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5 UMass faculty members receive Manning Prize for teaching excellence

By Staff | Jun 7, 2022

BOSTON – Five outstanding University of Massachusetts faculty have been awarded the 2022 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching for their exemplary dedication to students and the university. The faculty members — one from each UMass campus — will receive $10,000 awards in recognition of their commitment to academic excellence.

UMass Lowell alumni Rob and Donna Manning established the Manning Prize in 2016 to honor UMass professors who excel in teaching and service. With the selection of this year’s honorees, thirty-five UMass faculty members now have the distinct honor of being Manning Prize recipients.

All full-time, tenured, and non-tenured faculty members are eligible to receive the Manning Prize. Each campus determines its own nomination and selection process, but that process must include student and peer input to ensure that the selected faculty members meet the criteria of being superb teachers and exemplary members of the campus community.

“We are delighted to honor these five faculty members whose exemplary commitment to their students truly makes UMass shine as a national model of excellence and opportunity,” said Rob Manning, a 1984 graduate of UMass Lowell and current chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. “Donna and I are immensely grateful for the teachers and mentors we encountered when we were students, so we’re happy to highlight these faculty members for their powerful impact on the students’ university experience.”

“Rob and Donna know first-hand how UMass faculty, through their inspiring teaching and mentorship, transform the lives of our students,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “We are deeply grateful to the Mannings for their generosity aimed at diversifying the next generation of UMass students, expanding our world-class facilities, and honoring our outstanding faculty members. The impact of their philanthropy will be felt across UMass for generations to come.”

Rob Manning, who recently retired as executive chairman of Boston mutual fund company MFS Investment Management, credits his UMass Lowell math professor and faculty mentor Bernie Shapiro with helping him land the job that launched his career.

Donna Manning, who received her nursing degree in 1985 and a Master of Business Administration in 1991 from UMass Lowell, was an oncology nurse at Boston Medical Center for 33 years until her retirement in 2018.

They are among the largest contributors to UMass in its history. In 2021, Rob and Donna Manning donated $50 million to the university with a portion of that gift establishing an endowment that will fund the Manning Prize in perpetuity.

This year’s Manning Prize winners, who will be honored at an event in June, are as follows:


UMass Amherst

Lorraine Cordeiro, PhD, Director of the Center for Research on Families Associate Professor of Nutrition, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Lorraine Cordeiro, Associate Professor in Nutrition and Director of the Center for Research on Families, is a community-engaged scholar who describes herself as “an educator, a scientist, a first-generation college graduate, a U.S. immigrant, a woman, a cancer survivor, a multigenerational caregiver, and a community volunteer.” Professor Cordeiro has been at the forefront of leading efforts for major curricula changes, new pedagogical approaches, and her department’s efforts in implementing and assessing holistic faculty teaching evaluation.

Dr. Cordeiro has been nominated consistently for teaching awards; she is the recipient of the university’s 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award and the College Outstanding Teacher Award from UMass Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences in 2013.

Her chair describes her as “an exceptional educator” who “reaches reach far beyond the classroom, impacting the university learning environment, systems and the greater community” and “a true advocate for her students.” Her colleagues characterize her as “an inspiration” and “an incredible resource” who “chooses work that is meaningful and impactful and throws everything she has into it.”

Professor Cordeiro’s students speak of the tremendous impact she has had on their lives and her deep commitment to racial justice evidenced by her “fearlessness in talking about social issues” and her “ability and willingness to tackle difficult topics with poise, humility, and humanity.” As one student said, Professor Cordeiro “brought back humanity into life and education” and another highlighted how she “truly impacted all of us, for life.”


UMass Boston

Hugh Charles O’Connell, PhD, Professor of English, College of Liberal Arts Director, Composition Program

Professor Hugh O’Connell is an exemplary scholar who transforms the classroom as a space that is not just a place for traditional learning but serves to provide active support for students to advance their intellectual journeys. One of his former students shared, “[he] pushes you past your boundaries, offers help where needed, and demands better of his students.”

Since joining the English Department in 2013, Professor O’Connell has taught classes ranging from introductory courses all the way to the graduate levels. The UMass Boston English Department Personnel Committee says, “Professor O’Connell’s effectiveness in the classroom is the product of the meticulous course planning visible in his strategically sequenced assignments. But it has equally been the result of his eagerness to adapt his teaching to respond to his students’ needs.”

As a result, Professor O’Connell has continued to draw in large enrollment numbers for his courses in 20th and 21st British and Anglophone literatures, science fiction, and utopian/dystopian studies, making them some of the department’s most popular and well-reviewed courses. Professor O’Connell’s responses from students on questions of course and instructor quality are very well received. His current research focuses on the utopian valences of African futurism and examines the relationship between speculative fiction and speculative finance.


UMass Dartmouth

Jennifer Wilson Mulnix, PhD, Chairperson of Philosophy Department & Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Jennifer Wilson Mulnix is Professor of Philosophy, Chairperson of the Philosophy Department, and Faculty of the Honors College. Dr. Mulnix joined UMass Dartmouth in 2006 and has actively dedicated herself to the broader university community, participating in various faculty fellowships and grants focused on improving teaching and learning. She had previously served as the Associate Director of Honors at the university. In 2021, Dr. Mulnix was the recipient of the Leo M. Sullivan Teacher of the Year award.

Her pedagogical strategies incorporate a learner-centered approach to teaching, carefully informed by research-based best practices, and her innovative curriculum encourages transformative learning experiences both within and beyond the classroom.

Dr. Mulnix has served in national leadership roles within the American Philosophical Association, and in the Office of President of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers, where she actively worked to mentor and train philosopher teachers, improve the quality of teaching philosophy, and facilitate the development of philosophy teachers. Much of her current research focuses on the scholarship of teaching and the philosophy of happiness and well-being.


UMass Lowell

Khalilah Reddie, PhD, Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry, Kennedy College of Sciences

Dr. Khalilah Reddie, Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry in UMass Lowell’s Kennedy College of Sciences, is the recipient of several teaching awards. In 2016 and 2018, she received the University of Massachusetts Lowell Student Government Association Teacher of the Year award, and the Student Government Association Exceeding Excellence in Teaching, Kennedy College of Sciences award in 2015 and 2022.

Dr. Reddie is the coordinator of UMass Lowell’s undergraduate organic chemistry lecture teaching programs where she applies immersive strategies that erase the divide between classroom content and real-world chemical practices that fuel innovation. Dr. Reddie’s roles expand beyond the classroom. In 2017, she was the faculty recipient of UML’s Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award.

She is also the director of MAGIC, an academic initiative that supports the success of students taking courses in chemistry to build the pipeline of qualified, under-represented candidates for graduate health professions. Since its inception, the MAGIC program has supported successful student outcomes to help candidates yield competitive qualifications that have propelled their acceptance into medical school pathway and internship programs.


UMass Chan Medical School

Pang-Yen Fan, MD, Professor of Medicine

Pang-Yen Fan has been a highly productive member of UMass Chan Medical School’s academic faculty since 1993. A gifted transplant nephrologist, he has contributed at every level of medical education, teaching, mentoring, curriculum development and leadership. Dr. Fan has received multiple awards and honors as an educator and teacher.

He has been recognized seven times for the UMass Chan Outstanding Medical Educator Award, the Department of Medicine Teacher of the Year Award, and UMass Memorial Health Care’s Champion of Excellence Team Award, as well as other honors. He has served as a learning community mentor since 2010 and identifies more than 50 mentees.

Dr. Fan continues to serve as a lecturer and faculty preceptor for multiple teaching electives, as an attending physician on the Pulmonary-Renal Transplant Service providing bedside and classroom teaching, and as a moderator/lecturer in the Determinants of Health course where he leads the session on “Confronting Bias in Medicine: Institutional and Provider Levels.” In addition, he has served as a preceptor and co-leader of numerous small group workshops and multiple courses at UMass Chan.


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