UMass Boston Faculty Researchers Recognize Excellence, Look Ahead to 2013

December 20, 2012

Office of Communications


Faculty, Staff and Students Honored at 6th Annual Research Luncheon

A performance of a recently discovered piece of music from the 18th century kicked off the sixth annual research luncheon, so it was only fitting that the event pay tribute to past accomplishments while looking forward to the future.

“The goals of research development are to identify and optimize unique areas, work collaboratively in new avenues of intellectual pursuit, and develop and mentor the next generation of scholars,” said Associate Vice Provost for Research Laura Hayman.

The event, officially called the Annual Luncheon to Celebrate Faculty, Research Staff, and Students for Their Contributions to Research, Innovation, Scholarship, and Creativity, proves popular each year.

Distinguished Professor of Biology Kamaljit Bawa, who received the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters’ first Gunnerus Sustainability Award and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year, spoke about how his interdisciplinary work in biodiversity, sustainability, and climate change is linked with policy and governance.

“We’re really glad how in the last few years, the university has set up many interdisciplinary centers. Our provost in particular has become a chief spokesperson for generating appropriate knowledge to address societal challenges we face in a globalized world,” Bawa told a packed ballroom.

Distinguished Professor of Science Education Arthur Eisenkraft spoke about his recent work in K-12 education, including securing grants to teach mathematics and science to English language learners in Massachusetts schools.

“It’s particularly difficult to understand a new language. You can only imagine how difficult it is to learn a new language and learn science and math as well,” Eisenkraft said.

Eisenkraft said UMass Boston will host the second part of an international energy summer this July as part of another grant.

Associate Provost Rajini Srikanth spoke about the work of faculty in the humanities.

“The humanities play a crucial and essential role in solving some of our most ‘naughty problems,’ problems of ethics, problems of the environment, problems of citizenship, just to name a few,” Srikanth said.

Srikanth shared the areas of expertise of some of the 43 new faculty members, which include negotiation, workplace interaction, and computational biology.

As for that musical piece, Associate Professor of Performing Arts Mary Oleskiewicz was able to find it and four other quartets composed by Johann Joachim Quantz using funding from a Healey grant. She used money from another grant to record the pieces.

“We have some of the best faculty, who could shine brightly at any institution,” said Vice Provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies Zong-Guo Xia.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s nine colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit