Dean’s Office Student Success

The McCormack Graduate School’s (MGS) Dean’s Office Student Success (DOSS) program advances McCormack’s student mission. The initiative is a coordinated support system for graduate student success that engages college and university-wide support services for all MGS graduate students.

Read MGS launches student success program feature article.


The John W. McCormack School of Policy and Global Studies delivers advanced, professional, and specialized academic educational offerings that impact communities, peoples, institutions, and societies. Our educational programs and student-centered learning models are interdisciplinary, domestic, comparativist, and global that engages policy and public affairs issues and themes around the world. Our students are involved in research focused, service learning in an array of policy action studies for effective socio-political and socio-economic problem solving and decision-making. Our students acquire knowledge, expertise, skills, and competencies in a range of subjects that inform critical policy issues and scenarios relevant for careers in several sectors. Careers include higher education and academia, research & development, health care action and management, aging services, public and international policy analysis, municipal management and public administration, conflict resolution, public mediation and cooperation, global governance and international development, gender equity and social policy, and nonprofit management.

The Program

The Dean’s Office Student Success (DOSS) program advances the school’s student mission by working with the School’s department and program directors, chairs, and faculty. The program serves to cultivate a community of educational and career relationships that build professional competencies that will lead to their successes while here at the college and that will cultivate sustainable and enriching careers. The program facilitates student success from recruitment to degree completion and successful post-graduation placement. The program also provides an action-oriented student success platform that deepens, complements, and enhances existing graduate student support initiatives at UMass Boston to facilitate student success.


  • Provide students with mentoring, advising, career, and financial counseling support.
  • Expand student access to professional development resources that boost their success in educational programs across MGS departments.
  • Bolster the professional skills of our graduates through practical training and experiences.
  • Provide MGS students with career advice and expertise from leaders in their chosen field to enhance student success on the job market.
  • Facilitate the expansion of professional networks between current students, prospective students and MGS alumni.
  • Build-upon existing college-wide programs and initiatives that drive student success.
  • Establish methodologies of student engagement that boost student success at the college.

Faculty Advisors

Rita Kiki Edozie, Professor and Associate Dean, International Relations, and Global Governance, McCormack Graduate School

Stephen McAvene, Program Assistant

Joseph M. Brown, Associate Professor, Political Science and Graduate Program Director of International Relations MA

Eben Weitzman, Associate Professor, Conflict Resolution MA and Conflict Resolution Graduate Certificate

Kathrin Boerner, Professor, Department of Gerontology

Heather MacIndoe, Associate Professor, Public Policy PhD

Michael Ahn, Associate Professor, Master's in Public Administration

Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson, Graduate Program Director, Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy Graduate Certificate; Director, Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy

Ellen Birchander, Graduate Program Director and Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Gerontology

Maria Ivanova, Associate Professor of Global Governance and Graduate Program Director, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance

Courtenay Sprague, Associate Professor, Global Governance and Human Security; Advisor Global Affairs Program

Elizabeth Dugan, Associate Professor, Gerontology; Advisor Undergraduate Global Aging and Life Course Studies

Student Engagement OpportunitiesMGS DOSS Faculty, Staff, and Students

The program provides several engagement opportunities for current students, prospective students, and alumni of MGS. These include:  

  • ABD to Career DOSS Travel Grant – The annual grant awards $500 each to up to 22 doctoral students requesting funds to support their travel to academic conferences where they attend as Participant Paper Presenters or in some other key participant role such as presenting a poster or giving a Job Talk.  The Grant is currently aimed at advanced PhD candidates (ABDs – students who have successfully completed required program coursework, passed qualifying exams, and defended their dissertation proposals). Conference attendance should therefore facilitate academic networking, research productivity, and the job search. Grants are awarded on a rolling basis.  Eleven (11) grants are awarded per semester. Find more info about the ABD to Career DOSS Travel Grant here.
  • MGS Dean’s Office Student Advising – A solutions-oriented student advising and mentoring program addressing a range of graduate student issues, including financial challenges, immigration, life-skills counseling, academic skills, career search, and a range of other issues that might influence student success at the College. Contact the associate dean or a MGS faculty advisor - see contacts below.
  • Career Opportunities with Handshake – Handshake is a comprehensive online career site for UMass Boston students and alumni. Offered by the Office of Career Services and Internships, students have the opportunity to search postings for jobs, internships, and sign up for career events and workshops. Access the UMB handshake portal here.
  • MGS Student Professional Development Workshops – A graduate student career workshop series that invites MGS talented alumni and industry leaders to conduct professional skills-building sessions with current MGS students.
  • MGS Student Ambassadors Program – Brings together a select group of student volunteers dedicated to supporting, promoting and representing the McCormack Graduate School. The Student Ambassadors program is coordinated under the McCormack Graduate School Dean’s Office Student Success Program – an initiative aimed at deepening student success at MGS.
  • MGS Graduate Program Director DOSS Award - An annual honor of recognition bestowed upon a GPD that has demonstrated outstanding commitment to student success in their respective departments. To nominate a GPD for this award, students must submit the first and last name of the GPD, the name of the department or specific program overseen by the GPD, and a brief (300 words max) statement on why the GDP should be considered for this award. Send your statements to the attention of the Associate Dean at
  • MGS Accelerated 4 plus 1 Program - For qualified UMass Boston undergraduates in the College of Liberal Arts, including students in the Honors College, our Accelerated Master's Program allows you to finish both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in as little as five years. Students replace undergraduate electives with graduate coursework before matriculating as a graduate student to complete a master’s degree.
  • MGS Student Awards Nominations Process – A transparent mechanism for nominating MGS students and reviewing their applications for university-wide student awards.

DOSS Student Ambassadors

MGS DOSS Student Ambassadors are current MGS students who demonstrate a keen sense of leadership and a desire to further the success of their fellow-student colleagues at MGS. They represent different programs and cohorts across MGS.

Olanike A Ojelabi

Olanike A. Ojelabi
Public Policy, PhD Student

Krystal Gayle-O'Neil

Krystal-Gayle O’Neill 
Global Governance & Human Security, PhD Student

Kelsey Edmond

Kelsey Edmond
Public Policy, PhD Student

Samiya Khalid

Samiya Khalid
Public Policy, PhD Student

Emily Lim

Zee Kee Emily Lim
Gerontology, PhD Student

Rebecca Yemo

Rebecca Yemo
Global Governance and Human Security, PhD Student

Ijeoma D Anyanwu

Ijeoma D Anyanwu
Public Policy, PhD Student

Denisse Delgado Vazquez

Denisse Delgado Vazquez
Public Policy, PhD Student

Past Events

 Spring 2021 McCormack Policy & Global Governance Speaker Series Banner

Spring 2021 McCormack Policy & Global Governance Speaker Series

- On April 2021, DOSS invited Dr. Alasdair Roberts, Director of the School of Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Amherst to kickstart the speaker series as the inaugural keynote speaker. Themed: Governance and Democracy in Peril: From the US Capitol to the World.

Spring 2021 DOSS Virtual Town Hall Banner

Spring 2021 DOSS Virtual Town Hall

- Themed as 'Healing Together: Empowering McCormack Students with Opportunities and Resources', UMass Boston Staff and DOSS Ambassadors provided MGS students with access to opportunities and resources as we move toward the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

End of Semester Holiday Party Banner

Fall 2020 End of Semester Holiday Party

- DOSS celebrates the end of semester by socializing and networking with friends, new and old. The program opened with holiday music, a brief update from DOSS, and a rotation of attendees through activity [breakout] rooms.

DOSS Virtual Town Hall Banner

Fall 2020 DOSS Virtual Town Hall

- DOSS Student Ambassadors hosted a virtual town hall for MGS students to discuss how they are coping with the changes created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOSS Doctoral Student Career Webinar Banner 

Fall 2019 DOSS Doctoral Student Career Webinar

- A webinar focused on academic job market preparation for MGS Doctoral Students

McCormack Graduate School DOSS