Boston, MA– The President of the University of Massachusetts school system, Marty Meehan, gave his annual "State of the University" address yesterday at the UMass Club on Beacon Hill. The speech focused on the new plan to create an online college specifically geared towards adult students. In attendance were Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, among other political, business, and university leaders.
During President Marty Meehan’s annual speech, he announced that he would be meeting with senior officials and faculty in the upcoming months to discuss collaboration between all five university campuses to create this new online college. Eventually, Meehan hopes that this online college will expand nationally. So far, the suggested plan would offer degree completion programs and customized credential programs.
After Meehan’s speech, some questioned recent decisions by the University of Massachusetts school systems. According to WCVB - ABC 5 News, attendees asked about UMass Amherst's acquisition of Mount Ida College in Newton and the search for a new chancellor over at UMass Boston. Meehan responded by stating that the Mount Ida College decision helped students and families in a time of crisis and that UMass Boston had an interim chancellor, Chancellor Katherine Newman, for the time being.
Meehan has led the university system since 2015. The speech Meehan gave on Monday may have earned him more support. Meehan stated that as President of the UMass school system, he and his team plan to “play a positive role” as the higher education sector faces lean times in the upcoming years.
For now, the plan does not include a projected budget for the online college. Launching the online learning platform will require the UMass school system to borrow money. The loan is expected to be paid back once the online college starts generating revenue.
Because of this online learning model, Meehan thinks that the five campuses will be in “a better position than most” as the years go on. Meehan went on to state that, “It’s predicted that, over the next several years, four to five national players with strong regional footholds will be established, and we intend to be one of them.” This plan could be the beginning of UMass as a big player in online education.
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