The University of Massachusetts Amherst

News and Announcements

Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Farshid Hajir provides guidance, information, and important reminders regarding operational and regulatory policies and practices related to instruction.

Dear colleagues, 

I am excited to welcome new and returning students to campus this week and to support you in your work with them. Your engagement and contributions are key ingredients to creating the learning culture that will continue to fuel our collective success. I would like to take this opportunity to provide some information and important reminders regarding operational and regulatory policies and practices related to instruction. 

Dear Colleagues,
As we approach the start of a new academic year, I am writing to express my gratitude to you, our faculty, librarians, graduate assistants, staff, and other professionals, for all that you do to advance the mission of academic affairs. Together, I believe that we have made and will continue to make a difference for our campus community, the Commonwealth, and the world. 


In consultation with Provost-elect Serio, I have appointed Jennifer Friedman, associate dean of research and learning in the Libraries, as interim Dean of the Libraries for the month of July, 2022. Prior to joining UMass Amherst Libraries in 2016, Jennifer worked in several different libraries, large and small, academic, public and private. Please join me in welcoming Jennifer as interim Dean of the Libraries.

We are very pleased to announce that Farshid Hajir is the campus’s next Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, filling a position that has been vacant since Carol Barr stepped down at the end of May. Hajir will assume office on June 23.  

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Nathaniel Whitaker, head and professor of mathematics and statistics, as the interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences. He will start on July 18.  

I am pleased to announce that President Meehan recently approved the collective bargaining agreement that was reached between the campus administration and the Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP). The agreement covers the period beginning July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023.

We are pleased to announce the successful recruitment of Nandita Mani as our next Dean of Libraries. She will begin August 1. 

At the end of this semester, I will have completed five years as Provost and a total of 10 years in upper academic administration.  I was appointed Provost for a term of five years, and I have decided not to seek reappointment. My term will end on June 30, 2022. The Chancellor will endeavor to name a new provost as soon as possible, and I will work closely with that person to facilitate as smooth a transition as possible.

I write to you once again to convey my gratitude for all that you have done to support and educate our students under difficult conditions. Yesterday, the Chancellor sent out a message to the campus community on preparations for the Spring semester. I am taking this opportunity to highlight information specific to the in-person teaching taking place on our campus. 

Provost John McCarthy is pleased to announce a new campus-level faculty honor to recognize exceptional achievement (in research or creative activity, and in teaching): the title of "Provost Professor" and an awards package of $12,500. 

I am grateful to each and every one of you for the part you played in helping to keep our campus safe and healthy throughout this past semester. Our return to face-to-face instruction was successful in large part by your individual action such as getting vaccinated, wearing a face mask, and complying with public health protocols. Data from the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) reflects a consistently low rate of positive cases on our campus and that no instructors have tested positive as the result of classroom exposure.