UMass Boston board approves search committee for new chancellor

The UMass Boston Board of Trustees on Friday approved a twenty-one member search committee that will be tasked with finding a new permanent chancellor for the university. The committee, which includes UMass Boston faculty, deans, students, alumni, and community leaders, will seek a successor for Dr. J. Keith Motley, who stepped down in 2017.

Katherine Newman is currently serving as interim chancellor at the Dorchester campus. Barry Mills served as interim chancellor from 2017-2018.

The search committee will be chaired by R. Norman Peters, who serves as vice chair of the Board of Trustees. UMass Boston faculty member Jean Rhodes will serve as vice chair of the committee. Among the local names on the committee are Linda Dorcena Forry, a vice president at Suffolk and a former state senator representing Dorchester and the UMass Boston campus. (Forry is the wife of Reporter publisher and editor Bill Forry.) Joyce Linehan, a senior policy advisor to Mayor Walsh and a Lower Mills resident, is also on the committee.

An earlier attempt to find a permanent successor to Motley ended contentiously in April 2018. UMass President Marty Meehan announced his intention to form a new search committee last May.

“This committee is distinguished and diverse, and is determined to provide strong candidates to lead UMass Boston,” said Rob Manning, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees, in a press release. “UMass Boston epitomizes public higher education at its best -- providing students and society with a path to a better and more equitable future. This position offers the right person an opportunity to lead an outstanding urban public research university destined for even greater things.”

“Without question, this is one of the most impressive search committees I have seen in my years at the university,” said UMass President Marty Meehan in a press release. “This committee reflects the excellence, achievement, quality and diversity that define UMass Boston. We believe it is important that all members of the university community have a seat at the table and a voice in the search discussions, understanding that faculty will make a major contribution to the process,” Meehan said. “We are proud to be able to say that this search will be conducted by a committee that truly is representative of the entire UMass Boston community.”

The search committee was constructed through formal requests for nominations made to the student government and the Faculty Council. Members will develop a pool of candidates and submit finalists to President Meehan, who would then recommend a candidate to the Board of Trustees for approval. The Boston-based executive recruitment firm Isaacson, Miller will assist in the search. According to the press release, the search committee is expected to hold its first meeting as soon as schedules permit.

For more information on the search, visit