By Katharine Webster
Psychology Prof. Meg Bond has been named the 2018 Distinguished University Professor for her research on workplace sexual harassment and her efforts to transform organizations – including UMass Lowell – into more welcoming and equitable environments for everyone.
The annual award is the highest accolade that can be bestowed on a UMass Lowell faculty member. It honors educators who are recognized by their peers for outstanding contributions to teaching, research and service.
Bond directs the university’s Center for Women and Work, which brings together faculty across colleges and departments to seek remedies for gender-based inequality in the workforce. Her appointment as university professor coincides with the center’s 20th anniversary, which is being celebrated this week.
Larry Siegel, associate vice chancellor for student affairs and university events, and Bond both arrived on campus three decades ago and “grew up together” at the university. Thanks to Bond, the university has grown, too, he says.
“We had a sexual harassment task force going within two years of arriving at the university,” Siegel said at the surprise announcement in Chancellor Jacquie Moloney’s office.
“Meg has been so dedicated to the university in so many ways,” Moloney said. “Meg can build consensus – she gets everyone fired up about a cause. Her leadership for promoting women has been a big element of elevating the university. She’s someone who really understands how to build community.”
Bond, Moloney and Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Julie Chen are leading the Making WAVES (Making Women Academics Valued and Engaged in STEM) project, which is funded by a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to tackle institutional biases and microaggressions that drive female science and engineering faculty out of academia.
Bond teaches courses in community social psychology, workplace diversity and interpersonal dynamics and does research on diversity and empowerment within organizations. Most recently, Bond has been in great demand for her expertise on the relationship between workplace dynamics and sexual harassment in response to the #MeToo movement.
The university professor is selected each year by a faculty committee and serves for three years. Bond was nominated by interim Psychology Department Chairman Richard Serna and Assoc. Prof. Jana Sladkova, who said that Bond excels in every qualification the committee must consider.
“Dr. Bond has had a consistent, strong and longstanding positive impact within the field of psychology, on her students, on her fellow faculty and on the university across her nearly 30 years at UMass Lowell,” Serna and Sladkova wrote.
Joey Mead, a professor of plastics engineering who was named 2017 University Professor, served on the committee that selected Bond.
“Meg has worked with us on teams and mechanisms to bring groups of faculty together to go after grants, which has been very helpful, as engineers aren’t always known for their collaboration skills,” Mead said at the announcement.
When surprised with the news, Bond reacted with the characteristic modesty of a consensus-builder, giving credit to everyone she has worked with over the years.
“I’m sure there are many people more qualified than I am,” she said. “But I’m glad I snuck through!”
Bond is the 11th professor to receive the award since it was established in 2008. A reception will be held in her honor later this fall, and she will deliver the annual University Professor Lecture in the spring.