Prof. Donald Leitch Wins 2017 Manning Prize; More than 40 Others Honored

Some of the 2016 Faculty Awards for Teaching Excellence winners Image by Meghan Moore
Some of the more than 40 faculty members to receive 2016 Faculty Awards for Teaching Excellence are recognized at the Faculty Symposium on Teaching, Learning, Research & Creative Works.

By Ed Brennen

More than 40 faculty members were recognized for teaching excellence at the 2017 Faculty Symposium on Teaching, Learning, Research & Creative Works, held recently at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center.

Organized by the Offices of the Provost and the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, along with the Transformational Education Committee and the Faculty Development Council, the event celebrates faculty contributions in teaching, research and scholarship while fostering interdisciplinary collaboration.

The event, which drew approximately 170 attendees, featured keynotes from Mathematical Sciences Prof. Stephen Pennell, recipient of the 2016 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and Psychology Prof. Meg Bond, director of both the Center for Women and Work and Making WAVES (Women Academics Valued and Engaged in STEM).

Jacquie Moloney with Donald Leitch and Stephen Pennell Image by Meghan Moore
Chancellor Jacquie Moloney poses with 2017 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching recipient Prof. Donald Leitch, center, and 2016 winner Prof. Stephen Pennell at the Faculty Symposium.

“When I look around the room, I cannot tell you how inspiring it is to be a part of this scholarly community that is so dedicated to the true integration of teaching, research and service at this university,” Chancellor Jacquie Moloney said. “I am proud of the way that we ask those important questions that push our disciplines forward, then share that with our students to push those questions forward … That’s what defines scholarship at UMass Lowell, and that’s what defines all of you.”

Prof. Donald Leitch, who has taught civil engineering at the university for nearly a half-century, was named recipient of the 2017 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Established in 2015 by UMass Lowell alumni Robert Manning ’84 and Donna Manning ’85, ’91, the prize honors outstanding faculty members from each of the five campuses of the UMass system and includes a $10,000 award.

The symposium featured a series of 90-second “Lightning Talks,” at which 92 faculty members from all six of the university’s schools and colleges shared teaching innovations and highlighted research, as well as a panel discussion on transformational education.

Ainat Koren presenting at symposium Image by Meghan Moore
Assoc. Prof. Ainat Koren from the School of Nursing delivers a 90-second Lightning Talk during the Faculty Symposium at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center.
Provost Mike Vayda, in his first year at the university, thanked faculty for their hard work and innovation and “for putting your heart and soul into educating and preparing the next generation of leaders for our society.”

Vayda presented 2016 Faculty Awards for Teaching Excellence to:

  • From the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: Pouya Afshar; Rebecca Stone; David Kingsley; Matthew Hurwitz; Jenna Vinson; Elizabeth Herbin-Triant; Timothy Crain; Jose Jorge Mendoza; Joshua Dyck; Stephanie Block; Mary Duell; Cheryl Najarian-Souza; and Danielle Boutwell.
  • From the College of Health Sciences: Mahdi Garelnabi; Brenda Geiger; Erika Lewis; Laura Punnett; Joel Tickner; Heidi Collins Fantasia; and Yuan Zhang.
  • From the Francis College of Engineering: John White; Donald Leitch; Michael Geiger; Mufeed Mah’d; Hunter Mack; Walter Thomas; and Steven Grossman.
  • From the Kennedy College of Sciences: Rick Hochberg; Jeffrey R. Moore; Marina Ruths; Xinwen Fu; William Moloney; Matthew Barlow; John Lahoud; Mavin Stick; Timothy Cook; and Mark Tries.
  • From the Manning School of Business: Karen Lin; Hieu Phan; Beth Humberd; Tao Gao; and Juheng Zhang.
  • From the Graduate School of Education: Phitsamay Uy.

The Student Government Association’s Teacher of the Year Award, meanwhile, was given to chemistry lecturer Khalila Reddie.

Also recognized during the symposium were those receiving promotion or tenure in 2016, new faculty hires, and those receiving $300,000 or more in research expenditures (or in the top three in their respective school or college).