Members of the Student Affairs staff are here to assist and support you through your years at UMass Dartmouth.
We hope to see you at campus activities, invite you to share your experiences, and encourage you to get involved in the life of the UMass Dartmouth campus—whether through student organizations, athletics, committees, student government, internships, service or many other learning opportunities.
Meet the staff
Dr. Shannon M. Finning
Office: Campus Center Room 224
Dr. Shannon M. Finning joined the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth community as vice chancellor for student affairs in July 2018. An accomplished educator with more than 20 years of student affairs experience, in this role she will report to the Chancellor and serve as a members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet, and oversees a comprehensive Student Affairs organization with a $40 million annual budget and is responsible for division-wide strategic planning, assessment, and staff development. Dr. Finning and her team will promote an engaged and healthy campus environment through services, programs, and innovative learning experiences beyond the classroom; encourage a strong sense of community among students, faculty, and staff with an emphasis on diversity and civic engagement; and foster strong partnerships, particularly with the Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs to promote student success. She will provide leadership, advocacy and support to the departments in the Division: Career Development Center, Center for Access and Success, Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality, Police Department, Counseling Center, Frederick Douglass Unity House, Health Services, Housing and Residential Education, LiveWell/Health Education, Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, Student Activities Involvement and Leadership, and Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution
Prior to joining the UMass Dartmouth community, Dr. Finning served as vice president for student affairs at Springfield College where she provided visionary leadership for a division comprised of alcohol and other drug education, campus recreation, career center, community standards, counseling center, dean of students, health center, housing and residence life, service and leadership, spiritual life, and student activities and campus union. During her tenure at Springfield, Shannon spearheaded a program review for orientation and transition programs, initiated and chaired a College-wide task force on alcohol and other drugs, completed a complete review of the community standards process, and worked with a team of students, faculty and staff to develop and implement a Division-wide strategic plan. Prior to joining the Springfield community, Shannon served as the associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Clemson University (SC) and as associate dean and then dean of student affairs at Babson College (MA) and previously held progressively responsible positions in student affairs administration, career services, student conduct, student activities, new student programs, assessment and admissions at public and private institutions including Drexel University (PA), Clemson University (SC), Bryant University (RI) and Bridgewater State University (MA).
Shannon earned a bachelor's degree in communication from Bryant University (RI), a master's degree in counseling (student affairs) from Bridgewater State University (MA) and a doctor of philosophy degree in educational leadership (higher education) from Clemson University (SC) and is a graduate of the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management program. A staunch advocate for student engagement, success, and retention initiatives, her research interests include retention and success programs for new students, sophomores, and underrepresented student populations and veteran student services. Shannon resides in Mattapoisett with her husband, Michael, 5.5 year old son, James, and two miniature English bulldogs, Sully and Lola – all of whom are excited to join the Corsair Family!
Ms. Cynthia Cummings
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Office: Campus Center Room 221
Ms.Cynthia Cummings assumed the position of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UMass Dartmouth in July, 2008. Prior to that time, she worked at the University of Delaware for 25 years, where she served in various capacities, culminating in the position of Associate Vice President for Campus Life.
Ms. Cummings holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French Language and Literature and a Masters of Science Degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Indiana University, Bloomington. She has extensive experience in college and university residential education, college student rights and responsibilities, and student-related crisis management. She has served as a consultant to higher education institutions, public school systems, and community organizations on issues of diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion.
Ms. Cummings is an avid fan of opera and jazz, a collector of contemporary art and craft, an intrepid traveler, and a dog lover.
Interim Director of Student Care and Advocacy
Office: Campus Center Room 224B
Cathy Cocks has been a student affairs professional for over thirty years. Cathy was the Director of Community Standards for the University of Connecticut for over 13 years. She oversaw and managed the student conduct process and behavioral intervention programs for the University. She was also the chair of the Student Care Team. Prior to that, she held several positions within Residential Life at the University of Connecticut and at Roger Williams University.
She is also a faculty member for ASCA’s Donald D. Gehring Academy. She was the 2015 recipient of ASCA’s Donald D. Gehring Award. She is a past recipient of the NASPA Region I Mid-Level Student Affairs Professional Award and the NASPA Region I Continuous Service Award.
She served in a variety of roles in the University’s Higher Education and Student Affairs Master’s program which included teaching “The Law, Ethics, and Decision-Making in Student Affairs”.
She earned her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Connecticut and Bachelor’s degree in Communications/Media from Fitchburg State University.
Ms. Ann Valentino
Specialized Administrative Assistant
Office: Campus Center Room 221
Ms. Valentino joined the Student Affairs Staff in 2004. She provides clerical and administrative support for Dr. Shannon M. Finning, the Vice Chancellor.
Ms. Valentino has worked at the UMass Dartmouth since 1992. She previously worked in the Purchasing/Telecommunication Departments. Ann is the mother of three sons and spends her free time with her 3 granddaughters.
Administrative Assistant II
Karen joined the Student Affairs Staff in 2017. She provides clerical and administrative support for Cynthia Cummings, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Catherine Cocks, the Interim Director of Student Care and Advocacy.
Karen is a proud alumni from the Class of 1990, wife of Tony Pimentel, another proud alumni from the Class of 1990 and mother of Jarod and Emma. Karen is thrilled to have returned back to the University after years of professional experience to support the Orientation program and Student Affairs Office. Orientation holds a special place in Karen's college experience, it's where she met Tony.