Distinguished Scholarship, Teaching & Service Awards

The University of Massachusetts Boston is rightly recognized for the excellence of its faculty. Each year at commencement, we celebrate the accomplishments of faculty members who have demonstrated exceptional contributions in one of the three primary areas of faculty responsibility by presenting them with the Chancellor's Awards for Distinguished Scholarship, Teaching, and Service. I would like to thank everyone who prepared a nomination for one of these awards, as well as the members of the three faculty committees who carefully reviewed the nominations and made recommendations regarding the award recipients. Please join me in congratulating the following faculty members who have been selected to receive awards:

2018 Awardees:

Professor Julie Nelson, Department of Economics, Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship

Professor Shoshanna Ehrlich, Department of Women's and Gender Studies, Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching

Professors Ellen Douglas and Paul Kirshen, School for the Environment, Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Service

Professor Julie Nelson, Department of Economics
Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Scholarship

In the words of the review committee, Professor Nelson's work "has truly been transformative, has impressively extended into other fields of inquiry, and has likely not only shaped but shifted her field."  She has developed a remarkable body of work that is simultaneously extensive, interdisciplinary, and impactful. She has published nine books, for three of which she is the single author, 61 journal articles, and 29 book chapters in economics. Her work has been cited over 6,000 times, with over 300 citations per year since 2009. Her books have been cited between 200 and nearly 900 times, with the highest citations for her co-edited book Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics (1993), her sole-authored book Feminism, Objectivity, and Economics (1996), and her sole-authored book Economics for Humans (2006). A recent article from 2015, "Are Women Really More Risk-Averse than Men?" has already been cited 119 times. In addition, she is the President-Elect of the Association for Social Economics, the oldest heterodox economics organization in the United States, serves on three editorial boards for journals in economics, and has been asked to give 11 keynote or plenary speeches for a wide array of conferences. She has received several honors and awards, including the recent Thomas F. Divine S.J. Award (for lifetime contributions) from the Association for Social Economics in 2014 and the Independent Social Research Foundation Essay Prize in Economics in 2015. Professor Nelson has been a pioneer and leader in feminist approaches that challenge older orthodoxies in the field of economics; and her critique has now also been applied to globalization, human development, climate change, and business ethics. According to one colleague, "Julie Nelson has productively penetrated fields of law, policy, business, philosophy, environment, nursing, religion, and gender with top flight publications. I can think of no other scholar—in any field—who has managed to publish in such a wide range of journals."

The Chancellor's Distinguished Scholarship Award Committee
Jessica Whiteley, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Exercise and Health Sciences (committee chair)
Maxim Olchanyi, College of Science and Mathematics, Physics
Mark Warren, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, Public Policy and Public Affairs
Mine Ertugrul, College of Management, Accounting and Finance
Jeffrey Melnick, College of Liberal Arts, American Studies

Professor Shoshanna Ehrlich, Department of Women's and Gender Studies
Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching

In her teaching, Professor Shoshanna Ehrlich combines many years of expertise as an attorney, feminist legal scholar, and educator committed to student-centered learning. She establishes a dynamic classroom learning environment based on rigorous critical analysis of course materials and assignments that are intellectually empowering for students, allowing them to draw from their own community-based knowledge and areas of academic talent and interest. A colleague has said, "Her teaching possesses both scholarly gravitas and an 'applied law' dimension. This is a combination of qualities that…resonates especially powerfully with our own students because many of them have suffered the damage and indignities of gender-based discrimination and access to needed services." Her teaching is concentrated in introductory and intermediate courses, including Women and Society, Family Law, The Legal Rights of Women, and Reproductive Rights and Wrongs. These courses are known for their innovative and engaging assignments, including student-initiated mini-seminars, book clubs, and group-designed posters. Students praise the ways that her "dedication, generosity of spirit, and genuine caring as a mentor and advisor have influenced [their] lives," and they frequently feature her ability to ensure that opposing viewpoints are listened to in a respectful way. A student wrote, "She brings out passions, talents, interests and knowledge in students and people in general that they never knew they had or were possible of attaining." Professor Ehrlich is regularly commended for being attentive and encouraging to those students whose study skills and writing abilities require specific attention, and her course evaluations include many statements of appreciation for her availability outside of the classroom. She helps students to develop their own analytical skills, including facility in using legal and judicial reasoning to address current public policy issues relevant to their own lives and to the communities to which they belong. A colleague noted that Professor Ehrlich "embodies for us all the very values of our institution—to make education relevant, useful and a platform for improving our lives and our worlds."

The Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award Committee
Kenneth Rothwell, College of Liberal Arts, Classics and Religious Studies (committee chair)
Heidi Stanish, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Exercise and Health Sciences
Rafael Jaen, College of Liberal Arts, Performing Arts
Shirley Tang, School for Global Inclusion and Social Development, Asian American Studies
Michael Tlusty, School for the Environment

Professors Ellen Douglas and Paul Kirshen, School for the Environment
Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Service

For the first time in the history of the Chancellor's Awards, the Award for Distinguished Service is being given to a team of professors, Ellen Douglas and Paul Kirshen. They are prolific researchers of climate change and well respected in their fields of hydrology and civil engineering. Their work as a team exemplifies ways that members of the university community can improve the public good by integrating research and service. According to a colleague, they “undertook an ambitious public education campaign aimed at increasing the awareness of grassroots activists, religious leaders, business executives, elected officials, and urban affairs journalists to the vulnerability of the city's most important infrastructure, community facilities, historic landmarks, and poor and working-class communities and the steps that need to be taken to reduce these risks.” They have received multiple awards, including the US Federal Highway Administration Environmental Excellence Award and the Norman B. Leventhal Excellence in City-Building Award, and have participated in Climate Ready Boston, numerous environmental justice projects, local community boards, and agencies in the Commonwealth. Boston's Commissioner for the Environment, who has worked with Professors Douglas and Kirshen for more than ten years, wrote, “In all of this work, they have demonstrated a keen appreciation of the human consequences of climate change and the opportunities to link climate action to broad public goals.” They bring students to the communities and broaden the university mission with their ongoing pursuit of facing climate change in ways that are socially equitable and enhance public health. A former president of the Boston Harbor Association wrote, “More than any other individuals or entities, the team of Ellen Douglas and Paul Kirshen have helped to shape greater public awareness and action on climate preparedness through the terms of two different governors of two different political parties as well as two different mayors of Boston. Dr. Ellen Douglas and Dr. Paul Kirshen are incredible ‘ambassadors' from UMass Boston to the community and represent the best of UMass Boston in every sense.” Their commitment to professional service reflects their deep conviction that climate change science and education are fundamental underpinnings to the kind of prudent and rational decision-making needed to address the present global environmental policy crisis.

The Chancellor's Distinguished Service Award Committee
Linda Dumas, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Nursing (ret.) (committee chair)
Randy Albelda, College of Liberal Arts, Economics
Jill McDonough, College of Liberal Arts, English
Darren Kew, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance
Cynthia Orellana, Office of Community Partnerships


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