2024 2024: Senior Appointments in the Provost's Office

2024 2024: Senior Appointments in the Provost's Office
Senior Appointments in the Provost's Office

Provost Ramprasad Balasubramanian announces two leadership appointments in the Provost's Office

Provost Ramprasad Balasubramanian announced two leadership appointments in the Provost's Office that will allow UMass Dartmouth to continue expanding its research program and position the university to take advantage of current and future external opportunities.

In FY23, UMass Dartmouth's sponsored research footprint reached nearly $97 million, received nearly $29 million in new awards, and research expenditures increased by 34% from the prior year, setting an all-time high for the campus at nearly $23 million. In addition to sponsored research, the campus has invested in expanding support for scholarship broadly across all disciplines.

Chief Research Officer

To sustain this strong upward trajectory in our research activity, Dr. Yanlai Chen, Professor of Mathematics and a machine learning researcher, has been appointed as  Chief Research Officer (CRO), effective July 1, 2024.

As CRO, Dr. Chen will provide leadership in advancing the university's research mission by promoting the growth of all research, scholarship, and creative work across the colleges and schools, developing excellent relationships with university stakeholders, government, industry, granting agencies, and other external partners. His scholarly accomplishments, collaborative nature, and vision for growing scholarship make him the ideal candidate to lead the University's research enterprise.

Dr. Chen's research has been continuously supported by the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and Office of Naval Research via UMassD's MUST program. His research interests include numerical analysis and scientific computing, particularly finite element methods, fast algorithms such as reduced basis methods, uncertainty quantification, and design and analysis for machine learning algorithms.

Dr. Chen also cares deeply about the student experience. He led the ACCOMPLISH program to provide a multifaceted financial and social support and contextualized computing-centered educational framework for STEM students to prepare them to compete successfully in graduate school and careers in high-demand fields.

Dr. Chen came to UMass Dartmouth Department of Mathematics in 2010 and currently teaches in the Data Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Applied Science, and Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology programs. Dr. Chen has served as Co-Graduate Program Director of the Engineering and Applied Science PhD program since 2020 and as Co-Director of the Center for Scientific Computing and Data Science Research since 2022. In his capacity as EAS Co-GPD, Dr. Chen oversaw the expansion of the EAS program from 4 to 6 tracks, notably introducing the highly sought-after Machine Learning and Data Science PhD track.

Executive Director of Economic Development and Community Partnerships

In order for UMass Dartmouth to take full advantage of a range of state and federal funding opportunities, the University's efforts to strengthen the economic development of our region must necessarily be closely aligned with the activities of the Office of Research & Innovation. Recent promising developments that illustrate this synergy include:

  • A state appropriation of $8 million to support campus Blue Economy Initiatives;
  • In response to a federal designation of the region as an "Ocean Tech Hub," UMass Dartmouth helped form the Ocean Tech Hub University Consortium and submitted a $10 million proposal with URI and Brown, supported by $3.5 million from the Healey-Driscoll administration.
  • $11.9 million in federal funding to support the Academic Center for the Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind (ARROW), a US Department of Energy National Center of Excellence, an exciting new collaboration led by UMass Amherst.

Dr. Michael Goodman's role as Senior Advisor for Economic Development and Strategic Initiatives will transition to Executive Director of Economic Development and Community Partnerships in the Office of the Provost, effective immediately. The Executive Director will help drive initiatives that position the university for success in areas such Blue Economy initiatives, institutional-level federal and state funding opportunities, "early college" programs, and other strategic initiatives.

Dr. Goodman's expertise in economic development and public policy will help UMass Dartmouth maximize the impact of our economic development activities and attract much-needed investments and resources to our campus. Having served as a Department Chair, Center Director, Senate President, and Acting Provost, Mike also has a unique set of skills that will be highly useful in moving initiatives forward.