Isbell among Five Honored with Manning Teaching Awards

Linda Isbell
Linda Isbell

Linda M. Isbell, professor of psychological and brain sciences, is one of five University of Massachusetts faculty awarded the 2018 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.

Isbell is a social psychologist whose teaching and research examine how situational factors influence our everyday thoughts, feelings and behavior.

In the classroom, she is known for the development and use of innovative and creative teaching techniques that actively engage and inspire her students, as well as her ability to make a 300-person lecture feel small and personal to her students.

Isbell has received two research grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support her research on emotion and social cognition, and recently received a five-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to fund her research examining the role of emotions on decision-making among emergency medicine physicians and nurses when treating patients with mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders. Her numerous teaching awards include the UMass Amherst Distinguished Teaching Award.

The other 2018 Manning prize winners are:

  • Olivia Weisser, assistant professor of history at UMass Boston
  • Pamela Karimi, associate professor of art education, art history and media studies at UMass Dartmouth
  • Anne Gilroy, professor emerita of clinical anatomy in the Division of Translational Anatomy within the department of radiology at UMass Medical School
  • Deborah Finch, lecturer in the Manning School of Business at UMass Lowell

The winners were honored at a luncheon at the UMass Club in Boston on May 22.

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 proud to recognize these brilliant, dedicated faculty members, who are transforming lives through their teaching and mentorship,” said Rob Manning, a 1984 graduate of UMass Lowell and current chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. “At UMass, we’re blessed with excellent faculty across all five campuses who are harnessing talent, curiosity and ambition to create the leaders of tomorrow, and it’s very important to Donna and me that we acknowledge them for their efforts.” 

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.

“We’re so grateful to Rob and Donna Manning for their unparalleled generosity and dedication to the UMass mission of world-class public higher education,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “As a result of their personal experiences, Rob and Donna recognize and seek to honor the incredible contribution of UMass faculty to student learning and to guiding students on pathways to success.”

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.