The Daily Hampshire Gazette - UMassOnline looks for a new leader

The Daily Hampshire Gazette - UMassOnline looks for a new leader

By Kristin Palpini

SHREWSBURY - UMassOnline, the distance learning arm of the University of Massachusetts five campus-system, is getting a new executive officer.

After more than five years as UMassOnline CEO, David J. Gray has been promoted to the position of senior vice president for administration, finance and technology in the UMass president's office.

Gray's position is a newly created post assembled out of a restructuring of top-level information technology, administration and finance duties.

While a national search for a new online CEO gets under way, Mark A. Schlesinger, a UMass associate vice president, has been named interim chief executive officer.

The university expects to name a permanent UMassOnline CEO by September.

A new CEO is being sought for UMassOnline at a time when demand for distance higher education is on the rise. UMassOnline, for example, is reporting an 18 percent increase in student inquiries for fall 2009 semester courses. Enrollment this year increased by 26.2 percent to 33,900 students.

Marcellette G. Williams, UMass senior vice president for academic affairs, student affairs and international relations, will direct a 16-member search committee to find Gray's replacement. Committee members include administrators from the UMass president's office, UMassOnline and the five campuses.

Amherst campus members on the committee are John Mullin, dean of the graduate school, and Jay Schafer, director of libraries.

Date: 4/06/09