Dean and two associates resign from UMass College of Education

Last modified: Thursday, February 11, 2016
AMHERST — Three top officials at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Education are all resigning, and there has been no public explanation for their departures.

Dean Christine McCormick, who has held that role since 2005, as well as associate deans Joseph Berger and Linda Griffin, have all announced they will leave the college, according to an announcement last month by UMass Provost Katherine Newman.

Deputy Chancellor Robert Feldman, who was planning to retire, agreed to postpone retirement to serve as interim dean, temporarily replacing McCormick, according to an announcement Tuesday by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.

“It is particularly important to the campus that the College of Education maintain stability and forward momentum as we commence a national search for a new dean,” he said.

In her January announcement, Newman said Berger would continue as director of the Center for International Education.

The timing of the switch and of finding a more permanent replacement has not yet been determined, according to UMass spokesman Edward Blaguszewski.

McCormick, Griffin and Berger did not immediately return calls or emails seeking comment.

Newman’s statement did not say why the three administrators are leaving at the same time. Newman did say in her statement, “The goal is to foster a climate that engages all of the college’s constituencies in making it an attractive environment for retaining faculty and staff and for recruiting a new leader who will come to us out of a national search.”

Newman listed McCormick’s achievements as developing a college-wide policy that reduced teaching assignments for faculty engaged in research so that it is more in line with other research institutions, as well as developing an internal grant program that supports promising faculty research.

Newman added that there has been an increase in fellowships, travel opportunities and funded research experience for graduate students and a new doctoral program at the college during McCormick’s 11-year tenure as dean. Scholarships have doubled over the same period and the college received two successful accreditation reviews, Newman said.

“I point to these achievements not only to recognize the outgoing leadership’s devotion to the college, but to point simultaneously to the extraordinary talent of the faculty and the staff,” Newman added.

Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at deisen@gazettenet.com.