#UMassDBelieves Faculty and Staff Contributions

Watch our video, “The Value of a Liberal Arts Degree,” and then take some time to be inspired by the thoughtful contributions from faculty and staff posted below.

The Power of Failure, Shannon Finning, Student Affairs


I believe in the positively transformational power of failure. I have learned more from the failures in my life – both professional and personal – than I have learned from the successes, even when taken in aggregate. As a mother, I fail on a daily basis – feel free to ask my 6 year old son James about my failures when you meet him, he will be delighted to share them with you. I also fail, albeit less frequently, as an educator, a wife, a daughter, a friend and a colleague. Continue reading

The Way Home, Professor Eli Evans

“The way home” | ELI EVANS, Professor of ENGLISH, 2018

In a chapter of his book The Century, first published in English translation in 2007, the philosopher Alain Badiou resurrects the ancient Greek soldier and writer Xenophon’s most famous work, Anabasis. In regards to this tale of a band of some 10,000 Greek mercenaries who after the death of their employer and their leaders must find their way back to safety amongst the Greek cities lining the shores of the Black Sea, Badiou writes: “Their march through Persia, toward the sea, follows no pre-existing path and corresponds to no previous orientation. It cannot even be a straightforward return home, since it invents its path without knowing whether it really is the path of return. Anabasis is thus the free invention of a wandering that will have been a return, a return that did not exist as a return-route prior to the wandering.”

Continue reading

The Power of a Smile, Kristin McGillicuddy, Planning and Administration


I am a big fan of quotes and fun phrases. At my desk, you will find sticky notes in various(11) K R I S T I N _ M C G I L L I C U D D Y _ LinkedInplaces, holding words of wisdom to catch my eye at just the right time to provide needed encouragement. It’s a big reason why I enjoy Facebook – the quotes posted by friends can be inspirational, motivational or just plain funny. I look for books of quotes, and I add quotes to all my presentations in and out of the classroom.

My favorite quote?  There are so many good ones!  But I do have one that stands out above the rest. It’s amazingly simple, but so powerful. And, I think it could be helpful to you as you embark on your journey here, at UMassD.

At all times and in all places, always be the first to smile.

Smiling is pleasant. We like to see it and we like to do it. But did you know there is strong scientific backing to the power of smiling, and many research studies that prove its power?

Continue reading

I Believe In Art, Professor Eric Casero

“I believe in art” | eric casero, Professor of English, 2018

I believe that the arts have the power to change our lives by developing emotional connections between people. While this belief has been shaped by many experiences and people throughout my life, one of the most important factors was a college English professor who taught me about the work of the writer James Joyce.

As a high school student, I didn’t like to read all that much. Sure, I could pass my college English classes without much trouble, but I often skipped reading assignments, and I never picked up a book outside of class assignments.

My attitude started to change when I took a class with this professor. I especially remember one class when he played a cassette tape (these were the days before YouTube existed!) of the author reading from his novel Finnegans Wake. Continue reading

I Believe… In Real Life, Professor Katherine DeLuca


I believe that the lives we live online matter to the lives we live offline. The words, thekatie deluca memes, the videos—all of the texts and forms of communication that shape our multimodal experiences and everyday literacies have impacts on our lives that extend beyond the 280 characters of a tweet, the caption of an Instagram photo, or the number of seconds set for friends to view a snap.

I believe we sometimes forget how much our online lives and offline lives intertwine: that the snap story recorded on a Friday night might come up in church on Sunday, depending, of course, on who is on your follower list. We forget that, just as in our offline lives, the things we say and do in online spaces matter. These actions and communications can influence other peoples’ lives, their experiences, and their feelings. I believe we have an ethical obligation to each other, especially as digital citizens, to consider the impact that sharing a meme or retweeting a tweet could have on other people. Continue reading

Shared Governance, David Milstone, Student Affairs

“I Believe in Shared Governance” | David Milstone, Former Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, 2017

In many business organizations, decisions are made by the CEO, President, or a department head.  Higher Education is different in that there are several different types of constituencies here – each with a different expertise.  Administrators generally know the pertinent laws and how to manage people, finances, and crises.  Faculty members are experts in their fields of study and have great knowledge about curriculum design and the education of students.  Students, of course, are the center of this model, as all actions ideally lead to their success.  Continue reading

When I Grow Up, Jamie Jacquart, Campus Sustainability

“When I grow up” | Jamie Jacquart, Assistant Director of Campus Sustainability, 2017

When I was growing up, adults liked to ask me “What do you want to be when you grow 0up?” I understood that my identity was going to be defined by my job, and that I’d better have an answer. At around 8 I declared “I’m going to be a pilot” which was an answer, and ultimately the thing I left home to study in college. The problem was that once I got my pilot license I figured out this wasn’t what suited my skills, gifts and abilities.

I spent about 2 months bouncing off of walls, meeting with faculty and staff and did some major soul searching. What I learned was foundational in shaping how I would view both myself and my career opportunities from that point forward. It’s OK to not know, but you have to do something in order to figure it out. Continue reading

Human Goodness, Professor Anne Boisvert, College Now

“Human Goodness” | Anne Boisvert, Assistant Director of Alternative Admissions, College Now/START Program, 2017

When I was a young child my world was small. I lived in the North End of New Bedford, Massachusetts where there were small neighborhoods surrounding each of the many churches.  Each church represented and preserved the language and culture of an immigrant community:  French Canadian, Polish, Portuguese.  Each church ran a school attended by the children in its community. Each morning I walked to school, walked home for lunch then back to school for the afternoon session and returned home by foot at the end of each day.  My life was sheltered and protected from the evils of the world.

Continue reading

Community, Lara Stone, Advancement

“Community” | Lara Stone, Advancement Officer, University Advancement & the UMass Dartmouth Foundation, 2017

I believe in community. I believe in being thick. And I was inspired by my good friend, laraDavid Brooks’ Op Ed in the New York Times, “How to Leave a Mark On People.” You will be delighted to learn that I am giving you complete permission to be thick! In fact, I encourage you to stay as far away from thin as possible.

When I was a child, I attended Incarnation Camp for 8 years as a camper, worked on staff for 2 years and eventually married my husband at camp on a beautiful Memorial Day weekend years later. Our three boys attended camp. The lessons I learned, the friendships that I made there and the fabric of community that weaves its way into every aspect of my life, I can usually tie back to camp. When young people of all socio-economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds cook their own meals on an open fire, take biking, hiking or canoe trips, live side-by-side in a tent for 6 weeks and forgo all electricity and telephone service—something transformational happens. Continue reading