A critical element of the UMass Boston Brand Manual is a set of five “key messages” about distinctive features and qualities of the university that are particularly valuable to its constituencies and, taken together, make UMass Boston stand out among its competitors.
Below you can find the message statements, together with information about activities and accomplishments that give substance to the messages. This material will be refreshed and enhanced at intervals. If you are using the messages to make a case for UMass Boston among potential friends of the university, do not hesitate to draw upon it to support your points—or to add compelling examples from your own experience.
UMass Boston is a major academic enterprise—a research university with strong doctoral and master’s degree programs, a full range of opportunities for undergraduates, highly regarded research centers, and a history of bringing intellectual resources to bear on issues of public concern, particularly through interdisciplinary research focused on complex urban problems. Graduate enrollment has grown, and research funding has dramatically increased, particularly in the social sciences. The university expects these trends to continue.
Some Supporting Points
- In fiscal year 2009, grant and sponsored program awards to UMass Boston were $42.5 million. The amount of research funding attracted by the university has more than doubled since fiscal year 2001.
- Among the major grants were $8.2 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for improving the integration of natural and social science with ocean management; $7.4 million from the National Institutes of Health for addressing health and healthcare disparities through an exploratory center dedicated to community-based participatory research; $2.6 million from the National Science Foundation to continue leading the Boston Science Partnership, which works to raise student science achievement in public schools; and $1.6 million from the United States Agency for International Development to improve the quality of justice in China through enhanced judicial education.
- The Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index currently has ranked UMass Boston fourteenth among the top “smaller research universities” in the United States. The index bases its rankings on the number of books and journal articles published by each institution’s faculty, along with journal citations, awards, honors, and grants.
- UMass Boston graduate students can pursue PhD or EdD degrees in 14 programs and master’s degrees or graduate certificates in nearly 60 more. Total graduate enrollment in fall 2009 was 3,871 (out of 14,912). Undergraduates can choose from over 120 majors, minors, and other programs of study.
UMass Boston is “a research university with a teaching soul.” As its academic reputation grows, it steadfastly delivers a student-centered education that is not commonly associated with major public universities. Faculty members have strong research and publishing credentials, but teaching is a key priority for all faculty. And UMass Boston students have daily access to faculty, since most teaching happens in small classrooms—not giant lecture halls.
Some Supporting Points
- The university’s commitment to teaching could not be plainer. As Chancellor Motley has said, "all too often a focus on research comes at the expense of teaching, a lessening of the undergraduate educational experience. A single-minded focus on publication and grantsmanship without regard for the equally important roles of teaching and service is self-defeating." He speaks of "helping to transform individuals through an education focused not only on job skills, but also on human development," and he regularly refers to UMass Boston as the "student-centered, urban public research university of the new century."
- In its most recent accreditation report, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges commends UMass Boston for its “extraordinarily dedicated faculty who are committed to providing excellence in education for students at all levels” and are “overwhelmingly devoted to their students both in and out of the classrooms.”
- Most classrooms on the UMass Boston campus were deliberately designed for smaller classes. Some 93% of undergraduate classes have fewer than 40 students in them, and 70% have fewer than 30.
- For more than 25 years, UMass Boston’s Center for the Improvement of teaching has engaged faculty, staff, and students through faculty development seminars, public forums, student-faculty dialogues and conferences, faculty peer mentoring, and the promotion of scholarship on diversity, learning, and teaching. Its events and publications attract interest from well beyond the campus.
UMass Boston’s urban location is a key part of the student experience. Attending an institution in a leading city with a high density of colleges and universities adds a level of energy, creativity, culture, sophistication, diversity, and complexity to the student experience that isn’t found in suburban or rural institutions. The city is the source of many internship, employment, community service, and research opportunities for students. Finally, living in an urban environment helps UMass Boston students understand their roles as citizens in actively engaging with the complex issues they encounter.
Some Supporting Points
- Boston—with a well-deserved reputation as “America’s favorite college town”—is rich in opportunities for learning, entertainment, and employment. The UMass Boston campus is minutes from downtown on public transportation.
- Many UMass Boston students hold internships and pursue research and service activities at local organizations from financial enterprises to museums and community agencies. The university’s Internship Program and Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement both help to make these connections, as do academic departments and faculty members.
- UMass Boston students are often taught by faculty members who are deeply engaged with urban issues and involve students in their research.
- The university’s numerous partnerships with local organizations offer channels for students into civic life and work. Examples include clinical placements for nursing students in area hospitals and teaching practica for education students in nearby public schools.
UMass Boston is Boston’s only public university. While Boston is attractive to many consumers of expensive private higher education, only UMass Boston is unequivocally committed to meeting the needs of students who want high-quality, university-level education that is also accessible, convenient, and affordable, in the extraordinary educational environment Boston has to offer.
Some Supporting Points
- Over the last five years, enrollment at UMass Boston has grown from 11,682 to 14,912, suggesting the value students and their families are finding in a UMass Boston education.
- Current full-time mandatory tuition and fees per year for Massachusetts residents typically total $10,621 (undergraduates) or $11,987 (graduate students).
- Over the last five years, scholarship and grant aid awarded to undergraduates from all sources has risen from $16,472,562 to $28,336,925. The university's own share of this has risen from 27% to 39%. Currently total financial aid to undergraduates meets over 94% of need.
- UMass Boston attracts a truly representative student population, from all backgrounds and walks of life. Its diversity has continued to increase along with steady increases in admission standards. Over 50% of freshmen are first-generation college students (neither parent graduated from college). Between 30% and 40% of undergraduates speak languages other than English at home, and 42% are people of color.
Since its founding, UMass Boston has chosen to actively engage with and serve its community. It does this through academic programs, from nursing and education to management and computer science, which benefit all members of society. It does this through research that develops new models for dealing with complex urban issues and then works closely with community and governmental organizations to apply them. And it does this by leveraging the diversity of its student body and faculty to increase discovery, creativity, and innovation. The urban environment is the environment of the future, and UMass Boston is confidently at home in this environment, enriching its quality and, at the same time, drawing life and strength from it.
Some Supporting Points
- UMass Boston has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as one of only 62 institutions recognized for outreach and partnerships and for curricular community engagement.
- Over 90% of UMass Boston students are from Massachusetts, and over 75%% of alumni remain in Massachusetts, where they contribute to the economy and civic life of the Commonwealth.
- In addition to applied research which addresses policy needs of the Boston area and the state, the university’s outreach includes numerous partnerships with such organizations as the Dorchester Education Complex, the Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Consortium, and Children’s Hospital.
- Recent characteristic UMass Boston initiatives include Commonwealth Compact, which works with Massachusetts businesses and other organizations to make Greater Boston a desired destination for people of color, immigrants, and women, in the belief that their contributions will be vital to the region’s social and economic future.
- UMass Boston currently offers two undergraduate and eleven graduate programs online, as well as 33 credit and non-credit certificate programs in a combination of on-ground and online formats to the corporate and professional community. Numerous individual courses are also offered online.