News: Press Releases

From left, award-winning UMass professors Rafael Jaen, Nora Ganim Barnes, David Hatem, Donald Leitch and Haivan Hoang
June 19, 2017

5 UMass faculty members awarded for teaching excellence

Manning Prize recognizes extraordinary faculty on each UMass campus

BOSTON — Five outstanding University of Massachusetts faculty have been awarded the 2017 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.

The Manning Prize was established in 2016 by UMass Lowell alumni Rob and Donna Manning to honor UMass professors who excel in teaching and service.

“I’m thrilled to recognize these five faculty members, who go above and beyond every day to help make UMass an extraordinary university,” said Rob Manning, a 1984 graduate of UMass Lowell and current chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. “Faculty are the heart and soul of this institution, and they have the power to transform lives. I know firsthand the impact that great teachers have, so it’s very important to Donna and me that we support faculty members who give so much of themselves.” 

Rob Manning is executive chairman of MFS Investment Management, and he credits a math professor at UMass Lowell with helping him land the job that launched his career. Donna Manning, who received her nursing degree and her master of business administration from UMass Lowell, has been an oncology nurse at Boston Medical Center for nearly 30 years. They are among the largest contributors to UMass in its history.

“Rob and Donna have an unequaled track record of giving back to the university they love by supporting student scholarships, expanding first-class facilities and honoring the faculty who make our university so special,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “Their commitment and generosity to UMass knows no bounds, and we continue to be grateful for their unwavering support of the UMass mission to deliver a transformative, world-class education.”   

All full-time, tenured and non-tenured faculty members are eligible to receive the Manning Prize. Each campus is responsible for determining 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.

This year’s Manning Prize winners, who were honored at a recent luncheon at the UMass Club, are as follows:

  • Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., is a Chancellor Professor of Marketing at UMass Dartmouth. Professor Barnes’ teaching portfolio shows a sustained program of reflective and innovative teaching practice. At the heart of her teaching philosophy is a commitment to experiential learning, which prompts students to master concepts through real-life scenarios. Emblematic of this approach is her Marketing Research course, which she describes as “transforming an undergraduate class into a marketing research agency.” While placing students in contact with companies, this approach also directly benefits the campus and surrounding community. For example, a recent initiative focused on the campus food bank. Identifying the population most in need, the bank’s potential frequency of use and the members in the community most likely to volunteer or donate items, this project laid the groundwork for what is now Arnie's Cupboard.
  • David S. Hatem, M.D., is a professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at UMass Medical School, where he maintains an active clinical practice and currently is a caregiver to a third generation of families. As both an architect and builder, Dr. Hatem has played a formative role in curriculum design, development and innovation at UMMS for nearly three decades. He is a master educator who focuses on teaching medical students fundamental clinical skills, the medical interview, physical examination, and clinical reasoning as the foundation of the work of physicians. While course design and curriculum development have operated in the foreground of his activities, a unifying thread to his career has been the function of relationship in the work of clinician-educators. He has written that “teaching and learning are personal, a relationship…teaching means sharing knowledge, GREAT teaching means sharing oneself.” Dr. Hatem has taken patient-centered care concepts and provider-patient principles and expertly applied them to the teacher-learner relationship. His innovative approach is embodied in the UMMS Learning Communities that he co-created, which have become a truly meaningful experiential locus for UMMS learners and elevated mentoring to an essential and prominent paradigm in the lives of faculty and students alike.
  • Haivan V. Hoang, Ph.D., is an associate professor of English at UMass Amherst who joined the English Department’s faculty in 2004. Her research and teaching have centered on literacy studies, U.S. racial formations, qualitative research methodologies and writing pedagogy. She is author of “Writing against Racial Injury: The Politics of Asian American Student Rhetoric,” which examines the impact of racial formations on Asian American language and literacy education and practices in the post-Civil Rights movement era. In addition to her work with undergraduate and graduate students in the English Department at UMass, she has also been committed to writing education at the university level and served as director of the Writing Center from 2008-10 and director of the Writing Program from 2011-16. Professor Hoang has also been dedicated to honoring UMass Amherst’s nationally recognized Writing Program through her teaching and mentoring of undergraduate writing tutors as well as graduate student instructors in the first-year writing program.
  • Rafael Jaen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of theatre arts at UMass Boston and a practicing costume designer and technician. Professor Jaen has created costumes for productions at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, the Huntington Theatre Company, the American Repertory Theater and numerous other local theater companies. His work has been nominated for the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Award and the Elliot Norton Award, and earned him a Hubbie Award for Best Costume Design. Students who take his courses in costume design, construction and stagecraft have long praised Jaen’s teaching, using words such as “inspirational,” “caring” and “one of the best at UMass Boston” to describe him. He is admired and respected for creating a classroom atmosphere that couples joy with serious, hands-on teamwork. He is consistently cited for the passion he shows for both his craft and his teaching, as well as his insistence on professionalism when it comes to doing the work, coming to class and showing up on time.
  • Donald G. Leitch, Ph.D., is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UMass Lowell. He joined the faculty in 1968, and his research interests are in the area of structural engineering. Professor Leitch has received numerous awards for teaching, including a Civil Engineering Honor Society, New England District, Excellence in Teaching Award, a series of teaching awards given by the Council on Teaching, Learning and Research as Scholarship, and the UMass Lowell Student Government Association Teaching Excellence Award for the College of Engineering. In 2014, friends and alumni of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering established The Don Leitch Civil Engineering Concrete Canoe and Student Activities Discretionary Endowment Fund. In addition, he was the recipient of the Donald G. Leitch Award, established by the ASCE Student Chapter to recognize faculty “for excellence in the preparation of tomorrow’s civil engineers.”