2020 Chancellor's Leadership Fellowships awarded to Adams, Atalay, George Mwangi, Healey

From upper left to lower right in the photo: Jenny Adams, Sonya Atalay, Chrystal George Mwangi, Christiane Healey
From upper left to lower right: Jenny Adams, Sonya Atalay, Chrystal George Mwangi, Christiane Healey

The Office of Faculty Development has announced that Jenny Adams, associate professor of English; Sonya Atalay, associate professor of anthropology; Chrystal George Mwangi; associate professor in higher education; and Christiane Healey, senior lecturer of biology, have been awarded the 2020 Chancellor’s Leadership Fellowships. John McCarthy, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, says, “With this latest cohort of Chancellor's Leadership Fellows, our campus continues the important work of preparing the next generation of academic leaders. In keeping with the program's goals, this year's cohort brings very great diversity of disciplines, backgrounds and career paths.”

Chancellors Leadership Fellowships seek to cultivate future campus leaders by offering a half-time, one-year, temporary appointment to an administrative area on campus and by providing shadowing and mentoring from the leaders of the host units. In addition, fellows are expected to launch a significant program during the fellowship year. Fellows have the opportunity to participate in university decision-making and to develop and demonstrate capacity for leadership in arenas that are not often a part of day-to-day faculty life.

Jenny Adams, associate professor of English, will be working with Carol Barr, senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education on a campus-wide strategic vision of first year seminars as an important retention effort.


“I was so pleased when Jen expressed an interest in working on the first-year seminar program as a focus of her Chancellors Leadership Fellowship,” says Barr. “The first-year seminars are an identified high impact practice providing first year students with important academic approaches and awareness of student support resources to help them in their transition to college and achieving success in the college environment. Jen will work closely with faculty and instructors teaching these seminars on this important student success initiative.”

Adams’s current research focuses on academic debt and university life in late medieval England. To this end she is working on a monograph provisionally titled “Degrees of Collateral: Debt and University Life in Medieval Oxford.” With Nancy Bradbury, of Smith College, she has recently edited an essay collection titled “Medieval Women and Their Objects.” Her past research has been on chess and political organization in the late Middle Ages. For her research she has won fellowships from the ACLS, NEH, Newberry Library, and Mellon Foundation. She has taught a wide variety of courses including: Chaucer, Arthurian Legends, Major British Authors, Medieval Dream Poetry, Medieval Travel Narratives, Utopian/Dystopias, Old English, and Society and Literature.

Sonya Atalay, associate professor of anthropology, will be working with Steve Goodwin, deputy chancellor, to identify ways for the campus to support community-based research in more robust and formal ways.


“We are coming into a period when community-based research will be an increasingly important part of the way that public land grant/major research universities contribute to society,” says Goodwin. “It makes this fellowship particularly timely.”

Atalay specializes in community-based participatory research and conducts projects in partnership with her own Native American (Ojibwe) community and other Indigenous groups. She’s written a series of ethnographic comics about the repatriation of Native American bodies and cultural belongings from museums and is examining how repatriation contributes to healing and well-being in Indigenous communities. Most recently, Atalay published “Archaeologies of the Heart”, a co-edited book that explores heart-centered research practices. Atalay co-chairs the UMass Native American Advisory Council and is the advisor for the UMass Intertribal Council, which works to build a supportive and inclusive campus community for Native American students, staff and faculty.

Chrystal George Mwangi, associate professor in higher education, will be working with Kalpen Trivedi, associate provost, to help the International Programs Office (IPO) develop and coordinate a global engagement strategy.


“I am delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with George Mwangi in furthering IPO’s work,” says Trivedi. “Given her exciting academic work in equity and inclusion in international higher education, George Mwangi is ideally suited to helping us develop a global engagement strategy grounded in social justice.”

George Mwangi’s scholarship broadly centers on structures of opportunity and issues of inequity that impact the trajectory of diverse students into and through college; internationalization efforts within higher education, the transnational nature of universities, and the use of higher education as a tool for international mobility/migration; and African and African Diaspora populations in higher education with emphasis on the impact of race, racism, and coloniality on their educational experiences. George Mwangi is currently the principal investigator on a grant from the Worldwide Universities Network focused on comparatively understanding how higher education systems across six countries are pursuing diversity, equity and/or inclusion for student success in their policies and practices. She serves as associate editor for the Journal on Diversity in Higher Education. George Mwangi has received multiple research awards from the Comparative and International Education Society and was the 2018 recipient of NAFSA’s Innovative Research in International Education award.

Christiane Healey, senior lecturer of biology, will work with Michelle Budig, vice provost for faculty development, to assess faculty development programming needs for non-tenure-track faculty.


“I’m excited that Healey will be working with the Office of Faculty Development to develop and interpret COACHE survey findings and develop programming initiatives targeted toward non-tenure-track faculty,” says Budig. “Healey’s leadership and service, both within her department and the faculty senate, constitute a great springboard for her fellowship year. She offers an important perspective and set of experiences that will greatly enrich our programming.”

Healey’s research expertise is in evolutionary biology and behavioral ecology. Healey has taught writing classes as a Quin-Morton Fellow in the Princeton Writing Program at Princeton University and was a faculty member at UCLA before joining the UMass faculty in 2010. She has taught topics ranging from HIV/AIDS and writing to introductory biology, ecology and evolution. She has employed numerous pedagogical approaches depending on class size and learning objectives, including community engagement, team-based learning and flipped classroom approaches. Healey has served as chair of the biology curriculum committee and has been elected chair of the UMass Undergraduate Education Council. Healey was awarded the College of Natural Science Outstanding Teaching Award in 2017. More recently, she was the first recipient of the Mahoney Teaching Award to join the team of faculty in the iCons program.

For more information about the Chancellor’s Leadership Fellowship, visit: