2016 2016: UMass Dartmouth achieves national doctoral research status

2016 2016: UMass Dartmouth achieves national doctoral research status
UMass Dartmouth achieves national doctoral research status

Carnegie designation of only south-of-Boston research university strengthens regional and statewide innovation ecosystem

Genetic research
UMass Dartmouth is the only Bay State research university located south of Boston.

UMass Dartmouth has been officially designated as a doctoral research university, achieving a major milestone for the 9,000-student university and the region. UMass Dartmouth is the only Bay State research university located south of Boston.

"UMass Dartmouth's designation as a doctoral research university is an extremely impressive achievement for the university's faculty and students," University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan said. "From marine science that supports our historic fishing industry and protects our fragile coastline to the study of our economy and global cultures, UMass Dartmouth faculty members are creating and sharing new knowledge that strengthens society and adds tremendous value to the education students receive."

“Achieving national designation as a doctoral research university demonstrates the excellence of our faculty and our university’s unyielding dedication to driving innovation that strengthens the quality of life in our region and across the Commonwealth,” said Provost Mohammad Karim. “We are especially proud that our research faculty engage our undergraduate and graduate students in their work, preparing our students to excel in a rapidly changing society and adding great value to a UMass Dartmouth education.”

UMass Dartmouth received its designation as a “Doctoral University – Higher Research Activity” from the national Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education at the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University. This designation elevates UMass Dartmouth from its previous designation as a Master’s University.

Doctoral University – Higher Research Activity (R2) is the second of three levels for research classifications. UMass Dartmouth joins the following New England research universities with this designation: UMass Boston, UMass Lowell, University of Maine, University of Rhode Island, and University of Vermont.

UMass Dartmouth’s research enterprise has grown from $21.2 million to $28.2 million since 2005, with most of the sponsored research activity in marine science and engineering. The university now offers 12 doctoral programs, and the number of annual PhDs awarded has grown from 3 to 26 since 2010.

In October, the University broke ground on $55 million expansion of its School for Marine Science and Technology in New Bedford and launched its Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Fall River to strengthen the connections between UMass Dartmouth research and regional economic development. UMass Dartmouth researchers have recently secured federal, state and private funding for research related to fisheries management, concussion-preventing materials, health benefits of cranberries, coastal preservation, climate change impacts, transportation system improvements, and other activity that is critical to the economic, social and cultural development of the Commonwealth.

In addition, UMass Dartmouth researchers have emerged as national and statewide experts on the economy, social networking, global terrorism, community health, the Portuguese-American experience, the law, and other issues.

UMass Dartmouth has engaged undergraduate students in research as a strategy to enhance their education. The University’s Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) connects undergraduate students with research faculty. The work of undergraduate researchers has been included in national publications and has been recognized at national conferences, including Radienxe "Ray" Bautista, a 2015 BS graduate in Electrical Engineering, who won a Student Best Paper award for his presentation "Testing spatial co-prime sampling theory" at the 169th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

In 2008, the Carnegie Foundation designated UMass Dartmouth as a “community engaged” university. UMass Dartmouth students annually contribute more than 200,000 hours of service valued at more than $5 million to the community through a combination of volunteer, class-based service learning. The School of Law alone has contributed more than 50,000 hours over the last five years.

About the Carnegie Classification system

The Carnegie Classification has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four and a half decades. Starting in 1970, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed a classification of colleges and universities to support its program of research and policy analysis. Derived from empirical data on colleges and universities, the Carnegie Classification was originally published in 1973, and subsequently updated in 1976, 1987, 1994, 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015 to reflect changes among colleges and universities. This framework has been widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences, and also in the design of research studies to ensure adequate representation of sampled institutions, students, or faculty.

UMass Dartmouth research highlights


The School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) broke ground on a $55 million, 76,000 square foot facility in collaboration with the state Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) to create major marine science hub in New Bedford. SMAST research includes fisheries habitat management, coastal preservation, and climate change. UMass Dartmouth recently hosted the Global Awareness Education and Action (GAEA) Summit focusing on the impacts of climate change on southeastern Massachusetts.

Drs. Yong Kim and Armand Lewis (Engineering) are developing concussion-preventing materials for use in athletic and military gear and just received $250,000 in funding through a partnership of the National Football League, Under Armour, General Electric, and the National Institute of Standards & Technology.

Dr. Sigal Gottlieb (Mathematics) received funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to improve the design of airplanes.

Dr. Gaurav Khanna (Physics) and his research team received national attention for discovering that PlayStation 3 (PS3) technology could be configured into supercomputers that reduce the cost of scientific discovery. Dr. Khanna is now examining potential uses for cell phone technology.

Dr. Jennifer Koop (Biology) is a co-author of a study that documents the threat of extinction for Darwin’s famed finches in the Galapagos Islands.

Dr. Amit Tandon (Engineering) recently completed an Office of Naval Research-sponsored expedition to the Indian Ocean that brought together 50 scientists from the U.S. and India to study the conditions that create monsoons, which affect weather around the globe.

Dr. Honggang Wang (Engineering) received four National Science Foundation (NSF) grants in 2014 in the amount of $900,227 for research related to wireless networks, including the design of a wearable body sensor system for premature infants.

Dr. Vanni Bucci (Biology) is collaborating with colleagues at the UMass Medical School developing mathematical models to predict which treatments may be most effective for enteric diseasesand prototyping probiotic cocktails that could be used as a substitute for antibiotic treatment.

Dr. Catherine Neto (Chemistry/Biochemistry) latest research has found that feeding cranberry extracts to mice with colon cancer resulted in diminished size and number of tumors.

Dr. Patrick Cappillino (Chemistry/Biochemistry ) is one of three researchers selected as a Electrochemical Society Toyota Young Investigator Fellow this past year for his work in green energy technology.

Electrical and computer engineering graduate student Daniel Noyes was one of two winners at the Advanced Cyber Security Center’s (ACSC) New England cyber security conference in November. The other winner was from Dartmouth College.


The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Fall River has been launched to strengthen the connections between UMass Dartmouth research and regional economic development.

Dr. Nora Barnes (Marketing) has been tracking Fortune 500 companies’ use of social networking for many years and has emerged as the leading source of trend data for national media.

The Charlton College of Business faculty such as Dr. Daniel Braha (complex networks) and Dr. Laura Forker (supply chain management) are conducting and sharing research that helps make business operations more efficient.

Charlton College of Business faculty and graduate students and the newly relaunched SouthCoast Development Partnership are conducting a study to identify opportunities and challenges to developing market rate housing in urban centers within the SouthCoast.

The School of Law, the only public law school in Massachusetts, has engaged in research that examines major legal issues such as marriage equality, mental health, and use of drones. Professor Margaret Drew (Law) and Dr. Caitlin Stover (Nursing) are assessing the unmet legal, medical and other needs of HIV-positive individuals living on the SouthCoast.

UMass Law launched Justice Bridge, one of the first law practice incubators of its kind to test new methods for making legal representation more affordable and accessible.

Humanities/Social Sciences/Fine Arts

The university houses  one of the nation's most active research programs related to the literary and cultural history of the Portuguese-speaking world, including the PhD in Luso-Afro-Brazilian Studies and Theory, the Ferreira Mendes Portuguese-American Archives and Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies, a peer-reviewed journal. This month Professor Christopher Larkosh will attend a UMass-Dartmouth sponsored symposium in Goa on the culture, language and literature of the former Portuguese colony that is now a state in India.

The Public Policy Center has emerged as a leading provider of research and analysis related to the economy. Dr. Michael Goodman is a leading expert on the state of the Massachusetts economy while Dr. Nikolay Anguelov published three books in the last year, including The Dirty Side of the Garment Industry: Fast Fashion and its Negative Impact on Environment and Society. Dr. Chad McGuire has published extensively on environmental policy.

Dr. Brian Glyn Williams (History) is a leading expert on the culture and history of the Middle East. He is finishing up a four-book examination of U.S. involvement in the region and has served as a consultant to the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center and Army's Information Operations Command in Afghanistan.

Dr. Pamela Karimi (Art History) is part of an international preservation project to 3D-print priceless artifacts destroyed by ISIS.

Dr. Thomas Stubblefield (Art History) is winner of a national award for 9/11 and the Visual Culture of Disaster, a book that looks at how it shaped the arts and culture in the post-9/11.

Dr. Timothy Walker (History) and Director of the SouthCoast Education Compact Lee Blake oversaw the workshop Sailing to Freedom: New Bedford and the Underground Railroad. The workshop, awarded a grant of $170,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities, brought together 80 teachers from across the U.S. to study the Underground Railroad and the maritime industry in the antebellum period.

The Department of Educational Leadership assumes a leading role both nationally and internationally in preparing a new generation of education leaders and policy analysts. Seven education leaders earned their PhD from this program in 2015.

Dr. Sheila Macrine (STEM Education & Teacher Development) received the 1st Prize Award for "Best Research in Social Science, Arts and Humanities" at the 2014 Qatar Foundation International Annual Research Conference (ARC'14). Dr. Macrine earned the research excellence award for her recent work on adapting a developmental assessment tool for Arabic speaking children who are blind or visually impaired.