UMass Center at Springfield Looks to Grow Its Influence

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

 on September 22, 2015 in Education

Dan Montagna says he can easily quantify the success enjoyed by the UMass Center at Springfield during its initial year, as well as the momentum it gained for the second, which started earlier this month.

Indeed, the number of classes offered at the 26,000-square-foot facility in Tower Square increased from 20 in its first semester of operation a year ago to more than 25 this fall. And while he didn’t have an exact count when interviewed by BusinessWest — the so-called ‘add/drop period’ for many classes was still ongoing — he was quite certain that the number of students enrolled in classes in the state-of-the-art facility had increased markedly as well.

“Going from fall to spring, we saw a sharp increase in both the number of classes and programs, as well as enrollment,” said Montagna, who assumed the role of director of Operations at the center last spring. “And for the fall, it looks like a little bit of an uptick in the number of classes, but a potentially greater number of students who will be attending classes here.”

There were other measures of success, he went on, including the 275 or so community events of varying sizes staged at the center’s diverse facilities.

As for the other assignment put to him by BusinessWest  — qualifying how the center has fared with its mission of helping to bring vibrancy to downtown Springfield and provide new levels of convenience for area students — he said that was slightly more difficult, especially the first part of that equation.

And it will certainly take more than 12 months to effectively answer that question.

But he felt very confident saying that the center has established a firm foothold downtown, forged several strong working relationships with other area colleges, and already become a huge asset for the region.

“From our measures, it’s been a very successful start for the center,” he said, adding that the obvious goal is to build on that momentum. “It’s about growth, expansion of the academics, and seeing what other courses we can bring in and focus on concentration areas.

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