more students are encouraged on the Amherst side to do experiential learning, internship things, I think that’ll help grow it too.”

Sara Abdelouahed can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @AbdelouahedSara.

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  • T

    Truth be toldSep 30, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    Truth be told there was double-dealing happening across the board in this situation and it is very sad that the students were the ones at the receiving end. At least, some of the students as some vet-tech (not all) were accommodated. One needs to look at that as well.

    Fast forward two years…COVID. Now we are in a situation with Dental Hygienists retiring at an alarming rate and not enough upcoming hygienists to fill the need, once again Umass misses the mark. The easiest answer would have been to teach it out for four years. It is sad that no one is asking why arrangements were made for only one program, leaving the freshman of that group out. I wish that a reporter would have the intestinal fortitude to ask the tough questions and find out why. But then again the tough questions have never really been asked of anyone involved here, again you have to ask why?

    Now in the height of COVID, the building sits empty and Marty Meehan is crying finance woes to the tune of 100M, funny he paid 75m for Ida. He is still in the game of screwing students over as most are remote learners now with no tuition reduction, yet he still cries poor mouth. Could it be that however he financed Ida, the rent is now due? As that is also one of many tough questions remaining. How does a state school purchase property without tax-payer money? In the light of 850 furloughs, why is no one asking these questions? Or are we going to let him skate with using COVID as an excuse?

  • B

    BarryBrownsNonExistingConscienceMar 9, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    UMass has mishandled the school as poorly as former Ida president Barry Brown did, in my opinion. My daughter was supposed to be an incoming freshman, and was heading up to register at the school on April 6th, which was supposed to be incoming student day at Mt. Ida. They made the closing announcement on April 5th.
    Marty Meehan, who I believe should have a real estate broker’s license (as he underpaid for the property), had his admissions people contact my daughter after her transcripts were sent by Ida to UMass Amherst (a FERPA violation, which I am still pursuing), and let my daughter know that her major (veterinary) would not be given at any of the UMass schools. No mention was made of her grades or her SAT scores (both of which were stellar, and got her accepted into 6 other schools besides Ida, which she all turned down after choosing Ida, only to find out that the financial aid had dried up at the other schools by the time Mt Ida announced they were closing)
    A year later, and suddenly they were. In spite of that, no one from the college contacted her to inform her of the change. She’s back in school, paying a lot more out of pocket for her education, while Barry Brown enjoys semi retired life, and Marty Meehan has made UMass property rich at the expense of former Mount Ida students, both admitted and incoming.