To the University Community:
I hope everybody is enjoying their summer and catching up on whatever rejuvenating activities you choose after another academic year of transforming lives here at the university. As you may expect, my summer has been exciting and hectic as I have been preparing for my first day as Chancellor of this magnificent university.
I have been able to spend my professional life collaborating with talented and interesting students, faculty, and staff at public and private, big and small colleges and universities. Working hand in hand with people like you to build opportunities for students of all ages and incomes, gender identities and political ideologies, races and ethnic origins, and everything in between, has been a labor of love for me.
Today, I begin a new chapter here at UMass Dartmouth with great optimism born from this university's record of advancing its noble mission since 1895. It is an honor for me to join you in this endeavor, and stand with you on the shoulders of so many who have contributed to this institution for generations.
The first day of any adventure is always an exciting mixture of expectations and the unknown -- for the first-year and transfer students who will move into the residence halls this fall and for a new Chancellor. I have spent a lot of time over the last several months learning as much as I can about UMass Dartmouth, both its current state and its history. Here is some of what I have discovered so far:
- Just as thousands of our students overcome obstacles to secure their higher education, UMass Dartmouth faculty and staff have demonstrated an unwavering will to deliver quality education, research, and service despite challenges.
- UMass Dartmouth, born from two textile schools in New Bedford and Fall River, is deeply rooted in the life of the region, and the aspirations of the region are highly dependent on the university's success at serving students at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels.
- While regionally focused, the impact of the university -- through the economic and civic contributions of our alumni and the knowledge creation of our faculty -- is felt and valued across the Commonwealth, nation, and world.
- Faculty are committed to teaching, learning, and research, which enhances our ability to prepare graduates for an agile future. The innovation, intellect, and ingenuity of our faculty position UMass Dartmouth to evolve as a tier-one national research university.
- There is an honest recognition of the complex challenges that UMass Dartmouth, like many universities around the country, face in delivering on our promise of high quality and affordable education with a value proposition that prepares graduates for a hyper-connected world. I see a willingness to try innovative student-centered responses to emerging challenges and opportunities.
Make no mistake though, I still have a lot of listening and learning to do on campus, in the community, and throughout the University of Massachusetts. I look forward to meeting you soon and learning about your own hopes and dreams for UMass Dartmouth. In the meantime, please be sure to connect with me through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's be in touch.
Robert E. Johnson, Chancellor