Mark Pachucki, assistant professor of sociology, and Kimberlee Pérez, assistant professor of communication, have been awarded this year’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Outstanding Teaching Award. This award celebrates exceptional teaching, mentoring and curriculum development efforts.
“This year’s award celebrates two of our finest, as Mark and Kimberlee bring their unique and outstanding qualities not only to the classroom but to other interactions with students,” said SBS Dean John Hird.
“We’re proud to support their dedication and excellence in teaching, and to count them among the college’s best teachers,” he added.
Pachucki has developed and taught three undergraduate courses in the sociology department which complement his research on the social determinants of health, social network dynamics and culture. They attract a wide range of students from multiple disciplines including sociology, psychological and brain sciences, public health and economics.
In addition to teaching, Pachucki is an active mentor to graduate and undergraduate students. “I see one of my primary roles as a faculty member as training the next generation of social scientists,” says Pachucki, describing mentorship as one of the most rewarding aspects of his job.
“To be able to learn with interested, engaged young adults and to help support them to be successful in their paths and see them explore new ideas is something that’s at the core of why I became an educator,” he added.
Since arriving at UMass Amherst in 2015, Pérez has developed and taught three new undergraduate courses and teaches two courses at the graduate level. She was recognized in 2016-17 for her teaching when she received the UMass LBGTQ+ Faculty and Staff Award from the Stonewall Center.
Upon learning that she received the Outstanding Teaching Award, Pérez expressed that she was deeply moved to be recognized for teaching. “It means a great deal to teach in a college where there are so many skilled teachers with a commitment to what the social sciences can offer students and the world,” she added.
Pachucki and Pérez will be recognized for their achievements at the Faculty Honors Dinner in April and at the SBS Senior Celebration in May. Each will receive a commemorative plaque and an award of $1,000.