Commencement

Friday, May 29, 2015

Maps & Directions

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 made exceptional contributions in the three primary areas of faculty responsibility by presenting the Chancellor’s Awards for Distinguished Scholarship, Teaching, and Service.

2015
Scholarship: Jean Rhodes, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Teaching: Erik Blaser, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Service: William Robinson, Earth and Ocean Sciences, School for the Environment             

Professor Jean Rhodes
Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship

Professor Rhodes is an exceptionally rigorous, well-respected, and productive scholar who has made a career-long commitment to bridging research and practice in the field of youth mentoring. During her 15 years at UMass Boston, she has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, 34 chapters, three books (with a fourth under contract), and three edited volumes. She is a co-PI for the “Resilience in Survivors of Katrina Project,” a longitudinal study of low-income community college students who lived in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Professor Rhodes was named the Frank L. Boyden Professor of Psychology and, with a $1 million grant from the nation’s leading mentor organization, established the MENTOR/UMass Boston Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring. She launched the Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentors website, which has more than 4,000 subscribers and more than 350,000 page views, and the Center Short-Course series, which she hosts bi-annually at UMass Boston. Professor Rhodes has received two grants from the prestigious MacArthur Foundation and is a member of two MacArthur Foundation Research Networks. She also led the writing and revision of Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, a keystone publication on mentoring standards, and was co-PI on a National Institutes of Health grant to develop the first online, evidence-based training for volunteer mentors. This training has been adopted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. An external colleague remarked on her mentoring of students, stating that they “come away with the theoretical grounding, methodological skills, and craft knowledge that enables them to make research careers for themselves. Let me emphasize what an achievement this is… Jean teaches her students how to be scholars themselves.” Another external colleague noted, “Jean Rhodes is the preeminent scholar of mentoring for youth in the world today. Her scholarship is ‘required reading’ for all scholars and students of youth development. It is accurate to say that she has shaped – nationally and internationally – much of the theoretical and empirical emphases in the study of mentoring.”

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Scholarship Award Committee

Elizabeth Fay, College of Liberal Arts, English (committee chair)

Sharon Horne, College of Education and Human Development, Counseling and School Psychology

Kurt Jacobs, College of Science and Mathematics, Physics

Philip Troped, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Exercise and Health Sciences

Stephen Mrozowski, College of Liberal Arts, Anthropology

 

Professor Erik Blaser
Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching

Professor Blaser loves to teach and is well-known for the quality of his interactions with students. His course materials show meticulous preparation, his student course evaluations indicate considerable success in implementing his teaching plans, and letters from his past students show the lasting impact of his work on their personal and professional lives. As one student commented, “Erik Blaser is one of those magicians who changes people just by speaking to them, that is to say: a teacher, and the best one I have ever had.” He has taught approximately 2,000 undergraduates during his 13 years at UMass Boston and excels at teaching both large sections and small seminars. He recently took on the mentoring of graduate students in his role as the graduate program director for the new Developmental and Brain Sciences PhD program. Another student said, “His pedagogical philosophy is dynamic, inventive, imaginative, and inclusive, uniquely tailored but ever evolving, with the principal goal directed toward instilling a sense of self-discovery and wonder in his students. He is both scientist and artist, and his classes reflect a brilliant distillation of the magic and beauty of teaching.” His peers have similar, heartfelt beliefs about the excellence of his instruction. “Simply put,” said one, “he is a superstar teacher, the complete educator, a pedagogical thoroughbred, who is forever experimenting and developing, making adjustments in response to the unique learning needs of his students.” To have impacted the lives of so many students is an extraordinary accomplishment. “Dr. Blaser is a wonderfully effective, gifted, and joyful teacher because of his power to connect, communicate, care, and inspire,” said another of his campus colleagues. “He truly knows and loves his subject, respects his students, and loves to teach.”

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award Committee

Robert Chen, College of Science and Mathematics, School for the Environment (committee chair)

Steven Ackerman, College of Science and Mathematics, Biology

Raymond Liu, College of Management, Management and Marketing

Lusa Lo, College of Education and Human Development, Curriculum and Instruction

Scott Maisano, College of Liberal Arts, English

 

Professor William Robinson
Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Service

Over the course of his career, Professor Robinson has provided distinguished service to UMass Boston, the community, and his profession. His efforts have had an enduring impact on the development of high-quality academic programs, the establishment of Massachusetts environmental policies and management, and citizen involvement in better environmental and cultural living. He played a crucial role in the development of the School for the Environment, the University of Massachusetts Intercampus Marine Science graduate program, and the Department of Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences. His efforts have significantly reshaped the university’s scientific mission. According to one of his colleagues, “Bill is the heart of the department, the corporate memory of the sciences, and a champion for fairness within university governance systems.” In addition to his exemplary work for the university, he has been a distinguished environmental advocate, communicator, and public servant. He has been involved with four local environmental and cultural committees and programs serving Massachusetts communities, and chaired or served on various federal, state, and regional agency advisory committees. Professor Robinson is also a nationally and internationally recognized scientist in eco‐toxicology, in great demand as a manuscript and proposal reviewer, and as a conference organizer and participant. He also served for a time as an associate provost of the university. Colleagues have stated that many important university and community achievements would not have been possible without his leadership and hard work. As one remarked, people “turn to Bill when the need is not routine, where the expectation is extraordinary, and where the need for a new administrative structure is great. There are a handful of people who can do this, are willing to do this – and who succeed. Bill is one of those people.”

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award Committee

Catherine Lynde, College of Liberal Arts, Economics (retired) (committee chair)

Elizabeth Bussiere, College of Liberal Arts, Political Science

Jan Mutchler, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, Gerontology

Denise Patmon, College of Education and Human Development, Curriculum and Instruction

Heidi Stanish, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Exercise and Health Sciences

 

Nomination Criteria

Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching

This award is based on the candidate’s teaching contributions during the period of his or her association with UMass Boston.  A candidate for this award must have demonstrated that he or she is able to effectively teach and evaluate diverse students in a range of courses and on a variety of levels; to adapt different modes of teaching to different learning situations; and to experiment with novel teaching methods. In addition to being an excellent course instructor, a candidate should have demonstrated excellence in other teaching-related activities such as advising and mentoring students, developing and assessing curricula, assessing student learning outcomes, and guiding junior faculty to develop their teaching skills. Evidence should be provided that the candidate’s teaching has fostered students’ personal, intellectual and, if relevant, professional development.

Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Scholarship

This award is based on the scholarly or creative work that the candidate has presented to the public during the period of his or her association with UMass Boston. The candidate’s work must exhibit excellence, as evidenced by peer recognition of its import and impact. Comparing scholarship and creative activity in the diverse fields of the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, creative arts and the professions is a complex task.  For this reason, the assessment of peers both internal and external to the campus will carry particular weight in the award process, as will acknowledgments particular to certain disciplines, e.g., grant funding from agencies that support research in the candidate’s discipline. In addition to being an excellent scholar, a candidate should have demonstrated an ability to engage others in his or her work, e.g., undergraduate and graduate students.             

Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Service

This award is based on the candidate’s service contributions during the period of his or her association with UMass Boston.  A candidate for this award should have provided service that is consistent with the missions of his or her department and/or college, and UMass Boston. The service activities should have made demonstrable, substantial and long-lasting contributions to those units, to the community and/or to the candidate’s discipline or profession.

Recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Faculty Awards

Distinguished Scholarship: Professor Elizabeth Fay, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts

Distinguished Teaching: Professor Robert Chen, School for the Environment

Distinguished Service: Professor Catherine Lynde, Department of Economics, College of Liberal Arts

Recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Awards

Distinguished Scholarship: Professor Lizabeth Roemer, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Psychology

Distinguished Teaching: Professor Arindam Bandopadhyaya, Department of Accounting and Finance, College of Management

Distinguished Service: Professor Paul Watanabe, Department of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts

Recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Faculty Awards

Distinguished Scholarship: Professor Rachel Rubin, College of Liberal Arts, Department of American Studies

Distinguished Scholarship: Professor John Tobin, College of Liberal Arts, Department of English

Distinguished Service: Professor Joan Liem, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Psychology

Distinguished Teaching: Professor Stephanie Hartwelll, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Sociology

Recipients of the 2011 Distinguished Faculty Awards

Distinguished Scholarship: Professor Alice Carter, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Psychology

Distinguished Service: Professor Manickam Sugumaran, College of Science and Mathematics, Department of Biology

Distinguished Teaching: Professor Vivian Zamel, College of Liberal Arts, Department of English