University Recognizes Faculty for Scholarship, Mentorship and Teaching Excellence

Faculty members check out the symposium program Image by Tory Wesnofske
Faculty members check out the program during the 2018 Faculty Symposium at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center.

By Ed Brennen

Engineered biomaterials to improve human health. The effect of corporate taxes on workplace safety. Art, land reclamation and urban renewal through the lens of public works.

Those were among the 75 “lightning talks” delivered by faculty members at the university’s annual Faculty Symposium, held recently at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center.

Organized by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Research and Innovation, the symposium recognizes and celebrates faculty accomplishments from all six of the university’s schools and colleges. It also provides an opportunity for faculty to share their research with colleagues outside of their departments, with the goal of sparking interdisciplinary collaborations.

Noting that the university’s research expenditures have grown nearly 95 percent over the past decade to $70 million, Chancellor Jacquie Moloney praised faculty for the breadth and depth of their work, which resulted in 969 journal articles, 163 conference proceedings and 69 books and book chapters over the past year alone.

“Not only is your prolific work having an impact on the students, the community around us and the economy, but your work is lifting up this entire university,” Moloney said.

Faculty members take part in a pedagogy panel discussion Image by Tory Wesnofske
Faculty members, from left, Michelle Hunt, Yuko Oda, Leslie Farris and Jessica Garcia take part in a pedagogy panel discussion.
“The impact your scholarship is making on our society, regardless of your discipline, is so impressive,” added Provost Michael Vayda, who recognized 47 new faculty hires and 42 faculty members who received promotion or tenure over the past year.

Thirty-six faculty members with total research expenditures topping $300,000 for fiscal year 2018 were recognized, led by Plastics Engineering Prof. Ramaswamy Nagarajan.

Among the Faculty Awards for Teaching Excellence, Psychology Prof. Meg Bond was recognized for being named Distinguished University Professor for 2018-21.

Deb Finch, an associate teaching professor in the Manning School of Business, was recognized for winning the 2018 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching. In her keynote speech, Finch talked about her holistic approach to teaching and the importance of acknowledging how external factors impact students.

“It’s not just about teaching,” Finch said. “It’s about making sure we know about the resources available to students on campus. It’s about supporting students to become lifelong learners.”

Khalilah Reddie, an associate teaching professor of chemistry, received the Student Government Association Teacher of the Year award.

New to the symposium this year were awards for outstanding mentorship. They included:

Faculty members chat during the symposium Image by Tory Wesnofske
Asst. Teaching Prof. Sarah Rozelle of the Biology Department chats with Assoc. Prof. of Education Jim Nehring at the Faculty Symposium.
For Outstanding Mentoring of Faculty: Meg Bond, Psychology; Jeffrey Moore, Biological Sciences; Katherine Tucker, Biomedical & Nutritional Sciences; and Holly Yanco, Computer Science.

For Mentoring of Undergraduate Students with Distinction: Christopher Carlsmith, History and Carole Salmon, World Languages & Cultures.

For Outstanding Mentoring of Undergraduate Students: Zhiyong Gu, Chemical Engineering and Phitsamay Sychitkokhong Uy, Curriculum & Instruction.

For Outstanding Mentoring of Graduate Students: John Wooding, Political Science.

The Office of the Provost also presented the following Faculty Awards for Teaching Excellence:

From the College of Education: John William McKenna, Curriculum & Instruction.

From the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: Yuko Oda, Art & Design; Tommaso Tempesti, Economics; Tracy Michaels, English; Melissa Pennell, English; Todd Tietchen, English; Elizabeth Williams, History; Garrett Michaelsen, Music; Carol Hay, Philosophy; Aaron Shepherd, Philosophy; Aaron Smith-Walter, Political Science; Andrew Hostetler, Psychology; Miko Wilford, Psychology; Kimberly Kras, School of Criminology & Justice Studies; Neil Shortland, School of Criminology & Justice Studies; Charlotte Ryan, Sociology; and Hope Anderson, World Languages & Cultures.

From the Francis College of Engineering: Eric Maase, Chemical Engineering; Xiaoqi Zhang, Civil & Environmental Engineering; Michael Geiger, Electrical & Computer Engineering; Vinod Vokkarane, Electrical & Computer Engineering; Hualiang Zhang, Electrical & Computer Engineering; Marianna Maiaru, Mechanical Engineering; Juan Pablo Trelles, Mechanical Engineering; Ertan Agar, Mechanical Engineering; and Stephen Johnston, Plastics Engineering.

From the Kennedy College of Sciences: Michael Myre, Biological Sciences; Shaina Roy, Biological Sciences; Leslie Farris, Chemistry; Jin Xu, Chemistry; David Adams, Computer Science; Wenjin Zhou, Computer Science; Frank Colby, Environmental, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences; Jennifer Ellen Gonzalez-Zugasti, Mathematical Sciences; Thomas Oliveri, Mathematical Sciences; Chandrika Narayan, Physics & Applied Physics; Wilfred Ngwa, Physics & Applied Physics; and Nishant Agarwal, Physics & Applied Physics.

From the Manning School of Business: Laura Christianson, Accounting; Eunju Lee, Finance; Jose Mauricio Geleilate, Management; Tao (Tony) Gao, Marketing, Entrepreneurship & Innovation; and Nichalin Summerfield, Operations & Information Systems.

From the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences: Michelle Hunt, Biomedical & Nutritional Sciences; Sabrina Noel, Biomedical & Nutritional Sciences; Michele Fox, Physical Therapy & Kinesiology; Angela Wangari Walter, Public Health; Brenna Quinn, Solomont School of Nursing; and Margaret Knight, Solomont School of Nursing.