BOSTON — The UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Search Committee today recommended Robert E. Johnson, president of Becker College, James P. Lentini, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Oakland University (MI), and Philip K. Way, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at Slippery Rock University, as finalists for the chancellorship to UMass President Marty Meehan.
Meehan will now select one finalist to recommend to the Board of Trustees as the next chancellor of UMass Dartmouth.
"The committee conducted a comprehensive, transparent and inclusive search that has resulted in three exceptional finalists," said Meehan. "This is unquestionably the biggest decision affecting the future of the campus, and the committee has selected strong, experienced leaders who are qualified to take the University to new heights."
R. Norman Peters, a UMass trustee who chaired the search committee, said the committee's goal was to identify passionate candidates who could articulate and realize a vision for UMass Dartmouth that enables the campus to build on its track record of excellence in its educational, research and service endeavors.
"I believe the entire committee was impressed with the quality of the candidates who stepped forward and expressed interest in this position — and that reflects the national and international regard that exists for UMass Dartmouth," Peters said.
The search process
A 16-member committee comprised of students, faculty, alumni, staff, community representatives and members of the UMass Board of Trustees was formed in September 2016 to help select a new chancellor for UMass Dartmouth.
The search committee sought input on the qualifications and characteristics considered important in the new chancellor, advertised the position nationally and retained the Boston-based executive recruitment firm Isaacson, Miller to assist in the search.
As part of the process, the search committee held open public forums at UMass Dartmouth and in Fall River and New Bedford. Peters said the message from those forums was clear: The community wanted a chancellor who was committed to the campus and willing to be fully engaged in the SouthCoast region.
In addition to the public forums, the search committee held five formal business meetings.
Throughout the course of the search process, Isaacson, Miller communicated with 165 prospective candidates, interviewed 40 candidates and presented the credentials of those candidates to the search committee. The committee chose to interview 12 candidates — the interviews were conducted last week in Boston — leading to Wednesday's designation of finalists.
Each of the finalists is expected to meet with President Meehan and the UMass Dartmouth campus community in the coming days.
Full biographies and CVs for the three finalists are available to view at massachusetts.edu/chancellorsearch, which also includes information on how to provide feedback on the candidates.
Search committee thanked for its work
The UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Search Committee was established by the Board of Trustees, and Board Chairman Robert J. Manning thanked the committee for its hard work.
"I'm deeply grateful for the search committee's dedication of time, talent and expertise in selecting an outstanding group of potential leaders for the Dartmouth campus," said Manning.
President Meehan also praised the committee's hard work.
"This process has been a significant investment of time and energy, and I thank everyone on the committee for their efforts," said Meehan.
UMass Dartmouth, the state's only public research university south of Boston, was recently designated as a doctoral level research institution by the national Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and ranked as a top tier university by U.S. News & World Report, making UMass one of the few university systems to have all of its campuses so acclaimed.
With a long tradition of commitment of civic engagement and commitment to the SouthCoast region, UMass Dartmouth is rated among the top 1 percent of universities and colleges nationwide on the President's National Education Honor Roll for Community Service, with students contributing more than 230,000 hours of community service annually.