The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Strategic Plan

In 2021-2022, the College of Social and Behavioral refreshed our 2018-2023 strategic plan. During the Fall term each Department within the College engaged in a reconsideration of its mission, vision, values, and actions steps in light of the pandemic and the emerging nature of social science education and research in their respective fields. Leveraging, these new insights, a team from the College’s Deans Office updated the College-wide plan.

The newly reimagined plan for the College highlights our commitment as social researchers and educators to excellence, access, inclusion, diversity, and innovation. We invite you to read our plan and explore how we intend to realize these ambitions over the next five years.

SBS College Strategic Plan (Spring 2022)

SBS College Strategic Plan (2018-2023)

SBS Departmental Strategic Plans (Spring 2022)


Our research provides Revolutionary solutions to the globe’s most pressing challenges and our teaching prepares and inspires students to make them a reality.


We contribute to building a better Commonwealth, a better country, and a better planet through world-class social science education and research based in our diverse understandings of human behavior, the common good, and how to advance the well-being of all with justice and equity. We do this collaboratively within the College and with our colleagues across the University, melding our diverse experiences, perspectives, and ways of knowing. And we work to assure that every undergraduate and graduate student is able to access the full range of our educational and experiential excellence, regardless of their background or need.


Relevance, Social Progress, Diversity, and Justice. The College is committed to critical inquiry, social progress, diversity, and justice. We strive to make our research and teaching relevant to society’s pressing needs. And we seek to improve the world through rigorous research and engagement with multiple publics. Social science matters.

Student Success. The College guides students in their pursuit of personally meaningful academic, experiential, and professional pathways by providing holistic support in a welcoming, equitable, inclusive, and intellectually invigorating learning environment – from their acceptance at UMass through graduation and beyond. We prepare students to be informed, skilled, and innovative leaders and constructive contributors to their workplaces, communities, and society.

Internationalization. The College advances internationalization efforts by focusing on three distinct but complementary and mutually reinforcing core components: curriculum, faculty, and staff development; international partnerships; and support for area-specific research programs.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The College seeks to build diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities where the voices, experiences, expertise, and cultural values of individual community members – staff, faculty, and students – are embraced and respected. We examine systems and policies for structural racism and inequality in order to remove obstacles and strengthen climate and community bonds.

Commitment to Experimentation and Innovation. The College seeks to listen to student, staff, and faculty needs and to promote and experiment with good ideas, bringing to fruition those that prove their worth through wholistic, evidence-based decision processes.

The SBS Strategic Planning Team

David Cort, Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion & Associate Professor of Sociology
Saulo DePaula, Director of Analytics and Operations
Kathy Forde, Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion & Professor of Journalism
Kelly Gray, Assistant Dean & Executive Director of the SBS Pathways Center
Ray La Raja, Associate Dean for Program Innovation & Professor of Political Science
Jennifer Lundquist, Senior Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development & Professor of Sociology
Lynn Phillips, Senior Associate Dean for Education and Student Development & Senior Lecturer II of Communication
R. Karl Rethemeyer, Dean & Professor of Public Policy
Karen Schoenberger, Senior Assistant Dean