UMass library at night
Honors and Awards

UMass ADVANCE Celebrates Excellence in Faculty Mentorship and Equitable Collaboration at Annual Lecture and Reception

NEWS ADVANCE Faculty logo

UMass ADVANCE presented the 2024 ADVANCE Faculty Peer Mentor Awards and the Equitable Practices in Collaboration (EPiC) Awards at the ADVANCE Annual Distinguished Lecture and Awards Reception, held March 27 at the Campus Center.

UMass ADVANCE Faculty Peer Mentor Awards for mentoring and supporting colleagues’ professional development were presented to faculty members from each college by Wilmore Webley, senior vice provost for equity and inclusion, and Michael Malone, interim provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs.

The nine Faculty Peer Mentor Award recipients were:

  • Alexandra Meliou, associate chair of faculty development and associate professor, Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences
  • Alexandra Pope, professor, Astronomy, College of Natural Sciences
  • Torrey Trust, associate professor, Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, College of Education
  • Chaitra Gopalappa, associate professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Rebecca Dingo, professor, English, College of Humanities and Fine Arts
  • Bruce Skaggs, professor, Isenberg School of Management
  • Kalpana Poudel-Tandukar, associate professor, College of Nursing
  • Lauren McCarthy, associate professor, Legal Studies and Political Science, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 
  • Eliza Frechette, senior lecturer II, Kinesiology, School of Public Health and Health Sciences 

UMass ADVANCE also acknowledged two EPiC group winners for their exemplary equitable collaboration practices. The chamber music ensemble, Bandwidth, was celebrated for its collaborative decision-making approach, commitment to diverse perspectives in music commissioning and fostering a supportive environment where every member's input is honored. Black Women United was recognized for its efforts in advancing Black women faculty and creating inclusive environments through mentoring, networking and collaboration opportunities and building a supportive community on campus.

Prior to the awards ceremonies, this year’s lecture featured keynote speaker Danielle R. Holley, president and professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College. In her address, “Pursuing Faculty Equity, Inclusion and Success in Today’s Higher Education Landscape,” Holley called for unwavering leadership to deepen evidence-based strategies for advancing inclusive academic excellence. 

“Ecosystems are the healthiest when they offer a diversity of views and backgrounds,” Holley emphasized. “Communities are the same way, and communities that are made up of people from many different backgrounds whose members can give lots of different perspectives on the same problem, help define solutions. And that's what we want to be: communities that help find solutions, communities that lead.” 

Additionally, the event marked a significant transition for UMass ADVANCE from a federally funded research project, the five-year (2018-23) $3.1 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant, to a permanent faculty equity initiative embedded in the campus.

For more information about the event, including award recipients and video, visit UMass ADVANCE