Comm Professor recognized for teaching strengths campus-wide and at the college level

Kimberlee Perez

Assistant Professor Kimberlee Pérez, Ph.D., has been recognized for her work from both colleagues and students with two big teaching awards from UMass in 2019. Pérez was awarded the 2019 Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences last spring. This award celebrates exceptional teaching, mentoring and curriculum development efforts. She says she was honored to be recognized by both fellow faculty and her students.

“In my classes, students often reference a concept or way of looking at an issue that they learned in another class. It’s a powerful moment to see that kind of connection happening, to witness a different methodological or analytical take on a topic, especially those that are addressing social and justice-oriented issues,” said Pérez.

Pérez says it affirms the range of knowledge being produced and what is possible when they are put into relationship.

“To be recognized by my colleagues in this way is a moment for reflection on the value of our different styles and research interests and reaffirms my commitment to teaching here.”

The Distinguished Teaching Award (DTA), also awarded to Pérez this year, is student-driven, nominated by a student and supported by student letters and overseen by The Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development. Pérez says it’s humbling.

“It reflects learnings, experiences, and relationships that come from the classroom,” said Pérez. “In each classroom and with each student I find ways to enhance my own learning, endless as that process is and it turns back on my understanding of my own research and the motivation to keep doing it.”

The DTA honors exemplary teaching at the highest institutional level. And both faculty and graduate students are eligible for the highly competitive award.

“I am pretty sure that I learn more from students, and that students learn from one another, then from me. But I am grateful for the chance to be part of that.”

Pérez’ areas of interest includes narrative performance that gets at constructions and embodiments of identity and relations. This fall semester Pérez is teaching Performance and Politics of Race.

--Omadelle Nelson Bowser, Manager of Academic Programs