Feature Stories 2017: Year in Review: 2017

The campus quad at sunset - campus quad renovations
The newly renovated campus quad at sunset.
Feature Stories 2017: Year in Review: 2017
Year in Review: 2017

Top news stories

UMassD welcomes a new chancellor

Robert E. Johnson was named Chancellor by a unanimous vote of the UMass Board of Trustees in March. Hailed as a visionary leader with a demonstrated commitment to innovation, academic excellence, and the transformative power of higher education, Dr. Johnson began his new position on July 1. 

National ranking on the rise 

U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings indicated that UMass Dartmouth had moved up in its standings as a Tier 1 national university. After achieving Tier 1 status for the first time last year, UMassD moved up from 220 to 207. 

Alumnus in space 

Astronaut Captain Scott Tingle '87 has been selected by NASA to spend four months on the International Space Station, where the crew will conduct research and technology investigations that would not be possible on Earth. Tingle’s journey began with lift-off on December 17.

Dr. Robert E. Johnson talking with students at the Claire T. Carney Library
Chancellor Johnson began his new position on July 1.

Building toward success

The School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) officially opened a new $55 million, 64,000-square-foot marine science facility, tripling UMassD’s marine science presence in New Bedford.

Charlton College of Business celebrated the opening of its Technology Center, featuring Bloomberg Trading Terminals that help students develop analytical skills and prepare for the employment marketplace. The center is at the heart of the college's new Learning Pavilion.

Students celebrated the completion of campus quad renovations with s’mores at sunset. New walkways, lighting, seating, and an outdoor fire-pit make the quad the perfect gathering place. 

Ribbon cutting for the new SMAST East Building - School for Marine Science & Technology
SMAST East ribbon cutting on September 29.

Innovative research 

Professor Shakhnoza Kayumova, Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education, received a $778,770 National Science Foundation grant to help address the need for English-language learners to study science. The project is funded through the prestigious CAREER Award for Faculty Early Career Development.  

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Professor Lamya Karim $616,170 to study how Type 2 diabetes increases risk of bone fractures. The largest ever NIH grant to UMass Dartmouth will help Prof. Karim and her bioengineering team to investigate diabetes-related skeletal fragility to improve prevention and management. 

The National Science Foundation awarded Dr. Walter Stroup (STEM Education and Teacher Development) a $457,755 grant to develop new strategies for teachers to motivate students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Two faculty members won Fulbright awards to conduct research around the globe. Dr. Robin Robinson is studying the underreporting of sexual violence in Hungary. Dr. Amit Tandon is studying monsoons over the Indian Ocean, which will have a direct impact on improving multi-week weather forecasting across the globe.

Deepwater Wind has committed $1 million to establish a Blue Economy Initiative—to be led by SMAST and the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute—to explore how offshore wind farms can coexist with other ocean-based industries. 

The Cranberry Health Research Center, directed by Professor Catherine Neto, received $250,000 to advance research into cancer-fighting compounds of cranberries 

“Black Spaces Matter: Exploring the Aesthetics and Architectonics of an Abolitionist Neighborhood” has been featured at the McCormick Gallery in Boston. Art history professor Pamela Karimi was the lead curator for the exhibit, which showcases a New Bedford abolitionist neighborhood.

Leading the way 

In October, Eric Mitnick was named Dean of UMass Law—after leading the Commonwealth’s only public law school to American Bar Association accreditation while serving as interim dean. UMass Law’s bar pass rate has risen and is now fifth among eight Massachusetts law schools. 

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education approved a new Integrative Biology doctoral program, adding another innovation economy asset to the SouthCoast region and positioning the area to capitalize on the state’s life science industry strengths. 

The bioengineering, civil, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering programs in the college of engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org.

The national NAACP approved a student chapter at UMass Dartmouth, one of the few student chapters in New England.