Who’s running UMass? A spotlight

By Jonathan Perreira, Staff Writer

This is the first of an article series focused on showing UMass Dartmouth students who runs the departments that are running the campus.

Not every student is aware of the energy and logistics involved in keeping a college alive, including me, and so this series is to not only to provide you with insight on who’s doing it, but how you may be able to get involved.    For this article, The Torch searched the Foster Administration building and met with the Public Affairs office, which is run by John Hoey.

His official title is Assistant to the Chancellor for Public Affairs. Hoey graduated from Bridgewater State College with a degree in communications, and eventually achieved his master’s in public affairs from UMass Boston. His first internship was in a Public Affairs office at the college, and then he moved onto the Public Relations office at the Brockton Art Museum. Afterwards, he was a journalist for various newspapers for over a decade, until he finally landed a job at UMass Dartmouth.

The purpose and function of the Public Affairs office, as described by Hoey, is to connect the university to state, federal, and local communities.

The description was a little vague, but the diversity and nuance revealed itself as he further explained his colleagues. Different offices and organizations work alongside and report to him, and some of them include the Media Relations office, the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement, the Fall River based Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Southcoast Economic Development Partnership.

All of these institutions and more provide information that Public Affairs isn’t already seeking out, and is turned into ways to engage with students and the community.

Hoey described in detail how each organization that reports to him differs, and what they individually offer students. Some offer internships, host workshops, or provide substance to the media released by Hoey. He calls the job fun and expresses his love to “work with a bunch of people who get up every day…trying to create opportunities for students.”

He believes that, at its core, his job is to advance the cause of public higher education and to provide opportunities to individuals and communities.

My last question was about what majors should be interested in a position like Public Affairs. He listed some obvious ones, such as communications, liberal arts, and English. But he continued onward to ones not initially thought of such as history, political science, or digital imaging.

He told The Torch a story of the best journalist photographer he knows that didn’t major in art at all in his college years. The photographer could take a picture well, but he could engage and interact with those he was photographing even better.

That photographer was an electrical engineering major. To participate in Public Affairs, one must write well and fast, and must love engaging with people.

Does this sound like an interesting position to you?

John Hoey currently has a student working for him, so who knows what positions may be open in the coming years! To write well and engaged will certainly propel anyone’s career forward, so consider looking into what a Public Affairs position may offer.


Leave a Reply