Page 31 - BusinessWest May 13, 2024
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 Excellence being built at Union Station in Spring- field, or its continued lead- ership in health sciences (at a time when healthcare deals with persistent staff- ing shortages), and HVAC and energy systems (as green energy continues its ascent).
“These are really, really
helpful programs to have
when we map out what
the needs are in the work-
force,” Cook said, noting that STCC’s School of Health will be renovated in a major capital project.
Doran takes a similar approach. “Bay Path has always been workforce- driven. That, again, relates back to lifelong learning — always being responsive to the marketplace, to employers. We started in 1897 as
a business institute, as a reaction
to what was needed in the work- place. That commitment to providing employers with a talented, long pipe- line of potential employees really is a commitment to our region, and our lifelong learners.”
She, like Dumay, stressed the importance of flexible programs adaptable to the needs of non-tradi- tional learners.
“It’s not one size fits all. Personal- ized education is a continuing trend,” Doran said. “We know how important it is for students to feel their college experience is valuable and works for them.”
Reyes said UMass intends to strengthen its role as a public research university in the coming years.
“Fulfilling our role as a premier land-grant public research university will require us to continue to grow our research infrastructure while also expanding opportunities for students across all disciplines and at all levels to engage with research and hands- on learning opportunities,” he said, noting that, in FY 2023, UMass fac- ulty received 1,164 research awards totaling nearly $240 million. “This is tremendous and speaks to the confi- dence in the research that is happen- ing at UMass Amherst and the impact that our faculty have on the common good.”
In the current academic year alone, he noted, the campus became home to the National Science Foun- dation’s Center for Braiding Indig- enous Knowledges and Science and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind, while UMass Amherst became one of just 18 institutions to receive the National Science Foundation’s inaugural Accel- erate Research Translation Award, aimed at translating the research conducted in campus laboratories into tangible solutions to real-world problems.
“We must continue to embrace our
skills, soft skills, and critical-thinking skills that will allow them to thrive in a rapidly changing economy and a rapidly chang- ing world, so that they can succeed and grow in the fields that they choose to be a part of.”
Better Days
Going back to MassReconnect for a moment, Cook noted that community-college enroll-
ment had been on a downward trend in
the Northeast for a while, but for both the fall and spring of the 2023-24 aca- demic year, STCC saw a double-digit increase in enrollment, and he expects that pace to continue.
“We’re not all the way back to pre- pandemic, but we have changed the trend, and we hope to continue to build on that,” he said.
“We’ve been through COVID, which were pretty tough years,” Cook added. “When you combine the momentum of a major capital project and MassRecon- nect and our equity outlook and the fact that we’re the most affordable college in Springfield ... these are wonderful fun- damentals. It’s a great place to be.” BW
 “We’re not all the way back to pre-pandemic, but we have changed the trend, and we hope to continue to build on that.”
role as the primary developer of talent in the Commonwealth while ensur- ing that all of our students — regard- less of their discipline — have the core
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