Dean’s Message

Ira Jackson, Dean of John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies



Embrace change and make it our own.

Read the dean's comments from our June newsletter, The McCormack Impact


Dear Colleagues and Friends of the McCormack Graduate School,    

As you may know, I joined the college in January 2013. Each day I discover more about the range and depth of talent in our faculty, students, staff, alumni, centers, and programs. I continue to be inspired by the passion and commitment to excellence, inclusion, and impact that I experience throughout the McCormack Graduate School. People ask me how I like it here and I reply to one and all: I love it here!

Located in one of the world's leading cities for history and politics, ideas and innovation, the McCormack School is the "go-to" school for policy and global studies. Locally and globally, the McCormack School is making a difference and helping to create the future, today.

Allow me to give you a little history on our namesake. John W. McCormack was a member of Congress for 40+ years and Speaker of the House for nearly a decade. Born in 1891, he grew up in extreme poverty in South Boston, where he and his mother and siblings lived in at least eight different apartments in the first dozen years of his life, staying just one step ahead of the eviction notices. Four of McCormack’s siblings died of tuberculosis, a disease of the urban poor. He had to drop out of school in the 8th grade to support his mom and the surviving kids.

McCormack later studied law on his own and passed the Massachusetts bar exam in 1913. When he got to Congress, he was a legislative giant but never forgot where he came. He was instrumental in the passage of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. In a legislative lifetime that spanned the New Deal and the Great Society, John W. McCormack remained deeply, fiercely committed to the urban poor and to social justice.

I have a sense that he would be beaming today to see the school named in his honor preserving and refreshing his legacy with the extraordinary scholarship and service activities impacting local and global communities.

Like me, the more you get to know the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, the more you will recognize our values-driven commitment to make a difference. Please join me in making connections, getting involved, and spreading the word!

Ira. A. Jackson, Dean

Dean Jackson comments on lagging Massachusetts economy

Check out this Boston Globe article about measures of prosperity and the dean's thoughts on inequality in the state. Read More 

Special Advisory Commission on Public Officials' Compensation

Jackson chaired this study on salaries for the governor and other public leaders and submitted a final report and legislative recommendations in December. Read More 

Why UMass Boston?

UMass Boston alumna Pam Trefler with a student

Pam Trefler

College of Liberal Arts, BA English, 1993

“The quality of the teaching was outstanding.”

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