President's Public Service Awards


David Terkla, Ph.D.

Professor in the Economics Department and the Department of Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences, UMass Boston

David TerklaProfessor Terkla has had an enormous impact on greater Boston and the state through his work identifying new industry clusters and their influences on the Massachusetts economy, his research on transportation planning that helped initiate significant legislative and policy changes, and his work in fisheries and ocean management.  He has established a highly respected body of work through his research that is recognized by academics, practitioners, politicians, and leaders.

Professor Terkla has played a key part in identifying industries with new kinds of products that don't fall into standard categories, most notably the environment and marine science technology. Part of his work involved finding out if these clusters are acting in a way that makes them a viable sector. The next step was to pull the industry from where it's currently classified and identify a better category for it. Then he identified ways for the government to help these industries. His work in this area led to a study for the state to look at the impact of the ocean economy on Massachusetts.

In 2002, Professor Terkla worked with the Massachusetts Business Roundtable on transportation planning to study how the state makes decisions about what kind of transportation projects to carry out. From this study came a report that recommended changes for the state's transportation planning system. The report was used by the state legislature as a blueprint for transportation reform.

Professor Terkla's work with the fishing industry over the years has gained him recognition as an expert on labor and economic issues which has resulted in his appointment to critical boards that address fishing issues. In the past he has worked on issues surrounding the lobster industry and population, and he was active in doing research with the Massachusetts Fisheries Partnership.  He currently serves on the Ocean Science Advisory Committee for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is supporting the development of one of the first Ocean Management Plans to be developed by a state.

Environmental issues have always been Professor Terkla's passion, which is why he decided to specialize in environmental economics.

 "I always liked math and political science," he said. "In college I thought I would go into political economy. But the economics discipline attracted me in terms of it being closely related to policy issues."

For Professor Terkla, it is not enough for him to just talk with his colleagues about economic theory, but to use it as a way to bring about better policy. "For me that's where economics is most useful," he said.

Professor Terkla has been at UMass Boston for 22 years. He was drawn to the school because of its philosophy of civic engagement.

Professor Terkla is a Professor in the Economics Department and the Department of Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences at UMass Boston. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.


Public Service Awards 2009

Public Service Awards 2008