DARTMOUTH, Mass. - University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan today announced that Dr. Mark Fuller, a longtime Dean at UMass Amherst's Isenberg School of Management and currently the Vice Chancellor for Advancement at UMass Amherst, will assume the role of Interim Chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on January 19, 2021. Dr. Fuller has spent 12 years in the UMass system, including nine transformative years at Isenberg, which, thanks in part to his leadership, is now ranked as the number one public undergraduate business program in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report.
“UMass Dartmouth is a university to watch, and at this time of an unprecedented public health challenge, proven, passionate leadership is needed to continue this exciting trajectory and provide a world class education to our students,” said President Meehan. “UMass Dartmouth is also the heart of the South Coast region, and Mark Fuller understands the university’s economic impact on the community. I have full confidence that Mark, a longtime leader in the UMass system who values collaboration and partnership, is the right person to lead the campus through this time of transition.”
"As a first-generation, working class student and a young man who was unsure of what he wanted to do with his life, it took the guidance of mentors and hands-on work experience to chart my academic and career pathway. I was fortunate to find both at the University of Arizona, and those experiences very much informed my choice to pursue a career in public higher education," said Dr. Fuller. “I’m inspired by UMass Dartmouth’s mission, energy, and momentum, and I’m honored to step up to serve UMass in a new capacity. I look forward to getting to know the Dartmouth community, and am eager to listen and learn from our students, faculty, and neighbors throughout the South Coast.”
While the broader UMass community continues to pursue its mission amidst a global pandemic, UMass Dartmouth has emerged as a national leader in academia. Distinguished Biology professor Erin Bromage is a frequent contributor to national media on COVID-19, and multiple faculty have teamed up to secure $8.8 million in federal grants for undersea technology research. These more recent successes complement ongoing work, like fisheries science and marine renewable energy in the School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), which has supported the region’s ocean and coastal industries for decades.
UMass Dartmouth students are performing at the highest levels, with nursing students earning a 95 percent pass rate on their licensure exams, demonstrating they have the skills necessary to enter the competitive health care workforce. UMass Law students are also among the top in the Commonwealth for Massachusetts Bar passage which results in supplying communities with high-qualified lawyers. U.S. News & World Report ranked UMass Dartmouth in the top 100 nationally and third in New England on the 2021 Top Performers on its Social Mobility list.
“UMass Dartmouth continues to rise through the national rankings as a competitive institution that offers high-quality academics at a phenomenal value to students and families. We’re thrilled to have someone of Mark Fuller’s caliber prepared to step into this critical role at UMass Dartmouth, and I know Mark is excited to be a part of a campus on the move,” said UMass Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Manning.
The youngest of four boys, Dr. Fuller is a first-generation college graduate. He was raised by a single mother after the death of his father when he was 5 years old. Charlotte Fuller worked to help put her son through school. He also helped pay his own way, working as a cardiac technician, and taking out loans while studying for his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and eventually a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. His experiences in public education – as a student, faculty member, and as an administrator – have shaped his vision for the kinds of services and support that students need to be successful. At UMass Dartmouth, 50 percent of undergraduate students are first-generation, and 41 percent are Pell eligible.
Dr. Fuller assumes the role of Interim Chancellor from Acting Chancellor Mark Preble, who will assist him in the transition and will continue to serve on UMass Dartmouth’s senior leadership team.
“As a longtime member of the UMass community and a UMass Boston alumnus, I believe that our university system is an exceptional source for learning, growth, and innovation for our students, our faculty, and the communities we serve. I have had the honor of serving the university in several different capacities and now I look forward to working closely with Mark as we take on new challenges together,” said Preble.
Like Preble, Dr. Fuller has been with the UMass community for more than a decade. He joined the system in 2009 and has been lauded as a strategic leader who took Isenberg to new heights. During Dr. Fuller’s tenure, Isenberg moved up more than 25 spaces in the U.S. News & World Report rankings and was rated as their top Undergraduate Business Program in the Northeast in 2021.
“I hate to lose an accomplished leader like Mark from our campus, but as a part of the broader UMass team, I know that he will do exceptional work for UMass Dartmouth and I applaud President Meehan on this important selection,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “It has been a privilege to work with Mark and watch him engage students, faculty, alumni, donors, and external partners in transforming our business school, and then in his role as Vice Chancellor. I know he will bring the same collaborative style and strategic thinking to UMass Dartmouth.”
UMass Dartmouth is home to the system’s only law school, boasts a world-class nursing program and has strong programs in both the arts and sciences as well as professional programs such as business and engineering. As he shifts into a campus-wide role, Dr. Fuller said maintaining strong relationships with area business leaders will be critical for many of these programs.
“UMass Dartmouth is a major employer in the region, a talent pipeline for area businesses, and a key partner in the economic development of the South Coast. Mark Fuller has a proven record of working closely with business leaders to build a university community that values the input of industry and ensures that students graduate with the skills they need for the high-wage, high-growth jobs of the future,” said UMass Trustee Stephen Karam, a Principal of the Karam Financial Group in Fall River.
“From my time as a student at UMass Dartmouth to my service as a member of the UMass Board of Trustees, I have seen time and again how special this campus community is and how important UMass is to its students, alumni, and to the community at large,” said UMass Trustee Julie Ramos Gagliardi, a First Vice President of Corporate Giving and Community Relations at BayCoast Bank. “The South Coast needs UMass Dartmouth to be both strong and nimble in these times of challenge, and I know those are qualities that Mark Fuller embodies as a leader.”
After his significant role in the Isenberg School, Dr. Fuller went on to serve as Vice Chancellor for Advancement, where he has been a key player in redesigning UMass Amherst’s Advancement activities, building greater coordination between alumni communications, engagement, and fundraising. Prior to joining the UMass system, Dr. Fuller was a professor and Department Chair at Washington State University for nine years and began his career in academia with eight years at Baylor University.
“As a UMass Dartmouth graduate, I know firsthand the value of a public education and the amazing opportunities that UMass Dartmouth can afford to its students. I’m delighted to see a fellow champion of public education step into this role and offer Mark Fuller my full support and partnership as he leads our campus community into an exciting new chapter,” said former UMass Trustee Maria Furman, a financial analyst.
“I am excited to see that Mark Fuller has the type of pedigree that will fit in quite nicely with the South Coast,” said State Rep. Christopher M. Markey, D-Dartmouth. “His public school experiences and his upbringing allow him to relate very closely with the people of the South Coast. Finally, his professional successes have been extraordinary. I look forward to working with him in growing and serving our university.”
“I want to welcome Mark Fuller and look forward to working with him and his team at UMass Dartmouth to expand educational and economic opportunity throughout the South Coast,” said State Rep. Carole A. Fiola, D-Fall River. “UMass Dartmouth offers hope to students and families of the region and its full and enthusiastic engagement with our schools, non-profit organizations, businesses and communities will be critical to our collective future. Mark’s life experience as a first generation college student and his professional track record will help UMass Dartmouth students and the South Coast reach their full potential.”
Dr. Fuller’s first day as Interim Chancellor will be Tuesday, January 19. Read more about his experience on the UMass Dartmouth website.