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UMass Dartmouth discontinuing 8 sports programs, closing PP center, announces new Dean



UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson announced today the decision to discontinue eight intercollegiate athletic programs, effective immediately.

The programs include women’s equestrian, men’s golf, men’s lacrosse, co-ed sailing, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s tennis. The University is committed to providing support and advising to the 94 affected students.

“Although these changes will serve UMass Dartmouth Athletics and its student body well for years to come, I cannot begin to imagine the sense of loss our student-athletes must feel at this moment. I want them to know that this decision in no way reflects their tremendous contribution to our University,” said Chancellor Robert E. Johnson. “It is because of these contributions – not just on the field – but in the classrooms, labs, and in the community that makes our student-athletes such valuable members of our community.”

The decision came after multiple reviews over the past decade of the UMass Dartmouth intercollegiate athletics program to formulate a long-term strategic plan that would provide the best possible competitive and co-curricular experiences for our student-athletes. The reviews analyzed major aspects of the current Department of Athletics & Recreation structure, including available resources, gender equity, enrollment, full-time/part-time coaches, sports sponsorship trends, facilities, as well as strengths and weaknesses of programs.

“Though the review and subsequent actions taken on the future of intercollegiate athletics was needed, I am deeply saddened by having to discontinue sponsorship of these programs,” said Athletic Director Amanda Van Voorhis. “The implementation of this action now will allow our department to work within a sustainable financial model going forward, and we will continue to provide the best possible experience for our student-athletes.”

The savings realized because of these changes will be allocated strategically within the Department of Athletics & Recreation and reinvested in the remaining 17 athletic programs. It should be noted this process began before COVID-19 and is in no way related to the current health crisis.

“We realize how difficult this decision is, but I want to reaffirm our commitment to athletics and student-athletes at UMass Dartmouth. This is not a cost-cutting measure, it is a re-allocation of resources within Athletics for future success,” said David Gingerella, Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance. “In the end, the University believes this will set a course for intercollegiate athletics going forward that is similar and consistent with our peer institutions.”

UMass Dartmouth will continue to sponsor the remaining 17 intercollegiate programs – eight men’s sports and nine women’s sports – as members of the Little East Conference, while both the football and ice hockey programs will remain as affiliate members of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference.

UMass Dartmouth also announced that the Public Policy Center (PPC) at UMass Dartmouth will close effective July 1, 2020. The announcement comes as the University prepares for the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on Fiscal Year 2021, which begins on July 1, 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, besides causing untold damage to the lives and livelihoods of our society, has greatly affected our University and is causing ongoing financial ramifications that we are doing our best to address so that we can protect the health of our community while offering a quality educational experience. Unfortunately, difficult decisions must be made to ensure the stability of UMass Dartmouth,” said Chancellor Robert E. Johnson. “I want to thank Professor Michael Goodman for his hard work and leadership, and David Borges for his 23 years of dedicated and distinguished service to our campus and community. I also want to thank the entire PPC team including Michael McCarthy and Jodie Beksha-Tinsley for their commitment to the Center.”

Also, on July 1, 2020, UMass Dartmouth will welcome John A. Williams, Ph.D., as the Dean of the Charlton College of Business.

Williams most recently served as Dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of New Orleans, a position he held since 2013. Before joining the University of New Orleans, he served as Director of the Department of Hotel, Restaurant, Institution Management & Dietetics at Kansas State University and as the Coordinator of the Undergraduate Program at Virginia Tech.

Williams has published numerous journal articles in the human resource area with a primary research concentration on the success, plateau, and derailment of managers. He has coordinated and sponsored annual research seminars featuring national experts to provide vital information for the economic growth of New Orleans. Many of his funded research studies have focused on the assessment of resiliency and transformational change following Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill in the greater New Orleans area. Since Katrina, he has raised over $550,000 in scholarship funding, $2.5 million in sponsored grants, and over $2.6 million in external funding.

Williams is past President of the Southwestern Business Deans Association and serves on editorial boards of Tourism Analysis, European Journal of Tourism Research, and Advances in Hospitality and Leisure. Since 2012, he has served on multiple AACSB International visitation teams. He received his Ph.D., Master of Science, and Bachelor of Science from Pennsylvania State University.

As Dean of the Charlton College of Business, Williams will be at the helm of an AACSB-accredited college, which ranks among the nation’s most prestigious business schools.

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