Dean’s Office Student Success (DOSS)

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 and undergraduate student success that engages college and university-wide support services.

Read MGS launches student success program feature article.

McCormack's Mission

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 DOSS 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 and undergraduate student support initiatives at UMass Boston to facilitate student success.

McCormack's DOSS Program Goals

  • 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 students 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.

UMass Boston's Strategic Priority on Student Success 

UMass Boston will adopt a holistic framework for undergraduate and graduate student success and take steps to bring together stakeholders and align resources to support key focus areas. UMass Boston is committed to building diverse pathways to and through our institution and beyond, supported by holistic advising and support services and enhanced career success and alumni engagement. We are committed to valuing the cultural wealth of our students, cultivating a deeper sense of belonging in our learning environments, and advancing equitable student outcomes. In support of student success, UMass Boston will demonstrate its educational effectiveness by promoting assessment that values a holistic approach to, and continuous improvement in, student experiences and student outcomes.  Read more here. 

Academic Advising 

Academic advising is a key component of student success at McCormack. For removing holds, degree audit, transcript evaluations, course enrollment, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) plans and appeals, and other administrative advising services contact Christopher Graham, Manager, Student Success & Undergraduate Advising. For career and other academic advice contact your faculty advisor if you have been assigned one, your department Chair, or the College Dean. 

McCormack's and UMB's Academic Advising Goals

  • We provide student advising to help students navigate their respective degree programs. In some cases, students may have both a professional advisor and a faculty advisor. To contact your advisor, you may email directly from WISER or use the university email directory.
  • Work with students interested in joining or transferring to majors and academic programs at McCormack.
  • Connect students to wider resources available across campus to meet student academic and other needs.
  • Support students in meeting university general education requirements and degree requirements.
  • Support students in career and professional development activities
  • Advance university values and promote student achievement.

Program Administrators 

Faculty Advisors 

  • Joseph M. Brown, Associate Professor, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Graduate Program Director of International Relations MA
  • Eben Weitzman, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance; McCormack Graduate Program Director, Conflict Resolution Programs
  • Kathrin Boerner, Professor and Doctoral Program Director, Department of Gerontology
  • Heather MacIndoe, Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director, Public Policy PhD Program; Research Affiliate, Center for Social Policy, UMass Boston; Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs
  • Michael Ahn, Associate Professor, Master's in Public Administration Program Director, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs
  • 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; Undergraduate Program Director Global Affairs Program
  • Elizabeth Dugan, Associate Professor, Gerontology; Advisor Undergraduate Global Aging and Life Course Studies

DOSS Student Engagement Opportunities

MGS 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 12 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.  Six (6) grants are awarded per semester. Find the Call for the ABD to Career DOSS Travel Grant Applications here.
  • MGS Dean’s Office Student Advising – A solutions-oriented student advising and mentoring program addressing a range of 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 and undergraduate 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.

Ijeoma D Anyanwu
Public Policy, PhD Student

Kelsey Edmond
Public Policy, PhD Student

Denisse Delgado Vazquez
Public Policy, PhD Student


Amadou B. Jallow 
Global Governance and
Human Security, PhD Student

Rebecca Yemo
Global Governance and
Human Security, PhD Student

Setarreh Massihzadegan
PhD Student

Janelle Fassi 
PhD Student

Jiedine Phanbuh
Global Governance and
Human Security, PhD Student                 






Fernanda Oliveira Costa 
 4+1 MPA: Gender Leadership & Public Policy Student






Adanna C. Kalejaye
Public Policy PhD Student


Past Events

Fall 2021 DOSS Hyflex Town Hall 

On December 3, 2021, the DOSS program at the McCormack Graduate School hosted a  Hyflex (Virtual and In-person) DOSS Town Hall themed as 'Hyflex Learning and Working in the Post-Pandemic Era". MGS Faculty, UMB Administrators and DOSS Ambassadors provided  McCormack Students with resources for hyflex learning, teaching and working in the COVID-19 pandemic era. The Keynote was delivered by Dr. Brian Beatty, Technology Specialist and Associate Professor of Instruction Technologies at San Francisco State University. 

Event Resources: Rewatch the Video on Youtube

 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