McCormack Speaks

January 29, 2018
by McCormack Speaks

McCormack PhD Candidate Earns Post-Doc Fellowship from International Studies Association

Jaime HagenThe International Studies Association (ISA) has awarded its James Rosneau Post-doctoral Fellowship to Global Governance and Human Security PhD candidate Jaime J. Hagen to further her research in the field of gender and security. This fellowship begins next year and supports the research of newly minted scholars in the social sciences.

Graduate Program Director Stacy VanDeveer praises Hagen’s accomplishment. “This esteemed award recognizes Jaime’s outstanding scholarship in feminist security studies. Her work focuses on an important global policy challenge and seeks creative solutions that matter to the LGBTQ community.”

Prior to joining the McCormack Graduate School to pursue her doctoral studies, Hagen completed an MA in political science at Brooklyn College. Working as a consultant for the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, she conducted research for the 2012 Women, Peace and Security policy briefs. She also spent time working at several non-government organizations.

Hagen has published scholarly and freelance articles on gender, feminist security studies, and LGBTQ politics. She also contributed a chapter on LGBTQ sexuality and social media for the book, Gender, Sex and Politics: In the Streets and Between the Sheets in the 21st Century.

She is a member of the executive committee of the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies interest group of the International Studies Association. At the ISA-NE conference in November, she presented her research on “What is Gender and Who are Women? Queer Questions for the Women, Peace and Security Architecture,” related to her dissertation work on gender in post-conflict and transnational LGBTQ advocacy networks.

News of Hagen’s award was shared on the front page of the January ISA newsletter. Upon completion of her dissertation, she will work ¾ time on her own research while devoting the remainder to ISA projects. The fellowship carries a $50,000 annual stipend.

Graduate Program Director Stacey VanDeveer praises Hagen’s accomplishment. “This esteemed award recognizes Jaime’s outstanding scholarship in feminist security studies. Her work focuses on an important global policy challenge and seeks creative solutions that matter to the LGBTQ community.”



January 25, 2018
by McCormack Speaks

Collins Center for Public Management Helps Government Work Better

image of a town hallThe Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management is dedicated to improving efficiency, effectiveness, governance, and accountability at all levels of government, with a particular focus on state and local government. The talented staff of practitioners in this UMass Boston-based center have provided a comprehensive set of services to scores of the commonwealth’s cities, towns, school districts, and state agencies, as well as to a growing number of municipalities in other states.

What’s new there? Here are a few updates and spotlights:


With recent attention on workplace behavior, the Collins Center is pleased to offer customized “Respectful Workplace Training” for municipalities to bring critical diversity, sensitivity, and discrimination prevention knowledge to the city and town workplace. Experienced human resources professionals are also ready to help you review and update HR policies and classification plans, coach your staff, or plan any other trainings your staff needs.

For more details on this and other HR trainings, contact


Capital planning is a key responsibility of municipal managers that confers multiple benefits to the community, including fiscal efficiency and stability, safety and security for personnel and the public, and effective achievement of community goals.

The Baker-Polito Administration’s Community Compact grant program has allowed many municipalities to create their first comprehensive, five-year capital improvement plan (CIP) with the support of Collins Center experts. To date, the center has completed more than 15 grant-funded CIPs through the program. Clients have ranged from smaller towns (with a population less than 5,000) to larger cities (with a population greater than 50,000) and are located all around the Commonwealth.

Center experts have developed an efficient process that helps municipalities 1) define and document capital needs, 2) identify financial resources, and 3) prioritize projects for funding. The center team then prepares a formal five-year CIP and can be available to present the plan in a public meeting. Finally, the municipality receives all the documents and supporting materials – along with clear “how-to” instructions – so that the CIP can be updated annually.

For more information, please contact


The last year was a busy one for towns and cities working on their foundational structures. The Collins Center worked with Framingham in its successful change from a town to a city and helped Fall River successfully enact a new charter to replace its existing one that dated back to 1934. In addition, the center helped Amherst draft a charter with a new form of government and several innovations that will go to the voters in this spring, and worked with the towns of Ashland and Harvard on updating structural details in their charters. Although defeated by voters in Newton, center experts drafted a new charter that would have reduced the size of the city council from 24 to 12, among other changes.

Charter change can be initiated by residents creating a Charter Commission through the ballot box or through the executive or legislative branch creating a Charter Study Committee or Government Study Committee.

The Collins Center has several charter experts on staff who are happy to consult with you as you contemplate charter change. For more information, please contact


The Collins Center has helped scores of cities, towns, and other entities hire town managers/administrators, executive directors, administrators, and department heads. Recently, the center completed successful recruitments for the town administrator in Southampton, the town manager in Mansfield, and the executive director of the Southfield Redevelopment Authority (the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station).

Currently, the center is assisting with searches for Winthrop’s town manager and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments director of finance. Click here for the list of the Center’s active recruitment projects.

For more information on retaining the Center for executive recruitment services or to apply for an open search, please contact


January 23, 2018
by McCormack Speaks

Center for Social Policy: Students Inspiring Optimism

by Susan Crandall, Director, Center for Social Policy

Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

image of college students

It is said that history repeats itself, but who knew it would do so all at once? Daily living is like walking into a control room where screens are blaring a century worth of news simultaneously: growing income inequality, the rise of Nazism, the threat of nuclear war, massive civil unrest, presidential abuse of power, and so on—with destructive natural disasters occurring in rapid succession.

My secret to finding hope during these times? Working with, and learning from, our Center for Social Policy students, whom I count on for a fresh perspective, insightful analysis, and new directions leading to a much brighter future. Let me introduce you to a few of them:

Vishakha Agarwal is a second year doctoral student in public policy at the McCormack Graduate School, interested in improving access and quality of education for low-income students. One of our Werby interns, she is analyzing data on cliff effects, generating solutions so that increases in earnings from work do not cause low-income families to lose essential benefits like housing and childcare.

Vishakha’s colleague, fellow Werby Intern Jason Wright, is also a second year doctoral student in public policy. He is interested in the politics of poverty and the application of systems thinking to social policy. Jason is identifying policy levers to resolve cliff effects, which we will provide to our On Solid Ground coalition partners, who advocate for housing stability and economic mobility.

Rolando DelVillar supports economic mobility through his work on the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition, which builds the capacity of job training providers across the state to help unemployed workers access better careers. A senior in the College of Management studying leadership and organizational change, Rolando was selected to participate in the Mayor’s Symposium on Housing for a Changing City (where our colleague, Public Policy Professor Michael Johnson will be facilitating). There Rolando will collaborate with UMass Boston students to generate new approaches to improve housing for low-income communities, which will be shared with elected officials.

Bianca Ortiz-Wythe is a second year doctoral student in public policy, researching the creative economy in Roxbury. She’s excited about the project because it amplifies youth voices from the community, which often go unheard when conversations of equitable development arise. Her research interests include rural poverty, the politics of poverty reduction, and gender and ethnic minority issues. She would like to gain experience as a policymaker and run for public office.

Learn more about the Werby Internship program which helps students contribute their gifts to the Center for Social Policy, and to create a better future for all families.


The Center for Social Policy strives to reshape poverty policy by connecting research, evaluation, and communities with lived experiences in Boston and beyond.

January 18, 2018
by McCormack Speaks

Office of Public Collaboration, DOC Lead Pilot Project on Prisoner Re-entry Mediation

by the Massachusetts Office for Public Collaboration, McCormack Graduate School

image of handcuffsYou are within weeks of release from detention and looking forward to going home but the closer your release gets the harder it is to get on with your spouse. Visiting is now taken up with fights about living together and you are no longer sure you have a home to go to.

This is a typical scenario for prisoners approaching release and reflects the fact that for many prisoners, going back home may not be as straightforward as they hope. Bridges may have been burned, people on the outside moved on and there is no real understanding of the challenges each of them has faced during incarceration. This is one challenging re-entry area which had not previously been tackled until the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC) approached MA Department of Correction (DOC) leadership towards the end of 2015.

Armed with the knowledge that the first 72 hours of release is a significant determinant or risk for re-incarceration, and the importance of building supportive relationships on the outside, MOPC worked closely with Community Mediation Maryland’s Lorig Charkoudian to develop skills and programming based on their successful Prisoner Re-entry Mediation Program in operation since 2007. MOPC invested in specialized training of mediators from its existing network of established statewide Community Mediation Centers and case coordinator staff who will do significant outreach, intake, and case coordination work around cases. Continue Reading →

January 13, 2018
by McCormack Speaks

Building Academic Relationships in China to Address Growing Elder Population

This post originally appeared on the Gerontology Institute blog.

Professor Jan Mutchler with student Yu Mengting of Renmin University.

Professor Jan Mutchler with student Yu Mengting of Renmin University.

UMass Boston Gerontology professors Jeffrey Burr and Jan Mutchler delivered presentations at a conference hosted by China’s Remin University and other organizations in December. That was not especially big news.

But their speeches, as well as social events organized around the visit to China, were important just the same. Their trip was the latest of many small steps the Department of Gerontology at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School has taken to build academic relationships in a country with one of the world’s biggest and fastest growing elder populations.

“This initiative is part of our effort to ‘look outward’ beyond the boundaries of the United States when it comes to gerontology research, teaching, and service,” said Burr, the department chair. “Countries in East Asia, like China, provide a wonderful opportunity to learn about the aging process through different cultural, social, and economic lenses.” Continue reading.

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