One key indicator that sets top-flight universities apart is a high level of funding. In the 12-month period ending in the fall of 2003, the University of Massachusetts Amherst received a record number of research dollars—more than 100 million, including $40 million to underwrite the development of revolutionary technology to provide weather forecasts and warnings of unprecedented speed and accuracy.
Then there’s the tracking of individuals and departments by their output of “hot research papers”—those cited most frequently by other scholars and scientists. On that count Science Watch, the newsletter of the Institute for Scientific Information, included in its 2002 rankings more than 400 UMass Amherst scientists, engineers, and scholars among the top 1 percent. Two members of the faculty of the Department of Geosciences, Distinguished Professor Raymond Bradley and Assistant Professor Michael E. Mann, have written one of the most frequently cited scientific papers on global warming.
Such rankings don’t tell the whole story, of course. Other data, such as how many graduates join the Peace Corps (in our case, more than from any other of the 75 New England institutions the agency taps) or become teachers or nurses, also reveal much. With that in mind, we offer the following selection of recent news items.